Paramacharya Pt. HardeoPersad, Spiritual Head of SWAHA, was honoured as the chief guest of Divali Nagar 2017 on the opening night of the festivities. President of Divali Nagar Dr.Deokinanan Sharma led in the showering of felicitations upon the honouree in the Hindu tradition that is bestowed upon a pundit. Presentations were made by executive members of the Nagar committee, after which Paramacharyaji delivered the keynote address to a packed hall.

The theme of the 2017 edition of Divali Nagar was ‘Symbolism in Hinduism’ and Paramacharya spoke of the universality symbolized by the festival of Divali and its application to all  mankind. He emphasized, ‘ Divali compels us to strive conscientiously to overcome the negativities that plunge us into a world of darkness. Lakshmi Mata is referred to as the Bestower of light, knowledge and wealth. While material wealth is a necessity for fulfilling the hierarchy of daily needs, it is spiritual wealth that is the essence of overall sustenance of life and well-being.  Spiritual wealth in the form of tranquility of mind, serenity, faith, endurance, renunciation of selfish actions and desires and self-control are the main contributory factors of inner illumination. With such empowering enlightenment one will eliminate the anger, hate, greed, lust and arrogance from within.  Divali celebrations should compel us to direct our vision towards the light that illumines the vast realm of spirituality. In this state of heightened awareness, we recognize that we are all images of the Divine Being and we regard our fellowman as divinity embodied as well.’

Punditji went on to explain that all symbols in Hinduism cut across all boundaries and are indicative of qualities that need to be developed within each individual. He established that celebrations such as Divali are reminders to all mankind to go within, to seek to uncover and develop these innate qualities and illumine the inner lamp. While the myriads of deyas and other forms of external illumination bring brilliance outwardly, it is the inner illumination that is sustained and brings peace, harmony and unity within. One’s efforts to bring illumination must be unceasing and intensified. Resilience and sacrifice are necessary, individually and collectively, if there is to be progress. Results come from intense efforts as is evident in the appearance of Lakshmi Mata from the ocean of milk and the accompanying success and prosperity that followed.  When one sincerely churns the ocean of the unconscious within, one is  embellished with the wealth of tranquility, serenity, faith, endurance, renunciation of selfish actions and desires and control of the senses, all gems that come with enlightenment.

As Paramacharya concluded his address, he asked the packed hall at the Nagar to embody the universal message of Divali, to churn the mind constantly with the rod of reflection, to gradually detach from unnecessary materialistic desires and lean daily on the pillars of truth, cleanliness, compassion and charity. With the sword of contentment and with the Divine as one‘s daily guide, the fighting forces of negativities will be burnt away and light will bring illumination everywhere.