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Sikhs Celebrate Diwali: Festival of Lights

Many members of Plainview's displaced Sikh gurdwara take part in major celebration in Glen Cove.

Sikh faithful came from all over Long Island Wednesday night to Glen Cove to celebrate Diwali, the joyful "Festival of Lights," a holiday which holds special meaning around the world.

Hundreds joined in the celebration Wednesday night, packing Glen Cove's . Among them were displaced members of Plainview's which was shuttered by the Town of Oyster Bay for a variety of code violations this summer. Plainview's gurdwara, or house of worship, on Old Country Road, remains closed as litigation progresses.

For Sikhs, Diwali celebrates freedom from political tyranny. Sikh officials say they are working with the town to resolve the code issues.

Timed to the first new moon between October and November, Diwali is also a harvest festival and religious occasion to many Eastern faiths. It is a national holiday in India.

For Sikhs, the holiday arrives shortly after their Bandi Chhorh Divas , or the "Day of Freedom", which celebrates the release from prison of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, and his freeing of 52 Hindu princes wrongly imprisoned, in October, 1619. Guru Hargobind and the others had been jailed at Gwalior for political reasons, Sikh experts said. The Sikh faith is based on the revelations of the 10 "revealed" gurus, the founders of the faith.

At Glen Cove Wednesday night, festive music and prayer combined with the rainbow colors of traditional attire and the flickering candles that symbolize the holiday. The candles represent the victory of good over evil, according to Sikh experts. Traditional food abounded.

While the has effectively shut down Plainview's gurdwara, in Old Bethpage has opened up its community hall to the Plainview Sikhs for their regular Sunday observances. by the Reform Jewish synagogue was met with widespread gratitude from the Plainview Sikh community.

Among the issues cited by the town is the lack of a certificate of occupancy for the gurdwara itself and the lack of a public assembly permit for the outdoor activities that are common features of the Sikh community. The gurdwara was closed after town officials acted on noise and other complaints from area residents.

Singh Safron October 27, 2011 at 05:43 AM
Actually the 52 princes which were liberated by the 6th Guru were Hindus.for more info on this People can Google Bandi chor divas.
Joe Dowd (Editor) October 27, 2011 at 06:11 AM
Thank you, sir, for the clarification. We hope your Diwali festival is joyous.
Gurcharan Singh October 27, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Sikhs do not celebrate Divali for the same reasons as Hindus.Historically When Sikh Gurus gave sermons;they directed Sikhs to gather on two days a year in Amritsar on Divali day and Vesakhi.While Vesakhi became associated with the initiation of the Khalsa brotherhood of Sikhs ,and also commences as a NEW Year for Sikhs. Divali remained , an ordinary day.However, later it too became associated with the 6th Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib, who got 52 hindu kings released from the Gwalior prison from Moghul imprisonment;on this day the then Custodian of the Harmander Sahib Bhai Mani Singh also directed the Sikhs to light up the Harmnder sahib thus the practice has gone on since for about 400 years.However,since 1984 Sikhs started to call it the bandi shorr day, to give an autonomous recognition for the day.Sikhs celebrate Divali or bandi Shorr day by reciting the holy sermons and recounting moments with our Maker..As Sikhs do not idol worship, we do not believe in the Vedic myths and legends of demon gods and demon kings.The common factor of Good of humanity victorious over evil however is shared by sikhs & hindus
Daljeet Singh Sidhu October 28, 2011 at 03:44 AM
To add to your reply... during the first major voyage, when Guru Nanak reached Ayodhya, the pandits there insisted that he join them in lighting the lamps and pray. There Guru Nanak composed a hymn that is listed on page 358 of Guru Granth Sahib. The One Name of the Lord is my lamp; I put the oil of suffering into it. The flame has dried up this oil, and I have escaped my meeting with the messenger of death. (M1, Page 358, SGGS) One page 694 of Guru Granth Sahib, the following hymn is very telling about the lamp a Sikh should light on Dewali. Your Name is the lamp, and Your Name is the wick. Your Name is the oil I pour into it. Your Name is the light applied to this lamp, which enlightens and illuminates the entire world. (Bhagat Ravidaas, Page 694, SGGS)
Joe Dowd (Editor) October 28, 2011 at 04:43 AM
To my friends in the Sikh community: Thank you so much for these detailed explanations of your faith. They continue to help enlighten our community about your beliefs. Please feel free to tell us more.
Daljeet Singh Sidhu October 28, 2011 at 04:58 AM
During Diwali, our Hindu brothers and sisters pray to Lakshmi devi for wealth and prosperity. But Guru Granth Sahib tells us that Millions of treasurers fill His Treasury. Millions of Lakshmis adorn themselves for Him. (Bhagat Kabeer, Page 1163, Sri Guru Granth Sahib) The ONE Lord can fulfill all desires then why pray to anyone else?
Gurcharan Singh October 28, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Joe as you have given us a free hand to explain our religion and community, I will take advantage of that invite and try my best to exhibit the very little known about the my community. Sikhism,one of the major religions of the world and also very distictive with nearly 30,000,000 million followers.Although about 80% of the Sikhs live in their homeland state of Punjab, large numbers are also found in the UK,Afghanistan,Australia, Canada, Malaysia-Singapore,Thailand, Fiji, East Africa and the Middle east countries. Sikhism is a religion based on the teachings of the Ten Gurus[teachers] who emerged from the 15th century and span a period of about 240 years to the 17th century in Northern India.The word Sikh means 'a learner'[or desciple], in the sanskrit language. In present times the Guru of the Sikhs is Guru Granth Sahib, sacred text,compiled by the Gurus themsleves, and regarded today as the very presence of the single light and teaching of the Gurus.The religion itself is a distinctively separate and unique way of life.Sikh philosophy is charaterised by logic, comprehensiveness and a without frills approach to both spiritual and material concerns.Its theology is marked by simplicty rendering to truly m a religion for all humanity. Sikism advocates the belief in ONE God, who is the same God for all religion and belief.EK ON'KAR God is omnipresent and has infinite qualities.All human beings are equal regardless of their religion, sex, colour, race and ethncity.
Gurcharan Singh October 28, 2011 at 09:11 PM
my best to exhibit the very little known about my community. Sikhism,one of the major religions of the world and also very distictive with nearly 30,000,000 million followers.Although about 80% of the Sikhs live in their homeland state of Punjab, large numbers are also found in the UK,Afghanistan,Australia, Canada, Malaysia-Singapore,Thailand, Fiji, East Africa and the Middle east countries. Sikhism is a religion based on the teachings of the Ten Gurus[teachers] who emerged from the 15th century and span a period of about 240 years to the 17th century in Northern India.The word Sikh means 'a learner'[or desciple], in the sanskrit language. In present times the Guru of the Sikhs is Guru Granth Sahib, sacred text,compiled by the Gurus themsleves, and regarded today as the very presence of the single light and teaching of the Gurus.The religion itself is a distinctively separate and unique way of life.Sikh philosophy is charaterised by logic, comprehensiveness and a without frills approach to both spiritual and material concerns.Its theology is marked by simplicty rendering to truly m a religion for all humanity. Sikism advocates the belief in ONE God, who is the same God for all religion and belief.EK ON'KAR God is omnipresent and has infinite qualities.All human beings are equal regardless of their religion, sex, colour, race and ethncity.
Gurcharan Singh October 28, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Joe as you have given us a free hand to explain our religion & community, I will take advantage of that, and try my best to exhibit the very little known about the my community. Sikhism,one of the major religions of the world and also very distictive with nearly 30,000,000 million followers.Although about 80% of the Sikhs live in their homeland state of Punjab, large numbers are also found in the UK,Afghanistan,Australia, Canada, Malaysia-Singapore,Thailand, Fiji, East Africa and the Middle east countries. Sikhism is a religion based on the teachings of the Ten Gurus[teachers] who emerged from the 15th century and span a period of about 240 years to the 17th century in Northern India.The word Sikh means 'a learner'[or desciple], in the sanskrit language. In present times the Guru of the Sikhs is Guru Granth Sahib, sacred text,compiled by the Gurus themsleves, and regarded today as the very presence of the single light and teaching of the Gurus.The religion itself is a distinctively separate and unique way of life.Sikh philosophy is charaterised by logic, comprehensiveness and a without frills approach to both spiritual and material concerns.Its theology is marked by simplicty rendering to truly m a religion for all humanity. Sikhism advocates the belief in ONE God, who is the same God for all religion and belief.EK ON'KAR God is omnipresent and has infinite qualities.All human beings are equal regardless of their religion, sex, colour, race and ethncity. Reply
Gurcharan Singh October 28, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Followers of Sikhism are expected to wake up in the early ambroisal hours, before the sun has risen, and meditate upon Gods Name.They are expected to work hard,honestly and avoid living off others, instead aim to give to others in need,from the fruits of their own labour and effort. Sikhs believe liberation of humanity is only achieved through the meditation of the NAME of GOD and good deeds in action for the needy.Sikhism teaches to defend,safeguard and fight for the rights of all creatures, and human beings when peaceful means to achieve that are failed through cruellity and tyranny by the power mad.Sikhism teaches Sikhs that serving God's creation is serving God himself.One of the core and supermost belief of Sikhism is to have "chardhi kala" or being positive in totality, optimistic and buoyant in life and actions at all times, of worldly ease and dificulties. The Sikh religion is not considered the ONLY way to salavation- people of other beleifs can also achieve salvation through God,known in many names. Sikhism teaches Sikhs to control the five vices of life-ego, anger,greed,attachment and lust!Sikhs are expected to counter or 'attack'these vices with contentment,charity, kindness and a positive attitude and service to mankind with humilty! Upon initiation into the Sikh faith,Khalsa brotherhood Sikhs wear the Five "K"s and follow a 'militaristic' & 'Saintly' code of conduct [rehat] which includes reciting prayers in the morning, evening and at night.
mira November 16, 2011 at 07:45 AM
Very interesting comments but worshipers in the Plainview area have thrown up on nearby residence's lawns after partying and also there have been litter found on the neighboring streets after celebrations where worshipers have been forced to park locally due to a congested parking lot at the center.

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