The Day Was Lit
“Happy Diwali.” This is how I addressed the crowd at the nuclear plant in Pickering for the Vedic New Year. James Woodcroft, one of the administrators was sitting next to me before I gave some kind of explanation of Diwali’s meaning. He had never before attended this function which was organized by young Hindu workers while on their internship. He had never been to India nor ever had an Indian meal. James had come to know that about one billion people on the planet celebrate Diwali and celebrate the iconic heroes of the Ramayan, the epic, and how Prince Rama in particular vanquished evil epitomized Ravana. All inhabitants of Ayodhya received their sovereign over his great victory and greeted his with flames of welcome, hence, the term “a row of lights” from the root word ‘dipa-vali’. James loved the food and so did the other attendees, many of whom were of Hindu background, but not excluding an array of people of origins of other global regions.
From the nuclear plant I got driven to the Tender care Senior citizens Home in Markham. Here I was accompanied by monk, Uttamanada and young newly married Nova Scotian priest Yogendra as we engaged in kirtan, as we displayed drumming, chiming and vocalizing to a room full of seniors. The majority of the folks were of Chinese decent and perhaps 100% of them heard the song Hare Krishna and Hare Rama for the first time. Translation was provided for anything I had to say about the day’s significance. Finally at the ISKCON centre in the downtown, we found a trail of young people coming to offer small lit ghee wicks to the temple deities as this is part of tradition for welcoming a new year, a new start in a person’s life. Since being human, we tend to make mistakes and fail in virtue, a new opportunity avails itself at the time of Diwali.