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TAMIL NEW YEAR - AN EXPOSITION BY BHAGAVAN SRI SATHYA SAI BABA
Resolve For The New Year
"You have been celebrating the New Year Day year after year. But, arc you cultivating new and sacred qualities? No. You are unable to give up your bad qualities. With each New Year, new and noble qualities should be cultivated. Desires have to be controlled. The lesser the desires, the lesser will be your sorrows." Sai Baba, SS, 5/99, pp. 125 & 126 (Discourse on Tamil New Year Day)
Significance Of The Special Food On The Tamil New Year
"On New Year day, it is a practice to mix sweet, sour and bitter things and eat them. It is to indicate that joy and sorrow have to be treated with equanimity. It is the tongue that tastes the delicacy and it is the heart that tastes love. The taste of love is peerless. It is sweeter than even nectar. Love alone can match love. God is love; love is God; live in love." Sai Baba. SS. 5/99. p. 128 (Tamil New Year Day)
Sai Messages On The Tamil New Year Day
"Many New Years have come and gone, but what it is that you have achieved? You may have participated in Bhajans any number of times. But, you still continue to immerse in negativity. Put a question to yourself what is that you have gained by participating in Bhajans. Bhajans should develop positive feelings in you. Any Sadhana done with noble feelings will yield good results. You may be doing a lot of spiritual practices for many years without any result. But, never give up any spiritual practice. Continue your Sadhana. One day or the other, you will get the reward." Sai Baba, SS, 5/99, p. 128 (Discourse on Tamil New Year Day)
Glimpses Of Tamil New Day Celebration At Brindavan, Whitefield - 2000
"After Sri Rama Navami, the second successive celebration in the Divine
Presence of Bhagavan Baba was the Tamil New Year falling on the 13th April. Sweet notes of Nadaswaram music and chanting of Veda Mantras by Institute students heralded the arrival of Bhagavan Baba in Sai Ramesh Hall at 7.30 a.m. Bhagavan spent the next 20 minutes with devotees before resuming the seat on the stage. All this time, Bhajan singing by Tamil Nadu devotees continued with great devotional fervor. After the conclusion of the Bhajans at 8.00 a.m., the devotees were enthralled by a grand programme of devotional songs by well-known singer Srividya, daughter of the renowned musician late Srimati M.L. Vasantha Kumari. The morning programme came to a close with Mangalarati to Bhagavan and distribution ofPrasadam.
The afternoon programme started at 3.45 p.m. with the arrival ofBhagavan in Sai Ramesh Hall. Bhajans in the afternoon were led by the Sundram Bhajan Group from Chennai. At 4.00 p.m., Bhagavan indicated to the Institute students to commence Veda chanting, the traditional auspicious method of starting the programme. After Veda chanting, Sri T.G. Krishnamurthy, State President of Tamil Nadu Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, spoke about the service activities being undertaken by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization all over the world and introduced the two speakers of the afternoon.
The first speaker, Sri Buhari, Seva Dal Convener of Tamil Nadu State, said that the infinite love of Bhagavan Baba was the biggest motivating force behind all service activities of Sri Sathya Sai Organization. Emphasizing the role of five human values -Sathya (truth), Dharma (righteousness), Shanti (peace), Prema (love) and Ahimsa (nonviolence) - in the transformation of mankind, Sri Buhari said that these values could make Sai workers as worthy instruments in Divine hands. He felt that devotees should be egoless and hollow like a flute so as to receive Divine Grace in ample measure.
The second speaker, Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sthya Sai Seva Organization, recalled the words of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa to Swami Vivekananda that he could also have the Darshan of the goddess if he had the same intensity of yearning for the goddess. He emphasized the need for eamestness in devotion and true yearning for Bhagavan who has incarnated to sanctify our lives. Sri Srinivasan also recounted his experiences how world leaders and heads of several countries were eager to have the Darshan and blessings ofBhagavan.
After these brief speeches, Bhagavan Baba blessed the devotees with His Divine Discourse. The Tamil New Year programme came to a close with Arati to Bhagavan and distribution of Prasadam." Editor. SS, 5/200, pp. 158 & 159
From the book - Festivals at Prasanthi Nilayam and Their Significance - An Exposition by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Compiled and Edited by Suresh C Bhatnagar
TAMIL NEW YEAR
The month of Chitthirai has arrived and with it the Tamil New Year’s Day; April 14th – an occasion for celebration for Tamilians all over the world. Greetings of “Puthandu Vazthukal”, (Happy New Year), are exchanged with fervour on this day, which is supposedly the day when Lord Brahma (The Creator of the world, according to Hindu mythology) started creation.
The day starts with viewing the 'kanni' (the auspicious sight) at dawn, in the expectation that beginning the New Year by looking at auspicious or favourable things will bring good fortune throughout the year. The auspicious things include, gold and silver jewellery, betel leaves, nuts, fruits and vegetables, flowers, raw rice and coconuts. This is followed by the ritual bath and a visit to the temple to pray for a prosperous and happy New Year. After which, the Panchangam (almanac) is read. The ladies adorn the entrances of their houses with ‘Kolam’ (design made with rice flour) and deck the doorway with mango leaves. A grand Car Festival is held at Tiruvadamarudur near Kumbakonam every year on April 14th. Also during the month of Chitthirai the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar is celebrated as ‘Chitthirai festival’.
The highlight of the festival is the 'Maanga Pachadi' (a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers), which is at the same time sweet, sour and bitter. This signifies all the different aspects of our life.
April 14th also happens to be the Bengali New Year Day, Naba Barsha, which begins with the ‘Prabhat Pheries’ (an early morning procession) with songs and dances welcoming the New Year. In Kerala ‘Vishu’ is celebrated by Malayalees commemorating the beginning of the astronomical New Year in the Malayalam Calendar.
New Year’s Day Tamil New Year’s Day, Chitra Vishu, falling on April 14, is a festival for offering prayers for nature’s bounty and a life of prosperity for oneself and family. In the Andhra, Karnataka and Maratha calendar, New Year’s Day, called Ugadhi, falls around the same time, though not on the same day. Sun’s movement is the measure for the year in the Tamil calendar. Hence the description of the calendar computation as saura mana. The period during which the sun traverses the 12 parts of the rasi mandalam, from Mesha to Meena, constitutes a year. The new year starts on the day the sun moves into Mesha rasi. As the sun leaves one rasi and enters another, a new month is born. Thus the naming of the months as Mesha, Rishabha, Mithuna, Kataka, Simha, Kanni, Thula, Vrischika, Dhanur, Makara, Kumbha, and Meena. Each of these is represented by an animal. Goat stands for Mesha. In the Tamil calendar, the twelve months during which the sun travels through the different rasis are called Chithirai, Vaikasi, Ani, Adi, Avani, Purattasi, Aippasi, Karthikai, Marghazhi, Thai, Masi, and Panguni (corresponding, respectively, to April-May, May-June, June-July, July-August, August-September, September-October, October-November, November-December, December-January, January-February, February-March, and March-April). This twelve-part saura year comprises 365 days, six hours, nine minutes and nine-and-a-half seconds. Thithi, or day, is determined by the position of the sun in relation to the moon in the sky. One-twelfths of that distance denotes each thithi. The day has 60 parts, or nazhi, of 24 minutes each. An hour comprises two and a half nazhis. A muhurtham is of three-and-three-quarter nazhi duration. Each day has 12 muhurthams. The day, between sunrise and sunset, is divided into five distinct kalas or parts, each of 2 hours and 24 minutes duration: Udaya kala – sunrise at 6 a.m. to 8.24 a.m.; sanghava – 8.24 a.m. to 10.48 a.m.; madhyahnika – 10.48 a.m. to 1.12 p.m.; aparahna – 1.12 p.m. to 3.36 p.m.; and sayam kala – 3.36 p.m. to 6 p.m. Chitra Vishu, according to one ancient text, is the day when Brahma started creation. Another text has it that he began his work on Ugadhi. This is a day for offering worship both at temple and at home, preferably in the morning, after duly bathing. Bath for many on this day is with a concoction made of flowers, herbs, arugam grass, turmeric and milk. This practice still prevails in places like Singapore and Sri Lanka. Also on this day the new almanac, or panchangam, is read and elaborated at temples. It is common to find a neem blossom pachchadi in the menu of households on this day. Some offer rice pongal to the Almighty as they worship Him. Starting the new year with worship and prayer ensures one’s welfare throughout the year. One should participate also in the special worship at temples, in the evening if one is busy during the day, and pray for the good of one’s country and of the world, besides one’s own welfare
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