Tag Archives: Rama

blessed.

as i sit here thinking back to the past 5 days of diwali, i can’t help being drawn to the realization that i am so incredibly blessed. there is so much i have to be thankful for, and the question that looms in the back of my mind is, how can i show my gratefulness?

this was my very first diwali celebration in india, and it was such an incredible experience in itself, and the more i think about it, it included a lot of “firsts” for me. it was my first time doing rangoli (see picture), it was my first time doing fireworks by myself (i have a fear that they’ll blow up in my face before i can run away), it was my first time celebrating with family members besides my parents, it was the first time i felt a sense of community during such an auspicious time of year, and it was the first time where diwali wasn’t something i just came home to after a long day of school and classes.

the food was amazing, the decorations were spectacular, the clothes were beautiful. but more than anything, the time spent with my family and neighbors, the excited atmosphere, the smiles on everyone’s faces- that is what made these past 5 days worth it.

sometimes it’s really hard to look past the dazzle of this season. i’m guilty of it every year. this time of year is by far my favorite. i love christmas shopping and cookie baking, but i get so involved that i forget why i enjoy it so much. it’s not just to get presents for my loved ones, but the horrible traffic and long lines are worth it when you see that smile, that genuine expression on their faces that show how much they appreciate what you just did for them.

it’s about being the light in the darkness. there is more to just lighting a divo or stringing christmas lights outside your house. one small flame can brighten an entire room. one small act can change another person’s entire perspective/attitude. there is a mantra in the vedas “tamaso ma jyotir gamaya” which translates to “Lead me from darkness to light.” lead me from ignorance to knowledge. i want to seek the Truth, but when i can’t see clearly, when i’m lost in the dark, how is that journey possible? this path has been lit for me. how will i show my appreciation?

so, i think there is more to gratefulness than just a prayer of thanks. i can wake up every morning and tell God how thankful i am for every blessing i have in my life-family, friends, education, health, etc. but, sometimes just a genuine hug or smile is more than enough. i can be that light. after all, i am just an instrument of God, and my actions speak louder than my words.

first day divas on our balcony

me and my cousin working on our rangoli. safe to say my neck hurt a lot after it was done

final product of rangoli. so much time spent on this for real. not to mention my hands being 7 different colors because of the ink of the sand

decorations outside of our door in the hallway. each night we would light the divas with our neighbors

so many fireworks!

one that i set off. so proud!

fireworks

“Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya”

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it’s finally that time of year

It’s safe to say that the holiday season is officially upon us across the world. Thanksgiving and family time is anticipated in the States. The arrival of St. Nicholas and the birth of Jesus Christ are in the air across the world. Here in India, Diwali, the biggest festival of our culture, starts tomorrow. And of course the celebration of the end of this year, and the ringing in of 2013 will be the perfect ending to what truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I just want to take a minute to remind myself, more than anything, that past the lights, gifts, and feasts, there is something greater to these days, and that is family, love, happiness, and gratefulness.

As we enjoy the food and gifts this season, let’s remember to be grateful that we have even been given the opportunity. Love. Be happy. Be grateful.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”          –Brother David Steindl-Rast

shakti [strength]

Happy Navratri everyone! The festival season is finally upon us, and we are now into day 5 of Navratri. Garba season is probably one of my favorite times of the year. It is such a colorful and joyous time, bringing hundreds and thousands of people together. It is a symbol of victory over evil and truly shows strength in numbers. There are many stories behind the origin of garba. One of them goes like this: there was a raakshas named Mahisaasur (monster; essentially, an individual who is adharmic, against good, against culture, etc.) ravaging a town. The people of the town eventually were helpless and they prayed to Maha Kaali (she has many forms, but is a representation of strength) for so many days and she heard their prayers and came and killed Mahisaasur so they could live peacefully. Another story dates back to the times of Lord Ram. It was during the war between Ram and Raavan (here’s a quick synopsis), again, it was a fight between dharma and adharma. The war lasted 9 days, and on the 10th day, called Dashera, was the day Lord Ram defeated Raavan.

amazing costumes adorn each person

The traditional Gujurati folk dance of garba can be found all over the U.S. In India, it is quite a spectacle to say the least. Literally thousands upon thousands of people pile in to huge grounds and dance for 3-5 hours each of the 9 days, late into the night. Not only that, but there are groups that come with all sorts of props like decorated umbrellas, dandiyaas, ribbons, fire, and all sorts of things. The first day I went, I didn’t

look at the colors

even dance (despite my love for garba). I just roamed the fields to watch all the different groups with their props and everything. You just become so entranced by the colors, the music, and the joy that is enclosed in that one space, it’s impossible to not soak in the positivity around you.

There are so many great examples like this from the Indian culture that show that good always victors over evil. When I read stories like this, I’m reminded of how even the bad qualities in myself, my laziness, jealousy, anger, whatever, can be overpowered by positive attributes internally and externally. Not only that, but it shows that consistency in your life and directing yourself and your life to the Ultimate, can definitely bring your life fulfillment and you can truly be considered a child of God. The road you take depends on what works for you, but there are millions to choose from.

Today, let good victor over the bad in your life. Embrace the positive you have in your life and let it overpower the bad, and choose to be on the path of strength and optimism.

Mosquito Bite Count: 7 | Serious Craving: Onion Rings

a picture of how many people come to just one day of garba

people on people

just cute live, traditional musicians grace you as you enter the field