First thing that happened in my maternal home is the lighting of the lamp.
Why was the lamp lit? Who did it? I have no clue.
Since getting up early in the morning is not one of my traits, I never got a chance to see it being lit. But sometimes, when many years later I would get up early hoping to help out in the kitchen, I would see one of my aunts light the lamp. This I thought must be because of my grand mother’s instructions and left it at that.
While I was always mildly religious and ritualistic, I was a little reluctant to be overtly enthusiastic in the matters of the realms above. After my marriage into a family that I believed was spiritual, I was astounded when my husband and my mother-in-law claimed to be ‘far too superior to mere mortals’. It was difficult to reconcile with the pettiness of living while still being on such a moral high ground.
I completely distanced myself from the so-called ‘spiritual’ and focused instead on nurturing my child,teaching my students and donning my many mantles to keep the family going and these I found far more interesting and engaging.
Later when my marriage collapsed soon after my brother’s untimely death, I almost quit lighting the lamp, temple-hopping and various other associated rituals and practices.
Recently though, I feel an overwhelming need to bring in the light, keep the lamp burning, practice meditation, revise the Sanskrit shlokas, take up yoga and perhaps recreate the peace and calm I felt in my grandmother’s home while watching the flame slowly burn out in the morning or in the evening when watching the tulsi plant glow in the light of the solitary diya.
Perhaps it is sheer nostalgia, perhaps it is a yearning for what is not, perhaps its just age.
But as of now, I find it calming and elevating to light the lamp first thing in the morning, do the yoga, meditate, have breakfast and leave for work.
What I would like to add here is writing in the wee hours and do some reading too, oh! what an accomplishment it would be to be able to do that!
The lamp returns
brightening my mornings
meditating over my evenings
as the universe oversees
in her many gentle ways
a life often turned awry
and holds close a course
of living channeling in giving
for love, for peace, for happiness
beyond what is and what is not.