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This Little Light of Mine, This Little Life of Mine

**To listen to the audio version of this piece, please click on the “play” button below:

~by Rukmini Walker

This year as we joyfully approach Diwali, the beautiful festival of lights that ushers in the New Year for Hindus and other friends, perhaps we can pause to reflect.

In this world, every light has its shadow. Sometimes the light, the voice, or the face of minorities in our countries are not seen or heard as we celebrate our joy, our abundance, or our safety and security in our various nations.

In the past few days, minority Hindus in Bangladesh have been attacked and killed, and their temples and Deities have been destroyed.

In countries where one religious community or another, is in the majority, we often turn a blind eye when minorities in our countries are maligned, persecuted or harmed in various ways. 

Yet Lord Krsna Himself says in Bhagavad Gita that He is the seed-giving father of all species of life, and that our births in this world have been made possible by His grace, and by His will. (BG 14.4)

Where is my right to harm, or look the other way when one of these beloved living beings is harmed? However different they may be from me, still their lives and their existence is sacred to the One Who is the origin of us all.

God is said to have a “still small voice” that is difficult for ordinary people like us to hear or to discern. Yet we know from every scripture of the world that His grace and compassion is available for anyone who turns toward Him in devotion.

Minorities in our world also have voices that often go unheard, and faces that are so often unseen.

This Diwali and on into the new year, can we not shine our lights a little more boldly?  Can we honor others who believe differently than we do? Can we open our hearts to see those unseen faces and hear those unheard voices?

In 1946, the German Pastor Martin Neimoller, after the seeing the horrors of the Nazis, wrote:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

Wishing a very Happy Diwali to all!

Rukmini Walker