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It’s Diwali time again. In Canada the messaging seems to be mostly about safety and social distancing. That, and spreading what Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists would probably agree is “the light.”

As a Christian whose main strength is comparing and contrasting different spiritual lights, I am definitely not convinced that all religions are the same.

That’s what a former spiritual teacher told me, many years ago in India. Also that Jesus was a “messenger.”

Well, yes, Jesus was a messenger but for many Christians, he is much more than that.

So I’ll be honest. Sometimes when I receive submissions from non-Christians, I have to stop and ask myself: Do I really want to post this? It’s not like it’s my path or I’m getting paid for taking the time to do so.

I usually let the article sit for a day, sleep on the issue, and then decide the next day. Only a few times have I not posted articles. But that was mostly due to safety concerns. And I’m not talking about COVID but about violent fanatics of all stripes. For example, an American woman once threatened – through the old, now-defunct – to come up to Canada and kill me because I politely suggested she seek face to face mental health counseling. I got the impression she was just angry and unstable and not a real danger. But still, it is not very nice getting a death threat for simply trying to help through online volunteer work.

Okay, ’nuff said.

I slept on this submission. And after reading from the Old Testament’s Book of Numbers this morning returned to my conclusion that every religion has its human biases. And God did make us all.  I tend to see religions (plural) not in terms of black and white but as a multi-story house. But more on that later.

For now, Happy Diwali!

Rajan Zed urges Hindus worldwide take vow of “selfless service” on Diwali

Rajan Zed, sending Diwali greetings to 1.2 billion Hindus of the world, has urged them each to take a vow of “selfless service” on this sacred occasion.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism in Nevada (USA) today, wishes “joy and light in every heart” to all Hindus on Diwali, which falls on November 14.

He reminds us of the ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita which teaches that selfish action imprisons the world. Act selflessly, without any consideration of personal gain…by dedication to selfless work one achieves the highest goal. Do your work with the well-being of others always in focus… The ignorant work for their own profit, the enlightened act for the welfare of the world without any attachment.

Zed also suggests that Hindus focus on their inner search, stay pure, explore the vast wisdom of scriptures, make spirituality more attractive to youth and children, stay away from the greed, and always keep God in your life.

Most popular of Hindu festivals, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

Hindus welcome proposal of Diwali holiday in Virginia’s Prince William County Schools

Hindus have welcomed the option of including the Diwali holiday (November four, 2021) in the 2021-2022 school calendar of Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) in Virginia, calling it a step in the right direction.

Hindu Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged the PWCS Board to unanimously approve this Diwali holiday, thus respecting the feelings of the Hindu community.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that all other public-school districts and private-charter-independent schools in Virginia should seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make Virginia students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.

Rajan Zed pointed out that it would be a positive thing to do in view of the presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at schools around the state, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils.

Zed stated that it was not fair with Hindu students and their families as they had to attend school on their most popular festival while many schools in the state were closed on holy days of some other communities. This unfairness did not send a good signal to the impressionable minds of schoolchildren who would be the leaders of tomorrow; Zed said and added that Virginia schools needed to urgently revisit their policies on this issue.

Rajan Zed further said that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that.

Zed urged Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam, Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. James F. Lane and Board of Education President Daniel A. Gecker; to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the state’s public schools, and persuading the private-charter-independent schools to follow.

Rajan Zed stresses that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion in the world with about 1.1 billion adherents. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Awards-winning PWCS, second-largest school division in Virginia whose Mission is “Providing A World-Class Education”, enrolls about 91,524 students in about 100 schools and centers. Basic program cost-per-pupil in Manassas headquartered PWCS is about $11,875, and there is a robotics program in every school. Dr. Babur B. Lateef and Dr. Steven L. Walts are its Board Chairman and Superintendent of Schools respectively.