GUYANA, October 18, 2014 (Guyana Chronicle, by Cecil Ramkirath): Deepavali (or Diwali), the Festival of Lights, is one of the most enchanting and beautiful festivals that adorn the Hindu calendar. It commemorates the beginning of the Hindu New Year and there is an unmistakable element of fun, laughter, excitement, reunion, and heartfelt felicity associated with the celebration. And why not enjoy and have some fun when the harvest season has ended and the financial books are closed.
Diwali originated in rural India as primarily a harvest festival, a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Diwali is observed in many countries outside of India, and in Guyana and Trinidad, the Hindu community joyfully anticipates the coming of Diwali. The inside and outside of homes are beautifully decorated with diyas (earthen lamps) or candles, and with every passing year, we are literally mesmerized by the spectacularly dazzling display of exquisitely and artistically designed illuminations on motorcades, houses and business premises that seem to outshine the glitter and glamor of Manhattan's Times Square.
Amidst the jubilation and display, we must not lose sight of the strong spiritual current that runs deep in the proper observance of Diwali. Diwali signifies the light that dispels the darkness of ignorance. This is the light of spiritual knowledge that comes from the long and arduous journey towards self-realisation. We have to keep the light of knowledge and virtue burning brightly within and bring it forth to the world in good actions and deeds, working vigorously and selflessly to eradicate poverty, violence, exploitation, injustice, hatred and cruelty, fiercely resisting all forms of discrimination, forging friendship and goodwill, and in humble and little ways, bring warmth and joy in the lives we touch.
More of this inspiring essay at "source."
HANOI, VIETNAM, October 19, 2014 (Vietnam Plus): The Indian Embassy and the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam co-organized the Diwali festival in Hanoi on October 18 in a bid to provide the local audience with an insight into the land, people and culture of India.
The event offered an opportunity for Indian people to show their respect for the Goddess Lakshmi - a symbol of happiness, prosperity, beauty and faith in the victory of the fight between good and evil.
During the festival, Hanoians were enthralled by both traditional and modern dances, culinary arts, and interesting experiments about India and its people as well as unique cultural characteristics such as yoga and traditional handicrafts. Especially, India's custom of lighting candles attracted many people.
Diwali, one of the largest festivals in India , has become a regular activity of the Indian community in Vietnam. This year's event was expected to attract more than 1,000 visitors.
INDIA, September 18, 2014 (The Hindu): Seventy-five-year-old N. Govindarajan of Sripuranthan was almost in tears seeing the panchaloha statue of Lord Nataraja after more than a decade. It was stolen from Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple at Sripuranthan in the district before 2006. A group of villagers from Sripuranthan also waited patiently for hours to get a glimpse of the statue when it was brought to the Jayamkondam Judicial Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
The 1,000-year-old statue, which was recently handed over to India by Australia, was brought from Chennai and produced before Magistrate S. Muthumurugan. Weighing about 330 lbs. and standing about five feet in height, the statue was neatly packed in a wooden box and brought in a police truck with tight security.
Measurements were taken in the presence of the Magistrate by the personnel of the Statue Wing CID of State police investigating the statues-theft cases at the Sripuranthan and Suthamalli temples. The Statue Wing police filed a petition seeking the court's permission to keep it in safe custody at the government "Idol Centre" in Kumbakonam.
SWEDEN, September 18, 2014 (source): I was just passing by the Kings Garden on August 30 and saw a wonderfully ornate scene surrounding the garden pool. It was my longtime friends "young Swedish Dharmis and Ashavaner ([Zoroastrians]" in Stockholm, who had organized a festival to demonstrate how Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Zoroastrian religions operate in the world.
"Dharma" is a concept in several Indian thought systems, with varying significance. It is about the religious, ritual, secular and economic duties under the Vedas, which is famous age-old Indian scriptures.
The Royal Garden was bustling with people in colorful costumes on this sunny day and the program was impressive. A "Sanatana Dharmish" (a Hindu fire ceremony, known as the Ganga Arti) for "World Peace and Non-violence" and for a more equitable society was done on the steps of the long garden pool which had been consecrated with a few drops of Himalayan water from the Ganges in India! Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Zoroastrian chants for world peace were made and ten women blew the conch shells before and after the ceremony.
Whatever defect I have in my sight, in my heart or mind, may God amend! May he, the Protector of the world, bless us!
-- Yajur Veda 36.2
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