Reverence to festivals is inscribed into our scriptures and is deeply embedded in our DNA. We are truly blessed to be born as Indians as our calendar is a long procession of festivals. Every region and every religion has something to offer. They say take in a festival when you come to India. No land demands so much of its legend-or, in celebrating the past, adorning the present marvelously.
As I collect tulsi leaves, sandalwood, flowers for decoration, jewellery, dresses and other accessories for Balgopal’s big day. I’m being reminded of how Krishna dwells in our hearts.
His probable presence is like a flash of light at the end of a long shadowy cave. We view him as a knight in shining armour. We have been raised to believe in his sovereignty. We have grown up listening to his stories of righteousness, wisdom, valour, love, friendship, fearlessness, adherence to truth, and theory of Karma from my Nani and Dadi. We have grown up making Jhankis for Janmashtami celebrations and dressed up as Radha or Krishna with a flute. We have stood in long queues to get the quintessential prasad offered in the temples and relished the kheer made at home.
My Idea Of Festivals
We celebrate and cherish Krishna Nand ke anand bhayo, Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki. The god who lived as man ruled our consciousness for over 5000 years now. His adulation is such that Janmasthmi is celebrated in the whole world. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is a worldwide confederation of more than 650 temples and centres, and millions of adherents who worship the Hindu deity, Krishna across the world.
The magic of festivals is in the way it uplifts the mind. It breaks the monotony and the miasma of melancholy surrounding our busy schedules. While we crash around the exclusivist islands of exactitude, deadlines, competition, compromises, pay packages, promotions, split-ups and whatnot, festivals remind us to slow down and live in the moment. They are the milestones, which light up the mood and spirit. They cope with the hollowness of our circumstances and suddenly a break in the right direction gives us hope.
We are truly blessed to be born as Indians as our calendar is a long procession of festivals. It may be the harvest in the south, the golden yellow of short-lived spring in the north, the seafront spectacle of Ganesh immersion in Mumbai, the fantastic Ratha Yatra of Puri, the snake boat races in Kerala or the Navratri celebration and dandiya nights in Gujrat. Each is different. Every region and every religion has something to offer. They say take in a festival when you come to India. No land demands so much of its legend-or, in celebrating the past, adorning the present marvelously. Take festivals out of India and we are left with a structure without a soul. Festivals and the feeling of oneness go hand in hand. From a sense of belongingness to a sense of purpose, to a sense of worship – we kneel a perfect dough.
Each celebration has its history, valid reasons and an interesting story that marks its relevance. Our households are getting ready for the annual arrival and departure of Lord Ganesha. The Vighnavinashak Ganpati Deva, Dukh Harta, and Sukh Karta cultivate divine sentiments, filling our hearts and homes with positive energy. Prepares us to destroy the obstacles on our way. After the departure of the pot-bellied Ganesh, comes Durga in all her glory. Durga comes with much pomp and splendour across India. For the Bengali community, it is the time of the year when the Mother Goddess descends to earth to restore good in the world.
As the festive season draws closer, there is positivity in the air. The twinkling and glimmering lights brace up for the next three months. Every community is busy with the pre-event catch-up, fund collection, discussions around the pandal decoration, cultural nights and food stalls. Different communities, different festivals yet one feeling and that’s the uniqueness and inclusiveness we stand by.
Almost the same paraphernalia that comes with celebrating the deity’s arrival, the burial of an unconstructive and unproductive mindset followed by embracing strength over sorrow. Leaving us with a sense of self which is more equipped to handle what life throws at us. In the larger scheme of things, festivals help to ease up the mind.
Festivals are the tangible personification of the powers that we have within. If you know why you are celebrating, what you are celebrating and the stories behind the events it would hold a different meaning. From our generation to the next generation, the most valued gift that we can give them is the feeling of oneness. Protect the rituals and traditions from the growing influence of the changing world which is preparing our children to live a lonely life. Let them know the beauty that resides in coming together and celebrating our festivals.
As I decorate the mandir at home, with Alexa playing Krishna Bhajans; and the house brimming with activity. Kheer is being cooked for prasad and my six-year-old fixes me with a euphoric gaze. I can see that she loves the festivity as much as her mother and that’s the gift, I pass on to her.
Wishing all readers, a very happy Janmashtami.
Suggested reading: Rediscovering 10 Intense Love Stories From Indian Mythology