Karthika: Light Up the Night
Karthika – a beautiful night of lamp-lighting–was celebrated here tonight. A Tamil festival, Karthika arrives very close to the Winter Solstice, when Mother Nature Herself invites us to remember that as individuals and as a vast human family we have the power to leave darkness behind.
At the end of the day on Karthika after a bath and a change into fresh clothing a prayer of dedication is offered to the Divine. Countless brass and clay lamps are filled with golden sesame oil and fitted with white cotton wicks. The gleaming lamps are carefully carried outside and arranged in harmonious designs in front of one’s home. At least one lamp is placed on every side of the house, eliminating any chance for darkness to hide.
At sundown, the lamps are lit with reverence by sari-clad women and dhoti-donning men. Children enjoy fireworks, playing and laughing in the sparkling, festive streets filled with neighbors, family and friends. Later, when the flames flicker low, families come inside for a celebratory meal of kaachil, a large tasty, root that turns from white in its raw state to a violet color when steamed, served sprinkled with lots of cracked black pepper. Karthika is the one night of the year children are allowed to drink tender coconut water after dark, and they enjoy this cooling treat immensely.
What brings light to your spirit and life?
What do you feel drawn to do that will bring more light into the world?
It’s essential to our healing that we act on our desire to walk into the light. That we strike the match and ignite the flame inside us that allows us to say “Yes” to life and to recognizing our unique gifts so we can offer our best energies to increasing the well-being of Bhumiour planet Earth and all Her beings.
The lamps lit on Karthika are a symbol of tejas, the effulgence of mind that allows us to discern truth from falsehood, nourishment from empty distraction, and goodness from destruction.
When our mind is illuminated, it becomes easy to say, “Yes!” to our higher selves, and to taking positive, loving action.
When our mind is effulgent, we don’t hesitate to say, “No, thank you!” to any temptation that may arise to make decisions based in fear.
When it’s time for rest, the spent lamps are collected and brought inside. All retire feeling uplifted and refreshed in the knowledge that with Grace as our support each one of us has the power to kindle the light of recognition, of knowledge, understanding and inspiration.
And when we all get together to light our sacred flames, the whole world becomes beautifully illuminated…
by Niika Quistgard, Director/Managing Director
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