Keep the light burning

2 min


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Keep the light burning

AS far as celebrations go, 2020 is the year where we had to do away with much revelry and keep things simple and low key.

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The same goes for the Hindu festival of lights or Deepavali, where the usual rituals – prior to the Covid-19 pandemic – included visiting the temple for prayers, visiting friends and relatives and attending big gatherings, which are the norm here in Malaysia.

The main theme of Deepavali is of light winning over darkness. In some contexts, it is a God defeating a demon, such as the story of Hindu God Krishna defeating the Asura (demon) Narakasura, where light is the symbol of good and darkness is the symbol of evil.

In another context it means enlightenment winning over ignorance.

Days prior to the big celebration, those celebrating are required to clean and decorate their homes to receive visitors.

On the day in question, one should start off with an oil bath folllowed by donning your finery, going to the temple for blessings and enjoying a breakfast together before going out and about to celebrate.

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With things not really being safe for us to do the stuff we used to do, we spoke to two Hindu priests and asked their advice for celebrating Deepavali this year as part of the ‘new normal’.

Hariharan Kugahasan Iyer said that it is time to look at the internal and not the external aspects of Deepavali.

“Reflect on the meaning of light, good overcoming evil, what it is the meaning of light, what is good, what is evil.”

He suggests staying at home with the family, play religious hymns, and discussing stories from the Mahabarata and Ramayana.

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He said you can continue with rituals that can be done at home, such as the oil bath, but avoid going out and attending big gatherings.

Dr Siva Sri A. L. Anand Gopi Sivachariar suggests: “On the first day we must do prayers for our late family members (pithur pooja).

“You must have your morning bath with oil. Then sit with your family and do some chanting and prayers. Sing panchapuranam (devotional songs), get blessings from the parents and elders, and do something for the needy, such as offering food for the poor.

“This is the best way to celebrate Deepavali without going to temples.”

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