Kartik Purnima: Why do we light oil lamps?

significance of lighting oil lamps
(PC: Bigstock)

 

While researching the basis of lighting oil lamps or diyas on Kartik Purnima, I came across this very informative article by Sadhguru on their official website (isha.sadhguru.org). This is what he has to say on the significance of lighting a lamp today.

“Ours is a culture where we did not do anything that is not scientific and naturally for the enhancement of the human being, so that they can reach towards their ultimate wellbeing or liberation. The lamp is indicative of enlightenment, awareness, consciousness and ultimate liberation. All this is symbolized with the lamps that we light. So when you light a lamp before you start your day, it is because you want to bring the same quality into yourself.  It is symbolism; it’s a way of invoking your own inner nature.

It is a part of tradition that to create the right kind of atmosphere, the first thing that you do is light a lamp. But those of you who light a lamp, if you simply be there around it, you will notice it makes a difference. You don’t need to believe in any God. It need not even be dark, the lamp need not be a visual aid, but do you notice it makes some kind of a difference? This is because the moment you light a lamp, not the flame itself but around the flame a certain etheric sphere will naturally happen.

Where there is an etheric sphere, communication will be better. Did you ever sit around a campfire in your life? If you did, you would have seen that stories told around the campfire always have the maximum impact on people. Have you noticed this? The storytellers of yore understood this – stories told around the campfire are always the most effective stories. Receptivity will be at its best.

So if you want to start anything, or you want to create a certain atmosphere, a lamp is lit. This comes from the understanding that when you light a lamp, apart from the visual aspect, it fills the whole place with a different kind of energy.” 

 

So, whether you believe in God or no, light a lamp today to invoke your inner nature. What a rich tradition and culture we have inherited.

Wish you all a very happy Gurpurab and Kartik Purnima!

Gurpurab
(PC: From the internet)

 

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Happy Diwali!

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Wish you all a very happy Diwali. Gorge on sweets, share meals, elongate your tea times, pray together, experience gratitude, become a giver, spread happiness, celebrate love, laughter and light with your family, friends and strangers.

Have a blissful life! Have an illuminating life!

Happy Karwa Chauth: To that magical, lovable and imperfect love!

Happy Karwa Chauth
Imperfect mehndi, Perfect love (yes yes, it’s a cliche but it is what it is!) 

Love is magical. Love is eternal. Love is a symphony of two souls destined to walk together. Love makes every imperfect relationship perfect. Fasting or no fasting, Happy Karwa Chauth to you all! Look Beautiful, Feel Beautiful and Nurture a Beautiful Relationship, as Beautiful as You Are!

 

When nuclear families become joint again! When desire to dress up froth again! When life becomes life again!

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Festive season is here, spreading the spiritual and celebratory aura all around. I am sure for most of us in India, this is the most spirited time of the year. When weather whips a fancy dream, when every sight around is bliss, when the desire to dress up froth again, when the love for sun takes a 360-degree turn, when the idea of walking up to a nearby shop no longer breaks a sweat, when body metabolism rises and so does the cravings for sweets and snacks, when the heart dances at the early morning dew on leaves, when houses are dusted and shined to welcome the festivities, when homes start brimming with people, when endless plans are weaved in households to accommodate the festive rituals one after the another, when the eyes of parents who live alone illuminate at the thought of their children coming back home for Diwali, when nuclear families become joint again (even if for few festive days), when life becomes life again in every house, when closeness and physical presence of your loved ones gives a new meaning to life, when the heart brims with joy and dances to the rhythm of existence and the list continues…

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Today marks the beginning of Kartik month, which, for a layperson like me, means worshipping goddess Tulsi, giving her a prominent place in our aangan, lighting up a diya every morning and evening, and singing tulsi aarti followed by tulsi parikrama. Trust me when I say this, hymns of tulsi ringing in the house during evenings is an experience in itself. Tulsi symbolises ‘piousness’. When I was young, naani ma and parents used to bathe at the crack of the dawn (Taaro ki chaao). With advancing age, some rituals have found another expression of devotion but the meaning has only gotten stronger.

Funnily enough, mom, sister and I never mastered the full aarti of tulsi and saanjhi (Goddess that stays with us during navratras). We sing some four lines of the aarti and love it that way only because it has been an eternal part of our childhood. It is still “tulsi maharani namoh namah…”, and “saanjhi maayi aarta…”  Later, A (husband) taught me the actual tulsi aarti that he learnt during his stay in Iskon.

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Yesterday was Sharad Purnima, and gadbade as celebrated in our part of the country. Sweet kheer (or chiwda ) is kept under full moonlight and eaten as prashad the next day. During night, kids ring a bell and yell, “gadbade de do” with mustard oil diya lit up in their hands. We give them few coins and pour oil in their lamps. The happiness on their faces is a sight to behold. So much for life’s simple pleasures.

Hope you all are also enjoying and preparing for the festivities with love and excitement. Wish you grand festivities with your loved ones. May the devotion and pureness of Goddess Tulsi spread in every household and inside every soul.

Light, peace and bliss!

Durga Ashtami, Spirituality & Selfishness

Happy Durga Ashtami

 

As good as it may be to be selfless, spiritual journey begins with a smidgen of selfishness. No, absolute selfishness. The golden rule of spirituality is ‘You’ (Inner Self), undiluted attention on the self.

If you are happy, it’s you

If you are sad, it’s you

If you are calm, it’s you

If you are angry, it’s you

If you are loveful, it’s you

If you are jealous, it’s you

If you are humble, it’s you

If you are arrogant, it’s you

If you are humiliated, it’s you

If you are appreciated, it’s you

 

It’s you

…In the way you feel

…In the way you internalise

…In the way you respond

…In the way you create good or bad thoughts

…In the way you choose your next karma

 

Selfishness and spirituality

 

Selflessness will emerge when it has to. Right now, the time (phase) is to be selfish.

Selfish, in introspecting every thought in your head

Selfish, in scanning the soul

Selfish, in watching how you feel when someone does good to you

Selfish, in watching how you feel when someone hurts you

 

It’s not, and will not, be an easy learning. But what comes easy in life, without the toil, without the pain, without the burning of the soul to purify the ‘Self’. What better day it can be than Durga Ashtami to invoke the ‘Shakti’ of Maa Durga and begin the journey of soul-cleansing. To ask for her blessings in giving you the inner strength and resilience to walk through this life in the purest way possible. To rebut every anger, hate, indifference, humiliation and failure with love, peace and compassion.

Let’s take a small step today. Let’s pray for ‘Maa Shakti’s’ blessings and grace to begin the spiritual journey. Let’s spread out our consciousness to attract pious, peaceful and powerful vibrations. Let’s watch our inner self with a smidgen of selfishness. No, absolute selfishness.

I wish you all a very happy Durga Ashtami!

 

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Unselfishness: a man who does not know himself, to tell him to be unselfish is so outrageously idiotic. Socrates says, “Know thyself; anything else is secondary.” Knowing thyself, you can be unselfish. In fact, you will be unselfish; it won’t be an effort on your part. Knowing thyself, you will know not only yourself, but you will know the self of everyone. It is the same; it is one consciousness, one continent. People are not islands.

But without teaching people how to know their own being, we are playing a very dangerous game, and one which has appealed to people because they have used a beautiful word, unselfishness. It looks religious, it looks spiritual. When I say to you, “First be selfish,” it does not look spiritual.

Selfish?

Your mind is conditioned that unselfishness is spiritual. I know it is, but unless you are selfish enough to know yourself, unselfishness is impossible. Unselfishness will come as a consequence of knowing yourself, of being yourself. Then unselfishness will not be an act of virtue, not done in order to gain rewards in heaven. Then unselfishness will simply be your nature, and each act of unselfishness will be a reward unto itself.

Osho

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(Credit: All pictures have been sourced from the Internet)

‘Nappily Ever After’

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‘You never let someone’s negative opinion of you become your reality.’

What an amazing thought! This line has stayed with me since yesterday night after I watched ‘Nappily Ever After’ on Netflix. It’s a movie based on the book by Trisha R. Thomas about a woman named Violet, who is obsessed with how her hair looks. She is a black woman with fizzy hair and has white girls (read perfect looks) as her competition.

The root cause of her hair obsession is her mother, who has brought her up in a way that she attaches too much importance to looks. Surely, the mother had her own challenges and life experiences to develop that perspective. As life moves on, Violet goes through experiences that bring to the fore her hidden desire to be comfortable in her own skin than looking perfect all the time. At one point, she says something like this:

‘I gained so much time by not thinking about my hair. It was like a second job. I got to think so much about other aspects of my life than hair.’

Ha ha! How true! Indeed, there’s more to life than just hair. Now, let me share my gyaan too as if the movie was not enough to inspire :-).

It is always the right decision to follow your heart even if you feel wronged later on. Even if that means your life journey looks something like this:  disastrous decisions, endless mistakes, failures, becoming a laughing stock, abundant criticism, being a nobody, staying single, marrying thrice, quitting job, starting a business and failing, not finding your way in life, being imperfect and the list may go on.

Get lost in life than being safe and never losing the path. Following your heart comes with its set of consequences. Still, yet, in spite of that and for sure, do all that your heart desires. Not doing what you want to do is the biggest burden you can carry with you when you die.

Bloom, bloom, simply bloom!

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