The timeless preoccupation of humanity’s philosophical life and life of beliefs has been the struggle between darkness and light.
For the Hindu community, Deepavali, along with another principal festival, Thaipusam, signifies a period of devotion and self-renewal to the principles of humility and self-effacement – the triumph of self-knowledge and self-realisation over ignorance and the ego.
The religious significance of Deepavali among the Hindu community are varied, but are all rooted in the idea of the Personified Light. In the classical Hindu text – Puranas – Deepavali is celebrated when Lord Krishna defeats the evil tyrant Naraka. Another reference can be traced to the birth of the Goddess Lakshmi from the churning of the cosmic oceans.
In the ancient epic The Mahabharata, Deepavali signifies the return of the Pandava Brothers from their years of self-imposed exile, while the complementary epic The Ramayana mentions Deepavali as a period of “great light” when Rama, with his consort Sita and his brother Laksmana return from a period of exile to reign “justly’ over their kingdom.
Devotees of the Mother Goddess celebrate Deepavali as a continuation of the Goddesses ‘Vilaya Thandava’ – Her ‘Dance of Life’ to establish order and justice in the universe.
As citizens of the state of Selangor who share in the celebrations of this auspicious festival by followers of the Hindu faith, we ought to be reminded of the deep spiritual significance of these celebrations.
It is in the spirit of understanding that we are truly able to create the foundations for the mutual respect imperative to creating a stable and prosperous society based on peace and empathy. It is upon these foundations that the principles of justice, integrity and dignity of citizenry can flourish.
In that spirit I wish all followers of the Hindu faith a blessed and prosperous Deepavali.