Light Up Your Life!

16 Jan

SwamyPongalWe are a ‘Happy Holidays’ nation! While western nations (isn’t it amazing that there are no Northern or Southern nations – other than the Poles!) have only one ‘Happy Holidays’ a year (close to the end of any year), we’ve one – at least – holiday every month, from the beginning of a year till the end. We started with a very western ‘New Year’ on the very first day of the year (and of course will celebrate one more in April) and then moved on to the many days long (it actually varies from state to state) harvest festival, that’s known by different names such as Pongal (in my home state Tamilnadu), Makara Sankaranti, Kanumu, Lohri and Bihu (in many states other than mine).

Deepavali1Deepavali, of course tops the list in terms of popularity and pan-nation celebration, similar to Christmas worldwide. While on Deepavali, we light up lamps and firecrackers, on Pongal we light up the stove to cook delicious Chakkaraip Pongal (a traditional sweet dish made with rice and jiggery). And that’s where dear readers, this post (ah, finally) starts!

Matchstick8“Light up” is a mightily powerful yet most misinterpreted term. It’s typically associated with smokers lighting up cancer sticks. But has a far more deep meaning than that pointless compulsive activity done by both the educated and not so, until they can’t do anything else anymore!

“Light up” requires a source to create the light or fire in the first place. In ancient times, the source used to be a pair of stones. Then came the matchstick, which is still in vogue – probably one of the few longest surviving creatures (or creation) after cockroaches.

Global_Warming_EffectsThe humble matchstick is an exceptionally interesting creation that can also be a creator. But before we start deciphering the mystery of the matchstick, let’s spare a moment to think about the millions of trees that have been chopped to make matchsticks over the years, which will reveal one of the prime reasons for global warming. In order to light up inside our places, we ended up heating up the atmosphere outside, pretty badly!

Matchstick2The matchstick’s tiny size belies the power it holds. Like the tiny 167mm size brain with unimaginable power hidden inside a rather long (and in many cases fat as well) 1829mm body.

Matchstick7It has a head that doesn’t think but can burn instantly when struck. Just like the hot ones on human necks.

Its frail body will perish in an instant, but can do something beyond belief while it does. Very much like the human body that can perish in many ways in no time, but can accomplish incredible feats despite its crippling limits.

havanIts lifespan is shorter than a firefly, but within that brief lifetime the matchstick can bring many things to Life. Like that refreshing morning hot cuppa; A lip smacking meal; Boiled water to soothe sore throats or bathe cold bodies; Campfire to warm up cold hands and hearts; Fireplace of a blacksmith to melt, mold and form objects from metals; Wick of an oil lamp that adds a serene glow to the divine; Tip of Camphor, Sambrani or Agarbathi that spreads the fragrance in swirls of smoke; Flame of a Homam (Havan or Yagna) for purification and offerings to the divine; A pyre completing a being’s Dance of Life

Matchstick11It gives up its Life in a bright glow to create something. Like a mother in any being that gets closer to death every time it gives birth to a new Life and glows while doing it.

It lies quietly in a large group packed inside a tiny box and bides its time with infinite patience. Matchstick10Eerily resembling billions of beings crammed on this planet waiting for deliverance, with the only difference being lack of any patience in us!

It has the potential to burn an entire forest or even a city down to cinders, yet remains dormant until someone decides to use it. Like a valuable book that lies dormant in a bookshelf, until some knowledge seeker picks it up to learn.

Matchstick6In more ways than one, the matchstick is like a shrink-wrapped sun! An explosive mix of immense power and innate humility, it is a selfless being that performs its defined duty without any qualms for anyone who needs it. Incredibly valuable for those who know how to use it safely but can be devastatingly destructive when in the wrong hands.

LingaBhairaviHow the matchstick is used defines its purpose. Not when, why, where or by who. How this wonderful Life is used defines our purpose. If you learn to be like a matchstick, there’s a bright possibility that you can truly Light Up Your Life!

Love + Gratitude@PrakashSwamy
Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂
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10 Responses to “Light Up Your Life!”

  1. Swaroop January 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    What a wonderful treatise on such a ‘humble’ object… TFS 🙂 Prakash… there’s a lot to learn from you

  2. Ekanthalingam A January 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Enjoyeddddddddd reading this post Prakash! Kudos for really lighting up the fame of the humble matchstick… Nobody could have written a praise better than this for Mr.Theekuchhi 🙂 I love the matchbox and everyday when I pick a matchstick from the box to light up the lamp during my 2 minute Pooja, I first pray for the matchstick that has volunteered to sacrifice itself and also feel happy for it becuase it got an opportunity to light the divine lamp than a cancer stick… It has been blessed to serve a positive Karma.

    You have beautifully connected the whole life-cycle of life with matchstick as an example. Simply loved it and from now on I will get to see more meanings whenever I see a fire in any form for any purpose! Thanks.

  3. MJ January 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Awesome similes. Had never seen a match stick in such a ‘light’. 🙂

  4. Dani January 17, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    and Prakash.. am waiting for ur post on the answers for the questions from academy unplugged event 🙂

  5. Dani January 17, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    //The humble matchstick is an exceptionally interesting creation that can also be a creator// reminded of my school’s motto.. lighted to lighten 🙂

    COuldnt get the dimensions of brain and body.. 167 mm ?? and 1829 mm ?? pls let me know wat it is.. i only know that our brain weighs 1.5 kg 🙂

    //Like a mother in any being that gets closer to death every time it gives birth to a new Life// Liked this metaphor..

    // How this wonderful Life is used defines our purpose// this is Swamy special.. i really wonder how u connect all the dots so well !!! brilliant

    Have never read any article written so well on a match stick.. u r always raising the bar prakash 🙂 inspiring with a strong message 🙂


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