Illuminate Ourselves

As seen in The Boar (University of Warwick Student Newspaper):

After spending a particularly calorific weekend in Leicester, I want to wish a Happy Diwali and New Year to all Hindus and Sikhs at Warwick. The one thing that I love about festivals with a firm emphasis on celebration is the way that they can bring a collective air of happiness to all those who are celebrating.

Having had a particularly tough year myself, it was important for me to spend some time with family, eat mithai (Indian sweets) and watch the fireworks over Cossington Park. However, I want to use this time to show you that there is more to Diwali than just the physical pleasures.

I am sure that many of you know the story of Ram (not Rama) and his journey back to his rightful throne in Ayodhya being lit by thousands of handmade lamps, which forms the narrative behind Diwali. Nevertheless, do we actually know the significance behind the use of the lamp itself?

We are here to illuminate ourselves. But, how often do we actually take time out to reflect on the things that we have done and what we are striving towards?

Hinduism uses symbols such as lamps in order to convey the real message behind Diwali. The purpose of light is to remove darkness from everywhere it is found. In the same way, these lights remind us to illuminate ourselves from the darkness that we find in our own lives – whether that is ignorance, hate or indifference. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, you can appreciate that having a little more light in your life is always a good thing.

As students, we are here in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. We are here to illuminate ourselves. But, how often do we actually take time out to reflect on the things that we have done and what we are striving towards?

How often do we get swept up in our work, our friends or our families without taking time out for ourselves? Having been here for six weeks now, I can say that I have settled in well into life here at Warwick. Stepping off campus this week has given me the opportunity to evaluate my short time here and make the most of the next year. I am definitely ready for whatever is coming next.

This Diwali I ask all of you, whether you are celebrating or not, to take five minutes out of your day and re-evaluate the direction that you are going in. It has been proven that those who take a step back and set themselves achievable goals become more successful in the longer term. It is so easy, whether you are a fresher or a finalist, to immerse yourself in the university environment and forget why you came here in the first place. Don’t let the darkness cloud your vision.

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