Monday, November 10, 2008

Editorial, 'fESTIVAL OF LIGHTS', 31 October 2008 issue of LAW ANIMATED WORLD


The gala religio-cultural event joyously celebrated mainly in India but also all over the world by billions of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and sections of Buddhists too, and joined in by unassuming millions belonging to other religions even, has its libertarian significance too. Especially among the Sikhs, as it is said Guru Hargobind secured release of himself and also 53 Hindu kings from Mughal prisons and returned to Amritsar on that day when the Golden Temple and the whole town was illuminated with diyas (small clay lamps) to revel at the occasion, it is annually celebrated as the Bandi Chodh Diwas (Prisoners Release Day). We know the Hindu myth of Satyabhama, pet wife of Krishna, said to be an incarnation of Goddess Earth, killing Naraka, the demon of evil and darkness, and freeing from his captivity hundreds of beautiful princesses, on the eve of this festival to be jubilantly celebrated by rows of lights set up to mark the occasion. What was more enlightening was to find that in India it perhaps originated among Jains, adherents of a sort of ‘trans-theistic’ religion, when they started celebrating the Nirvana, long long ago in 527 BC, of their last theerthankara, Lord Mahavira, to symbolically keep the light of their Master’s knowledge alive saying, “Since the light of knowledge is gone, we will lit up the ordinary matter” (gaye se bhavujjoye, davyujjoyam karismamo). And in Nepal where it is celebrated with gusto, it is said to be a sort of folk festival too, marking the end of a harvest season and also the beginning of the Nepal Sambat (New Year). As such we have no hesitation in joining the festivities along with the ordinary masses of all denominations and earnestly wishing all the best for all suffering humanity of the world and hope that our rationalist friend would find nothing irrational, nor atheistic comrade find anything superstitious, in our happy Diwali greetings for, after all, we are only yearning for ‘the light of virtue and truth to dispel the darkness of evil and ignorance’ (Tamasoma jyotirgamaya)! §§§