diwaliDiwali is only a few days away! Everyone at the ashram is very excited. We are cleaning, emptying closets and drawers, buying or making new clothes, painting every room, and planning a big meal and festival for the community. We are also putting up beautiful lights on the walls and trees because Diwali is the festival of lights and happiness. The lamps and lights we are putting up around the ashram represent knowledge and enlightenment; they will help to bring us away from the darkness of ignorance and despair. We look forward to this community celebration every year because it gives us a fixed time to focus on eradicating the darkness from our body and mind that take the form of negativity, depression, and toxins. The children are also very happy during this holiday because though they have less cleansing to do than us adults, they do have an especially long vacation from school for play, nice foods, and fireworks. When I was young, my brother Naranaji bought fireworks for all us children, but kept them in a secure box high out of our reach. We tried anyway to see them before the festival began – so tempting! When evening came and the moon came out, he distributed the hand sparklers and little bombs among all of us. The older children ignited the big bombs and sent them up into the sky. Then there would be a little meditation and puja for the Goddess Laxmi, to bring wealth and prosperity the following year. I hope your Diwali preparations are going well, and your memories of Diwali’s past are rich and fruitful! With love and fondness,

Suraj Nath Siddh