Happy Deepavali ….there is hope against #Covid19

On behalf of audie61 the management and staff wishes Happy Deepavali to all our Hindu friends and colleagues.

Wishing that this festival brings good luck and prosperity and hoping that it is joyous and fills your days ahead with happiness.

Always remember during this time of the Pandemic #covid19 we must follow the SOP to #staysafe and also practice #socialdistancing

{Let us all read this piece which was extracted from an online portal with thanks}

This is the darkest of times for the world, as Covid-19 has snatched the lives of more than 1.2 million people around the world. In addition, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, has infected more than 52 million people worldwide.

In Malaysia, 304 people have died as of Nov 13, with 45,095 cases of infection.

The number, of course, is rising, both in Malaysia and the rest of the world.

In addition to the deaths and hospitalisations, the disease has destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the world. Nations are going into recession and poverty rates are spiking, as are the number of people going hungry, losing jobs, and facing psychological problems.

It is certainly the darkest ever hour in the lives of most of us, if not of all humanity, considering the fact that our lives have been flipped over so drastically by an unseeable organism, and without the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

But Deepavali is here to once again remind us that there is always hope; that the darkest hour signals light is on the way.

Deepavali is celebrated on the day of the dark moon, the darkest night. It is celebrated on this day because the darkest night shows promise of light and gives way to a faint light which soon waxes to become a bright moon.

Deepavali, therefore, comes at the right time with its message of the triumph of good over evil, truth over falsehood, light over darkness, health over disease.

Let’s take a brief look at the main story behind the celebration. There are several stories connected with Deepavali but the most popular is the one about Krishna vanquishing the power-crazy king Narakasuran after being encouraged to do so by his wife Satyabhama, also known as Bumadevi (Mother Earth).

Another version of the story describes how Krishna becomes tired, or pretends to become tired, in the gruelling fight against Narakasuran, forcing Satyabhama to take up arms and defeat the demon king.

Narakasuran is no ordinary person. He is, in fact, the son of Vishnu and Bumadevi.

Like all Hindu tales, this is an allegory. In Hinduism, the stories of the gods, their looks, their clothes and the weapons they carry are metaphors and teaching devices. The story is not as important as the significance of the symbolism.

King Narakasuran oppressed his people: they did not enjoy any freedom and were not allowed to light up their houses. The occupier of any house with any light would be killed.

People were afraid to leave their homes, uncertain about their fate and their future. They could not predict who would be Narakasuran’s next victim. A situation not dissimilar to the one we are experiencing, although the Narakasuran we face is unseeable.

Narakasuran caused death and destruction, resulting in Mother Earth getting irked. So she comes to reset the balance by vanquishing Narakasuran.

This might strike a note with environmentalists and nature lovers who say Covid-19 is a message from Mother Nature not to continue desecrating the Earth.

The message of the story is that those who do evil – and this includes kings and political leaders – will one day have to face up to their karma. Karma simply means that every action has a consequence and we are responsible for our actions and consequences.

Let’s look at the name “Narakasuran”. “Nara” means “man” and “ka” means “deplorable state”. The Tamil word “narakam” means a place of torment and misery; a hellish place. As you can guess, the Malay word “Neraka” (hell) derives from this word.

The word “asuran” is today largely taken to mean demon but it really means a mighty, power-hungry person with inherent divine qualities but who has a tendency to do evil or get entangled in evil ways. Hmm… That sounds familiar.

So “Narakasuran” translates into a man who is in a miserable, even hellish, state of his own making.

While it can be argued whether the pandemic is of our own making, we cannot argue with the fact that we are indeed in a miserable, hellish state. We are prisoners in our own houses due to restrictions on our movements aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19. We can’t even shake hands or hug each other for fear of spreading the virus or getting infected.

As his dying wish, Narakasuran pleads that his death and the victory of Krishna and Satyabama over him – the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness – be celebrated with the lighting of lamps.

And that is why lights are the most important symbol of Deepavali.

Light doesn’t just drive away physical darkness; it also removes internal darkness. It signifies a reawakening to the goodness that is inherent in man; the divinity that is in us.

Light is also knowledge, and the lighting of lamps tells us to pursue knowledge.

And right now, in the midst of the pandemic, what we need is knowledge about the virus, how it works and how we can protect ourselves. There is no vaccination yet, but we know that the virus needs human hosts.

So, if we strictly observe certain practices – including washing our hands with soap regularly, not touching our faces without washing our hands, keeping a distance of at least a metre from another person, wearing masks and avoiding crowds – we should be able to slow the progress of Covid-19 significantly, if not defeat it.

The more knowledge we accrue about the virus and its workings, the better our precautions and preparedness.

Light exudes warmth and is associated with love. The Deepavali lights tell us to show warmth and kindness to those around us and to all of life. This message is especially important in the current difficult period. We are all in this together regardless of race or religion and we all have to cooperate to stay alive.

So, we should reach out to those who are in a worse situation than we are and offer any help we can, even if it’s only some kind words. We could buy foodstuff sold at the sprouting roadside stalls by those who have lost jobs or are struggling to keep their families going. We could, if we have cash to spare, give business to the many retailers and shopkeepers trying to stay afloat. We could include the frontliners in our prayers, too.

Most importantly, we must follow the Covid-19 SOPs so that we don’t spread the disease or get infected. And if a policeman stops us on the road, let’s not get irritated but understand that he’s playing his role in trying to curb the spread of the disease.

These are just a few ways in which we can all spread the warmth of the Deepavali lights.

Have you paid attention to the flame of a wick lamp or any flame for that matter? No matter how you turn the lamp, even upside down, the flame goes upwards. During Deepavali, despite the availability of electric bulbs, celebrants light lamps made of clay with cotton wicks in them. This is tradition, and this is to teach the celebrant to always look upwards no matter how bad a situation is. The light whispers: Why look at the sewer when you can look at the stars?

In our hour of darkness, we can do with all the positivity that we can get. This is really not a time to despair but a time to bring out the light in us. Humanity will find a way to not only survive but come out of the darkness better and stronger.

And right now, Deepavali tells us that we need to improve our knowledge about how to handle Covid-19, work together, and stay positive in order to extricate ourselves from this Narakam. So, let’s light some Deepavali lamps, shall we.