They say that the word of God nourishes the soul and that religion should not be the cause of our division. Deputy President William Ruto seem to be walking the talk and has decided to fully adhere to God’s greatest command, that of Love.
The deputy President today joined Indian faithfuls in their new year celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Nairobi.
The deputy President said that religion promotes oneness of humanity, unity and peace.
“Religion promotes the oneness of humanity, unity and peace. It breeds love, cohesion and enables communication with God,” said Ruto.
Temples belonging to various sects of the Hindu started coming to life yesterday evening during the Diwali festival. At the Swaminarayan Temple, colourful rows of unlit candles in transparent glasses lined the different sets of stair into the temple building, true to the meaning of Diwali, which translates to ‘row of lamps’.
The holiday is usually marked in October or November. Meanwhile, at Nairobi’s Ngara Hare Krishna Temple, assorted flower bouquets vibrantly decorated the various surfaces of the temple, also in line with the festival known for its colour. Aside from the temple, Hindus also mark the ceremony by decorating their bodies. “Our bodies are the temple of God, so when you decorate them through ways like shaving your head and colouring your face, you are essentially decorating God’s temple,” Wilfred Rakoi, a member of the Hare Krishna Temple, said.
Usually, the ceremony entails prayers and rituals, culminating in fireworks at night. However, the holiday holds different meanings for the various sects. “We celebrate Diwali to honour Lord Ram’s return to the Ayodhya Kingdom, after being exiled for 14 years,” Mr Akash Patel, a member of the Swaminarayan Temple said. The Hare Krishna, on the other hand, honour Swami Prabhupada, who founded the Hare Krishna movement.
At the Ramgarhia Sikh temple in Pangani, a major celebration was not organised. But on Diwali, the Sikhs mark Bandi Chhor Divas, a holiday that remembers the prison release of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru, alongside 52 princes. Besides the fun-filled festivities, Diwali holds a much larger meaning to the Hindu community. “The holiday celebrates victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance,” said Govinda Das, the administrator of the Hare Krishna Temple. “We hold a ceremony to sanctify business books, so the next year can be successful,” said Mr Patel. It also marks the end of the year, signalling the start of another year today.