दीपं ज्योति परब्रह्म दीपं सर्वतमोपहम् ।
दीपेन साध्यते सर्वं सन्ध्या दीपं नमोस्तुते ॥
Deepajyoti parabrahma, Deepa sarva tamopahaha I
Deepena saadhyate saram, Sandhyaa deepo namostute II
I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.
Here comes the Festival of Lights, Deepawali. We will celebrate that with national fervour. Despite restrictions on firecrackers the celebratory mood will remain upbeat. There is also a talk about denigrating or defaming the Hindu festivals and sentiments under the garb of various pretexts. From Dahi-Handi to Deepawali via Jallikattu and Holi, all legal instruments are being used by certain forces against Hindu traditions and festivals that are grounded deeply in geo-cultural context of this land. The problem lies in our apathy towards our integral philosophy that is rooted in the Dharmic traditions, which is dynamic and still profound. If we are conscious of our cultural roots and ways to preserve, nurture and promote it then we will not get carried away by the question of how to celebrate but will focus on what to celebrate.
Yes, traditions and customs are important but they have the context of time. We need to explore the underlying scientific meaning and geographical context of each and every festival. The essence of Hindu ethos is rooted in the sacred geography and unravelling of the universe. The perfect astronomical understanding and its impact on our lives made our sages to come up with certain customs and traditions that can be practiced by common masses. In Bharat all our festivals are fundamentally rooted in the climatic cycle. That is why you see different ways of celebrating certain festivals in various parts of the country. But still the inherent philosophy behind it is the same. For instance, the etymology of word Deepa is ( दीप्यते दीपयति वा स्वं परं चेति ), the one which shines in itself and enlightens others is known as Deepa, is the same everywhere in Bharat. How to worship and use that philosophy of lamp in customs may differ. Unfortunately, we have also started seeing this as cultural
difference rather than practice of the same thought in various ways. The people not having philosophical roots in Bharat, sometimes under the influence of external forces, play politics around these apparent differences with which masses get rattled. That is why making sense of inherent cultural unity rooted in geographical diversity is a pre-requisite for national reconstruction.
The next step in this process is to pass on the cultural wisdom to the next generation. It will not happen by enforcing traditions on them but by presenting a model in practice and wherever required, doing required customisation with the changing times. Covenying the underlying thought behind those customs in the language of youngsters is also
critical. All the eatables that are prepared for Deepawali may not be possible to make at home as it was done earlier but at least trying couple of items together and imbibing the sanskara of sharing and celebrating together with the larger family is very important.
The celebration of festivals is not the only tool to protect our culture; it is just an expression of the core values. There are many art forms, artefacts, culturally important structures and national monuments around us. Somehow, we are not conscious enough about conserving and showcasing them, not just to others but to ourselves. Resultantly, we have to fight for reclaiming our history that is further branded as communal.
The gross outcome of lack of cultural consciousness is absence of common strategy to manage our heritage. We still have not devised effective ways of administering the rich and vibrant heritage nor could we exploit the economics of this industry with private participation.
Therefore, in this issue Organiser has decided to bring in some individual and organisational efforts who are consistently working to preserve and promote our cultural legacy in their own way. These may be small but significant efforts and can provide us insights in building the larger movement in this direction. Ultimately, it is our national treasure and as Goddess Lakshmi we have to worship it.
So, while celebrating Deepawali, do not just react to the attacks by vested interests. Understand them and rather than just countering them, take a resolve to associate
ourselves with some activity of conservation and promotion of our Sanskritik ethos. We hope that some of the personalities may turn out to be a source of inspiration for our readers. Light is nothing but absence of darkness. Even a small lamp can do that. Let us be a small lamp to conserve our national core. Happy Deepawali!