Goddess Lakshmi was kind to us this year – the Diwali week commenced with Dhanteras on Monday. On Tuesday the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, signalled that interest rates may have reached their peak and could start declining in the next quarter. And on Friday after a welcome mid-week break, the stock markets staged a magnificent rally, buoyed up by good news from Europe.
Shops and movie theaters were packed, with fans celebrating the release of Raone, while critics consigned it to the netherworld. The under-current of anxiety about the slowing economy and fear of contagion from problems in Europe & the USA seemed to have been banished, however briefly, by the festival of lights.
We stayed home this year. It was an opportunity to visit family elders, decorate the house and perform the Puja. We were lucky to have my mother join us – which was a good refresher in not just the prayers (which had got a bit rusty over the years) but also in the meaning behind the rituals.
In our home we worship not just the Goddess Lakshmi on Diwali but also the Goddess Saraswati. “What use is wealth”, said my mother, as she asked each of us to place a book and pen near the puja thali, “without having the wisdom to know how to earn it honestly, preserve it sensibly and share it wisely ? Lakshmi may visit you, but she will only stay back in a house, in which Saraswati has made a home.”
As the news of Rajat Gupta’s arrest made headlines, and as we reflected on the denial of bail to all those arrested for the corruption scams this year, the simple but eternal truth of her message was clear.
And so as we enter Samvat 2068, I pray that this year we are all blessed with wisdom not just with wealth.