As the winter sets in making the days colder and darker people around the world from the Sikh, Jain and Hindu communities come together to celebrate the festival of light, Diwali.
The lightning of candles is the symbol for Diwali for a profound reason. Just as a candle gives light and warmth to others whilst melting itself, those who celebrate Diwali keep the principle of selfless service to others dear to them. The Labour Friends of India is proud to celebrate this principle with the 1.5 million hard-working British Indians in the U.K. However, big or small everyone’s contribution is valued as this is the spirit of the _Ramayana_, the ancient story from which the festival of Diwali originates.
One such story from this book is that of the squirrel and the monkey. King Rama had discovered that his beloved queen Sita had been kidnapped and captured by the tyrannical ruler Ravana, whose kingdom lay across huge ocean. The only way he could get his army to the other side to defeat Ravana would be to build a stone bridge. The tale unfold that one monkey could throw huge boulders into the sea, yet others like the squirrel could only contribute small pebbles. At one point the monkeys would ridicule the squirrel telling it its contribution was useless to the building of this grand bridge, but King Rama did not agree with this viewpoint. He corrected the monkey and taught that everyone has a different capacity to do good. It’s not how big or small your contribution is, but the value, sincerity and effort you serve and rebuild society. A fitting message for the challenges that faces our country in the year ahead!
Diwali is also a time of unity, peace and happiness. It signifies the defeat of evil by the righteous, darkness by the light and hate by love. It’s a time to remember the values of community, care and compassion for those less fortunate.
However you celebrate this wonderful festival we want to wish you all a Happy Diwali and prosperous new year.