South Asian Connection - Portal for South Asian Christians - http://www.southasianconnection.com
Diwali Or Deepavali - A 'Festival Of Lights' - Triumphant Victory Of Good Over Evil
http://www.southasianconnection.com/articles/441/1/Diwali-Or-Deepavali---A-Festival-Of-Lights---Triumphant-Victory-Of-Good-Over-Evil/Page1.html
Pritam Singh Sandhu
Pastor Pritam Singh Sandhu is a Punjabi Christian and live in Singapore. He is the founder of South Asian Connection http://www.southasianconnection.com and lead Pastor of South Asian International Fellowship http://www.saifchurch.com - a multicultural church reaching out to the South Asian community in Singapore and beyond.

South Asian International Fellowship also has a SAIF-Telugu and SAIF Tamil congregation - a focused targeted weekly evangelistic ministry to the migrant workers of Telugu and Tamil origin in Singapore mainly of blue collar shipyard and construction workers and some mission focussed Indian Singaporean PR families.

SOUTH ASIAN INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP
SUNDAY SERVICE
SAIF English Service 5.00 6.30pm
SAIF Telugu Service 8.00 9.00pm
SAIF Tamil Service 8.00 9.00pm

Location - COVENANT HOUSE 110, Race Course Road, Singapore (218578) - 5 Minutes Walk from Little India MRT Station EXIT E

The Vision Of South Asian International Fellowship Is To Establish An International New Testament Type Ministry Through Which South Asians Will Be Empowered To Reach And Disciple The Nations For Christ.

Pastor Pritam Singh Sandhu is also the International Coordinator for the South Asian Global Convention http://www.SAGC2009.com - an International Gathering for South Asian Christian Youth and Young Adults for Mission Mobilization. He has served as the Youth Pastor/ Leader of Khush Khabri Fellowship in Singapore [1996-2000, 2005-2007] and Youth Pastor at the International Punjabi Masihi Church in Vancouver, Canada [2000-2005].

He was a former Sikh-Christian now, a dreamer, a visionary leader and a risk-taker in God's Kingdom. He is passionate about young people and mentoring the Next Generation of South Asian leaders. He is also interested in networking among churches and engaging the cultures.

Pastor Pritam Singh Sandhu was a Biology and Chemistry teacher at Bukit View Secondary School and Vice-Principal at BMC Training Institute, a private education school in Singapore. He holds a Bachelor of Science [Biology] degree from the National University of Singapore, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education [Distinctions] from Nanyang Technological University, a Certificate in Christian Ministry from the Asian Christian Training School in Malaysia and a Masters of Christian Studies in Applied Theology from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada.

Pastor Pritam Singh Sandhu is also a Singapore registered licensed marriage solemnizer and conducts both civil and ceremonial marriages.

Pastor Pritam Singh Sandhu has two children - Sujaan Kaur Sandhu [born 21/06/04] and Saajan Singh Sandhu [born 04/01/09], and is married to Dr. Balbir Kaur Chaal, a UK-born Punjabi Christian and Cambridge University educated molecular biologist.
 
By Pritam Singh Sandhu
Published on 10/16/2009
 
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a 'festival of lights' celebrated especially by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. This festival is spread over three to four days and is one of the most anticipated times of celebration. Homes are lit with hundreds of deeya (clay oil lamps) during the season, to signify victory of good over evil. The day of Diwali is the highlight of this celebratory mood. Families get together to start the day with oil baths, then exchange gifts and sweets, followed by the most exciting event of the year - family fire works. Fireworks begin before the crack of dawn and go well into the day. No amount of description is sufficient to capture all the excitement and celebrations associated with the Diwali festival. You have to be there to experience it.

True Internal Diwali / Deepavali
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a 'festival of lights' celebrated especially by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. This festival is spread over three to four days and is one of the most anticipated times of celebration. Homes are lit with hundreds of deeya (clay oil lamps) during the season, to signify victory of good over evil. The day of Diwali is the highlight of this celebratory mood. Families get together to start the day with oil baths, then exchange gifts and sweets, followed by the most exciting event of the year - family fire works. Fireworks begin before the crack of dawn and go well into the day. No amount of description is sufficient to capture all the excitement and celebrations associated with the Diwali festival. You have to be there to experience it.



Our traditions have several recorded stories of the triumphant victory of good over evil, and they are usually symbolized in the death of Ashuras (evil individuals with supernatural powers, who terrorize the innocent). Diwali is usually associated with either the return of Ram after vanvas (after defeating the Ashura Ravan), or Krishna 's defeat of Narakasur (another Ashura). In many places, the awesome show of fireworks occurs when huge, firecracker-filled, effigies of Ravan are destroyed, symbolizing the destruction of the evil Ravan. Inherently inclined to introspection, the Eastern mind also associates this with defeating the evil within - an act of self-purification. Many movie plots and modern spiritual teachings reflect this theme of removing the Ravan (evil) from within, so that we simply have Ram (good) within.


   
All celebrations aside, have we seriously attempted the removing of all evil from within? Have we succeeded in vanquishing the evil within us? Are just human efforts sufficient to overcome evil? I don't know how far you have gone. It is between you and God to determine that. But, after several years of introspection and attempts at self purification, I realized that I was just beginning. Then I looked around and rubbed shoulders with people who were farther along the way than me, and, they were in the same boat as me.



Let's even take one of the noblest men from recent history, Mahatma (super soul) Gandhi, who is a role model in this pursuit of self-purification. Mahatma Gandhi led a great life, and I admire his dedication to pursue truth. In the final chapter of his autobiography My Experiments with Truth, titled 'Farewell', he states, "But the path of self-purification is hard and steep. To attain perfect purity one has to become absolutely passion-free in thought, speech and action; to rise above the opposing currents of love and hatred, attachment and repulsion. I know that I have not in me as yet that triple purity, in spite of constant ceaseless striving for it... But I know that I have still before me a difficult path to traverse …"



Well, if our Mahatma Gandhi, who got the title Mahatma (super soul) for his great life, sincerely states that he still has a difficult path ahead, what does that mean for you and me? How much hope do you and I have? Will we ever be able to fully vanquish the Ashura (evil) within? Is this why we think we need several lifetimes to get this right? Is there another approach to this? Well, the good news is that there is God's approach, that is available for us explore, where the Ashura within us is defeated with God's strength, not ours. Perhaps, learning to apply this purification might be the best Diwali Gift ever. Let us unveil this mystery.



The Ashura (Evil) within is more complex than the external entity. To secure permanent freedom for us, God has to deal with our accumulated karma (past), and has to give us the ability to defeat our tendency to give into evil (present). This victory over our past was accomplished when Yeshu, the immortal God, took upon himself the full blow of punishment reserved for us and faced death on our behalf. Yeshu opened the door for Pavitra Atma (God's Atma) to come and live within us after his resurrection (came back to life after conquering Death). When the Pavitra Atma comes to live in us, we have God as the Internal Guru who grants us power over evil in each of our circumstances through out life. By continuous surrender to the guidance of the Internal Guru, we get victory over the internal Ashura in every circumstance. When God enters our life, we begin a new life with a clean slate, with power to overcome evil in all circumstances.



God loves us so much that He decided to intervene to grant us this True Internal Diwali.

If I do not have sufficient words to describe the festivities and excitement of a three or four days Diwali festival, I have to admit that I am way over my head to even begin to describe the festival that lasts for eternity – Yeshu Diwali. Thankfully, God knows our inadequacy to even articulate such marvelous truths and has provided us with His inspired Word, which gives us a glimpse into what I am taking liberty to call Yeshu Diwali.



When we surrender to the leading of Pavitra Atma, we will be able to sincerely say this: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness', made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yeshu. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God."



Unlike the Diwali festival, where you have to be there to experience it, to experience Yeshu Diwali - you have to allow Yeshu to manifest in you. You have to make the choice to personally invite Yeshu (the Light) to ignite you in order to experience Yeshu Diwali. When it comes to this internal Diwali, we are just like the clay lamps that don't have light in themselves; we have to be lit by the Light (Yeshu) who has victory over Evil. The Light has to shine in our hearts to give us the experience. As it is said about Yeshu, ‘The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness can never extinguish it’.



Wish you a Happy Yeshu Diwali. Come, celebrate the vanquishing of the Ashura within.

For more information, please visit Yeshu Samaj website.