Wednesday 11 November marks the annual New Moon festival of Diwali, where Hindus around the world light lamps to show the way home for the returning King Rama and his entourage of Lady Sita, Prince Lakshmana and head of the troops Lieutenant Hanuman. With the dark moon night leaving the moon conspicuous by its absence, the lamps brightly allow us to invoke the light by dispelling the darkness in our lives.
Rama is of course our own Vishnu avatara, alternative incarnation of Krishna, appearing millions of years ago with a green complexion and becoming known as the ideal king, ruler or leader of his people. From this dynasty we get the term “Rama Rajya” – a time of perfected rulership and idyllic utopian society. We all pray that India’s BJP, Congress Party and others will introduce such an administrative rule once again, under Prime Minister Modi. More than that we light the lamps to symbolically invite Lord Rama to return to our hearts, to reside there eternally, as he does in the heart of Hanuman.
Curiously it is also now the time of Lakshmi puja and Kali puja, the annual worship of the goddesses Lakshmi and Kali, the former a consort of Rama or Vishnu, and the latter a consort of Shiva, in one of her darker manifestations. Falling during the holiest month of Kartika, this is a very auspicious time to offer prayers, meditating on the Supreme deity of the Sun dynasty – King Rama – and his place in our hearts as the inner Sun. I wonder if there is any subtle benefit in the fact that our own South African vice president happens to be Mr RAMAposa. One can at least hope.