Monday, November 18, 2013

Embracing Light and Darkness - Karthigai - The Festival of Lights

Last night, while we were out in the city, Raghav heard a lot of firecrackers being burst as many people celebrated Karthigai yesterday. The whole car journey back home was laden with questions ranging from firecrackers - what they are made of, how they go up or spin or explode into colours, safety of those, why people like to burst firecrackers,and then onto bombs....what are bombs made of, how they are made, why people make them, and why people want to destroy things and hurt other people. While we did not know the answers to most of those questions (as he was looking for details) and we decided to Google for those answers, the last question triggered off a discussion which touched upon embracing our darkness...He wanted to know why people would burst bombs if people were going to hate them for doing that....."Why would they be so crazy? Why would they want to be hated by people? Why would they want to die?"....these were tough questions that could be explored only when one went deep into a space within of love and compassion...we spoke about how perhaps these people did not love themselves and actually needed so much love to fill the lack that they felt inside.

Today is Karthigai festival for us - a festival of lights, almost a continuation of Deepavali, in the south. Often when I am stuck and don't know why we celebrate a particular festival, this is after asking my mother-in-law, and her not knowing the answer, I go and look in this book written by my dear school and childhood friend - "Follow the Hindu Moon". It is an amazing and very well-researched and written book of Hindu festivals in South India. You can read more about it here.

Looking back today, that is perhaps the spirit of celebrating a festival of lights like learn how to embrace the light and darkness inside of ourselves and everybody embark on that eternal quest of the Light light up another life with love, light and joy....
"Lighted to Lighten"!

Here is a photo essay of sorts on how we celebrated this wonderful festival of lights!....

Raghav helped me with screwing on
different parts of the brass lamps.

He helped me put the wicks in all the lamps, while I decorated each lamp with dots of turmeric and kumkum.....reminiscing how I used to do that with my grandmother when I was little, every week, after she had scrubbed the lamps sparkling clean...

I recycle the oil that I use in the kitchen after frying things, to light lamps at home, and did the same today as well. It took me a long time to break this wall in my head that I had, about using this oil for "God" or for puja, until I redefined for myself what God and puja meant to me.

I love lighting lamps of all shapes and sizes....they bring a sense of inner peace, stillness, balance and a quiet energy


appam and moong dal payasam/ kheer (completely vegan made with cashew milk) - Yumminess! :)                       

the entrance to our humble home

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