Posts Tagged ‘Rama’

Today is the last day of the Diwali festival and the beginning of a new year. It is a time to make a fresh start in life, to be generous, and to consider how to act with as much goodness as possible.

I must admit that, aside from the religious side of festivals – striving to be a good chap and all – I think religious festivals are really great, whatever the tradition. But Hindu festivals take the biscuit for me.

Whether it’s the profusion of colours, brilliant and bright; the cacophony of music and chanting, laughter, alter bells ringing, and ankle bells tinkling; the smells of spices, food, and incense; the touch of flowers and garlands, of hugs, and rich dress; it’s a tasty dish, light, filling and healthy.

For instance, a few weeks ago, we celebrated the Navratri Festival, nine nights of music and dance centred mainly around God in female form.  Whole communities of grannies, aunties, parents, and the urban cool – our children, all dancing together for hours. They begin slowly in a Morris dancing mode but by the end of the evening it looks a bit more clubbing.

Just after Navratri we had Dushera where a giant effigy of the Demon king Ravana, who has just been killed by Lord Rama is burned to great jubilation. It signifies the hope that the dark Ravana inside us may also be destroyed by the goodness of Rama.

But, in August we had Janmastami, celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, the mother of all festivals and probably the largest annual religious gathering in this country.

Thank you for these festivals Lord, the mothers of devotion, where we can remember you in all your variety, feel your presence, and have fun. Hare Krishna.

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Prayer 5 – Example

I think we can all admit, at least to ourselves, in the privacy of our own homes, with the doors closed and the windows barred, that sometimes we can be a bit selfish. Or is that just me?

Anyway, one advantage of the present financial crisis has been the wonderful scapegoat of the financial ‘fat cats’. They make my selfish moments seem like episodes from a Disney film.

It’s a real mess, speculation and gossip, predictions of gloom, with every man, institution, and country for himself. Not very inspiring, and the realisation has dawned on me that with the same temptation as the ‘fat cats’, with my inclinations to enjoy, I may adopt the same short term and self-centred vision that got us into this mess.

Well then, this final day of the Hindu festival of Dwali would seem to be a good time to mention the example of Lord Rama. Rama was a prince, who, for the sake of peace, his Father’s honour, and for his people, accepted fourteen years of exile to the forest. He accepted sacrificing his comfort for others without reservation. Rama didn’t line his pockets but emptied them. Lord Rama did this specifically to give us an excellent example of leadership – and we are all called to give good example to others, to be leaders.

It’s the example we need to keep striving to do the right thing, to bring out our good.

Dear Lord Rama, I sometimes envy those who have more than I do, but, by your grace, I will accept less to give more to those who have less than I have. Thank you for your example. Hare Krishna.

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Prayer 3 – Diwali

All over the UK today Hindus are celebrating the festival day of Diwali. Diwali is perhaps the most well known of all Hindu religious festivals, as it, uniquely, has special significance for almost all of India’s many religious traditions.

Hindus will visit temples today; they will spend much time preparing food and sweets; presents are exchanged among family members; and displays of fireworks will end the celebrations.

The Sanskrit word Diwali refers to a cluster of lights, and one of the most popular stories associated with Diwali is the journey of Lord Rama from Lanka to his kingdom of Ayodhya, in Northern India. The journey began in the evening and Rama’s subjects lit the way by placing rows of lamps in their windows to guide Him.

Rama was returning home after winning an epic battle which symbolised the victory of goodness over selfishness and conceit, of light over darkness. Rama returned to His coronation and a rule typified by truthfulness, justice, service, and devotion – thus the endurance of His story.

Rama, as the embodiment of morality and right-living, is attractive to everyone who aspires to be good. We all need inspiration in our struggle to make wise and proper decisions. Diwali serves as a nurturing mother to our good desires and aspirations.

This evening, in homes all over the country, candles will be lit to guide Rama on his way – to usher in a new beginning, a new year and a new commitment to the principles of goodness.

Dear Lord Rama, during this year please guide me through the fog of my passions, and the demands of events. Help me to see the right thing to do, and help me to do it right. Hare Krishna

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