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NCHTUK - Shubh Diwali!

Shubh Diwali from the NCHTUK!

 

On the 20th October 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron warmly welcomed British Hindu community leaders and sevaks to his residence at 10 Downing Street, with the blessing "Shubh Diwali" followed by deeply spiritual Sanskrit words of the ancient Hindu Rishis, Kama (sensory passions), Artha (material prosperity), Dharma (Harmonious Purpose) and Mohksha (diminution of attachments).

mdhus1At the annual Downing Street Diwali celebration, he spoke of the valuable contribution of the British Hindu community to British life, in terms of the above four purusharthas (human purposes) and he spoke of the vital contribution that the Hindu philosophy of reverence for Light, encapsulated in the Diwali celebrations, had for all people of all faiths and he wished the British Hindu community prosperity and happiness.

The Prime Minister touched upon the four purusharthas and in doing so, yet again demonstrated his courage and willingness to step out from the boundaries dictated by dogmatic adherence to religious traditions. In invoking the words of the enlightened Hindu Seers, he demonstrated by personal example, an enlightened willingness to explore, to recognise and embrace the ideas and observations of a “foreign” tradition, one which has its roots in a distant antediluvian past, in a land and culture distant from the land of his birth, by many thousands of miles. “Enlightened willingness” to challenge ones own fears, limits and beliefs is at the very heart of the Diwali message and the Prime Ministers courageous example will have a lasting effect on those who have understood its significance.

The enlightening rituals of Diwali, like all of the Hindu celebration, function on many levels. Some are obvious, like those relating to personal and cultural relationships for example, whilst others are more esoteric and adhyatmic (personally spiritual) and there is one aspect which often gets occluded by the smoke of fireworks and the deluge of feasting and celebration and which Prime Minister Cameron demonstrated and that is the aspect of Dharma (Harmonious purpose) and that is what we at the NCHT UK would like to thank him for and to celebrate and applaud this year.

Darkness takes many forms and the darkness of avidya (unharmonious knowledge) is a particularly dangerous darkness, one which is again inflicting untold suffering in many parts of the world. This darkness clouds the radiance of an innocent mind, poisoning it with fear and hatred and false beliefs about other human beings, and as history so clearly shows – leads to atrocities on a scale which makes one shudder in horror.mdhus3

This darkness, which arises out of a refusal to genuinely and with integrity, explore the life and ideas of the “other”, a refusal to consider the simple humanity of the “other”, a refusal to courageously celebrate and take delight in the differences of the “other”, plunges humanity repeatedly into the depths of hatred and unlimited pain.

Lesser leaders and especially religious leaders, too often lack the courage to take these steps, preferring not to risk the discovery of shared humanity, preferring not to risk the discovery of love and warmth to be found in friendship of “others”, preferring not to risk losing dearly treasured beliefs even if they are avidya (unharmonious knowledge) and the cause of their own suffering and the suffering of others.

Prime Minister Cameron in publicly embracing the common purposes of humanity, so eloquently articulated by ancient Hindu sages, has demonstrated this most essential principle of Diwali, the principle of enlightened courage to face ones own “dark unknowingness”, to explore the ideas of the “other” , to challenge and overcome Raavana, the demon of inner fear, and to then emerge a fuller member of the global human family. In a nation steeped in the history of colonial baggage, with some ossified religious relics of a medieval past yet to be “refreshed”, Prime Minister Cameron is to be warmly applauded for his courage, leadership and perception.

We, the Executive Committee members of the National Council of Hindu Temples, on behalf of the Hindu Temples of the United Kingdom, and on behalf of the British Hindu congregations of our Temples, thank him for his hospitality and Diwali celebrations and wish him and his family, a year full of prosperity, happiness and success and we look forward to the Light of Diwali blessing all of his endeavours with success.

 

Satish K Sharma,

General Secretary

National Council of Hindu Temples (UK)

www.nchtuk.org

 

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