“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
This line captures the essence of the meaning of Diwali, a festival which celebrates the victory of good over evil through the metaphor of light; an image which inspires qualities which uplift us and represents the power we have to uplift others.
This idea is unfolded in the story of the Hindu epic: The Ramayana, which follows the story of Lord Ram in his journey to destroy evil and inspire the good as he rescues his beloved wife Sita. Through his journey he makes loyal friends such as Hanuman which show him ultimate devotion and love and also defeats Ravana, a king who believes in only the value of materialistic pleasures and represents the extreme of selfishness, ego and pride. This historic story celebrates the power a human has to touch other hearts through their journey in life, and the power a human has to do what is right.
The character of Ram represents an ideal, the ideal of a son, a husband, a friend, a human, and through this concept Diwali is celebrated through the metaphor of light, because of the power light has to illuminate and awaken our minds enabling us to see clearly.
In a dark room where there is nothing but darkness a small candle can help to destroy that state by providing illumination; the darkness is then not the overpowering state as the light the candle provides becomes the focus. In the same way Diwali helps us to realise that in the darkest of times we can provide the light to our friends and family and help each other to see what is right and what is wrong defeating the negative and celebrating the good.
This message is celebrated by Hindus all over the world through the fun of fireworks and the pleasure of spending time with your loved ones and eating traditional dishes.
All students are invited to join the celebrations coordinated by Hindu and Asian Society, who will be providing a free day filled with Indian delights such as henna paintings and dance performances and a night filled with fireworks on 15 November. Events start from 3pm in the Forum.
Exeter Hindu Society