Hidden Treasures of the East
Exploring the true meaning of yoga’s gifts to the West. Diwali - the Festival of Light
Originating in the East, Diwali is a famous festival celebrating light over darkness. Falling on the new moon, millions of candles are lit by households to shine light on this dark night to conquer the negative spirits that linger in the darkness. It is a celebration of good over evil. Families, friends, communities gather to participate in the festivities. The best clothes are worn, the most scrumptious dishes are cooked - there is colour, joy, laughter and fun! The underlying essence though is spiritual development: the significance of lighting a candle to purify our souls to eventually liberate us from material attachments.
Fire itself is a source of light and a source of life in many ways. It creates a field of energy around itself, an etheric sphere. When a candle is lit, it fills the whole space with an energy, signifying a living presence as the flame dances - alive, hot and bright. The burning flame invokes our inner state, cleansing and purifying our minds and hearts.
In the East, many households light a diya (a wick made of cotton wool doused in ghee, purified butter) daily as part of prayers, ceremonies and rituals as it signifies goodness, fortune and abundance over darkness and anything associated with evil.
The ghee symbolises the lower vibrational energies such as greed, lust, jealousy, hatred, the wick is symbolic of the ego, whereas the flame, the soul. When the wick burns the ghee, it destroys these negative energies, the ego also perishes, liberating the soul and guiding it to the path of enlightenment.
Lighting a candle
Lighting a candle for some of us has become a daily discipline, a spiritual tool, a key to meditation.
When we meditate on the flame, we connect to source, establishing our own relationship and interaction, allowing the higher powers to help us navigate through our own darkness. When we light a candle, we step into timelessness, we experience meditation, peace, stillness. From this state, we are able to perceive and make measured decisions. As we focus on the flame we set ourselves free from our karmic patterns, our own conditioning blocks. With an open heart, we truly experience unconditional love for ourselves and each other.
We awaken our own inner fire. As we light the fire outside of ourselves we manifest our own inner fire, that which connects us to our true state and awakening journey. This connectivity is yoga. We expand our consciousness to that which is authentic as we are guided to make the decisions that best serve our purpose.
From Darkness into Light
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih
Lead me from Ignorance to Truth,
Lead me from Darkness to Light,
Lead me from Death to the Immortality,
Om Peace, Peace, Peace
This Sanskrit mantra beautifully describes the journey from darkness into light as it’s dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the powerful energy of the divine feminine. It is the light that guides us through our lives.
By Sonal Thakrar (kleem.co.uk)
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.