Happy Diwali…..What’s the Significance of this Indian Festival?

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Asato Ma Sat Gamaya Tamaso Ma, Jyotir Gamaya Mrityor Ma, Amritam Gayama, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti OM

We recite this invocation at every yoga sadhana: Take us from the unreal, to the real, take us from darkness to Light, Take us from death to immortality.  This is from the ancient Brihadaranyak Upanishad, 1.3.28….

This reference about darkness and light relates to ignorance and knowledge.  Ignorance, like darkness obscures true understanding.  The remedy for darkness is light, and the remedy for ignorance  is knowledge of one’s own true nature, our Divine Spirit.

The cultural significance is this festival is a way to enjoy and celebrate our Spiritual Birth, our Second Birth.  Diwali celebrations take place all over the whole subcontinent of India, from north to south, east to west, from different religions from Hindu, Sikh to Jain and Christian, including Muslim as it is an agrarian harvest celebration and the business of farming includes all who consume.  The festival spreads over five days, historically marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of the winter season.  Farmers give thanks for their bounty and wealth.  Lakshmi is the deity associated with wealth and is celebrated to bring continued good fortune for families.

Diwali, (spelled differently depending on the state and religious background) means lighting diyas (small clay vessels filled with oil and lit with cotton wicks).  These lights are arranged in huge arrays in beautiful patterns like the rangoli drawings (like the background pictures on this homepage.  The picture just above this text has tea light candles as any candle may be used and fire crackers are often lighted to celebrate the spark of our inner light.

The Yogic and Spiritual significance celebrates the realization of our own inner Light.  Honoring, Atman, the pure, infinite and eternal Divine Energy which can be awakened in all people.  This celebration of victory of good over evil signifies the victory of self-knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness.  The awareness that we are much more than our physical body, but an infinite, ever-present Spirit.  Every year people celebrate their birthday and Diwali celebrates their second birth…the Spiritual Awakening…our Inner Light…the true reality for All.

I read this as a post on Facebook…“Auditions are being held for you to be yourself…Apply within.”

May you choose to wake up and realize your Inner Light!  HAPPY DIWALI!!!!!!!!!

Hari OM Tat Sat OM

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2 responses »

  1. I now practice Isha Kriya every evening before I go to bed with the suggested sentences “I am not the body, I am not even the mind”. I enjoy the whole thing but the sentences leave an afterthought. I wonder why. Maybe because they are so explicit; maybe because they involve a negation. So, I am curious how I will feel about it in the future, if there will be a change.

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