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Diwali 2015

Greetings of peace and prosperity to Hindus on the occasion of Diwali.

11 November 2015

Dear Hindu friends,

It is with great delight that I send you greetings of peace and prosperity on the auspicious occasion of Diwali! As the festival of lights, Diwali signifies the dispelling of all that is evil and the ushering in of all that is good and beneficial for life to be lived to its fullest.

The challenge that Diwali poses to all of us is to widen the circle of our generosity and hospitality a bit further so that it reaches the ‘other’ in our midst. This implies that this festival becomes a time when the flames of hatred and hostility are extinguished and the flames of hospitality and hope are lit in people’s hearts and minds. As you celebrate divine providence, newness of life and the triumph of good over evil through this festival of lights, I am reminded of the words from the Upanishads:

Aasato mā sadgamaya (Lead us from the unreal to the real)

Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya (Lead us from darkness to light)

Mṛtyormā’mṛtaṁ gamaya (Lead us from death to immortality)

Aum śāntiḥ, śāntiḥ, śāntiḥ  (Aum peace, peace, peace!)

The World Council of Churches cherishes the relationships we enjoy with our Hindu brothers and sisters and looks forward to building further on these relationships in the days to come through joint work on issues of crucial importance like ecological justice and religious extremism.

In a Hindu-Christian bilateral dialogue organised by the World Council of Churches in Kathmandu last year Hindus and Christians pledged to walk the talk of justice and peace ‘by seeking to build bridges between different religious communities’ and committing themselves ‘to the building up of an alliance of religions, whereby religions become instruments of a universal vision of peace and justice through which hope and healing become possible for the entire creation’.

In a context where religious communities are continually faced with the need to convert the challenges of our time into creative opportunities for just and peaceable living I very much hope that through the deepening of our relationships the horizons of our imagination and action are widened to enable us be companions on a common pilgrimage of justice and peace. I wish you a joyous and meaningful Diwali.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary