We wish a happy Ramadan, a peaceful and prosperous Rosh Hashanah, and truth triumphing Navaratri and other festivals that begin with the New Moon on September 19, this year.
May these festivals open our hearts and minds towards fellow beings
Religious holidays in Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and other faiths follow the moon cycles where as the Indigenous peoples of America, Bahai, Christianity, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and earth based traditions like Wicca and others follow the movement of equinox or the plain Solar Calendar that we see every day.
The Spiritual masters have captured the human gravity for rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religion. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with things that surround us; life and environment. Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life.
The Spirit of Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill will, ill talk, ill actions or any temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to inculcate discipline to bring moderation in their daily lives. Twenty-five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one taught that human suffering is caused by unrestrained desire to own and had recommended a middle path, and the same recommendation was made by Prophet Muhammad 1,400 years ago.
True fasting is self-purification; and from this, a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy - values that are indispensable for the success of the community.
For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths.
Does the mainstream public in America, Canada, India, Australia or elsewhere relate with Muslim customs and traditions? The following articles are written with the intent of developing that understanding.
1. Traditions of Ramadan
2. Politics of Ramadan
3. Spirit of Ramadan
4. Our Mission http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/WorldMuslimCongress/Articles/Mission-Statement.asp
The language chosen is generic and incidences are relational, so the public can relate with what they are familiar with and extrapolate that to the politics, traditions and the spirit of Ramadan. Of course, we can write a book on each. I have learned over the years that news papers have a reason to limit the length of the articles and I have followed that to the best of my ability.
You are welcome to share, forward, comment and make suggestion to make it better in the comments section of each article. You can publish it as well.
The Spirit of Rosh Hashanah
Wish you all the best on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.
Leshana tova tikateiv v'techateim." And "Leshana tova tikateivi veti"
The Jewish New Year takes place around September/October, and is considered one of the most important and serious holidays (or High Holy Days) in the Jewish calendar. As well as being a time for celebration it is also a time for reflection and repentance for sins committed in the previous year. In synagogue, people pray to God to forgive them for their wrongdoings and to give them a good year - during the service a Shofar, or ram's horn, is blown, to alert congregants to the seriousness of the festival and the fact that God is deciding their fates for the coming year - which will be sealed on the Day Of Atonement ten days later. This period is known as The Ten Days of Repentance and is traditionally a solemn time.
However, Rosh Hashanah is also a time for celebration - other traditions include eating apples dipped in honey in the hope that this will lead to a sweet year.
The Spirit of Navaratri
Navaratri, which literally means 'nine nights,' dedicates three days each to worshipping the Divine in the forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
Significance of Navaratri for Householders However, Navaratri is not only significant for spiritual aspirants; it has a message for those who lead a worldly life as well. They should invoke Durga's help to surmount obstacles, pray to Lakshmi to bestow peace and prosperity, and contemplate upon Saraswati in order to gain knowledge. These three ingredients are just as necessary for a full and complete worldly life. In reality, when we pray like this, we are but invoking the Shakti that is within ourselves.
The tenth day is Vijaya Dashami, the 'tenth day of victory.' or the festival of victory, symbolizing the moment when Truth dawns within.
OTHER FESTIVALS IN SEPTEMBER 2009
Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/