Gudhi Padwa (9th April) : New Year Day


Gudhi Padwa 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 (9th April 2024). It is known as Gudhi Padwa (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 [amongst Sindhis], 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.

1. Tithi of the festival

Yugaditithi, Chaitra Shukla Pratipada (First day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Chaitra)

2. Why is it ideal to commence the New Year on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada ?

There are several ways of commencing a New Year – in the Christian calendar 1st January marks the commencement of the year, the financial year in Bharat begins from 1st April, the Hindu New Year from Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, the commercial year from the 1st day of the Hindu Lunar month of Kartik, the solar year, the lunar year, the lunisolar year, etc.

The combined waves of Deity Prajapati (signifying the Principle of Brahma) enter the house through the kalash, which acts similarly as the antenna of a television set. The next day onwards, this kalash can be used for storing drinking water as it is charged with Prajapati waves. Thus, we benefit from the Prajapati waves throughout the year. The extent of Prajapati waves within it is 80%, whereas the proportion of Surya, Yama and their composite waves is 10%, 8% and 2% respectively.

On no other day in the entire year, is the proportion of Prajapati waves so high. These waves have multiple positive effects such as, ability to increase the potential of the soil to cause sprouting of vegetation, intellect becoming expansive, and wells developing new sources of water.

Irrespective of the day of commencement, the year comprises of twelve months. The Vedas are foremost in promoting the concept that a year should consist of twelve months. It is because the Vedas say so that the world has accepted it. Of all the days mentioned above, the most ideal is that of Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. There are natural, historical and spiritual reasons to mark the commencement of the year on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada.

A. Natural

Towards the first day of the Chaitra month (Padwa), the Sun assumes a position above the Vasant intersection (the point of intersection of the Equator and the Meridians) and the spring season commences. In Shrimadbhagawadgeeta(10.35) Shrikrushna says – “Amongst the seasons, the exhilarating Vasant-rutu (Spring) is my manifestation”. In this season, the weather is pleasant and exhilarating. In the Shishir-rutu (Autumn), trees shed their leaves. Towards Padwa, trees bear new foliage and appear fresh.

B. Historical

1. On this day, Prabhu Shriram killed Vali.

2. The Shakas too gained victory over the Huns.

3. This day commemorates the commencement of the ‘Shalivahanshaka’; for, on this day King Shalivahan vanquished his enemies.

C. Spiritual

C1. Creation of the Universe : Deity Brahma created the Universe on this day, that marked the commencement of Satyayug (The first in the cycle of four eras since the origin of the Universe); hence, the commencement of the New Year on this day.

C2. One among the three and a half muhurts (Auspicious times) : Gudhi Padwa, Akshayya Trutiya and Dushehra each make up one, and the  first day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik comprises one-half of the total three and a half muhurts. The special feature of these muhurts is that unlike other days, when one has to select an auspicious moment to perform a ritual, on these days one does not need to, as every moment of these days is auspicious.

3. The method of celebrating Chaitra Shukla Pratipada

A. Ablution with oil (Abhyangasnan) – an auspicious bath : On this day, one should wake up early in the morning and have an oil bath. This consists of oil massage to facilitate the bsorption 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.

B. Decorating the doorstep : After bathing, 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.

C. Hoisting the Gudhi : The Gudhi, which is Brahma’s flag (known as 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.

D. 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.

E. Donation : The needy should be given all kinds of offerings as per our ability. For example, offering free drinking water.

F. 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 be a happy one.

G. 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.

(Reference : Sanatan’s Text – ‘Appropriate method and science in celebrating Holy festivals’)

Paratpar Guru Parashram Madhav Pande Maharaj

Obtaining maximum benefit from the Prajapati waves

‘Gudhi Padwa is celebrated when the sun travels towards the north on the celestial sphere, by hoisting the Gudhi with the kalash on it, demonstrating the power of sankalpa-shakti (Energy of resolve). Pratipada signifies that henceforth every step we take will be a step ahead for our prosperity. Hoisting a Gudhi symbolises a sankalpa unto the Sat (Absolute Truth) and thereby marks an auspicious beginning.’

– Paratpar Guru Parashram Madhav Pande Maharaj

Shun materialism, insist on ‘Dharmacharan’

At the end of a year and the beginning of a New Year, it is necessary to ponder over the developments in Sanatan Dharma. We notice 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 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.

‘O Hindus ! Arise ! Religious interests are above individuals or organisations. Learn about Dharma, get spiritual experiences on Dharma and take action in the interests of Dharma !

No one should preach about freedom with regards to Sanatan Dharma, which teaches respect for every living being on Earth !