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  • President Obama: On behalf of the American people,

  • I want to extend my warmest wishes for Diwali to all who

  • celebrate this auspicious holiday,

  • here in America and around the world.

  • Diwali is the festival of lights;

  • a time when members of some of the worlds great faiths

  • celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

  • Its significance is laid out in the Sanskrit verse:

  • Lead us from falsehood to truth, from darkness to light,

  • from death to immortality.

  • In Hinduism, Diwali marks the return of the Lord Rama from

  • exile when small lamps lit his way home.

  • The lighting of these lamps continues today;

  • marking the celebration as a time of reflection on a year

  • gone by and a time to pray for a good year to come.

  • In Jainism the occasion celebrates the attainment of

  • nirvana by Lord Mahavira, one of the long line of spiritual

  • leaders known for achieving enlightenment by freeing

  • themselves of base human impulses and emotions.

  • In Sikhism, Diwali is a celebration of freedom for

  • Guru Har Gobind; the religion's sixth Guru.

  • Well this is a time of celebration it is also

  • a time of contemplation.

  • When we remember those who are less fortunate;

  • those who may not be eating as heartedly or celebrating as

  • festively, those who don't enjoy the same rights to speak and

  • worship freely and make of their lives what they wish.

  • Our hearts are with them not just today, but every day.

  • And at this sacred time of year, let us join together across

  • denominations, religion and cultures to make a habit of

  • empathy and to reach out to those most in need.

  • To share the blessings we enjoy and advance the cause of peace

  • in all corners of our world.

  • As families and communities gather to rejoice and to reflect

  • over great food and delicious Methi,

  • please know that you are in our thoughts and that Michelle and I

  • wish you a happy Diwali and Salamu balac.

President Obama: On behalf of the American people,

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