Lights Within and Without - Diwali 2008 at Isha Yoga Center

30 October, 2008

"Let your inner light remain on", -was the gist of Sadhguru's message for Diwali 2008. On this year's Festival of Light in Isha, there were plenty of opportunities to let it shine, in and out.

On the morning of 27 October 2008, a Shivarathri day, Brahmacharis, residents and volunteers of Isha Yoga Center set out to the nearby villages of Dhanikandi, Madakkadu, Poluvampatti, Mullangkadu and Semmedu. The tribal and village children must have anticipated their visit: all dressed up in their best outfits, neatly combed and the girls with flowers in their hair, they ran to meet the Isha lot as they came into the village. Ashram and village residents squeezed in the little one-room community house for Guru Pooja. Subsequently, as vessels with food items prepared at the Ashram kitchen were put in a row, some of the little ones could not keep themselves from peeping under the lid to see what's there. Not making them wait any longer, all the children were invited to sit down and be served hot idlis, sambar, murruku and laddu. As adults watched from a little distance, visibly struggling within themselves whether to go and get their share, Ashram residents and volunteers seized the initiative and went from door to door, distributing sweets and snacks to everyone. After having their feast, the village children all lined up to receive their goodie bags with crackers and sparklers, which of course had to be tried out immediately, and in no time at all, Ashram residents and village youth were happily united in their joy of letting it sparkle and crack and shine all across the village square.

Back at the Ashram, thousands of traditional deepam clay lamps were lit all over the premises. Especially the Temple and Theerthakund were decorated with an abundance of lights and flowers, from the linga-shaped golden top of the dome to the last step towards the Theerthakund.

In the evening, all gathered for fun, frolic and games at the Spanda Hall garden. After this warm up, it was time to proceed to Spanda Hall for enchanting cultural performances by Ashram residents in the presence of Sadhguru. Isha Samskriti children started off with an impressive display of their Kalari skills to the beat of the traditional drums, followed by an athletic Kalari performance by Ashram residents and Brahmacharis that they themselves had choreographed to a popular song. From the pointedness of martial arts to the fluency of traditional dance motions, an Isha teacher trainee gave a splendid Kathak dance whose appeal lay in its fast footwork, spins and characteristic narrative expressions. The next item was a Dandia-ras, a Gujarati stick dance, which added to the joyous atmosphere as residents and Samskriti children whirled in circles, striking their sticks to the rhythm of music. As Sounds of Isha took over, everyone in the Hall was up on their feet, dancing and jumping in joy. The rollicking celebration concluded on a tempered, culinary note with a delicious dinner in the Spanda Hall garden. The Dhyanalinga Temple and Theerthakund, softly illuminated by innumerable oil lamps, were open until midnight - an opportunity for everyone to heed the Master's word for the day and turn inward.

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