Deepavali: Victory of Good over Evil, Reaffirmation of Hope

November 2, 2013

Pics: Spoorthi Ullal

Light and darkness, creation and destruction, life and death, sacred and profane, good and evil, day and night, wisdom and folly, knowledge and ignorance, truth and falsehood, God and Satan (demon) are known as binary oppositions. One is more privileged and more highly valued over the other. Every religion speaks of these oppositions. People regardless of faith believe and celebrate the victory of good over evil, light conquering darkness, truth prevailing over falsehood, and God defeating demon.

During the festival of Deepavali the light of the lamps will grace millions of homes of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh brethren. Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters too certainly rejoice participating in this festival of lights, light a candle or an oil lamp and join in traditional fireworks. I, a Christian am sure to light a candle/lamp in my little room inviting God come into our hearts and bring about the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness and freedom from bondage in our troubled families and society.

Jains celebrate Diwali to commemorate the enlightenment and liberation (moksha) achieved by Mahavira, the 24th Thirthankara. For the Buddhists Diwali is to remember the conversion of Ashoka to Buddhism. That is why they call it as Ashok Vijayadhashami. For Sikhs, Diwali is the celebration of freedom of Sixth Guru Har Gobind, from imprisonment by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir along with other 52 prisoners in October, 1619. Guru Har Gobind considered as a symbol of goodness and light in dark and troubled time.

In Islam light symbolizes God’s presence, goodness and divine revelation. One of Allah’s 99 names is “The Light”. The Quran states, virtue and evil are not equal. One needs to repel evil deeds with virtuous ones. (Quran: 41:34). The Bible is filled with metaphors of light and darkness. The first recorded act of God in the creation story was to say “Let there be light.” God separated the light from darkness. “God is light; in Him there is nodarkness at all,” makes one to believe that the light is a metaphor or an attribute to God’s own character. Jesus, the Word of God, came to the world as ‘Light of the world.” His Resurrection to destroy sin and victory over death to bring life and hope is commemorated on Easter Vigil lighting a candle.

Deepavali a festival that has become universal in its origin unique to Hindu brothers and sisters. In Hindu scriptures and legends one comes across several binary oppositions: real (sat) and unreal (asat), truth (satya) and falsehood (mithya), knowledge (Jnana) and ignorance (ajnana, avidya), light (jyoti) and darkness (tamaska), liberation (mukti) and bondage (bandha), gods (devas) and demons (asuras), immortal (amrita) and mortal (mritha), and moral (dharma) and immoral adharma and so forth . Oft these oppositions linked to gods (goddesses) and demons (asuras, rakshasas). The traditional and popular accepted stories behind the celebrations are: Virtuous Rama’s (god) victory over Ravana (demon); Krishna’s killing demon Narakasura; victory of Vishnu in his dwarf form Vamana over the demon-king Bali, who was pushed into the patala. The return of Pandavas, the coronation of King Vikramaditya and the appearance of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity play a significant role to celebrate and enjoy the festival of lights year after year.

The message of Deepavali is that good always triumphs over evil. The darkness is over-powered by light. The spiritual take of this festival is “the awareness of inner light”. The Divine light dispels darkness or ignorance. Every religion loves to celebrate that God, the source of light, did not abandon the world to its darkness. Manifestations of Ravana, symbol of evil appears today in different forms. The vices which are attributed to him like Kama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (delusion), lobha (greed), mada (pride), maatsyasya (envy) and ahankara (ego) destroy peace and happiness. They make life of a human person inhuman. They beget hatred, intolerance and violence. They curtail freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of right to live. The celebration of Deepavali makes us ‘enlightened ones’ to choose good and renounce evil. Let it bring awareness in each of us that every human person is the spark of the divine light that shines. May our lighting of lamp, candle, bursting of firecrackers, lighting fireworks, colorful sparkles and bonfires open our eyes to the reality and not blind us. The celebration of enveloping presence of God who is Light reaffirm our hope to experience good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.

Wishing Happy Deepavali to everyone.


Fr Paul Melwyn Archives:



By Fr Paul Melwyn, Pamedi, Capuchin
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Comment on this article

  • sid, mangalore

    Mon, Nov 04 2013

    Happy Deepavali to all . God Bless all with Happiness, Prosparity, Peace and Good Health

  • maxi, kinnigoly/mumbai

    Sun, Nov 03 2013

    `good always triumph over evil` .who decides what/who is good or evil?
    galileo was evil in past ,after 400 yrs. same baba`s d him good in 2012.ravana was evil acc. to some writers but not so acc. to others. credibility of aristocrat class it self is questionable?they tag very issue/person as good /evil to suit their un defined agenda.

  • Cynthia DCunha, Neerude / Abu Dhabi

    Sun, Nov 03 2013

    Well written and beautifully presented article. This shows Indian culture / festivals and thier celebration. Lot of information to share to the new generation. May this festival of lights bring, happiness, joy in everyone's life.

  • Romo Pinto, Mangalore/US

    Sun, Nov 03 2013

    Thanks Fr.Melwyn for your nice article. its a small but for me it's a very informative.
    I personally believe that Diwali is one of the greatest festivals, The gleam of Diyas are symbolizing a victory of good over all evils. To be frank, it's a festival for every people
    In this auspicious occasion, I wish everyone & especially my Hindu brothers & sisters a good health, wealth and wisdom. May God protect you and your family from all evils, keep you safe and guide you all your life

  • Joseph F. Gonslaves, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Sun, Nov 03 2013

    Corrected Message:

    Now: Darkness over cometh not Light.

    (Before: Darkness over cometh the Light).

  • Vashal, Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Happy Deepavali Guys!May God Bless You all.

  • dr.rachel, mangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Deepavali: Victory of Good over Evil, Reaffirmation of Hope..

  • Praveen, udupi

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    You are right Mr Bhandarkar Mam.

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Dear Baab Joseph...
    Wish U Happy Deepavali
    With all my Might
    Today No Pyramid in Sight?
    Poem Looks like a Happy Woman- Pregnant Slight....!

  • Alban D' Souza , Udyavara Mumbai Doha Qatar

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Happy Deepawali to allHindu Brotheren and sisters. It is good attempt to appreciate each others culture tradition and festivities. Congratulations Fr. Melwyn for the good article on Deepawali. Let us join hands with our Hindu brothers and sisters to wish a very Happy Deepawali.

  • Joseph F. Gonslaves, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Diwali Light.

    Hearts Delight.

    Festival of Light.

    Heart desire Alight.

    Fire crackers in Night.

    Some may enjoy the Kite.

    Vacationers travel in Flight.

    Lamps kindle hearts of Erudite.

    Darkness over cometh the Light.

    Evil is badly wounded and in Blight.

    Day and night light desires our Heart.

    In the light forget always humans Fight.

    When God is with us, heart shines Bright.

    In Lighting your hearts lamp, you are Right.

    I am the Light of the world says Jesus Christ.

    Lightens his own heart’s lamp by John White.

    Many help the poor don’t hesitate even Slight.

    People come from travel & flight in their Might.

    Beautiful and colorful sight  in night Diwali Light.

  • ricky, mangalore-israel

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    May the festival of lights be the harbinger of joy and prosperity. As the holy occasion of Diwali is here and the atmosphere is filled with the spirit of mirth and love, here's hoping this festival of beauty brings your way, bright sparkles of contentment, that stay with you through the days ahead.
    Best wishes on Diwali...God bless you all....

  • Avinash, Kasaragod/Bangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013



    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Festival of light peace and happiness.Wish everyone happy Diwali.

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    @Henry Baab
    Contact me (it's easy!) and be assured....
    Love to...(hmmmm) all and Happy Deepavali everbody! May all your good wishes come true!

  • Rolfard John Pinto, Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    It is true and I am really proud to be an Indian to see the festivals of Great India. What a great Country with vast celebrations for every cast and creed. God bless our India.

  • Richie, Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Happy Diwali to all. A christian has more meaningful reason to celebrate the festival of light because Lord Jesus Christ says He is the way, truth and the light.

  • HENRY MISQUITH, mangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    As you celebrate this holy occasion, you are wished the brightest moments that Diwali can bring, lots of love and laughter to fill your days with cheer and a New year that is sure to bring you, the best of everything.
    Bhandu Maam, kain asa saiba tuje Diwali sweets?

  • Bollu, Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Grand photos..
    Wishing one and all a Happy Deepavli and Prosperous New Year.
    ...Jai Ho..

    Naacho gaao dhoom machao,
    mann ke andhere ko mitao...
    Ladoo aur pede khao,
    Jivan me mithas laao.....

  • Amin Bhoja, Patte / Riyadh

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Diwali a festival of lights Victory of good aganist the this occassion My sincere Wishes to my all Friends Families A Prosperous and Happy Diwali.

  • Raj Shetty, Mangalore/Qatar

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Happy Diwali!.. god bless u all

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Sat, Nov 02 2013

    Happy Deepavali Fr Paul....
    May you spread the 'Light of Knowledge' many many times over through your writings....
    Your Ganesh Chaturthi special is still fresh in my memory...

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