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DALLAS (CBS 11 News) ? For centuries most people from India have been doing special prayers on this day to the goddess of wealth and prosperity.  Now, with economic times such as they are, some say those prayers are more important than ever.

Tuesday night, thousands of people came to celebrate the centuries old Hindu festival of Diwali, or the Festival of Lights.

As part of the celebration, priests and a spiritual leader from India, that many people came to see, took to the stage singing and chanting ancient Vedic prayers.

Diwali is sort of a New Year celebration for Hindus… a new year many are hoping will be prosperous.

“You throw light on your life,” says spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.  “The wisdom you have gained in your life.”

Oil lamps are lit as a symbol of the light or wisdom within — good over evil.

The idea is to pray from a place of enlightenment.  The faithful hope prayers for wealth and prosperity are heard by the Goddess Luxmi, who for Hindus is an attribute God.  “It’s one God, but honored and respected in different attributes or forms,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explained.

But can prayers to the goddess of wealth and prosperity help current economic troubles?

“It is the greed that has brought us to the present crisis,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar answered.  “If sincerely somebody prayers… definitely the prayers are answered.”

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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