As we approach the new moon moment, just hours away as I write this, over a billion people in India are celebrating one of the biggest events of the year, namely Diwali (Dipavali) The Festival of Lights. Every year on this new moon, India lights up as billions of candle lamps are lit, in an event steeped in legend that goes back thousands of years. In fact some would say even further than we can imagine with our limited perspective of history on this planet.
In an event much like new year’s eve, candle lamps usually made from butter ghee are lit to dispel the darkness during this dark moon moment and awaken the light, whether metaphorically or symbolically or literally. In this way the ritual of moving from darkness into light is enacted. The celebration now is probably one of the biggest in India annually. Of course, there is no dearth of festival days in India, based on the ancient Vedic culture, but this time now is one of the most popular. Fireworks are also exploded with a bang as the celebrations really light up.
If we look at the actual metaphysical or mystical message behind the celebrations, we can see that it is firstly taking place in the middle of India’s most holy and auspicious month of the year, which started at the full moon two weeks prior. The month continues until the next full moon in a fortnight from this current dark moon or new moon moment, and it marks the month in which pilgrims will make their pilgrimage to the holy land in India, namely Vrindavan, Mathura, outside of Delhi. I spent this very month there in that little village in India one time over 20 years ago while training at the ashram of my guru during my twenties. It was an insightful time as you can imagine, which has molded my perception of reality for the rest of my life.
If we look further into the legend behind Diwali, we find in the ancient Sanskrit text the pastime of Lord Rama, the incarnation of Vishnu from millennia ago, who was the ideal king, who ruled from his capital city Ayodhya, on the west coast of north India. The concept of an ideal ruler and dynasty is embodied in his pastime (found in the text called the Ramayana) which is labelled the “Rama Rajya” the ideal )rule of Lord Rama. Well during this mythic legend of King Rama, there was a part where he is exiled to the forest for 14 years, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman.
However, after 14 years they are able to return and reclaim the rightful place on the throne. The day of Rama’s return is this Diwali day on the new moon. To facilitate King Rama’s ability to find his way back to the kingdom, candle lamps are lit to basically light the way for him to see the kingdom on his return. That is where the pastime of lighting so many lamps on Diwali originated. And “Hindus” (as the foreign invaders called the people across the Sindhu River) or followers of the Vedic culture of the ancient Sanskrit texts, continue this pastime still today.
In fact to this day in that historic city of Ayodhya, archaeologists are still discovering ancient ruins under the ocean on the sea bed just offshore of the Ayodhya coastal city itself. These are purported to be the ruins of the earlier vast city that existed there, presumably when the sea was at a lower level, implying there was more ice at the poles and less water in the oceans. This is what happens every 12 000 years or so when the ice ages come and go. The ice caps melt a bit more for a few thousand years, raising the sea level, like today. But then they also freeze up for a few thousand years and the sea level retreats. This is a constant cyclic pattern over hundreds of thousands of years presumably and during different points of this cyclic ocean level shifts, civilizations emerge, flourish, dwindle and vanish.
Archaeologists find fascinating ruins all the time but have seldom been able to trace the actual origin date until recent times. Even the pyramids have been subject to pure speculation for hundreds of years. The sphinx in fact shows water weathering that implies it was built in an age when there was either loads of rain there or the sea level actually washed up around the sphinx. What is emerging is a likelihood that the mystery of the pyramids and sphinx lies in the fact that they aren’t just 5-6000 years old but perhaps even 10-12 000 years old, and that the civilization that built them was one that existed during a previous warm spell between ice ages.
This is still speculative of course, but it leads to the possibility that civilizations way more advanced than we care to admit actually existed 12 000 or more years ago and were simply swept away by ice age shifts. As a result civilization in general disappeared until another thaw and then the people of the time – having forgotten or lost all the technology of the last inter-glacial period – emerged from a place of cultural stagnation or “dark ages” to try once again to learn the secrets of nature, physics or whatever.
It’s only in our arrogance or ignorance that we think we are now the most advanced civilization to have existed on the planet. Who is to say there weren’t more advanced civilizations in previous warm periods between ice ages 12 000 years ago, or 24 000 years ago, or 36 000 years ago and so on? All of this is backed up by the legends of the ancient Vedic culture of India, written in the Sanskrit language. There the pastime of King Rama is said to have occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago. It really makes our current modern historical reference of a few thousand years appear quite insignificant or fleeting in comparison.
So, Happy Diwali to you all, even President Trump is celebrating Diwali in the White House today, for what it’s worth, (not that we can expect a “Rama Rajya” in the Oval office this time around). And may your year ahead be filled with light to dispel any darkness or illusion clouding your consciousness as to your real identity and nature on the eternal level. All this month, and especially now at this moment of Diwali, pilgrims light lamps in the evening during their mediation moment. And an ancient Sanskrit song is sung elaborating the ancient pastime story verse by verse. Here is a version of it performed by one of my mentors. I was able to spend some time with him during my India training during that Diwali month over 20 years ago.
Give it a listen if you want to hear something genuine, authentic and perhaps timeless, with deep mystical roots and potential as a meditative sound journey able to transport us back to the “holy land” simply by hearing this resident of the sacred pilgrimage place of Vrindavan reciting the mantras.