This year’s Diwali celebrations drew over 4000 people from all over India to Isha Yoga Center. And Isha’s Festival of Light did not end at the boundaries of the ashram premises. In the morning of 17 October, a group of volunteers, residents and Isha Samskriti children set off to spread joy and light in the nearby villages. As they distributed sweets and crackers, Ishas not only lit up the children’s eyes – this year, a group of drummers and other volunteers on an open-roof truck attracted even otherwise shy and reserved adults. In no time, young and old were frolicking and dancing on the village squares.

At Isha Yoga Center, the beautifully decorated Dhyanalinga Temple was lighted with a sea of 1008 lamps. The Ashram was one big festival with fun games, Mehndi art for women, Annadhanam for all, and cultural programs in the evening. The joy that had built up during the day knew no bounds when it was announced that Sadhguru was going to be with everybody for the evening performances.

Isha Samskriti children opened the program with a Bharathanatyam performance and the rendering of Guru Ashtakam. Dreams Academy of Dance, Coimbatore, presented classical Bharathanatyam as well as creative dances. A whole potpourri of dance forms from Garba, to Bharathanatyam, to fusion dances was offered by Isha volunteers from various parts of Tamil Nadu. Traditional village dances of Poikkal Kudhirai Aattam, Kavadiyattam, and Oyilaattam evoked the feel of a village carnival. The breathtaking “boneless” dance performance by Vijay TV’s Manoj Kumar was a special highlight of a program that excited throughout with a varied combination of tradition and modernity.

In his discourse, Sadhguru explained the significance of celebrating Diwali, and festivals in general, “as a tool to bring life to a state of exuberance and enthusiasm.” He continued by saying that living life in an exuberant way should not be limited to outside festivities only. “In your mind, in your heart, in your life energies, a festival should happen daily if you simply sit. There should be no need for someone to dance. If we simply sit, something will be dancing within us.”

Unless people are joyful and blissful by their own nature and stop believing that they always have to do something to be joyful, the very life of mother earth is at threat, Sadhguru warned. If people keep believing that getting married and having children was essential for being joyful, the population will explode to such an extent that the chances of this planet sustaining human life beyond this century will become remote, he said. The world population has multiplied by four in the last 100 years to almost 6.8 billion at present and is estimated to grow to 9.5 billion in the year 2050. “In 25 years, there will be no food to eat, there will be no water to drink, even the air we breathe will become a problem,” Sadhguru pointed out. He gave a drastic example to show the seriousness of the matter, saying “If there is absolutely no water, what will happen? People will cut each other and drink the blood.” He urged that “what is most important is – in the next 50 years, we have to reduce our population by half” – not by killing people, but with awareness, he added.

Looking at the situation in India, he stated, “When we got independence for the nation in the year 1947, the population was 33 crores [330 million]. Even at that time, we did not have enough food for everybody. Now we have crossed 120 crores. Definitely for more than half the population, there is no proper food. Somehow our economic situation is improving. But when the population goes on increasing, whatever economic wellbeing we bring, it will not be enough.” The situation is very serious, but not hopeless if only we do what is needed, Sadhguru concluded: “With knowledge, intelligence, and awareness, a human being has a choice. We can create a good situation; we have the necessary intelligence and ability to make it happen.”

On this occasion, Sadhguru launched the Mobile Initiatives as a way to stay connected and receive inspiration by subscribing to daily voice messages by Sadhguru, or to access his voice messages, jokes and more through a voice portal.

A day of celebration that had been at once joyful and profound was capped by the all-time favorite Sounds of Isha who lightened up the audience with exuberance and zest.