Wow, what a weekend ahead! Halloween just gone. New moon, Diwali, Bonfire night all coming up. This is asking for one hell of a new beginning, me thinks.
Diwali (short for Deepavali and translated as “row of lamps” *) marks a Hindu new year and is celebrated by Indian communities around the world. The 5-day festival begins today with the most important night of the celebrations coinciding with the new moon on Sunday. Auspicious, or what!
Diwali is popularly known as the “festival of lights” and, whilst it involves lighting little clay lamps filled with oil, the light in question really refers to the light within. In the words of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: "Diwali, in essence, is celebrated to kindle the light of wisdom in every heart, the light of life in every home, and bring a smile on every face."
* The lamps signify the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and are to help the goddess Lakshmi to find her way into people’s homes. Of course, there are regional differences and many rituals, legends and stories are associated with the festival.
Lakshmi is one of the best loved and most widely worshipped forms of the goddess: the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and the embodiment of beauty. The belief in Hindu culture goes that if you worship Lakshmi, success and fortune will be yours. Ah, but there's a catch. The worship must be pure and sincere, not motivated by greed. As a consort of Vishnu (the god preserver and protector of the universe), Lakshmi accompanies him in the function of sustaining the universe. She represents all the things we need for a good life: beauty, abundance, good fortune, material and spiritual wealth -- she's quite the Goddess!
TRY THIS AT THE WEEKEND
♥ Light some candles, think of Lakshmi and meditate for a few minutes.
♥ Take stock of what’s been happening with you lately and spend some time setting an intention for the day / week / month / year ahead.
♥ Spend the day with your family, friends, people you love.
♥ Go watch a fireworks display.
♥ If you happen to find yourself near a Hindu temple, don’t hesitate to pop in, everybody’s welcome. Soak up the atmosphere, the food, the lights, the blessings.
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