20 November 2006

Deepam is Light

A Hindu religious festival merges myth and sacred time with the ordinary temporal flow since 'reality' does not exist in India where even the passage of time is illusory.

The sacred mountain Arunachala was worshipped long before the Vedic culture penetrated into the southern Indian peninsular millennia ago. In the south Lord Siva became the notion of significance and Arunachala became the embodiment of Lord Siva. Kailash Mountain of Tibet is his abode where he meditates, but Arunachala Mountain is Siva Himself.

It was in comparatively recent history that the Vedic Divine personalities evolved on the subcontinent; they up-staged the primeval pantheon of elemental divinities worshipped since time before mind: Fire, Water, Space, Air, Earth. Sacred places associated with these most ancient divinities lie in the South. Arunachala is The Fire Place.

However it is not Fire that is of primary significance but Light: an invisible column of light signifying the Enlightenment that those embodied in human form have the capacity to realize. Realisation confers freedom from the bondage of identity with form, both physical and mental. The light of the Deepam flame reminds us of this. Deepam means Light.

[By Apeetha Arunagiri]

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