Festivals fill our minds with happiness, hopes and aspirations. Diwali, the festival of Lights is no different, but we put in hardly any effort to understand the rationale behind it.
In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, there is a verse that enunciates the significance of Light: ‘Asato ma sadgamaya, Tamso ma jyotirgamaya, Mrityor ma amritam gamaya...’. Contrary to this sagacious adage, the current year is turning out to be a ‘Diwali of scams’! Look at the instances of alleged plundering of public trust in broad daylight in the Indian Premier League, 2G Spectrum, Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Housing Society, Lavasa Hill city...
The Upanishad exhorts us to move away from Delusion to Reality; from Darkness to Light; and from Death to Eternity. But to many, Delusion is merely a Reality of opportunities, with the Light helping them loot and the Darkness to hide it, and the greed instilling an elevated sense of Eternity over other lesser mortals! What is sought is deliverance, not from ignorance but the clutches of law. The chase is for money, power and possessions, not knowledge, values or virtues.
Bess Myerson once said: The accomplice to the crime of corruption is our own indifference.
May the festivals help us wake up to this truth.