Ayurvedic Rituals To Follow This Diwali

By Vishakha Moghe


Deepawali (festival of lights), the biggest and brightest of all the Hindu festivals is almost around the corner in India. Indians all over the world heartily celebrate the festival of lights and the celebrations know no bounds.

Picture Credits: www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Picture Credits: www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

Historically, the origin of Diwali, traces back to ancient India, when it was an important harvest festival. All Indian festivals possess high significance with respect to nature’s effects on the body during the specific seasons. Diwali comes in the fall season, when the weather is slowly changing. The days are sunny, yet pleasantly cool and comfortable and nights are slightly chilly, clear and cloudless. The weather is mild, pleasant and refreshing. According to Ayurveda, it is a season in which Vata is slowly taking over the Pitta dosha in nature and so similar changes are seen in the body composition, thus leading to aggravation of Vata dosha and disturbance in the Pitta dosha. The traditions of Diwali focus on pacifying the disturbed Pitta and controlling Vata with various Ayurvedic rituals.

The rituals and their importance:

1. Waking up during Brahma muhurta .

It is the pre-dawn period when the “ Sattva “ (pure, positive energy) is high in nature. Vata governs the hours between 2 am and 6 am. This aids in naturally and easily eliminating the wastes out of the body. Due to the increasingly stressful lifestyle, it is hard to wake up during the early morning hours on a regular basis. It is at least recommended to be awake on Brahma muhurta during the three days of Diwali.

2. Practice of Pranayam 

Practicing pranayam during the early morning hours on the day of Diwali ensures a sound mind and body. The negative frequencies are high in the atmosphere along with the presence of Divine frequencies too. Meditating during times of distress helps the body absorb the positive energy, thus driving out the negativity.

3. Abhyanga (Massage Oil)

Picture Credits: www.sundaysatsang.blogspot.com
Picture Credits: www.sundaysatsang.blogspot.com

The benefits of an Ayurvedic oil massage aren’t unknown to us. An abhyanga leads to an increase in Sattva guna and decrease in Raja and Tama. The effects usually stay for 4-5 hours. During the days of Diwali, an abhyanga snan reaps 6% more benefits than on other days.

The best Ayurvedic oils that could be used for abhyanga are oils that have been prepared using fragrant Ayurvedic herbs like chandan, ushira, nagarmotha, bala etc.

The fragrant oils have the ability to attract divine frequencies flowing in the atmosphere, thus by massaging, the Divine Principle is attracted in the body and due to the Energy frequencies in the oil the distressing frequencies are obstructed. The other benefits include pacification of Vata dosha, reduction in dryness and stiffness, boost in the functioning of the nervous system and considerable improvement in sleep patterns. The fragrance also helps in balancing Pitta dosha which is in an aggravated form due to the seasonal changes.

4. Udvartanam (Rubbing Fragrant Powders)

Picture Credits: www.vedictherapies.com
Picture Credits: www.vedictherapies.com

The practice of rubbing fragrant medicinal powders after an oil massage is called “Udvartan”. Not only is it a part of Ayurvedic daily regimen (Dinacharya), it has been an important ritual during the festival of Diwali. The powder massage is done in the direction opposite to that of the body hair i.e. upward direction.

Vagbhata describes the benefits of this powder massage beautifully in a verse.

उद्वर्तनं कफहरं मेदसः प्रविलापनम्।
स्थिरीकरणम् अङ्गानां त्वक् प्रसादकरं परं॥{अ.हृ.सू.२/१५}
Ref – Ashtanga Hridaya Sutra Sthana Ch.2, verse 15

Udvartan helps in reducing excess Kapha dosha (thus helping in weight loss) and liquefies and mobilizes morbid fat / adipose tissue. It provides stability to the body and rejuvenates the skin, helps the skin get rid of dead cells and restores youth by inducing freshness.

The ubatan is raja-dominant and associated with the absolute Fire element. It thus bestows the body with good energy, apart from curbing other skin-related problems.

5. Snan (Hot Water Bath)

Picture Credits: www.101myyoruba.com
Picture Credits: www.101myyoruba.com

The best act among all the Diwali rituals is when fragrant warm water (treated with rose petals and natural perfumes) is poured over the body after the abhyanga and udvartan. This warm water bath washes away the excess oil but preserves the essential oils present in the skin, thus keeping the skin moisturized. It restores the glow, revitalizes the skin and cleanses the pores of the skin. A warm water bath post-massage also alleviates body pain and strain of any kind, improves blood circulation and relieves body stiffness.

6. Diwali Faraal (Sweets)

Diwali sweets and snacks are based on Ayurvedic principles too. If one of the ingredients in the sweets is dry in nature, there’s other that counters the effects of the dry ingredients. The sweets and snacks help us in controlling the dryness of the body which is caused by the changing weather. This diet and daily routine isn’t just meant for Diwali days, it is supposed to be followed throughout fall and winter season to stay healthy and balanced.

Ayurveda strongly believes that health cannot be gained without spiritual well-being. Thus, most of the Indian festivals are designed such that all the aspects are taken care of leading to mental, physical and spiritual well-being. With the changing lifestyles, most of these intelligently crafted rituals have been long-forgotten. It’s time we looked back to carefully preserve the traditional wealth passed down to us by our ancestors.

„May light triumph over darkness,

May peace transcend the Earth,

May Ayurveda regain its lost glory,

May the spirit of light illuminate the world. „

Picture Credits: www.diwalimubarak.com
Picture Credits: www.diwalimubarak.com


 Shubh Deepawali !!

About the Author


Vishakha is an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga counselor and a passionate traveler. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.

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