This is part two of the adventures in Advaita Vedanta... will you travel with me a while?

Thursday Thoughts

Hari OM

We approach the period of the year in which many cultures celebrate with lights, in one form or other. The common thread of light breaking the darkness of the winter months (as these are mainly generated from northern hemisphere cultures) should not escape us. Neither that the light is associated spiritually with inner renewal and strength. 

Traditionally all the lights in these places were naked - that is to say, made by oil lamp or wax candle. Nowadays, we have the convenience (and comparative safety) of electricity. That convenience allows for a greater number of lights, quite often. To the point of garishness and competition! Sometimes whole neighbourhoods get involved in creating brightness and pattern with these power lights. Yet, in doing so, one cannot help but feel that the spiritual essence is lost. Even if one has a simple array in one's own front room, that string of bulbs simply cannot convey that essence nor call to the spirit within us to the same degree as a single naked flame can. 

Soon it will be Diwali; a friend has multiple 'battery candles' to put all around her home. Pretty, but lifeless. My own saadhana of lamps will be restricted to no more than a dozen, but they will be actual flames, flickering and requiring safety precaution, but so much more full of life. 

Of course, one could have a single electric bulb and wonder at the magic in its physics. I do not condemn electricity. I do wonder how many stop to appreciate that the act of lighting a diya is itself a prayer opportunity, that the care of the wick and flame are prayer opportunities, that the watching and waiting for the flame to expire naturally is a spiritual opportunity? 

Then again, each of us must make the occasion what we wish...and it must be acknowledged that not all wish a celebration to be filled with spiritual gratification.

1 comment:

  1. In India the light will be accompanied by sound too during Diwali!