Category: Hinduism

Diwali – Festival of Lights

Happy Diwali

Today is the Hindu Festival of Lights known as Diwali.
Jean and I, when taking our dog Diesel for his evening walk around 9.30pm, saw the sky burst in brightness of exploding fireworks. We later saw some displays from our back garden ūüôā

Diwali celebration firework over NW London

Diwali celebration firework over NW London – Photo by PH Morton

Diwali – Festival of Lights

Millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world will celebrate the five-day festival of lights The festival this year, which marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.New beginnings are celebrated with the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. The actual day of Diwali is traditionally celebrated on the festival’s third day, which this year falls on Thursday, October 23. The festival usually falls between the middle of October and the middle of November, although this is decided upon by the Hindu lunar calendar.

While each of the above faiths has its own reason to celebrate the festival, one of the most popular stories told is about the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita who return to their kingdom in northern India from exile after defeating the demon king Ravanna in the 15th century BC.

How is Diwali celebrated?

Large and noisy firework displays are held this evening to remember the celebrations which, according to the legend is when locals set off their own version of fireworks to celebrate Rama’s return. Those celebrating the festival also light traditional earthen diyas (candles). They clean and then decorate their houses with colourful rangoli artworks – patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder. During Diwali, families and friends gather at one of the homes to share sweets and gifts. There is also a strong belief in giving food and goods to those in need

What is eaten during Diwali?

Indian sweets, which come in a variety of colours and flavours are served. The celebration also features various rich savoury and sweet dishes.Families will mostly prepare food at home for when guests arrive to partake and exchange gifts and watch the fireworks. Some may chose to eat out at Indian etc.,restaurants While many of us have a traditional roast turkey at Christmas, each family celebrating Diwali will more than likely have its own favourite meal, which is central to the celebrations.

Bhagavad Gita – Hindu Scripture

Krishna_Arjuna_GitaIn this world there are two orders of being, the perishable and the imperishable. The perishable is all that is visible. The imperishable is the invisible substance of all that is visible.
– The Bhagavad Gita

The soul floats like the lotus on the lake unmoved unruffled by the tide.
~The Bhagavad Gita

Happy Hanukkah from Golders Green

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The Hanukkah Menorah at Golders Green – Photo by PH Morton

We live near Golders Green in NW London for many years; there has been a strong Jewish community. We like the Jewish bakeries, delicious chollah bread, bagels and cakes ūüôā

In December when we celebrate Christmas, Jews celebrate  Hanukkah ( dedication) also known as Chanukah or Chanukkah; This is the festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication.  Hindus also have a  festival of lights called Diwali in October.    Hanukkah commerates the redication of the Holy(second) Temple in Jerusalem around the second century BC, during the time of the Maccabean Revolt. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev relating to the Hebrew calendar,  which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the western used Gregorian calendar.

The alighting of the nine branch Menorah (candelabrum) one candle, bulb etc is lit each night over the eight day festival. The ninth branch (attendant) of the menorah is either  above or  below the other eight and is the general purpose light.      

 

What is a Kumari or Living Goddess?

Kumari, or¬†Kumari Devi, is the tradition of worshiping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or¬†devi¬†in¬†Hindu¬†religious traditions. The word¬†Kumari, derived from¬†SanskritKaumarya¬†meaning “virgin”, means young unmarried girls in¬†Nepali¬†and some¬†Indian languages¬†and is a name of the goddess¬†Durga¬†as a child.

In Nepal a Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl selected from the¬†Shakya¬†or¬†Bajracharya¬†clan of the Nepalese¬†Newari¬†community. The Kumari is revered and worshiped by some of the country’s¬†Hindus¬†as well as the¬†Nepali Buddhists, though not the¬†Tibetan Buddhists. While there are several Kumaris throughout Nepal, with some cities having several, the best known is the¬†Royal Kumari¬†of¬†Kathmandu, and she lives in the¬†Kumari Ghar, a palace in the center of the city. The selection process for her is especially rigorous. The current Royal Kumari, Matina Shakya, aged four, was installed in October 2008 by the Maoist government that replaced the monarchy. Samita Bajracharya, as the Kumari of Patan is the second most important living goddess.

In India a Kumari is generally chosen for one day and worshipped accordingly on certain festivals like Navaratri or Durga Puja. In the Indian state of Bengal this is a particularly prevalent practice.

A Kumari is believed to be the incarnation of the goddess Taleju (the Nepalese name for Durga) until she menstruates, after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury are also causes for her to revert to common status.

– Source: Wikipedia

Nepal: Life after divinity for former living goddess

News from Elsewhere...News from Elsewhere……as found by BBC Monitoring

Kumari, Nepal's Living Goddess 2006
Preeti Shakya during her time as the Kumari

A Nepali girl shut off from her family and peers during her decade as a living goddess says she’s happy to have settled back into normal life, it’s reported.

Preeti Shakya was three when she was separated from her parents to live a secluded life, revered as the Kumari by Hindus and Buddhists. Now 16, she has to study a lot but is “happy nowadays when I think that I can get out of my house anytime I want”,¬†China’s Global Times newspaper reports.

When a living goddess, Preeti was apparently only allowed out of her palace about once a month, with weekly visits from her mother and older sister. When she finally left Kumari House after reaching puberty, she was afraid of cars and felt everyone was staring at her, she says.

She seems to be adjusting well in her new life, the Global Times suggests. But some human rights groups have called for the abolition of the centuries-old Kumari tradition due to the psychological impact on the chosen girls, the paper says.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi

30 January 1948

It was on this day that Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu Fanatic.  Gandhi was the spiritual and political leader of the Indian independence movement.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

(2 October 1869 ‚Äď 30 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India.
– Wikipedia
………………….
As Quoted by Mahatma Gandhi:

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~ . ~
A man who is swayed by negative emotions may have good enough intentions, may be truthful in word, but he will never find the truth.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~~~~~~~
A profound understanding of religions allows the destruction of the barriers that separate them.
– Mathama Gandhi
~~~~~~~
A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.
– Gandhi

Discipline is learnt in the school of adversity.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~~~~~~~
Duties to self, to the family, to the country, and the world are not independent of one another.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~~~~~~~
God has no religion.
– Mahatma Gandhi
……..
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
~Mahatma Gandhi

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
-Mahatma Gandhi
~~~~~
I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
– Gandhi
~ . ~
If I had no sense of humour, I should long ago have committed suicide.
– Gandhi
~ . ~
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
– Gandhi

Love is the law of life.
~Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
~~~
Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.
– Gandhi
~~~
Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.
– Mahatma Gandhi
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~~~
Our contribution to the progress of the world must, therefore, consist in setting our own house in order.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~~~
Poverty is the worst form of violence.
– Gandhi

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without heart.
– Gandhi

Remember that his own religio is the truest to every man even if it stands low in the scales of philosophical comparison.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~~~
“The good man is the friend of
all living things.”
-Mahatma Gandhi
~~~
“The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the
strong.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Mahatma Gandhi

~
There is no God greater than Truth.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~
There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~

True morality consists not in following the well-beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and in fearlessly following it.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~
What is faith worth if it is not translated into action?
– Mahatma Gandhi

~ . ~
Where there is love there is life.
– Mahatma Gandhi
~ . ~
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You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
‚ÄĒGandhi

~ . ~

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