Celebrating the Light

A creative mind is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.

– Ayn Rand


During the past couple of weeks, since the Indian festival of lights, Diwali, I have been stuck with a thought in my head: Why do we only celebrate the light? And so I asked my friend about it and he said with a pun faced smile, ‘Well because it wins over the darkness.’ And this got me thinking well didn’t the darkness first win over the light? Starting the chicken and the egg problem in my head.

But since this thought has been poking me over and over, I started wondering about the question in a more general sense. And with that, I came to a question, ‘Why do we celebrate people who are in the light?’ and I went  back to my friend with the question.

And he said “Success and fame are two different entities. I was watching a TV series, where there is a speech that is given to recent college graduates in a commencement ceremony, where there is a line in the speech, Achievement is often anonymous some of the greatest things have been done by people you have never heard of, quietly dedicating their lives to improving your own!”

I replied back asking him, ‘But don’t we always recognize the achievements and successes?’.

He answered “We never recognize the achievements. We normally start by criticizing them and then later we accept them, very rarely do we appreciate them unless it provides us exceptional value for a far lesser value to be paid by us. And in most cases, we ignore the achievements” he said.

I was looking at him with a very confused look. Understanding that I didn’t follow his argument he elaborated, “Here are some examples, iPhone vs the Mobile Phone, and Sticky Notes. In the first case, we appreciate the iPhone because it is a great device providing us with an exceptional value for a price. In this case, we know who the person behind the iPhone is. But isn’t the Mobile phone a bigger technology or an achievement to be celebrated? How many people celebrate the inventor of wireless communication or even know his name? In the case of Sticky Notes as well, do we even recognize the importance of sticky notes and appreciate it, let alone appreciating the inventor? Both the technologies were developed for improvement of lives, theirs and invariably others, but most achievements especially the one that has a real impact on lives always are anonymous.” “I think the most important issue towards this problem of us celebrating the light and being in the limelight is that we see darkness as evil. But if we see light and the dark only as a medium rather than associating the light to knowledge/ good and darkness with ignorance/evil, we may start celebrating the process much more and realize that it is about improving ourselves and our lives. And maybe the darkness is much more common than we like to appreciate.” He continued.

Understanding what my friend was trying to say, I smiled and replied, ‘maybe that is why there is much more dark matter in the universe than the light.


Celebrating the Light

An Imaginary Conversation with the Dalai Lama

“We need to learn to want what we have, not to have what we want, in order to get stable and steady happiness.”  ― Dalai Lama

Always wanting to visit various places, I got a chance to go visit Dharamshala and I grabbed it with both hands. Being a scenic place as such it is also famous for the current home place of Dalai Lama. So on the second day of the trip, we went to Mcleod Ganj to the Namgyai Monastery in hopes to find and talk to him.

Being one of the wonderful monasteries I have visited, I was in awe of the ambiance around the place. It was a wonderful place to just sit and meditate. After doing the usual touristy things, we found ourselves sitting inside the monastery and meditating. It was then that I thought there was another person sitting beside us. That is when I saw that the person was none other than the Lama himself. Being one of the most highly spiritual men currently alive amongst us, I wanted to speak so much. I had so many questions. I wanted to talk to him about self, learn from him about making myself better, about balance in life and self.  He saw the eagerness in my eyes and with a silent notion, he said to go back to meditating, we still have a lot of time. I said as he said as I was assured that I would be able to talk to him soon about this.

Soon, I started hearing the gongs ringing. At first, it was peaceful but soon they were highly disturbing. I opened my eyes to see my alarm going mad around me at my apartment with still a day to go for my trip to start.

An Imaginary Conversation with the Dalai Lama