Have you ever noticed that happy events in life seem to arrive coupled with tragic or unhappy ones? Last Saturday, a dear friend of ours was married, yesterday was the funeral of another friend.
I remember on the day of my sister’s wedding, a beloved grandfather on the other side of the family passed away. Sometimes the birth of a child is celebrated, and that day someone else announces a divorce.
These days, tragic events come in a close volley of repetition, themselves like shots from a semi-automatic weapon- our everyday world itself has become a killing field.
The tragic killings at the Tree of Life Synagogue (how cruel and absurd- to come with an ax of hate to try to cut down the Tree of Life!) , and then, only days afterward, another merciless killing of African Americans in Kentucky.
We seem live in a world of duality. But this duality is our illusion. When we turn away from the sun, we face our shadow. When we turn away from God, our original Source, we see ourselves as separate, and fear arises. When we forget our commonality- that all living beings share the same divine Origin, and are eternal souls- beloved to God and sacred just like me.
At the Presbyterian church where the funeral was held yesterday, there was a banner hanging on the wall behind the altar. It said: We are one body, though we are many. I was deeply struck by the beauty and depth of that message.
In a few days we will celebrate Diwali, the New Year, the Festival of Lights. The victorious Lord Ram returns to His kingdom, and we celebrate the triumph of good over evil. The holy month of Kartik has already begun, and already we are offering our candles, our lights, our little “dipas” each day.
In this bittersweet year, as we celebrate the joy of Diwali, let us also offer up a prayer for peace and reconciliation, like this one, offered by Sri Prahlada Maharaj:
[ candle ] [ celebration ] [ death ] [ diwali ] [ duality ] [ mourning ] [ peace ] [ violence ]
May the entire universe be blessed with peace and good hope. May everyone driven by envy and enmity become pacified and reconciled. May all living beings develop abiding concern for the welfare of others. May our own hearts and minds be filled with purity and serenity. May all these blessings flow naturally from this supreme benediction: May our attention become spontaneously absorbed in the rapture of pure love unto the transcendent Lord. (inspired by Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.9)