Friday, November 11, 2011

The Spirit and Diwali

Last weekend I attended the Diwali - Festival of Lights - celebration at the Sri Sri Radha Temple in Spanish Fork (the same place I saw the Ramayana a couple months ago.) This is the second time I've attended Diwali but it's been a while. Diwali is celebrated each year, usually early in November.

According to the temple website, "Diwali is a shortened version of Deepawali (deepa=lamps, wali=row: rows of lamps). Households in India put lamps in every window, and temples brightly illuminate their altars to bring in the best for the upcoming year. The date of the festival coincides with the return of the avatar of God, Sri Rama, to His ancestral kingdom after 14 years of exile and many adventures. All the citizens welcomed Rama home by brightening up his home city of Ayodhya and setting off fireworks."

It was an amazing experience. Worshiping God with my brothers and sisters of other faiths strengthened my love for them and for God. We participated in Kirpan (I think that's spelled right), which is singing God's name to praise Him. We used Hindi names for God, but I was singing to my Lord and Savior. Someone else may call Him Rama, or Krishna, or Allah, or True Name, but He is still God.

It was a beautiful and touching worship. I felt the Spirit as He witnessed His love for me and for all His children. One of the most amazing blessings we having in this increasingly global world is that we can meet God through interacting with those of other faiths. My soul was blessed and my heart uplifted by worshiping God in a manner I'm not usually privileged to experience. We danced and sang His name. I bowed before His feet and a Hindi priest extended God's blessing to me.

The open invitation to worship God together was something I think people of many faiths can appreciate and learn from. While there I was never told "Now that you have us to help, you can truly worship God." Rather, I was told both verbally and through the accepting attitudes of the participants "We are worshiping God. Join us, and together we will be able to offer Him more praise than we could alone."

I thank God for the opportunity I had to commune with Him at Diwali. I pray that the wishes and blessings we asked for as we floated our lights on the lake will be heard.
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