For this year not only is it a celebration of one Christian political parties ideals against another in the UK it is also the celebration of Diwali. Both are celebrations using light and both celebrations of a King victorious over another political enemy.
Now I would have thought that most of you have heard at some point a bit about the gentleman named Guy Fawkes and his cohorts attempt to blow up our Houses of Parliament along with the then King James?
Well if not: On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung, drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.
Although in this county of controversy you are much more likely to find an effigy of the Pope than Guy Fawkes being burned. And in our town we tend to burn effigies which are relating more to a political or social situation that is currently directly effecting the town’s population.
So on the week we had our towns bonfire this was the effigy:
But as I said today is also the Hindu celebration of Diwali. A festival of light it celebrates the victory of one King over another.
The Story of Rama and Sita:
Lord Rama was a great warrior King who was exiled by his father Dashratha, the King of Ayodhya, along with his wife Sita and his younger brother Lakshman, on his wife's insistence. Lord Rama returned to his Kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, in which he put an end to the demon Ravana of Lanka, who was a great Pundit, highly learned but still evil dominated his mind. After this victory of Good over Evil, Rama returned to Ayodhya. In Ayodhya, the people welcomed them by lighting rows of clay lamps. So, it is an occasion in honour of Rama's victory over Ravana; of Truth's victory over Evil.
The Story of King Bali and Vamana Avatar (the Dwarf):
The other story concerns King Bali, who was a generous ruler. But he was also very ambitious. Some of the Gods pleaded Vishnu to check King Bali's power. Vishnu came to earth in the form of a Vamana (dwarf) dressed as priest. The dwarf approached King Bali and said "You are the ruler of the three worlds: the Earth, the world above the skies and the underworld. Would you give me the space that I could cover with three strides?" King Bali laughed. Surely a dwarf could not cover much ground, thought the King, who agreed to dwarf's request. At this point, the dwarf changed into Vishnu and his three strides covered the Earth, the Skies and the whole Universe! King Bali was send to the underworld. As part of Diwali celebrations, some Hindus remember King Bali.
The Defeat of Narkasur by Lord Krishna:
Lord Vishnu in his 8th incarnation as Krishna destroyed the demon Narkasura, who was causing great unhappiness amongst the people of the world. Narkasura was believed to be a demon of filth, covered in dirt. He used to kidnap beautiful young women and force them to live with him. Eventually, their cries for rescue were heard by Vishnu, who came in the form of Krishna. First, Krishna had to fight with a five-headed monster that guarded the demon's home. Narkasura hoped that his death might bring joy to others. Krishna granted his request and the women were freed. For Hindus, this story is a reminder that good can still come out of evil.
Krishna and The Mountain:
Sikh Festival Diwali In Sikh perspective, Diwali is celebrated as the return of the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji from the captivity of the city, Gwalior. To commemorate his undying love for Sikhism, the towns people lit the way to, Harmandhir Sahib (referred to as the Golden Temple), in his honour. Jain Festival Diwali Among the Jain festivals, Diwali is one of the most important one. For on this occasion we celebrate the Nirvana of Lord Mahavira who established the dharma as we follow it. Lord Mahavira was born as Vardhamana on Chaitra Shukla 13th in the Nata clan at Khattiya-kundapura, near Vaishali. He obtained Kevala Gyana on Vishakha Shukla 10 at the Jambhraka village on the banks of Rijukula river at the age of 42.
So for me whatever the reason for celebrating tonight, whether it’s the New moon, Diwali, the Protestant upholding over the Catholics, or just because we are entering a dark period and to be with family and friends united with light, I will spend some time thinking about what we have, how despite our little moans and groans we are on the whole lucky and will light that light for the forthcoming months….
Diwali information from http://www.diwalifestival.org/