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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Happy Deepavali

It's that time of the year when lamps are lit outside every house and the skies resonate with the colours and sounds of firecrackers. Its Diwali once again... or, to give it its right name - Deepavali - the festival of lights. 



My earliest memories of Deepavali have to do with lamps... lighting lamps and candles all around the house.. Firecrackers I usually stayed away from, apart from maybe a couple of sparklers and the stray flower pot. These days, lighting so many lamps isnt all that easy with a kid in the house, and crackers seem too noisy and smoky, so I would much rather stay away from them. Samhith, however, disagrees. He can't understand why he should stay away from crackers, and so, every year, we buy crackers and light them up - him with much enthusiasm, me with a lot of perturbation! 

When we travel, Diwali becomes that much more memorable - like the one I spent at Kashi, more than 20 years back, but which is still fresh in my memory..... or the one time we were at Saptashrungi, where, for the first time, I saw how people drew such beautiful rangolis, and made mud forts... or like last year, at Sringeri, where we spent the morning at the Ashram, and then the rest of the day at the market, looking for firecrackers! The fun of lighting firecrackers was simply multiplied by the way everyone staying at the ashram guest house joined in the celebrations... Thats what makes a festival really memorable. 

This year, while you read this post, I shall be somewhere else.... in interior Maharashtra once again... probably at Shegaon. I have no idea what the celebrations there will be like, but I look forward to it! 
Meanwhile, wish you all a very happy and safe Deepavali!! I shall be looking forward to reading all about your experiences of the festival when I get back!

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