FESTIVALS WHY DO WE OBSERVE THEM
Let me make it very clear at the outset I am just placing my observations not judgments or criticisms.
1] First we need to be clear whether we want to celebrate festivals purely as social entertainments and/or as social entertainments rationalized and justified by religious, traditional, cultural or some other ethnocentric vindication. If this is the case then we can celebrate anything on any day.
2] If we are running a commercial enterprise selling some items then we can always discover and assign some significance which has an appealing USP and could be easily marketed.
3] This is where this AADI or AUDI month significance comes in where in the women folk want a long holiday from sex and also engage in nostalgic reunion with their parents. It is fine and there is nothing wrong in that but why to cut off so many healthy Neem tree branches and make life very noisy in and around all Amman Temples
4] If they are based on some astronomical phenomenon or astrological significance or astrophysical factors then we need to be very seriously working on all these factors to perfection.
5] As everything in nature these too have undergone a sea change and also we as human beings have discovered scientifically some hitherto unknown facts or unraveled mysteries. These are the inevitable positive elements of growth based on observation, enquiry, exploration etc.
6] We all know that the earth’s magnetic pole reversals though it is neither a daily nor a frequent occurrence but a gradual variations, though probably minuscule but can have their own impacts refer http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-poleReversal.html and http://www.naturalnews.com/030996_bird_deaths_pole_shift.html
7] In the recently conducted Space Festival jointly conducted by NASA, ISRO, DRDO, TATA ATOMIC RESEARCH CENTER etc at Coimbatore which attended along with my daughter last week, we attended two interesting and informative lectures by scientists from NASA as to a] Why we spend so much of money and time on Space Travels and space research and b] The Sun and us wherein he gave they spoke about the impact and importance of changes in Solar magnetic fields every 11 years causing cycles of extreme drought and floods . In fact this as well as greater number of air accidents have been observed , attributed and documented with astrological justifications to the Jupiter’s transition to a particular Zodiac sign .
8] In fact, our traditional knowledge of astrology is something much deeper and more reasonable than traditionally promoted rituals where the importance is more towards marketing and maintaining priesthood as a profession. This may be a bit harsh but inevitable survival fact, otherwise how else can anyone explain all of a sudden one particular year Jayendra Saraswathi swamy says that if women wear green colored dress that year they will be prosperous and the green sarees and churidhars sold in that year outnumbered the total of the same two dresses of all other colors put together.
9] This is why the celebration of Shankaranthi is important and excellent and there is nothing religious about it
10] Everything done with complete seriousness and sincerity with the rider that all the concomitant factors both internal and external are also in tune then the desired impact can or may be expected as per the situation, context or circumstance otherwise any festival is just a celebration of some local tradition , ritual etc without any sound reason and therefore likely to fade in its importance as it has happened with our poonal and its associated activities. Former director of cotton research institute and internationally renowned entomologist [ not a brahmin] once explained how great and good is just wearing the poonal made of a particular cotton with a small piece of dead deer skin held tightly near the heart and ashes made of burnt cow dung and some other materials applied as vibhuthi and standing in the sunlight at dawn and dusk, these as they are without any dilution in the process or quality of any of these along with serene and unpolluted atmosphere accompanied by calmed mind. Are all these possible then , naturally you will not get proper result , it is like preparing veg biriyani without onion and garlic , it can at best be rice mixed with some vegetable you cannot call it veg biriyani. Besides the very important and interesting aspect of Sanathana Dharma [otherwise labeled as Hinduism] is the higher level of freedom and priority given to individual importance rather than collective folly.
11] Let us not blindly follow anyone or any authority however great or good it may be because that would be doing a disservice to Sanathana Dharma instead let us these in whatever we do . There must be intrinsically important value addition to either the physical body like yoga and many other rituals.
Intrinsic value for the human mind like the philosophical and esoteric concepts available aplenty in VEDAS, UPANISHEDS, BHAGAWATH GEETHA etc some of the most popular and known text there are many more in HINDUISM, there must be intrinsic value addition to the spiritual aspect of the human being especially its soul and the many methods to realize and relink it ,i.e.relink the ATMA with the PARAMATMA [ in fact this is what the meaning of the word RELIGION itself etymologically, it is from the LATIN ‘re+ligere’ , where're' as a prefix always means ‘again’ as in redo ,return, re pair etc and 'ligère' means 'to link'] through multiple means depending on the level of perception, inspiration, inclination, impulse, interest and/or capabilities, conviction and so on.
Sanathana dharma as it is a science evolved through experiences of observations made with total intensity and intense totality by many souls it has taken into account the various frequencies at which the same thing can appeal, appear or perceived differently by different people. So it has incorporated the various methods like Manthras, Bhakthi[ manifested in various ways like songs, dances ,pujas etc] philosophical enquiry, doubting the scriptures and even denouncing the scripture or even atheistic approaches to enlighten the soul and spirit. So there are multiple forms of worships and multiple gods because all souls are not alike nor can they be assumed or treated to be alike but every soul has a right to make its spiritual journey the way it wants [It is not often our perception but the scale of observation and frames of reference which creates the phenomenon. The scale of observation depends on man; it is he who creates it. In nature, different scales of observation do not exist. There is only one immense, harmonious phenomenon on a scale which, in general, escapes man. The structure of man's brain necessitates dividing into arbitrary compartments and cutting up into isolated pieces. With the aid of several instruments science creates more phantasmagoria: "on our scale of human observation, as pointed out before, the edge of a razor-blade is a continuous line. On the microscopic scale, it is a broken but solid line. On the chemic scale we have atoms of iron and carbon. On the sub-atomic scale we have electrons in perpetual motion which travel at the rate of several thousand miles per second. All these phenomena are in reality the manifestations of the same basic phenomenon, the motions of the electrons. The only difference which exists between them is the scale of observation" [Human Destiny, Lecomte du Nuoy- a marvelous book that everyone must read – if I remember correctly this comes in 34th page I have read that book at least 8 times-
12] There must be intrinsic value addition to the environment as is manifested in not only the care and concern of all the elements but worship of all forms lives like worshiping animals and trees etc and conducting festivals to welcome the oncoming of different seasons and celebrating thanking nature as in the celebration of PONGAL There must be intrinsic value addition to social well being and social interaction with joy, greeting and kindness as is manifested in the form of many festivals and sathsanga [ gathering of individuals from various walks of life for a common prayer].http://contentwriteups.blogspot.in/2010/12/pongal-virginal-universal-festival-of.html
13] There must be inherent freedom for individual improvisation and aesthetic appeal in whatever you do be it art, architecture, music, dance etc. That’s why our classical music the same song can be rendered differently by different artist with multiple ways of rendering the raga alapana, kalpana swaras , sangathies etc.
So, in brief the very essence of Sanathan Dharma is humane life style with concern for all others, the environment and nature leading to a smooth, pleasant and enjoyable journey of the soul [atma] to seek its ultimate goal of spiritual enlightenment [reaching the paramathma].
14] Therefore, Sanathana dhama teaches us to lead life looking for intrinsic value in whatever we do; it teaches us to see the underlying concepts beneath every ritual; it wants us to grasp and give out substance and not gas and superficiality; it helps us to seek essence in whatever we do rather than the extraneous paraphernalia; it wants us to take cognizance of facts, however unpleasant they may be , rather than pander to hypocritical preaching of social moralistic theories or performing mumbo jumbos; it wants us to incorporate noble, important and laudable humane value like LOVE, FORGIVENESS, THANKSGIVING etc in our daily lives rather than making them into commercial shows of Calendared rituals like Forgiveness weeks, Lovers day or Thanksgiving day etc.