Friday, November 09, 2007


Today is Diwali, the Indian Festival of Light.

Many cultures in India celebrate this five-day festival - Hindus (many legends are there), Sikhs (their Sixth Guru was released from prison that day, and it's the day their holy book, the Guru Sahib, arrived at the Golden Temple), and Jains (it's the day of nirvana of Lord Mahavira).

But this explanation, from Wikipedia, is the most relevant to yogis:

While Deepavali is popularly known as the "festival of lights", the most significant esoteric meaning is "the awareness of the inner light".

Central to Hindu philosophy, is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of this Inner Light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one's true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, imminent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman, comes universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (Inner Joy or Peace).

....While the story behind Deepavali varies from region to region, the essence is the same - to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman).

On a more worldy level, you get to buy new clothes and jewelry and exchange sweets and flowers and visit the temple and light lamps and go to parties (if you're actually invited to any) and concerts (Dandiya queen Falguni Pathak performed here last week) and bhangra and gidda dance competitions.

In your new clothes, of course.

Plus all the big-budget Bollywood blockbuster movies featuring various Kapoors and Khans open today - at mainstream downtown cinemas no less. The utterly amazing Om Shanti Om (below) is playing at Piper's Alley, and Saawariya is at 600 N. Michigan.

So it's also the festival of flickering light - at 24 frames per second.

It works for me....


Farah Khan, the female director of Om Shanti Om says it's not a remake of the 1980 blockbuster Karz (which in turn was based on 1975's The Reincarnation of Peter Proud). Whatever. It's definitely an inspiration. Om Shanti Om kicks off with a rollicking update of this classic video, from Karz. It's awesome x10.


  1. overtaxed soon to be former chicagoan11:17 AM

    Buying in Chicago with the 10% sales tax is too expensive for me.
    I'll shop in little India in the burbs.

  2. Dear overtaxed chicagoan, I'm a former chicagoan living in Germany, where the sales tax is 19%. It helps reduce over-consumption.