October is one of my favorite months of the year. There’s a chill in the air, the leaves start turning, and the days grow short. Halloween adds a touch of fun, and the Hindu festival of Diwali adds light and color to the darker days of autumn.
Diwali is India’s festival of lights. It falls on the darkest night of the darkest day, yet it is a celebration of light. Like Diwali, CITY OF SORROWS is the story of the triumph of good over evil, of faith and friendship and of how the teachings and philosophies of Mahatma Ghandi can still bring a troubled soul out of the darkness and into the light.
Because one of the protagonists of this novel—Rajiv Kumaran—is a Hindu, I would like to dedicate this post to the Hindu celebration of Diwali.
According to Swami Chidanand Saraswati in this article “The Meaning of Diwali,” there are three main aspects of this holiday. The first is the celebration of light. Indians line their homes and streets with oil lamps; they explode fireworks; children play with sparklers. The lamps signify God’s light, penetrating through the ignorance and sin or our daily lives. In the words of Swami Saraswati, “A home bathed in light is a home in which anger, pain, and ignorance are being dispelled; it is a home that is calling to God.” Diwali is a festival of the light which dispels the darkness of our ignorance; it is a festival of the light which shows us the way on our journey through life. The purpose is not to glorify the light of the candle, or the light of the firecracker. The purpose is to glorify the light of God. For it is He who bestows the real light, the everlasting light upon the darkness of this world.
Diwali also marks the start of a new year. In the joyous mood of this season, Indians clean their homes, their offices, their rooms, letting the light of Diwali enter all the corners of their lives. They begin new checkbooks, diaries and calendars. It is a day of “starting fresh.” Along with this physical cleaning, people are encouraged to shake out their hearts, ridding them of darkness and bitterness, making them clean and sparkling places for God to live.
The third aspect of Diwali is the worship of Maha Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Celebrate Diwali this year with a book that honors the tradition. Sorrow. Loss. Restoration. Redemption. CITY OF SORROWS is a thought provoking story perfect for the festival season.
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