A lighted lamp is a key symbolism in Diwali utsav. Light in Indian culture represents knowledge. But strangely we seem to hear a lot about a victory of ‘Good’ over ‘Evil’ during Diwali. This is quite superficial and even shallow. The ‘Good over Evil’ explanation certainly lacks credibility from an Indian perspective. Evil bashing has become so rampant that, for every major Indian festival, this ‘evil’ is made a fashionable scapegoat for explaining festive significance. It is a kind of a warmonger’s lingo, especially when the English word ‘evil’ has no translation in any Indian language. To get to the central message of the Diwali utsav, we just need to draw our attention to the key symbolism – Light.
Category Archives: Celebrations
Goddess Kali (pronounced Kaali) baffles the modern mind. The image of Kali would probably give a nightmare to a tender mind or even appear grotesque. But for centuries, India has known Kali as raw feminine energy and as a manifested Goddess. Though she is fierce, no child growing up in India fears Kali. So, what’s in this fierce female form of Kali that makes her a Divine mother in India? Or is Kali yet another tool in the ancient Indian pedagogy to communicate quantum truths to lay intelligence?
Navratri 2012 is ON. The nine evenings of Navratri no doubt has a spiritual significance to the devout, but it is also a time to celebrate ‘womanhood’ ~ the Indian way and that too for 9 consecutive days.But , today we seem to have forgotten the art of honouring women and she is shown on TV as a jalebibhai, chikni chameli, madam malai, anarkali disco chali, beedi jalaikey….Not to speak about the abhorrent treatment given to her in some sections of the society. Navratri comes to us as good reminder to discover the shakti that have been dormant for quite some time.
Lord Ganesha is popularly known as Vighneshwara – the Lord of obstacles. For those on the spiritual path, Lord Ganesha represents a perfect wisdom to remove all obstacles that comes in the way of attaining God. But to those who need a empirical proof of God, the legends of Lord Ganesha’s eight temples in Maharashta collectively called Ashta-Vinayak temples offer much mysticism.
Many of us from India celebrate more than one New Year. Besides the 1st of January every year, we also celebrate another New Year day based on the region we come from in India and the Indian calendar. What are the origins of this Indian calendar which has been around for more than 5000 years? Who invented it? What is it based on?
The pedestrian view of real India is changing as we are coming to know more about Indian heritage. Thanks to some recent archaeological research, discoveries on linguistics, new satellite imagery and some objective historical research that the last two decades has seen the myths about Indian culture and heritage smashed.
Navratri ~ Festival of nine sacred nights
These days we hear a lot about expensive workshops that help harness the powers of our own mind. Our Indian culture offers the same transformation but only if we understand the deep significance and true meaning of our festivals, invocations and the accompanying rituals etc, with guidance of a Guru.
21st of August is Janmashtami – the birthday of the smiling Lord Krishna. He is the poster-boy of the Hindu pantheon whose life and teachings teach us how to live life the smart way and holistically. Right from his birth in a prison cell, his life has been full of mighty challenges, but as a liberated soul Lord Krishna smiled his way through life’s situations unaffected. Behind his responses and smiles lies a philosophy that he personally advised to many of his close friends and devotees? What is this philosophy that will help us look at life through Lord Krishna’s eyes?
Ganesh Utsav perhaps provides a platform for the biggest display of God symbolism on earth. The ten day Ganesh Utsav is probably the only festive period when we see most idols of any Hindu deity. In Hinduism, art & sculpture has been traditionally employed from Veda Vyasa’s time to help us discover the hidden meaning of subtler truths. Given this Hindu methodology of communicating the greater truths through arty idols, Lord Ganesha with the elephant head on a human body also relay something deep and esoteric. What is the heart behind the art of Ganesha?
Shubh Deepavali to you and your family. Deepavali or Diwali ~ the Hindu festival of lights brings to our mind images of diyas, sweets, puja, colourful lights, fire crackers, feasting, new purchases, socializing and lots of fun. Here is a little quiz to remind ourselves about Diwali and the origins that makes Diwali the most popular festival of India.
India is probably the only country where a religious day is linked to a practice of gold buying. It is the ‘gold’en day of ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ and we are talking tons of gold here. According to estimates, India is the world’s largest consumer of Gold. India, the world’s largest consumer of the yellow metal, bought some 842 tonnes of Gold in 2014 compared with 813.6 tonnes by China. So what makes Akshaya Tritiya a day for GOLD?
Diwali or Deepavali (commonly known as ‘row of lights’) has a lot of spirit in it. Our celebrations of this yearly Diwali festival could have more meaning and bite to it, if we know its true spirit and significance, as explained by wise and learned souls. Otherwise our Diwali and the greetings could be just an annual ritual. The wise say that the real significance of Diwali is intrinsic and hidden in the very symbolic worship, rituals and traditions that we follow in our homes.
It’s festival time again. Dassera or Dassera is on October 17 this year according to the ancient Hindu lunar calendar. Though Navaratri is generally understood as a festival of nine nights, the tenth day marks the end of Navaratri celebrated as Dassera (also known as Vijaya Dashami). In this 10 day festival, why is the tenth day of Dassera spiritually important?
India as we all know is colourful with her people, festivals including the very geography. India has greenery, snow, different shades of soils, landscapes, deserts, rivers, seasons, people and the whole atmosphere is so full of colour. Add to that our colourful festival of HOLI where colours are literally used to show the spirit of the mind.
Diwali is here and its time for celebration. Where and how will you be spending this Festival of Lights? So what have you planned for Diwali? What sweets are you making this time? Are you decorating your home with electric lights? Any special purchase planned for the family? Have you done the list of people you want to send e-cards? What will you be cooking for Diwali? Any plans for celebrating Diwali in a deeper spiritual manner?
What is Gokulashtami?
14h August this year is Gokulashtami or Krishna Janmashtami. Gokulashtami is a very auspicious day for the Hindus across the world. Gokul is the name of the place where Lord Krishna was brought up. It is the birthday of Lord Krishna – the most widely recognized Hindu gods, worshiped as the eighth incarnation of Vishnu and as the supreme deity.
>> Renewing the spirit of India
Independence Day, August 15, commemorates the day in 1947 when India achieved political freedom from British rule. Every year here in Auckland, we have social groups celebrating this day with cultural events and much love for the land we originate from. Of course, India is not the only country who got independence from another country or power. Of the 190 odd countries in the world, there are atleast 142 countries that have Independence Days including the United States of America.
The beauty of Indian culture with all its festivals, customs, rituals, traditions and deep philosophy is designed to nurture relationships. The importance of relationship is amply demonstrated and stressed as foremost in its Indian scheme of living ~ be it the relationship of parent-child, teacher-student, husband-wife, brother-sister, humans-other beings, mankind-universe and even the primary relationship between man and GOD.
What is Guru Poornima?
7th July this year is the holy day of Guru Poornima. ‘Guru’ literally means ‘The one who dispels ignorance (avidyaa)’. ‘Poornima’ means ‘Full Moon Day’.