Friday, January 24, 2014

Gujarat Massacre, Native American Genocides and Holocaust

Holocaust and the Muslim Guy
Frequently, I am introduced in the following manner, "He is the first Muslim guy to commemorate Holocaust, and perhaps the first non-Jewish person to commemorate the Holocaust as well."  Of all the people on the earth, my mother would be pleased to know that I am doing what it takes to be a "good Muslim," to respect, honor and protect the sanctity of life.
As a Muslim committed to building cohesive societies, it was an honor to step up to the plate. Quran 3:133, "And vie with one another to attain to your Sustainer's forgiveness and to a paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which has been readied for the God-conscious." I am not driven by paradise, nor do I seek rewards. But it does mean building a cohesive world where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. God-conscious simply means being caring and sensitive to all of God's creation; life and matter.

Of all the people on the earth, my mother would be pleased to know I am doing what it takes to be a "good Muslim," to respect, honor and protect the sanctity of life. 


I have always believed, and I read the assessments of some of the best brains that if we can resolve the Jewish-Palestinian conflict, i.e., security to Jews and justice to the Palestinians, most of the world issues will collapse and a period of peace on earth will begin. 

2014-01-20-Opening1.jpg

Commemorating Holocaust and Genocides for seven years is a fulfillment of a lifelong desire. 


Continued at Huffington post - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html#es_share_ended

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Prophet Muhammad's peace formula - Happy Milaad


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pope Francis, the pluralist

Pope Francis is my hero and an inspiration.  He is one of the true pluralists, respecting God and respecting every one God has created. Ever since he became the Pope in March, I have read up on him and now read almost everything about him.He gives me hopes that he can influence the world to be a better place to live for every human. He has already performed the acts of Jesus by embracing humanity regardless of their beliefs and practices. 

The age old conflicts between Judaism and Christianity, and Christianity and Islam, and denigration of Paganism and Hinduism have been down cast on the peace and tranquility of the world. 
 

After Gandhi, MLK and Mandela, Pope Francis is one person that does not have barriers between him and humanity. He is almost following the teachings of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad in spirit. Let's pray that he becomes an instrument of mercy to mankind. 

I have written 15 articles about him and hope to meet up with him. 


http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/12/pope-francis-articles.html

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.
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Festivals of the World: Essence of Christmas

Should Christmas be an exclusive Christian event? This Muslims' answer is no. We cannot limit Jesus to be exclusively owned by any group of people, nor can anyone monopolize his message. Jesus and his message belong to the whole of humanity. For Christians, he is the son of God, and for all others, he is a great man who brought the message of hope and peace to the world. Whether we believe in God or not, 

Continued http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/festivals-of-the-world-es_1_b_4492571.html#es_share_ended

 




Thank you
Mike Ghouse
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links. 
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Texas Faith: Does a white Christmas mean Santa and Jesus have to be white?

Some of the white Christians will resist the idea of Jesus to be anything but what they have come to believe, as if Jesus will cease to exist if he were black.  The black Christians may feel the image of white Jesus and Santa was imposed on them, and it is human to resist anything forced on you against your will. I am certain they had their own un-articulated image of Jesus and Santa for as long as they have been Christians. Mike Ghouse

TEXAS FAITH: Does a white Christmas mean Santa and Jesus have to be white?
By Wayne Slater - wslater@dallasnews.com
1:54 pm on December 17, 2013 | Permalink


A cable television anchor named Megyn Kelly told viewers last week that Jesus and Santa Claus are both white men. At issue was a Slate article written by a black writer titled “Santa Claus Should Not Be A White Man Anymore.” The context of the piece was the tendency of cultures to view important figures in the most familiar and comfortable light. On her Fox News program, Kelly took issue with the writer.


“Just because it 
makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”

Both sides pounced. Liberal web sites and late-night comics lampooned her. Conservative web sites defended her. Saturday Night Live did a skit featuring a black Santa. The debate went viral on the Internet. Kelly subsequently suggested she was joking and cast herself as a victim of identity politics. Clearly, her facts were flawed. Jesus was a 1st Century Jew who was likely dark skinned and Santa Claus is a mythological figure whose historical antecedent was from Turkey.

People believe what they are prepared to believe. What’s interesting was the passionate reaction to the remarks. Why the fierce dustup? Why did the idea that a white Christmas means Santa’s white cause so much consternation? What did this episode say about the way we see the world and our willingness — or reluctance – to see things in different ways?

Our Faith Panel weighs in thoughtfully (and with a few fireworks) on history, ethnic identity, political correctness and the virtues of faith and the holidays:

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas

If Jesus is our lord, and Santa Claus represents the joys of Christmas, I have to relate with them to call them “our Lord” and “our Santa”. Just as God claims to have created humans in his own image so he can relate with them, I would say, we have created God in our own image, a whopping 7 billion perceptions of God.

Even though God is stamped onto our memory with certain images, features and characteristics, some of us have developed our own embellishments to it to personalize him, her or it. While a majority of Christians, Hindus and others have a built-in image of God, the Buddhist, Jains, Zoroastrians and Native traditions do not have a set image, yet they have created their own image of God. The Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Baha’i and others do not take God as a being or an entity, and certainly have a built-in resistance to collapsing God into an image or a shape. But deep down, they imagine and describe God as a being, however, they knock it out instantaneously. It’s human to relate God as their own.

I am blessed to have universalized God. Even those who knew me, particularly Muslims in Dallas, thought I was a Hindu, Buddhist or a Baha’i, and the Hindu community thought I was a Christian and a Buddhist until ten years ago. Three years ago, I was in a Muslim conference and an Arab Muslim came over and started praising my articles on Islam, and said he has translated and published them in Arabic. He then asked me how do I know so much about Islam, and when I said, I am a Muslim, he was taken back and said he thought I was Jewish all these years! One of my Hindu friends of 20 years, until recently, insisted that I cannot be anything but a Hindu or at least a Christian.

If someone likes you, they want to see you as their own, in their own image. Of course the white Christians saw Jesus in their own image, and the African Americans just took that image when they became Christians. But I am certain; they had their own un-articulated different image of Jesus and Santa for as long as they have been Christians.

Some of the white Christians will resist the idea of Jesus to be anything but what they have come to believe, as if Jesus will cease to exist if he were black.  The black Christians may feel the image of white Jesus and Santa was imposed on them, and it is human to resist anything forced on you against your will.

The need of the day is to upgrade Jesus, above all human imaginations and limitations and accept him in essence rather than in physical form. It is his love and sacrifice to humanity that needs to be appreciated. I hope and pray that at least from this Christmas season forward, we accept and embrace Jesus without reserve just as he set the example of embracing the humanity without reserve. Let him be meaningful to us in every which way he can be imagined.

To see the take from 12 different panelists, go to Dallas Morning News at:http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2013/12/texas-faith-does-a-white-christmas-mean-santa-and-jesus-are-white.html/

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest onSean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links. 
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Gee Dad, God can be worshipped in so many ways! Lessons in Pluralism

GEE DAD, GOD CAN BE WORSHIPED IN SO MANY WAYS. LESSONS IN PLURALISM
I am pleased to share the wisdom of a seven year old girl, my daughter. Who wants to raise their child as a bigot? Some of us recklessly do.
When we hear hate spout out of the mouths of men and women in politics or religion against Jews, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Hindus, Blacks, Mormons, Gays and Lesbians, Hispanics or Immigrants, we just shake our heads with disbelief, that is of course, if we are not bigots ourselves.

I must give credit to face book, a great equalizer for humanity. Even though the hate mongers and bigots don't survive on the face book, they still continue to rant with a few or no friends liking their hate material. They still don't get the message - hate is not natural. .

When she was visiting the Baptist Church, as a father, I just advised her, if the Pastor by any chance denigrates other faiths, he is not being truthful and you don't need to listen to him. She was around 9 then, and argued with me, a part of our routine to argue as equals, "Dad, if he does not say bad things about other religions, why would people to go his Church when they can go somewhere else? I know it, don't worry Dad, I won't hate anyone".

I took my kids to every place of worship, so they were raised with familiarity of fellow humans with no bigotry towards others. At each place of worship, I would summarize to her what they were saying…over the years, I learned that, all she wanted to hear, a six year old, was a simplified version of the talk. I had gotten it down well - a standard reply - "Sweetie, they are telling that we must thank God, that God gives us life, ability to breath and live…" Mind you, I was an atheist then, but not anti-religious.

One day, we were in DFW Hindu Temple joining the group singing Bhajans (Chanting) in the sanctuary. In the middle of a Bhajan, she leans over me, and asks the standard question, "Dad, what are they singing"… out came my standard reply. To that, oblivious to the crowd, she gets up, and throws her hands up in the air, and cheerfully announces "Gee Dad, God can be worshiped in so many ways" to the amazement of the devotees!

That, my friends is pluralism. "Respecting the otherness of others." Thank God she ain't a bigot today. She is a rationalist and would question any one's ill-will or hate towards the other. If nothing else in my life, I have feel good about raising my kids with no bigotry. Like me, she would defend any faith, we won't let any one put down a faith, any faith - individuals yes, but not their faith.

I am writing a fuller article with Religion News with a few more anecdotes with my daughter. Meanwhile, enjoy this.
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Power of Faith - Hindu woman and Muslim man praying together

This is a good story of pluralism, i.e., respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us.  This a common scene in India, sadly a few Hindus and Muslims are corrupted and have become intolerant towards each other. Thank God, they are still a few and we have to work in preventing that poison from spreading. Mike Ghouse

URL -http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-power-of-faith-hindu-woman-and.html


Beauty as seen in a sufi shrine.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

One humid Saturday afternoon I was at the dargah of sufi saint Sarmad Shahid. It is in Old Delhi, just outside Jama Masjid’s gate no. 3.

The red-walled shrine was empty, save a few pilgrims. There was a man, with a beard and a skull cap, praying in front of Sarmad's tomb. Just then a young woman appeared in a sari and stood by his side. With the sindoor spread length-wise on the parting of her hair, and a black-beaded mangalsutra wound round her neck, it was clear that she was a Hindu.

The woman had a few agarbattis in her hands. The sari’s pallu was drawn modestly over her head. Her eyes were closed, her lips were moving, and so were the agarbattis in a never-ending circle, just the way Hindus do in their temples.

I do not know what the lady was murmuring to her saint. I’m not even certain if she was familiar with the ethos of Islam, but the sight was beautiful. Here was a Hindu woman, standing beside a Muslim man; both making their own personal prayers. Both had their eyes closed. Neither minded the other's presence. Neither felt 'impure'.

We Delhiwallas are just amazing people.

These two were from different religions, different backgrounds, but for a short time, they came together in a place of spirituality and, rather unintentionally, stirred up a joint communion.

It does not matter if the shrine belonged to a sufi saint, or a Hindu god, or a Sikhu guru. It does not matter if they were not in the pursuit of spirituality, but merely petitioning for personal favors. What matters is that together they showed all that is beautiful in our city, and in our religions.

While there is no argument that all faiths have caused conflicts, cruelties and communal riots, the same religions have, at times, brought out the best from their followers. That is why that Saturday afternoon I thought of Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and laughed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Banning Islam in Angola and banning Holocaust education in United Kingdom are lies.

Mike Ghouse
www.WisdomofReligion.com

November 25, 2013. Dallas, Texas – In behalf of the World Muslim Congress and the Foundation for Pluralism, Mike Ghouse released the following note today. Both the organizations are committed to building cohesive societies where no human has to live in fear of the other.

 
 
A mosque and a minaret were shown torn down in Angola, they
were pictures from 2008 Palestine and elsewhere, but not Angola
Muslim students in UK falsely ascribed as offended with Holocaust teaching.
 
Eight years ago, there was a rumor that Iran was making the lives of Bahá’ís, Zoroastrians and Jews miserable, a bunch of us interfaith guys in Dallas, wrote a petition and send off the letters. One of our friends from San Francisco called his friend, a Jewish Member of the Parliament in Iran,  and found out that it was a hoax. Of course, Iran has made life difficult for people of other faiths including the harassment and pending death penalty for Pastor Naderkhani on the count of Apostasy, an un-Islamic practice in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This goes against the God given freedom in Quran 2:256, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error."

Five years ago Fox News’ Maria Arita in Dallas called me up to inquire about the Muslim push to ban Holocaust education in France – thank God, for authenticity, I called my Jewish friends Bernie Mayoff and Dallas Holocaust Museum director, late Elliott Dlin, who verified that it was indeed a hoax.  Thanks to Maria for killing that rumor. I wish all Fox News reporters followed that example, imagine the damage it would have done to the fragile Jewish-Muslim relationship.

A few months ago, and again now, the rumor has it that the “Islamists” want to drop the teaching of Holocaust in UK, with an emphasis that it offends Muslim students.  In fact the examiner headlines, “
British schools drop Holocaust from history lessons so as not to offend Muslims.”  http://www.examiner.com/article/british-schools-drop-holocaust-from-history-lessons-so-as-not-to-offend-muslims That is a lie again, http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/holocaust.asp#tx5BaFtASgSJ3qWD.99

Now yesterday, the big bad news made headlines – that Angola has banned Islam and dismantling Mosques (http://www.africanglobe.net/africa/african-state-angola-bans-islam-mosques-destroyed/). Then I read another item where a Moroccan Muslim insurance tycoon has invested in Angola, those two contradictory news items did not make any sense. Now comes the news, after someone verified with the Angolan Embassy – that the news is not true (http://www.ibtimes.com/angola-denies-it-banned-islam-destroyed-mosques-1484898). I have not been unable to log on to a few websites, nor am I able to reach the Embassy. I will pursue it until I know the absolute facts.  I have called on Russian Embassy when they attempted to Ban Bhagvad Gita or Italian Embassy when a nutty Italian Mayor attempted to ban celebrations of Ganesh (Hindu) Festival. 


A few brutes are happy that Islam was banned in Angola, and some of the thrill seekers will be happier if Muslims in Angola are massacred. Of course, there are an equal number of creeps among Muslims who might be thinking of hurting Angola. We pray that God gives us a heart to feel the pain of others, an eye for an eye will makes us all blind, as Mahatma Gandhi had said. No Muslim is supposed to take his own or others life, yet we have loonies who do that. Of course there are equal number of Hindus, Jews and Christians violate the teachings of their faith.  

To de-stereotype ourselves, consider these numbers. New York had 1,092 Rapes in 2011, and 515 Murders. Is it fair to proclaim that the New Yorkers are rapists and murderers? That is exactly what these dummies are telling by calling Muslims are terrorists, and all the terrorists are Muslims. Indeed, all the 515 Murderers were New Yorkers.  This non-sense defies common sense.
These lies do a lot of damage, some of the right wingers continue with with mal-intent to make villains out of Muslims. Remember, “Injustice to one is injustice to all” (MLK). For you to live without apprehension, the people around you need must be free from your ill-will as well.

I expected Sean Hannity to call me and debate with Pamela Geller or Brigitte Gabriel, who are probably happy to see Muslims getting stripped from their fundamental human rights.  A true human rights activist would stand up for the rights of all humanity, no matter who it is.  I know Hannity would speak up against it as he has spoken against the stupidity of Pastor Terry Jones.  

When I heard the news, my first response was to take a deep breath and meditate.  Is this the kind of world we want, where no human feels safe to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever he or she wants to believe? It comes in the heels of another event that does the opposite, gives a sense of security to a people who lived in perpetual anxiety for over three millenniums; the Jews with the Iranian deal.  What needs to be done about it? How would Pope Francis, Aga Khan, Bishop Tutu and true to God religious leaders would deal with this. What is the guidance from Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi, MLK and others? I will be writing the full report in a few days.
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pope Francis - This is my Pope, and I am a Muslim.

This is my Pope, and I am a Muslim.

URL-http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/11/pope-francis-this-is-my-pope-and-i-am.html




There was a paucity of moral leadership in the world, a leader who can confidently bring about a balance and not let the equilibrium of the society be run down. Thank God for this angel; Pope Francis.

I have studied him for over six months, and have written articles including two in Dallas Morning News. Now, I have chosen him to be my moral guide. I have come to believe that he has what it takes to lead the world and build that elusive kingdom of heaven where no human has to live in fear of the other.  That is the end goal of all religions.

As a Muslim, I significantly differ with the Christian theology and rituals, but I would like to believe that the Pope and I understand that they are merely means to achieving spirituality, piety or Taqwa as it is called in Islam. Taqwa becomes your moral compass in doing things ethically. It is becoming God-conscious, or becoming Brahma as Hinduism calls it. It is a state of mind where you become a fully integrated part of what God is all about; just, kind, loving and caring with zero discrimination towards any.

When you achieve piety, you will not look down on any individual, they become an equal part of God, as you are, then arrogance fades, insecurities start disappearing and humility sets in connecting you with the universe. You and the Universe would be in union, or yoga and that is the state of mind that Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Mahavira, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Nanak, the Bab, and several spiritual masters in the native traditions had achieved. You feel the universe and you are one and the same with no apprehension that is indeed the true freedom.

My other living mentors include HH Aga Khan, Barack Obama, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi and Bishop Tutu and few others in the making. I am learning about others, but these men and women (soon) respect the God given life and the life hereafter as a guide to living a moral, but fuller life.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had once said that he wished his people had a book of guidance like Jews and Christians, and today, I wish that we the Muslims have a guide like Pope Francis, that the Catholics have. These words came to me after reading this statement from the pope. This is exactly what Muslims need, and I am pleased to take him as my moral guide.

To paraphrase Pope Francis, as a Muslim I would say, ““We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the Islam is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Quran.  The Muslim Clergy have locked themselves up in small things, in small-minded rules.  The most important thing is the core value of Quran "Mercy" followed by Justice, equality, humility and truthfulness.  And the Imams must be Imams of mercy above all.”

This is what Pope Francis said, “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.  The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.  The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.  And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”

I am proud to have written 8 articles about the pope from the minute he was ordained to now. Insha Allah, I will make a pilgrimage to visit him to pay my respects and offer to be his ambassador. As a Muslim and a Pluralist, I will make myself available to jump at his call for creating peace in the world, where no human has to live in fear of the others, let the world be the new kingdom of heaven where we all feel safe and secure with each other. Amen!

  

I wrote the following pieces:


 
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Essence of Diwali - Diwali Mubarak

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights and is celebrated on a large scale throughout India and the Indian Diaspora. It is also celebrated in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Guyana, West Indies,  Fiji,  and of course, here in the United States.
Thanks to the Gupta’s for placing Dallas on the World Map of Diwali Celebrations. I believe it is one of the biggest celebrations in the United States, if not the biggest in the western Hemisphere.  Ramesh Gupta initiated the event eight years ago, fully supported, encouraged and funded by the Dallas billionaire couple Satish and Yasmin Gupta. 

Nearly 50,000 people attend the event. First it was held in Texas Stadium, former home of the Dallas Cowboys and now it is held at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park, Dallas, where college football is played and home to Texas State Fair.

 There is nothing like it.  Satish Gupta, president of the organizations writes this information on their website, http://www.dfwdiwalimela.com/, “This year again we have decided to pack all the fun for children, youth, adults and seniors. From Ram Leela and Bollywood singers to spectacular fireworks, elephant rides to slides, Cultural dances to mouth watering Indian food, all packed in one of the biggest Carnival of its kind in America. There will be three elephants and two camels available for the rides this year! We bring all this to you at a very minimal cost to you.”



Diwali is spelled differently, and is called by many names.  There is Divali among others, and Deepavali, meaning the festival of lights. 
Although Diwali is a Hindu tradition, people of all faiths participate in celebrations - Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and others.
People decorate their homes with lights and Rangoli, i.e., colorful drawing in the front yard of the home, sidewalks, even roads in India with colorful powders or colorful pieces of chalk. Women and Children look forward to express their artistic talent in this season. Their surroundings filled with colorful lights to enliven the day, to mark the dawn of a new era in one's life.

My childhood is filled with good memories of Diwali; the sparklers, the food and everything joyous you can imagine.

A few years ago, Jyoti and Nishi Bhatia, former President of DFW Hindu Temple and President of Dallas Hindi Association respectively, asked me to speak about Diwali in a dinner gathering to a group of people from different faiths and cultures, and I cherished it, I love talking about Diwali, as its essence reflects the ideals of pluralism, and
symbolizes hope and positive energy, victory of good over evil; a new beginning.  It is indeed seeing the light at the end of tunnel.

Diwali Celebration is a part of the epic Ramayana, and the Ram Lila is played out all night long in towns across India. I grew up watching it in front of my house, and my friends played different roles in the show. Indeed, one of my former relatives played Hanuman’s role.


It was a challenge for me to teach Ramayana to a group of people who knew nothing about it.  It turned out to be a successful program. I prepared the nearly all white audience that I will be narrating the story through the power point and along will be reinforcing the names and roles of the key persons in the story and will ask them for feed back at the end.  Friends, I cannot tell you the joy, the Bhatias and I felt when each one of them answered the questions from the story. They got it!  It is a powerful story and takes about 30 minutes to narrate.

The epic is filled with educative tales, edifying poems, and fables. It is probably through their constant retelling in the villages over centuries that Hinduism is most efficiently disseminated from generation to generation... 

Whenever a society rots with adharma (wrong path), where no one cares about the other, lying, stealing and dishonesty become rampant, Lord Krishna says, I will emerge among you and restore the righteousness and trust in the society to function smoothly.
 Zarathustra,  Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad,  Krishna, Nanak, Mahavira, Confucius, Tao  and others served the same purpose… it is almost like the laws of physics ; water finds its own level, and righteousness finds its own existence.
Rama is one such incarnation who reestablished the moral code for social conduct and proper relation of mankind to divinity.  He was truthful and a just king.  



The full story with the title “Essence of Diwali” will be available to read at www.TheGhouseDiary.com and other sites listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Diwali symbolizes hope and positive energy
  • ·         People wear new clothes
  • ·         Share sweets as a symbol of happiness
  • ·         Renew the relationships
  • ·         Strengthen the bonds
It signifies a new beginning, starting out fresh.
  • for most businesses it is the new financial year
  • An inventory of assets is taken
  • An assessment of family and relationship 
  •  Last harvest for the farmers
  •  New things are bought
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President Obama in his message last Diwali said it perfectly,

“Many who observe this holiday will light the Diya, or lamp, which symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. As that lamp is lit, we should all recommit ourselves to bring light to any place still facing darkness. Earlier this year, we were reminded of the evil that exists in the world when a gunman walked into the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire. In the wake of that horrible tragedy, we saw the resilience of a community that drew strength from their faith and a sense of solidarity with their neighbors, Sikh and non-Sikh alike. We also saw compassion and love, in the heroic actions of the first responders and the outpouring of support from people across the country. Out of a day of sadness, we were reminded that the beauty of America remains our diversity, and our right to religious freedom.

To those celebrating Diwali, I wish you, your families and loved ones Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak.”
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Today, on this blessed day, we have a blank slate to start, let's plan on filling it with doing good things for ourselves, to our family, friends, community, nation and the world until next Diwali.

What are good things?  Words and actions that bring peace, Mukti, salvation, Moksha, nirvana, Nijaat and freedom to us, yes us. There is so much of joy waiting to be had. If we can remove hatred and anger towards others, forgive others and ask for forgiveness (Michami Dukadam is a beautiful phrase the Jain's use), then a blissful year is sure to come for each one of you and me.

  • May this Diwali purge your heart, mind and soul from hate, malice, anger and ill-will;
  • May this Diwali open your hearts and minds towards fellow being;
  • May this Diwali brighten your life, and may this Diwali mark the dawn of a new era;

Muslims are a big part of Diwali as well, and innumerable poets have written poetries and songs about Diwali.  Here is my effort, I wrote this seven years ago on  the occasion when Diwali and Ramadan were celebrated around the same time.
ये मेरी दिवाली है, ये मेरी ईद है
दोनों में खुशी ही खुशी है
A meri diwali hai, a meri eid hai
donon may khushi hi khushi hai
-
दिवाली से नया साल शुरू होता है
रमज़ान एक नया इंसान बनाता है
Diwali say naya saal shuru hota hai
Ramzan ek naya insaan banata hai
-
दिवाली मैं एक एक बात का हिसाब होता है
रमज़ान में हर बात का रिव्यू होता है
Diwali may ek ek baat ka hisab hota hai
Ramzan may her baat ka review hota hai
-
दिवाली नए साल के लिए क्लीन स्लेट देता है
रमज़ान पिछले साल का स्लेट क्लीन करता है
Diwali nayay saal ke liye clean slate deta hai
Ramzan pichlay saal ki slate clean karta hai
-
बात ही बात में मैंने एक नयी नज़्म लिख दी साहिर
दिवाली और रमज़ान से सबका अच्छा ही होता है
Baat hi baat may, my nay a sher likh diya Sahir
Diwali aur Ramzan say subka acha hi hota hai

Shubh kamnaein | Diwali Mubarak | Blessed Diwali.
Happy Diwali to you my friends, may this Diwali bring happiness, serenity and peace to you. Amen!


Note:  I have been writing the essence of every religious festival  for the last twenty years. Just plug in the word in the search box at www.TheGhouseDiary.com and www.WisdomofReligion.com
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.