Gudhipadwa or Samvatsararambha, the first Holy festival which marks the beginning of the New Year, new month and a new day for the Hindus is on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada (13th April 2021). It is known as Gudhipadwa (in Maharashtra), Ugadi (in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh). (In other parts of the country it is celebrated during Nav Roz [Kashmir], Baisakhi [Punjab], Cheti Chand [Sindhi], Naba Barsha [Bengal], Goru Bihu [Assam], Puthandu [Tamil Nadu], Vishu [Kerala].) On this very day Deity Brahma created the Universe. Therefore for Hindus, this day carries special importance. The day is celebrated with an auspicious bath, followed by decorating the doorway with a ‘toran’, ritualistic worship and hoisting the Gudhi.
Celebrate New Year only on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada
Today, in India, New Year is being celebrated on 1st January as per the Western calendar. Celebration on the eve of the Western New Year involves indulging in various malpractices such as eveteasing after drinking alcohol, etc. So, instead of beginning the New Year on an auspicious note, it begins unpleasantly.
To ensure that the beginning of the New Year begins on an auspicious note, celebrate it according to the Hindu Scriptures on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada as per the Hindu lunar calendar. This date is glorious in all ways – as per the cycle of nature and it also has historical and spiritual significance. All this contributes to bestowing happiness on the one celebrating it as per the Hindu Scriptures. It is the duty of each individual to arrest the harm being caused to society by blindly emulating the Westerners.
The method of celebrating Chaitra Shukla Pratipada
1. Ablution with oil (Abhyangasnan) – an auspicious bath : On this day, one should wake up early in the morning and take an oil bath. An oil bath consists of oil massage to facilitate the absorption of oil into the skin, followed by a warm water bath. Oil should be applied to retain the elasticity of the skin. Warm water is auspicious and pleasing to the body.
2. Decorating the doorstep : After a bath, one should decorate the lintel of every door with a bunting of mango leaves and red flowers. Red flowers are used because red indicates auspiciousness.
3. Hoisting the Gudhi : The Gudhi, which is Brahma’s flag (Brahmadhwaj) is hoisted in every house as a representation of Shriram’s victory and happiness on His returning to Ayodhya after slaying Ravan. Since a symbol of victory is always held high, so is the Gudhi. A bright green or yellow cloth adorned with brocade (zari) is tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which gathi (a type of sweet), neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers are tied. This is then hoisted by placing a silver or copper pot in the inverted position over it. Beautiful rangolis are drawn on the floor in front of this flag. Everyone eagerly waits to usher in the New Year.
4. An offering (Prasad) of neem : Since neem has the highest ability to absorb Prajapati vibrations, it is partaken as Prasad. One should distribute this offering prepared by mixing tender leaves and flowers of neem, soaked split gram lentil or soaked gram, honey, cumin seeds and a little of asafoetida amidst chanting of a mantra.
5. Donation : The needy should be given all kinds of offerings as per our capacity. For example, offering free drinking water by setting up a stall.
6. Performing actions that bestow happiness : One should spend this day happily, listening to auspicious songs, musical instruments and stories of Holy men. Then, the entire year will become a happy one.
7. Greeting cards : Usually greeting cards are sent to relatives and friends on Diwali or the Christian New Year. Instead, one should send greeting cards on the first day of Chaitra, since this is the real beginning of the year.
|Shun materialism, insist on ‘Dharmacharan’
Chaitra Shukla Pratipada is a sacred day for the Hindus. At the end of a year and the beginning of a New Year, it is necessary to ponder over what were the developments with regards to Sanatan Dharma. It has been noticed that there was a tremendous increase in the onslaughts on Dharma and only a handful of devout Hindus came forward to oppose these. Neither the onslaughts on Dharma nor the weak opposition to it by Hindus are new problems for the awakened Hindus.
No one should preach about freedom with regards to Sanatan Hindu Dharma, which teaches respect for every living being on the earth. There should be a difference between freedom and wanton behaviour. However, not only the common man but even those who profess to be the champions of Hindutva, make mistakes in understanding the true meaning of wanton behaviour.
Onslaught on culture is also wanton behaviour. Some awakened Hindus opposed the growing popularity of the ‘pub culture’ for this reason. Devout Hindu organisations not only opposed this culture, but even demanded a ban over it.
Culture is a collective manifestation of Dharma. Hence, attack on culture is an attack on Dharma. ‘Globalisation’, which in reality is materialistic behaviour, attacks the local culture anywhere. And this is opposed by the followers of other religions too in many parts of the world. Some countries have evolved special machinery in the Police system to protect their culture. However, in India there is no such machinery.
The followers of other religions are so vigilant about their faith that their representatives may be in any political party, whenever an issue of their faith is raised, they all unite.
The New Year is being ushered in with the message – ‘O Hindus ! Arise !’ Religious interests are above individuals or organisations. Therefore, learn what religious behaviour is, get spiritual experiences on Dharma and take action in the interests of Dharma.
The situation today has already gone out of control. Terrorism inspired by pan-Islamism ideology along with the veiled activities of missionaries (who are inspired to spread their Gospel in the third world countries such as India in this century) are both attacks on Dharma. Materialism is also a form of attack on our Dharma. It is difficult to decide which is more dangerous. With such forces looming large ahead of us and impacting our lives in so many ways, let us take cognizance of the dangers they pose and make a firm resolve to protect Dharma.
Let us resolve to educate ourselves about Dharma and to impart the education to others so as to awaken love for Dharma in them. Organisations such as Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha are already engaged in this noble task. They have taken the first step in this direction by organising Dharmajagruti Sabhas throughout India.
Either you take some action on your own or participate in the activities of these organisations. Instead of imbibing various aspects of Western lifestyle, instil behaviour as taught by our Dharma. For example, children should be taught to say ‘Ma’ and ‘Pitajee’, etc. instead of ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’. Inculcate pride for our language. Your resolve to take some action in the interests of Dharma will certainly bring you the blessings of Saints !