Inner Significance of festivals in India
Puttaparthi, Prasanthi Nilayam (World youth conference )
Embodiments of Divine Atma!! The festivals celebrated by people of Bharat, are all significant sacred days which celebrate its culture, its customs and its unity. From ancient days, Bharat has been, in a way, wasting its humanity by not understanding the inner significance or the outer meaning of its powerful culture. There is inner significance and also outer meaning in the festivals and the sacred days that are celebrated. But man is not making any effort to understand neither the inner significance nor the outer meaning of such days. Festivals and sacred days are a way to remind and celebrate the coming of Avatars to establish the welfare of the world and the destruction of the evil forces by them. Festivals are designed and organised to make people remember significance of birth of the avatars and the death of the evil forces. Lord Rama, the embodiment of righteousness, was born on the ninth day of the Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar. That day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Rama. Sri Krishna, who came down to earth to establish Dharma and who is known as the “Gitacharya”, the one who taught Gita, was born on the eight day of the Shravana month of the Hindu calendar and that day is celebrated as the birthday of Sri Krishna. In the same way the “Navaratri”, the nine days, “Shivaratri”, the night of Lord Shiva, “Sankranti” are all celebrated as the triumph of good over the evil. The evil and vile Ravana, who in spite of being a scholar took to the path of wickedness. The day he was killed, is celebrated as “Vijaya dasami”, the victory of good over evil. Goddess Durga, Saraswathi and Parvathi, who epitomise the will power, power of action and the power of knowledge, became one to destroy the demon, Mahishasura who was tormenting the world with the power of his boons. The nine days, starting from the first day, Padyami of the Hindu month Ashwiyuja to navami, the ninth day, the Goddesses unified and fought the demon. The demon Mahishasura was killed on the last day that is the ninth day. Vijaya dasami is the day when Lord Rama was coroneted as the King of Ayodhya after destroying the wicked Ravana. Vijaya dasami is also the day when King Vikramaditya, ascended the throne. Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, died on Vijaya Dasami. The people of Bharat celebrate days when wicked persons were killed and also the days when the noble were born as festivals and derive happiness.
Yagna signifies discarding bad qualities into the sacred fire00:00:52
To-day brings the week-long ritual (Saptaham) to an end. Strictly speaking ‘end’ means attaining Brahman. Recognizing the truth of unity in multiplicity is what attaining Brahman means to convey. Realizing the all-pervasive nature of Lord Siva (Shiva tattwam) is the essence of Brahman. We should discard all the bad qualities and evil thoughts into the sacred fire. We should aim at nurturing good thoughts and performing good deeds, from now onwards.
Sanctifying oneself is the message of Devi Navaratri00:00:20
Commencement of ‘Devi Navaratri’ signify the sanctifying of thoughts and life by worshipping nature.
The significance of Devi Navaratri is worshipping nature00:01:00
‘Devi navaratris’ means the worship of nature. Nature is seen as the ‘Devi Swaroopini’, essence of the Divine mother, the power house, the ‘Shakthi swaroopini’ and as ‘Bhudevi’, mother earth. All the things required by man are found in earth. Scientists are travelling to space and to Moon. But even while travelling to Moon man requires the oxygen from the earth, the water from the earth to drink and the food that is grown out of the earth, to sustain. On Moon man cannot find any of these things and so he carries everything from nature. All the needs of man are provided by earth.
Understand the significance of Durgashtami00:06:12
Man must make an effort to recognise and understand the inner significance of ‘Durgashtami’. In Bharat from ancient times, the inner significance of the festivals was always associated with divinity. Every small festival was used to transform the feelings into divine feelings. That was the purpose of the festival days. Today one only concerns about the external rituals of a festival like putting a photo, offering worship all in an artificial manner. The types of worship offered are devoid of devotion and sincerity and filled with meaningless rituals. One should steady one’s body to have steady mind. If one’s body is continuously in motion, how can one steady one’s mind? Mind can be compared to the water in a pot. When the pot is moved, the water inside too will move. That is why one needs to train one’s body to be still in meditation. Meditation includes control of body. A steady body holds a steady mind. Intellect blossoms only when both the mind and the body are steady. Wisdom shines when intellect blossoms and once wisdom shines, one gets liberated. One is unable to control the body and sit still for two minutes and even the sitting posture is not correct. When one sits with a bent spinal cord, the nerves ‘ida’ and ‘pingala’ get disturbed. The power of ‘Kundalini’ which travels from ‘Mooladhara’ or the last vertebra of the spine to the first, goes in the wrong way thus making today’s man a mad monkey; not just a monkey but a mad monkey! A monkey cannot sit still even for a moment; it goes on moving one limb or the other. Its looks are also not steady. The reason for man’s fidgeting is the fact that man has evolved from monkey and though he has developed, the traits of the monkey behaviour still remain. These ‘navaratris’ are celebrated to encourage sacred feelings in man and make him travel towards divinity by destroying his ignorance and ego. No one is making an effort to know the purpose of the festivals. During the Navaratri, women keep a display of dolls of various kinds and worship them. That is not what one is supposed to do. All the dolls represent the physical world which is perishable. By worshipping the perishables one has to attain the imperishable Divine; that is the power latent in man.
What is the significance behind Devi worship00:02:36
One has to first and foremost know the meaning of ‘liberation’. The word ‘mo ksha mu’ has three letters. ‘Mo’ implies ‘mohamu’, desire or infatuation. ‘Ksha’ implies ‘kshayamu’ decline. When infatuation declines one gets ‘mu’ ‘Mukti’ or liberation. Infatuation has increased limitlessly. One resorts to worship of Devi to reduce the infatuation. Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi is associated with desire or infatuation. Wealth makes man delusional. Lakshmi always shines forth. Saraswathi is full of cheerful bliss as she makes man speak blissful and sacred words and gives happiness to man. Durga radiates resplendently. In order to have control over all these three, the ‘Devi Navaratris’, the nine nights, are divided in three parts. It begins with the worship of Durga, followed by Lakshmi and ends with the worship of Saraswathi. Therefore, students worship their books on the day of ‘Durgashtami’. They only seem to worship the books but not their head!! That is the reason why today’s civilization has declined in substance.
Significance behind 'Devi Navaratri'00:01:13
That person is truly a human being, who is sanctified by the unity of thought, word and deed. The heart can be compared to goddess of wealth Lakshmi. The words can be compared to goddess of knowledge Saraswathi. The power of doing deeds can be compared to Goddess Durga. Hence it is said: “Manasyekam, vachasyekam, karmanyekam, aatmanam!” – Unity in thought, word and deed makes a man great. The Devi Navaratri signify that man can sanctify his life by bringing about the unity of thought, word and deed and live as human being by getting rid of ignorance.
What is the meaning of Devi Navaratri00:04:39
What is the meaning of ‘Devi navaratri”? ‘Navaratri’ means nine nights. What is the meaning of ‘ratri’ or night? Night is associated with darkness. What is meant by darkness? Ignorance is darkness. Human beings suffer from nine forms of darkness. The nine types of ego are the nine types of night. When one wants to illumine the nine nights one has to turn to Devi. Who is Devi? It is said Parvathi and Parameshwara, Lakshmi and Narayana, Saraswathi and Brahma; why is the name Parvati given precedence in Parvati, Parameshwara? Why is Lakshmi placed before Narayana and Saraswathi before Brahma? It indicates that man’s life starts with ‘shakthi’, the mother aspect. Shakthi refers to the three powers of nature namely Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Hence it is said there is “Prakruthi’ nature and ‘paramatma’, its creator. Nature is controlled by the creator. The nature is constituted by three elements namely ‘satwa’, ‘rajas’ and ‘tamas’. The sathwic nature is represented by Lakshmi, the rajas is associated with Saraswathi and tamas is associated with Parvathi. In order to earn the grace of the nature which is made up of the three attributes- satwa, rajas, and tamas, the three goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi are worshipped. Therefore Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi are not goddesses but are the three qualities which are present in nature. Hence worship of nature is the main purpose of human life. So man needs to worship the nature first and foremost to gain the grace of the Lord. One is man’s effort and the other is the grace of the Lord. Prakruthi’ nature and ‘paramatma’, its creator can be likened to the negative and positive aspects. Therefore God who can be compared to positive is all powerful but without the ‘negative’ nature, creation cannot take place. Nature is the basis for creation.
Vasudhaikakutumbhakam is the message of Sankranti00:01:15
Students should behave in a very respectful manner, should respect the elders, love the parents, respect others and should develop feelings of trust towards the country. That is the nationality feeling. “This is the country I was born in. I must protect my motherland. This is my motherland. This my mother tongue, this is my religion. Is there a man courageous, who on earth who has not stood up for these feelings?” Without the feelings of- “My country, my mother tongue, and my religion” a man is like a living corpse. Those feelings must be there but just as one has the feelings of patriotism for one’s country, one look upon another’s country too in the same light. All people of different country must live in unity and harmony. It must develop into one big family. The occasion that brings forth such divine transformation is “Sankranthi’. One must achieve peace in Sankranthi, develop peace and attract peace.
Sankranti brings in the light of concentration00:00:59
Concentration must be such that it must be fully focused on the task at hand. While doing work one’s concentration must be focussed on the work, while eating focus must be on the food being eaten; while talking focus must be on the words being spoken. Hence one must concentrate on the task at hand. The one who talks cannot work and the one who works cannot talk. So, one must focus on the work that one undertakes. That is the main light of man and one must believe that, that light is the Sankranti. One must never think that that light comes only once a year. Every second one must find this Sankranti within oneself. “Samyak kranti iti sankrantihi”, the light must come in full totality.
We should change our vision and direction from Sankranti00:00:57
What must be changed today? The vision, words and hearing must be directed in proper way. That is the true meaning of the word, “sankramana" movement. Without sacred transformation there is no use of celebrating any number of Sankranti festivals. People eat and enjoy the sweetness of the sweet pancake “ariselu”, but the sweetness lasts only as long as one eats it, later on it turns bitter. Happiness is not got by eating the pancake. Festivals are not for sweets and puddings. The significance of festivals lies in developing sacred thoughts and ideas. Every festival has an inner meaning.
Sankranthi is a festival which belongs to the whole of human race00:02:56
‘Sravanam’, listening, ‘keertanam’ singing, ‘Vishnu smaranam’, chanting, ‘paadasevanam’ serving, ‘vandanam’, salutation, ‘archanam’ worship, ‘sneham’ friendship, ‘daasyam’ service, and ‘atma nivedanam’ surrender. Ultimately surrender is the one that bestows permanent bliss. Once one surrenders, one does not have anything left, for it contains everything. Sankranti is meant to teach this inner vision. Mr. Subbarao said that sankranti is a family saadhana; it is true that it is a family affair where the whole world is a family,‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’. This relates to entire world and is not restricted to husband, wife, children and grand children alone. Sankranti is related to entire human race. It gives inner joy whether one is aware of it or not. Just as fire burns when touched knowingly or unknowingly, so also Sankranti bestows inner joy whether one knows its significance or not. Sankranti brings about mental transformation, behavioural change, gives sacred life, blossoms the inner faculties, and gives an expression to the hidden, innate atma. Thus Sankranti has infinite inner significance.
Sankranti Signifies Man's journey from the outer to inner00:03:00
The very word ‘Sankranti’ conveys the infinite inner meaning. But man without understanding the inner significance, forgetting the ancient tradition and culture of Bharath, forgetting the sacred inner meaning of this festival, gets satisfied with physical and worldly activities. One does not get the eternal bliss however long one may enjoy the worldly pleasures. In spite of searching everywhere, one will not get the true bliss. After searching endlessly outside, one realises that the true bliss lies within. A person wearing spectacles searches for them everywhere in the house and feels happy when he realises that they are right on his nose. Similarly, spiritual aspirants too search unsuccessfully elsewhere for the immortal, eternal and supreme bliss without realising that such a bliss lies within. The festival that makes one realise this truth is Sankranti. Therefore, the happiness that one seeks, does not exist externally somewhere, in some foreign land but is present in one’s own self. God is not present in any land or on mountains or in Vaikuntha, Kailas or Heaven; one’s heart is the sacred abode of the Divine. Therefore, that man is truly blessed and redeemed who turns his vision from the external to inwards to seek the Divinity within. The one with such inner vision attains ‘Moksha’ salvation. Till one achieves this inner vision, one is haunted by ‘Moha’ attachments. So long as there is attachment one cannot be liberated. Liberation is not some special place for, ‘Moha Kshayam Moksham’, annihilation of attachments is liberation. Attachments strengthen due to the external vision.
Sankranthi Signifies inward journey of Man00:03:53
Hence, Sankranti means the movement towards inner vision, pure heart and unsullied nature. Just as the Sun moves towards the north starting from sankranti, so also one must turn one’s intellect inwards and journey towards the atma. The Vedas state this movement towards the north, ‘uttarayana’ as the most auspicious time. The great warrior Bheeshma, who was resting on the bed of arrows, waited for fifty six days for this auspicious time. The Puranas declare that the person who leaves his mortal body during the ‘uttarayana’ attains liberation. Therefore sankramana means shifting of Sun from one zodiac sign to another. Of all the zodiac signs the ‘makara’ the Capricorn is the most important. This movement in Capricorn, the makara sankranti bestows brightness and peace. When one enquires from a worldly view point, one finds that Sankranti comes at the beginning of the English New Year. Sankranti begins on the 13th and 14th of January. It gives physical and mental peace and rest also. Farmers and all those who are dependent on Earth for their livelihood rest during the month of January. The farmers are at leisure and enjoy the harvest in the comfort of their homes. Truly speaking the farmers rest only in the month of January for they are busy in all other months. The farmers have all forms of wealth and grain at home by this time. They fill their houses with the nine types of grains and gain mental satisfaction. Hence physical and mental peace enhances during Sankranti.
What is the significance of Uttarayana00:03:00
From the day of Sankranti, the sun travels from south to north. What is the significance of the northward movement? Northward movement is the one that confers liberation. ‘Himachalam’ is a combination of two words namely ‘Hima’ and ‘chalam’. So, ‘Hima’ + ‘Achalam’ = ‘himachalam’. What is ‘Himachala’? ‘Hima’ refers to all that is pure; that which is totally white; ‘Achalam’ means that which is stable. The pure and peaceful ‘Hima’ is stable. Where is that position? That is the position of the heart. The intellect, likened to the Sun, steps in when the heart is pure, unsullied and is at peace. One does not have to undertake external, physical journey to somewhere. Therefore travelling ‘northwards’ essentially means to turn one’s intellect inwards, moving towards the heart. The internal joy is the true happiness. The external, worldly happiness is transient and momentary. The nature of ‘Atma’ that is true, eternal, pure and unsullied is infinite and immortal. It is the centre of liberation, ‘Moksha Sadanam’ and the journey towards it is called as ‘Moksha saadhanam’, aspiration towards liberation.
Among all Zodiac signs capricorn is best00:01:25
Sun enters a zodiac signs every month and enters twelve zodiac signs in twelve months. There are four main signs or houses: the first one is the “makara sankramana” the house of Capricorn; the second one is the “karkaataka sankramana” the house of Cancer; the third one is the “tula sankramana” the house of Libra and the fourth one is “mesha sankramana” the Aries zodiac sign. Of all the ‘Makara Sankramana’ is the most important one. This movement has many spiritual, moral, physical and divine changes and transformations.
Every Indian festival has an inner significance00:00:57
Embodiments of Love!! All the festivals of Bharathiyas are significant, have inner meaning and give bliss and joy. They are not for pomp and show. Every festival has a unique inner meaning, wonderful significance and provides an opportunity to experience bliss with the changing surroundings.
How Narakasura got destroyed00:03:00
When one delves into the history of Narakasura, one finds that he was a very evil and wicked person. In his city there were never any lights or lamps either in the homes or in the streets. The womenfolk hid themselves from public eye. The women never saw the light of the lamps. Narakasura was a wicked demon in true sense. He was an epitome of cruelty who imprisoned and troubled many princesses and innocent women and killed them as offering. Unable to bear the troubles many pleaded and prayed to Lord Krishna, “Lord you, who have taken birth to wipe out the wicked and uplift the humanity, establish the peace of humanity by killing this wicked demon.” It is inevitable that the destruction must come at the hands of the tortured. The person wielding knife brings about his death by a knife. The person, who nurtures bad qualities, will be destroyed by the very bad qualities. By the same rule, Narakasura, who tormented and troubled the women folk, must meet his end at their hands. To gain this end Krishna took Sathyabhama along to kill Narakasura. He was destroyed on the day of “chaturdasi”, the fourteenth day. This day is also called as “naraka chaturdasi”. The day following the chaturdasi is “amavasya” the new moon day. Krishna freed the sixteen thousand imprisoned women from the inner compartments of Narakasura’s palace.
Significance of Ugadi Pacchadi00:02:00
On the day of Ugadi, people prepare and eat “Ugadi Pachchadi” the special chutney. What is this chutney? Neem flowers, the juice of the small mangoes, honey, and sugar- are the main ingredients of the chutney which is eaten on Ugadi. What is the significance of this chutney? The chutney signifies and represents the different flavours of life viz, the good and the bad, the merit and sin, the ups and the lows, the profit and the loss and to treat them equally. One has to treat everything with equanimity. Every individual must part take the chutney with a resolution that come what may in the year ahead, one would receive it with equipoise. One has to eat it with complete satisfaction; if one eats it cursing the bitter taste one would face bitterness in the year ahead. Whatever happens in life, one should welcome it thinking it to be for one’s good. The main goal of man is to achieve the principle of equanimity. The essence of Ugadi lies in being calm and composed in both happy and sad circumstances. It signifies that one should not be elated by happy times nor be dejected in times of sorrow but see both as gifts from God.
Significance of Panchanga00:00:57
People of North Karnataka refer to their body as ‘prakruthi’ as in “Prakruthi is not good.”Prakruthi, nature has the five life elements and those are also present in the body. The one that states the presence of the five elements and teaches about the good and the bad of the elements is called as “panchaanga”. It is a custom in India, both in villages and in cities, to listen to the “Panchaanga” on the day of Ugadi. Panchaanga means that which tells about the good and the bad of the five life elements.
Significance of Angeerasa year00:04:40
There are sixty years as per the Telugu calendar beginning with Prabhava and ending with Akshaya. This new year of Angirasa is the sixth one. It signifies the six passions of the mind. ‘Angirasa’ implies that the six passions of the mind namely the “kama” lust, “krodha” anger, “moha” attachment, “lobha” greed, “mada” pride, and “matsarya” jealousy exist in every limb of the body. This year is important as it forms the basis for all the six qualities of the mind. There are nine leaders, the principles. Out of the nine leaders for this year, six confer goodness and three give the opposite effect. Therefore this year all over the world auspicious things are in forecast. There will be no dearth in harvest this year with bountiful rainfall. But the prices are likely to rise. This may be because of the shortcomings on part of people and the rulers. The administration this year will be comfortable, peaceful and harmonious. There would not be much political agitation. Though there may be individual conflicts there will be no major conflicts in nature. The reason for such forecast lies in the fact that the leaders for this year co exist in harmony. If there are differences between the King and his Chief General, then there would be no security in the country. But this year the king and his chief are on amicable terms and this will bring about harmony in nature. All the essence lies in the very name of the year viz., “Angirasa”. Angirasa is one of the many names of the Lord. God exists in all as the very life fluid. He flows in every limb of the body. Hence this year is bound to become a divine year. People become more devout but it is only for the sake of publicity and not for practice. The devotion and surrender must emanate from pondering and practise. Ninety nine percent of people may speak about devotion but none have an iota of the divine qualities. People use devotion for publicity and selfish motives but do not use it for fulfillment or for attaining the goal of life. Man must have an ideal and stick to it firmly but today he wanders about without a goal or an ideal.
Ugadi is celebrated to understand the nature of the world00:02:27
The birthdays of the incarnations are celebrated as festivals in Bharath. The birthdays of the religious heads of some the mutts are also celebrated as festivals. The death of the wicked is celebrated as a festival as is the death of the holy men. But this Ugadi is not related to the birthdays or demise of either the incarnations or the holy men or the wicked. This concerns solely with the nature and is very important to everyone. It is a good opportunity to understand the essence of nature. Nature is God in real sense. The earth rotates around itself at the rate of many miles per hour. What is the result of such rotation? Day and night are formed as a result earth’s rotation. Man is able to rest because of the formation of day and night. The Earth revolves around the Sun too at thousands of miles per hour. This revolution causes the changes in seasons, resulting in rains and harvest thereby providing a livelihood for man. The nature provides for the progress of man expecting nothing in return.
What is the essence of Ugadi00:01:20
What is the main essence of Ugadi? On this day the people of Bharath, get up early, take bath, wear new clothes, prepare and eat sweet dishes as they observe this a festival. Many Ugadis like this have passed by, but how far have people transformed with each Ugadi? People wear new clothes but their qualities remain old. People wear good dresses but good qualities are not imbibed. It is no use changing the old clothes to new; it is the behaviour that needs to be changed. It is the qualities that need to be changed rather than the dresses. Without a change in the attitudes it is no use observing festivals.
What is the reason behind the name Ugadi00:02:16
Today is Ugadi, meaning the beginning of Yuga or era. What is the first season after Ugadi? It is the season of “Vasantha”, the spring. It is the first of the seasons. Among the months, the main month is the “chaitra”. Among the phases of the moon, the “Sukla Paksha” is the first. Among tidhis ‘Padyami’ is the main one. Therefore this day is called as Ugadi as the season, the month, the paksham, and the tidhi are all the main ones on this day. Ugadi means beginning of the yuga or era. The first of the tidhis is ‘Padyami’, the first of the paksham is ‘Sukla’, the first among months is ‘Chaitram’, the first season is the ‘Vasantha’ spring- since all the firsts have come together on this day, it is called “Yugadi” This is the Yuga or era of Kali. In this age and on this particular day the firsts of all aspects have come together. The Spring season, the month of chaitra, the Sukla phase, and the tidhi of padyami –all the firsts or the beginnings have come together hence it’s called as ‘Ugadi’. There are four yugas or ages- ‘Krutha’, ‘Tretha’, ‘Dwapara’ and ‘Kali’. This is the beginning of the Kali age , hence it is called as Ugadi.
Develop sacred thoughts from this Ugadi00:02:25
Today is the beginning of sacred New Year. On such a day one must develop sacred thoughts. Developing sacred thoughts must not only be done throughout the year but throughout one’s life. This must not be limited to one year but must relate to whole life. Life is made up of the five elements and such a life is bound to face troubles and tribulations. It suffers and goes. Understanding the message of truth is the real sadhana. Without indulging in such real sadhana, people merely say they are doing sadhana by turning the beads on the rosary. The fingers rotate the beads but the mind is roaming elsewhere. It cannot be called as Japa. When people sit to meditate on God, the body alone is steady, the mind is wavering. It should not be so. When meditating, it must be done steadfastly. One truly becomes a true saadhaka, when one acquires a steady mind and unwavering vision. Embodiments of love!! The monkey too has wavering, flickering thoughts. But it changes/transforms them in a moment. The mind of the monkey then becomes like that of mankind. But man is turning his mind into monkey mind. One must not have the monkey mind but must have kindness and spirit of sacrifice which are the attributes of mankind. Man must develop love.
Develop and experience love: Message for this year00:00:57
Embodiments of love!! Everyone must foster love, experience love, digest and assimilate it and share with others the assimilated love. This is the most important message of this year, Swabhava. One is not human but is a reflection of the divine and hence one must lead life as one. So when one is fully aware of the three principles of reaction, reflection and resound, all that one utters and does becomes pure and sacred.
We should always be happy and be united: New Year Message00:01:36
Embodiments of Love!! Love all! One must not give scope to even an iota of hatred. One must be patient towards all. The Vedas too has taught this: “sahana bhavatu, sahanau bunaktu,” let us grow together, live together. Kalasi melasi tirugudaam Kalasi melasi perugudaam, Kalasi melasi telukonna telivini poshinchudaam Kalasi melasi kalatha leka chelimito jeevinchudaam!! Let’s move together Let’s grow together, Let’s grow in intelligence together, Let’s live together amicably without any worry!! Though that has been the sacred teaching of Veda, people are forgetting those teachings. People are developing and fostering wicked thoughts. Such behaviour does not befit man. This amounts to demons in human garb. One must always be cheerful and happy for bliss is the true nature of man. This year is named as “Swabhava”, bliss. Swami blesses all to be happy in this New Year. Swami blesses all to lead their lives with love and to live together harmoniously for it is then that true happiness is available.
True new year should bring eternal joy00:02:29
Today is the advent of New Year. One celebrates it at home and derives happiness from this occasion in many ways. But to what extent? It hardly lasts for a day. This is not one’s happiness. This is not the ‘new year’. The happiness derived must stay permanently. It must not come and go. Happiness must not be like the passing clouds. If it comes it must stay permanently. One is born with bliss. Talli garbhamunundi janminchuappudu Kanthamaalalanevi kaanaraavu! Manchi muthyapusarul machchunaku levu! Melimi bangaru danda medaku ledu! Ratnala haaramul ranjillaga ledu!! Melimi poola danda medaku ledu! Kaladu, kaladokka mala meekantamandu!! Poorva janmaala karmalu ponduparachi, Brahma meekichchina varamu mala, Karmamulanniyu cherchina kantha mala!!! One is not born with garlands around one’s neck! There is no trace of chains of precious pearls!! There is no wreath of pure gold around! There are no garlands of precious stones to adorn! There is no garland of the best variety of flowers! Yes, there is one garland around one’s neck at birth, The garland of the consequences of actions from past births!! The garland put by the Lord himself!! It is the grand garland of the results of actions from past lives!! What chain is one adorning at birth? It is the garland of the sins accumulated from past births. Every action has a consequence. There cannot be an action without reaction. An action however small will definitely have a result. One is sewing clothes with a needle and gets pricked by the needle. The needle might be small, but as the consequence of its pricking blood oozes out.
Significance of Guru and Guru Poornima00:01:39
What is the significance of Guru Poornima? Guru is not who is merely teacher, who teaches all the material information. All are not Gurus, all are teachers only. But there is only one Guru, God himself. We say many people are gurus, and on this day of Guru Poornima at many place people start offering gifts to their gurus and worship them. GU stands for attributeless; RU stands for formless. GU stands for ignorance. Ru means removal. GURU is the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance. We find so many gurus who are still in darkness of ignorance. Most of the gurus as you know, they take you in the opposite direction. In the worldly sense there are many gurus. There are many gurus in various phase of life who are spiritual, social and there lies the business.
Christmas at Prasanthi Nilayam is Special00:04:56
Embodiments of Love! Every year, we celebrate Christmas. You are from different countries. A true Christmas in its true spirit is celebrated only here at Prasanthi Nilayam, nowhere else in the world. Elsewhere, Christmas is celebrated by Christians, followers of other religions will never join them. Hindu festivals are celebrated by Hindus alone. Here in the Christmas celebration at Prasanthi Nilayam, Hindus, Muslims, everybody - all join in and rejoice. Prasanthi Nilayam symbolizes unity of religions - fellowship of men. Do you know what kind of celebration goes on elsewhere? They drink, eat meat, go at high speeds in cars, then die in accidents. This is the way how Christmas is celebrated outside. Christmas in Prasanthi Nilayam is not like that. The Christmas celebration in Prasanthi Nilayam, right from 3'o clock in the early hours of the morning till 12'o clock at night, is spent in a holy way. It is a holy day - never a holiday! Many say, "Christmas holidays, so we are here." It may be a holiday to you but to us it is a holy day. This sort of Holy day is not celebrated anywhere else. Having experienced and enjoyed the sacred festival here, practise it wherever you go. Strengthen the feeling that you are the messenger of God wherever you are. Propagate and publicize the message of God to all. The good news, the message of God, should be spread far and wide. That is your main duty. Nothing is more important than that. No other service is bigger than this. Even a stone-hearted fellow can be changed, his heart can melt like butter. So, transform hearts, make them soft and tender like butter, then you can change the whole world. Let the whole world be happy. You should not have narrow feelings that "my country" should be happy, that "my people" should prosper. In fact, the whole world is a home. India is a small room, America is a small room, Japan is a room, England is a room. In this home, each country represents a room. When you think of the welfare and the progress of the entire home, the whole world will be happy. Basing on this, the prayer says, "Let the whole world be happy".
Swami on new year and its importance00:02:43
Today, the New Year begins. This year is named as ‘Eshwara’. Eshwara means the embodiment or provider of all forms of wealth. People generally think that the New Year will bring new joy and wealth. The good or the bad, fame or anonymity, merit or demerit is not brought about by the New Year. These are all the fruits of one’s past actions that is delivered to one in every second. ‘Samvatsara’ is the other name of God. God is time and Time is God, ‘kalaatmaka’. Therefore, one should not consider that New Year is going to bring the good or the bad; good and bad are based on one’s actions alone. One need not wait for the arrival of New Year; in fact every moment is new. Many people wonder what the New Year will bring in terms of good and bad. The New Year is not responsible for man’s pain and pleasure or for the profit and loss; one’s actions are the sole cause. When man indulges in good deeds he reaps good results and the bad actions result in bad results. One presumes that the good and the bad are in the New Year, it’s not true. The good and the bad are the result of one’s thoughts. Hence, one should develop good thoughts, good conduct, and good feelings and should be in good company.
Swami on Tamil new year and on Madras00:01:46
Tomorrow happens to be the New Year celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu. Many have come to Prashanthi Nilayam from Madras for the occasion. Madras of the present day is very different from that of the earlier days. It had been an important capital city from ancient times but had been divided in recent times; but Swami does not suffer any diversity and is always for unity. “All are one! Be alike to everyone!!” So in the city of Madras the wealthy buy the purified drinking water but the poor and the have-nots of the city drink the polluted and unsafe water and are infected by many illnesses. Swami has willed with a desire to provide the people of Madras, the haves and the have-nots alike, safe and pure drinking water. Such act of service by Bhagawan is unheard of in the history of mankind.
Purify your hearts; Ugadi message00:02:27
What must one do on the day of Ugadi? One must begin the efforts to purify and sanctify one’s heart from this day. Past is past, it won’t come back again. One has seen the path one has walked and so there is no need to look back on the path walked instead one should look ahead. “Future is not sure!” Future is not certain and it melts away in seconds. One is not sure of being alive the next day!! So one must not worry about the future nor brood over the past, but must live in the moment. Present is all important as it is not ordinary present but “Omnipresent”! When one makes the present moment sacred, one’s past as well as the future becomes sacred. Embodiments of Love!! One celebrates today as the New Year of the people of Andhra Pradesh and the next day as the New Year of the people of Tamil Nadu , the day next as Vishu, the new year celebrated by people of Kerala—there are festivals galore and are celebrated one after the another. There is no dearth of festivals but man must develop the attitude of experiencing the underlying principle and essence of the festivals. Embodiments of Love!! One must, from the very present day and from the very moment, strive to sanctify one’s heart by getting rid of the bad thoughts; bad habits and bad conduct, for then alone can one get true bliss and happiness. Without a pure and sacred heart, one’s proficiency in scriptures or one’s visits to the great and the scholarly seers is null and void. One can redeem oneself and make one’s life worthy by living piously and by doing sacred deeds and this is the significance of Ugadi.
What is the significance of Ugadi00:02:16
Embodiments of Love! Today is ‘Ugadi’. As it is the beginning of time it is called as “Ugadi”. This has been celebrated since ancient times. Although many ‘Ugadi’s have passed by, one still has to cleanse one’s heart of the ill feelings and bad thoughts. The day when one’s heart is purified and is full of sacred thoughts, love and spirit of sacrifice then that day is ‘Ugadi’ in true sense. Ugadi is not simply celebration in terms of clothes and food. This day one may wear new clothes, but for how long is it going to be new? It becomes old by the next day. Similarly one does not read the same old newspaper again and again; today’s newspaper becomes waste paper by tomorrow. It is not possible to read the same old newspaper. One has got this gift of human birth to experience it, let not one aspire for another birth. Let one not aspire for another newspaper. One has already gone through the experiences of pleasure and pain in this birth, which is enough. One should think, “O God you have given me this newspaper today. I have experienced all that that had to be experienced. I do not want another newspaper. I do not want another life. And let me not have rebirth.”
Giving up bad qualities leads to true Ugadi00:01:36
On Ugadi day, people get up early, have a sacred bath, put on new clothes and partake of sweets and various delicious items. They are interested only in external cleanliness and are not concerned about purifying their hearts which are tainted with evil thoughts and evil feelings. It is rather easy to have external cleanliness and to wear new clothes but that is not the purpose of celebrating festivals. True celebration of Ugadi lies in giving up evil qualities and purifying one’s heart.
Giveup narrow mind from this Ugadi00:03:40
Embodiments of Love! WE have been experiencing the bliss of celebrating Ugadi (Telugu New Year) for the past many ages and generations. The Bharatiyas have been spreading peace and security to all the nations of the world with their strength of spirituality.Since time immemorial the prayer of the Bharatiyas has been: Loka samastha sukhino bhavantu (May all the people of the world be happy!) But the present-day condition is just the opposite. Man has progressed in the worldly sense but morally he has regressed. He is not able to give up his narrow mindedness and criticism of others. If one enquires into the reason for this, one will realise that one’s selfishness and self-interest are the cause for this. Man does not love objects or individuals for their sake; he does so for his self-interest. He does not love his country and work for its welfare. All his thoughts, words and deeds are motivated by selfishness. We will be celebrating Ugadi in its true spirit only when we give up our narrow mindedness and selfishness.
The nature of Vinayaka is found everywhere00:03:11
Today is Vinayaka Chaturthi. The nature of Vinayaka is found everywhere. Vinayaka is the master of Siddhi and Buddhi. We have to pray to such a Lord. If the leader is good, you will certainly reach the goal. Today, we do not have good leaders. Who is a good leader? Our conscience is the leader, but you have polluted that conscience. It is full of bad traits and wickedness. Vinayaka is the one who annihilates all such bad traits in our conscience. Mice smell everything wherever they go. Vinayaka has such a creature as his vehicle. He put the mouse under his foot. This means that he is not affected by any bad traits. As he is the master of all sacred qualities, sages and spiritual seekers praise him. We have to recognise and understand the significance of Vinayaka, who is there in our hearts. We have to think of him constantly. He is the presiding deity of all Gods. Shaivites as well as Vaishnavites worship Vinayaka. He symbolises all the religions. He stands for auspiciousness. Once you recognise this and worship accordingly you will redeem your lives.
We need to follow the teachings of Vinayaka00:03:53
Vinayaka has many teachings that help man liberate himself. Worship of Lord Ganesha has been followed from very ancient times. In the Narayana Upanishad, Lord Ganesha is praised first. In the three Vedas, we find the mention of Lord Ganesha. Even in music, they pray to Ganesha for his grace. Do we have the qualities of Vinayaka? Lord Vinayaka has a pure heart. In fact, Siddhi and Buddhi (fulfillment and intellect) are his two eyes. He considered them as his consorts. For intelligence, we need to have Buddhi. For Buddhi, we need to have gratitude. An ungrateful man can never become an intellectual. Without intellect, one can never be successful. Vinayaka confers success. So, we need to know the inner significance of Lord Vinayaka. Today, before we start any work, we pray to Lord Ganesha. Without praying to the master of masters, Vinayaka, and thereby, acting in an egoistic way, we are bound to fail. Vinayaka Chathurthi is the first festival of the year, followed by other festivals. Bharatiyas begin their daily prayers with a prayer to Lord Ganesha. Vinayaka is the head of spiritual, mental and physical levels. We should sustain and protect all these levels.
We need to understand the inner principle of Vinayaka00:02:40
We have learnt how to worship Vinayaka, but we do not recognise His inner principle. This will make everyone of us an ideal person. Students worship Vinayaka more on this day, as it will improve their memory and intelligence. Music concerts begin with a prayer to Vinayaka. But because of the effects of the age of Kali, we have forgotten this fact. For the misfortunes of the day, the root cause lies in the neglect of the worship of Vinayaka. Today, man is after temporary, fleeting, ephemeral pleasures, forgetting eternal joy. We should strive for permanent joy and peace. We can achieve that only by praying to God. As days pass, the very humanness is lost. Human values have disappeared. Man is not following his prescribed code of conduct. If human values are followed, divinity can be attained.
What is offered to Vinayaka; Inner significance00:02:59
On this day of Vinayaka Chaturthi, various kinds of offerings are made. But He does not accept any oily or fried preparations. All preparations are cooked in steam and offered to him. They offer him Kudumulu and Vundrallu, made by using rice flour and til (sesamum) seeds. Why is such an offering made? For humanity, heath is wealth. Those who partake of food cooked in steam remain very healthy. But today, man is running after various delicacies. But, for the elephant health is all-important. Vinayaka too teaches us the same. This preparation of rice flour and til sesamum seeds frees us from all defects of the eye like spots and cataract. A combination of jaggery and til seeds prevents all defects and diseases caused due to bile, wind and phlegm. The rice flour preparation made using steam helps in digestion too.
Who is Vigneshwara00:04:00
Modern man is weak. In modern times, people commit sins, but they neither realise their mistakes nor do they repent. In those days, the elders corrected their mistakes and led a pure life, being very grateful to God. Repentance is the basis for the glorious life that follows. To recognise this truth, you worship Lord Vigneshwara. Who is Vigneshwara? Who is Ganapathi? The word ‘Ga’ is related to the intellect. ‘Na’ refers to wisdom. Ganapathi is the head of all the secular and spiritual knowledge. Vinayaka has no master above him. He is the master unto himself. Vinayaka will never put you to suffering in anyway. Vinayaka blesses all your endeavours, efforts and confers success. He will never allow anything evil to reside in you. He has the mouse as his vehicle. A mouse stands for darkness as it moves about in the darkness at night. Vinayaka helps you to dispel this darkness and spread light. Divinity is not limited to mankind alone. We find divinity present in birds and beasts too. To demonstrate this latent, immanent divinity, we have Vinayaka having an elephant’s head, with a mouse as his vehicle. The elephant is highly intelligent, faithful and loyal. It never leaves the path that it lays all by itself and stands as a symbol for gratitude. Gratitude is a very sacred quality. Forbearance is Truth, dharma, Veda, Nonviolence, and everything. The elephant has got great patience and forbearance. It is prepared to sacrifice its life, but it can never tolerate its master’s suffering. When there is no path for us to tread in the jungle, it is the elephant that walks through and creates a path for us. Similarly, in this jungle of life, it is the elephant-headed Vinayaka who shows the ideal path for all of us to tread.
Swami on Sports meet efforts00:01:00
Students! Bhagawan has been watching and noticing all the struggle and strain that you have undergone during the past one week. You work sacrificing food, drink and even sleep. We have to understand the difference in the things done by students outside compared to students here. Students outside have only one purpose -- to win a prize, medal or name. But the only aim of our students is to please Bhagawan.
Significance of Mukkoti Ekadashi00:00:32
This day also coincides with the celebration of Mukkoti Ekadashi. This is the day when the nectar was passed on to everybody in the churning of the milk in the ocean.
Significance of Sankranthi00:01:37
Embodiments of love! Men and women youngsters! The Sankranthi festival of this day has stepped in with all the gaiety and festivity. This led to the blissful state of the mind because of the youngsters - men and women. This sacred day is not an ordinary one. This is also called the sacred day of travel towards the north - Uttarayana Parvadina. The holy festival of this day confers the noblest of features and also helps us to undertake sacred acts, giving us plenty and prosperity and bliss.
Significance of Shivaratri00:01:20
Today is Maha Shivaratri. We experience night daily. That’s just ordinary night, full of darkness. This is Shivaratri, which is auspicious night. How do we call it auspicious? The mental faculties are sixteen. Human life has these sixteen aspects for the faculties. On this day of Makara Chaturdasi, it is possible to understand divinity easily. Therefore we consider this day auspicious. The auspiciousness lies in directing our mind towards God.
Lead a Divine life from new year00:03:00
This is New Year Day according to the Gregorian calendar. We have other New Year days according to the practice in different parts of the country. There is no need to bother about the year as such. Devote every moment to actions that will please God. Develop love for God, which will confer every blessing on you. This is exemplified by the life of Harishchandra. He sacrificed everything in the cause of truth. And ultimately he got back everything by the grace of God. On this New Year Day I wish you all every happiness and prosperity. The ancients used to bless those who come to them with long life of 100 years and good health. They wished the people long life so that they may lead worthy lives. Lead a long life, happy life, peaceful life, loving life and divine life. Redeem your lives by practicing Divine Love.
Cherish every moment from new year00:01:00
The New Year or a new month does not bring with it any new joy or sorrow. Every second is new, because it heralds the march of time. A year is in fact a succession of seconds turning into minutes, days and months. It is only when every moment is cherished as new, will the new year become new. The sacred way in which every moment is spent will determine the fruitfulness of the year.
Practicing Swami's teachings is true New Year00:05:45
People are celebrating the advent of the New year, but what are they doing to improve their conduct? This is what matters. Without it the celebrations are meaningless. Jesus taught many good lessons. Allah gave many high teachings. Rama and Krishna taught many good lessons. What have people gained from all this? How far have they tried to put this into practice? There are numerous persons who read the Bhagavadh Geetha everyday. There are persons propagating the Geetha in every street. Preachers have multiplied but the number of those practicing the precepts is dwindling. People talk about what Swami has been saying. How many are practicing what Swami says even to the slightest extent? No. What, then, is the use of all this? Whether it is Swami's teachings or the instructions given by elders, whatever is good you should put into practice. You must act according to whatever your conscience tells is good. This is the way to honour the great ones. Not to practice their teaching is to disrespect them. Joy is not derived from the mere advent of a New Year. All people want to know whether the New Year will bring better progress and improvement in the general condition. Having regard to time, place and circumstances, some good and bad things may occur. If, however, people desire an improvement in the state of affairs they have to change their attitude. It will be helpful if the time factor is favourable for change. This month, January, is not quite promising. January 1st starts on Ashtami, the eighth day after the New Moon. The end of the month January 31th will also be an Ashtami. All kinds of difficulties are likely during the month. The New Year appears to have started on an Ashtami, which is considered inauspicious but this should not cause any apprehension among the people. With purity of heart, anything can be accomplished.
Treat every second as New Year00:01:29
Students! Regard every second as a new year and act on that basis. You need not wait for the passing of twelve months to embark on any enterprise. Transform yourselves every moment. Get rid of the bad old ideas; that will herald the birth of the new year. Take part in service activities to sanctify your lives. Adhere to righteous conduct. Live upto the motto. Help ever, Hurt never.
Bhagawan's message to all on new year00:06:00
The new year does not bring anything new with it. The day when fresh and sacred thoughts originate in your heart is the real new year day. As you all consider this day as new year day and welcome it with enthusiasm, I bless you all so that you may cultivate fresh, sacred and ideal feelings. I desire that you share with others all that you consider as good. I want you to lead a peaceful and blissful life and become role models for the rest of the country. At times evil qualities like desire anger and hatred may arise in you but they should not be allowed to enter the mind. Once they are refused permission, they will automatically withdraw. If they are allowed to enter the mind, they will remain in it. A small example. When someone comes to your doorstep with his baggage, if you receive him and start exchanging pleasantries, he will immediately enter and settle down in your house. On the other hand, if you ignore him completely, he will go to a hotel or a lodge. Likewise, when the evil qualities try to enter your mind, just ignore them. Then they will go back to the place of their origin. On the other hand, if you entertain them, they will rule over you. When you come across something evil, do not look at it, talk about it or listen to it. Just ignore it. That is the true human quality. You will allow only your friends and relatives to enter your house through the doors. Will anyone allow the donkeys and pigs to enter the house just because it has doors? Your body has got nine doors. You should permit through them only that which is sacred. Do not allow the evil to enter. Only then can you attain peace. Human life is highly noble, valuable and divine. Do not put it to misuse by giving room to evil qualities. Use the power of discrimination and make proper use of the senses. Only then will your life be redeemed. You will attain immortality and infinite bliss. Start a novel and Divine life in this new year. Give up all the old unsacred feelings. Cultivate Divine feelings. Once you have divine feelings, no other feeling can enter your mind. Install God within, then peace will automatically follow. Embodiments of Love! I bless you all so that you may lead your lives with peace, prosperity and happiness. Thus I bring My Discourse to a close.
New year doesn't bring joy or sorrow00:12:00
Embodiments of Love! YEARS have rolled by, but man has not developed noble feelings. A true human being is one with a good mind. The qualities of a good mind are: it has the brightness of the sun and coolness of the moon; it makes one utter sacred words and confers peace on society. Only one with compassion, love, forbearance, sympathy and sacrifice is a true human being. But in modern man such sacred qualities have become scarce. How can one, bereft of human qualities, be called a human being? Man has originated from Nature. Earth sustains life. Sun gives light. Trees give oxygen. Water quenches our thirst and air helps us to live. How is it that man, born out of the five elements and sustained by them, does not possess the sacred qualities of the five elements? Having been born out of and brought up by Nature, man should practise and propagate the ideals set by nature. Birds, animals and trees follow Nature and lead an ideal life. Trees inhale the poisonous carbon dioxide and exhale the life-supporting oxygen. Even the animals discharge their duties and help man in many ways. But, having been born as a human being, why is man not practising human values? He is not in a position to practise and propagate human values in society as he himself has lost them. Embodiments of love! Every man expects the new year to confer on him peace, happiness and prosperity. New year does not bring happiness or sorrow with it. Yesterday was same as today and tomorrow will be same as today. Days are the same, but one experiences either pleasure or pain depending on one’s own actions. Meritorious deeds will not confer misery and sinful deeds cannot give happiness. One is bound to face the consequences of one’s actions. But one treats pleasure and pain alike when one becomes the recipient of God’s grace. God’s grace destroys mountains of sins and confers peace. But due to the impact of Kali Age, man has lost faith in God. He is after money and power. How can such a man attain Divinity? Man can rise from the level of the human to the Divine only by practising human values. So, man should cultivate human values. Years come and go, so also pleasure and pain. Nothing confers permanent bliss except the experience of the Atma. Man cannot attain peace and happiness from his actions unless he has sacred feelings within. Many people expect the new year to confer happiness and prosperity on them. But in fact, new year only confers on you the results of your past actions. In order to atone your past sins, you have to cultivate sacred qualities and involve yourself in sacred activities more and more in the new year. In fact, Bliss is within you, it originates from your sacred feelings. So, you have to manifest bliss from within, it cannot be bestowed on you by others. None can take away the bliss from you and you cannot obtain it from outside. Heart is the centre of sacred feelings. It is filled with compassion. It is compassion that gives rise to sacred feelings. One has to develop compassion, spread the light of love and cultivate Divine feelings. Without doing so, how can one expect time to confer happiness on him? One gets what one does. If one expects good results, one must cultivate good feelings. With purity of heart, steadiness of mind and selfless actions, one can become the recipient of Divine grace, which will remove any amount of sufferings in a trice.
Inner meaning of celebrating Ladies day00:01:26
The goal of today should be that you should revere your mother and try to establish her prestige and dignity. That is the inner meaning of making 19th November as Ladies Day. Therefore, every man has got to go according to the wish of the mother. If the mother is not as wise as you, you will have to tell her in a nice way, Mother you don't know, I am an educated person. You have got to tell her in a nice way that she should also see the point. When you see each others point of view then there will be no differences between mother and her children. But today we are trying to forget this motherhood. Without the principle of devotion we are also losing faith.
Festivals teach us to be united00:00:53
To make our hearts sacred we perform and observe so many festivals. The aim of a festival is the transformation of the mind, purifying the mind. Where there is purity, there is unity. Where there is unity, there is divinity. For divinity, purity is very important. For unity, the oneness, togetherness is important. Human heart is the center of all activity. Through the principle of love, through the feeling of love, by loving actions, we should carry on our life sojourn.
True significance of Onam00:01:23
Onam does not mean limiting the celebration to the preparation of rice-pudding and other sweets. We have to think of the experience of Emperor Bali with Vamana. Vamana steps into the state of Kerala on this day. Considering this as an incarnation of God, we celebrate with all gaiety and festivity. We should lead a life of spirituality, adhering to a code of conduct. Speak truth. That is moral. In an acceptable way - that is righteous. The spiritual aspect requires you not to speak that which is not pleasant. All these three ultimately depend on truth. So following truth, experiencing a spiritual life, we have to do such deeds that make everyone happy.
Swami Onam wishes to all00:00:34
On this auspicious day of Onam, I confer my bounteous grace and blessings on all of you. .
- Bhaja Govindam
- Day to day
- Health and healthcare
- HIS Life
- Human values
- Philosophical concepts
- Pleasure and Pain
- Sai Organization
- Shirdi Baba