Address by Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly at the Divine Life Society’s Divali Celebration
13 October 2019
Sitaram and Good Evening,
It is my esteemed pleasure to bring warm greetings to you on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as we celebrate Divali. This festival of lights, historically celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. It is both a time of celebration as well as self-reflection.
The celebration of Divali is a time where we open our homes to our family, neighbours and loved ones to enjoy the cultural richness of this religious festival. As a nation we come together and demonstrate our own uniqueness through the creativity of bending bamboo to create awe-inspiring structures, making and indulging in delectable East Indian treats and of course the symbolic and serene lighting of diyas, to observe this both religious and culturally rich festival.
The self-reflection aspect of Divali leads to an understanding of our humanity. It encourages us to be good and compassionate people. As individuals we must aspire to simply be good and do good, to help others and to be a beacon of encouragement and support to our neighbours.
The message of Divali is also one of selflessness, hope and joy. It encourages us to not only be accountable for ourselves but for others. We must not standby while we know others are being abused. We must protect the vulnerable in our society, our homeless, our differently-abled, our children. There must be collective responsibility in the community and as a nation. It is our collective responsibility to build this nation that belongs to each and every one of us here.
People ask Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, the foremost deity associated with this festival, for help in accumulating spiritual wealth and moral strength. In praying for our own strength at this time, we should also say the same prayer for others, pray for the safety of our nation’s children, parents, leaders, pray for those of us that may have strayed from the light of goodness or who are tempted to due to difficult circumstances, pray that we may always see the good in others.
But most importantly I encourage you to be positive, think positive, act with a positive outcome in mind. Ghandi once said “A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes”.
I congratulate the organizers of this evening’s event and thank you for your invitation and the honour of addressing you and your guests.
May the light of the Divali reflect the good in others and fill your hearts with compassion and kindness.