“Today is a festival that has different names within India and many countries in South East Asia, but a common theme and a common flavour, a common aspiration and a common emotion.
It is a festival that marks the beginning of a new year. About a week from now, we shall have another set of New Years called variously in different parts of India as Vaishakhi, Vishu, Mesadi, Vaishakhadi, Puthandu, Pahela Baishakh, Sajibu Nongma Panba and Bahag Bihu and as Songkran in Thailand, Choul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia, Thingyan in Myanmar.
These are festivals that celebrate the change of seasons. They are joyous occasions for families to get together, to spruce up the homes, deck up in the finest new clothes and enjoy a delicious meal.
These festivals are sacred occasions for prayers, like the prayer to Lord Jhulelal as a part of Cheti Chand celebration, to Vishnu and Krishna as a part of Vishu and Bihu, to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi in certain states and to Lord Buddha in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.
These festivals are a subtle but eloquent expressions of the Indian vision of life. For instance, festivities during Ugadi, Yugadi festival, Gudhi Padwa and Vishu have a special feature.
They invariably include a special dish, a chutney, variously called Ugadi Pachadi, Bevu Bella, Maangai Pachadi, Sadhya, Veppampoorasam, Mampazhappulissery that is made of neem flowers, jaggery, raw mango, chillies, tamarind and salt.
This is a blend of six tastes- sweet, bitter, tangy, hot, sour and salty.
It is a symbolic indication of the diversity of experiences that constitute human life, the mixed bag of emotions that we all experience on a day to day basis.
It is a pointer to how we should sail through life, enjoying life as it unfolds and savouring the happiness as well as learning how to take the agonizing moments in our stride.
These festivals, however, have an unmistakable sense of jubilation and certainly celebrate a sense of optimism, a hope that the new year will bring greater happiness, health and prosperity.
The bright colourful Rangolis, the resplendent Gudhi flags fluttering on the top of houses, the rhythmic beats of Bhangra dances, the Vishukkani plates of flowers, fruits, money, rice as well as a number of special sweets like Bobbatlu and Boorelu are artistic, aesthetic and culinary manifestations of a hope that the new year should be full of sweetness in which melody of music, the rhythms and cadence of dance, beauty and grace of life comes alive every minute to fill our days with joyful moments.
It is truly remarkable that many countries in South East Asia have similar new year festivals. Songkran in Thailand and Thingyan in Myanmar derive their origin from the Sanskrit word, Sankranti. In both these countries, the celebrations are marked by water festivals somewhat like the Holi festival in India. There is therefore a certain commonality in our cultural traditions across the geographical boundaries.
As we all rejoice on this auspicious day and pray that all of us and our extended families are healthy and happy through the next year, let us remind ourselves that we are all heirs to a great civilization that had a universal, inclusive, integrated vision of welfare of all humanity.
This makes it a country with a timeless and therefore, an eternally relevant vision. I can do no better than echo our sages and say,
Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraani Pashyantu
Maa Kashchid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
This is the prayer I would like all of us to remember. Let us have the courage to forge ahead and lead fulfilling lives with sound health and resolute will. Let us have the patience and resilience to tide over crises and obstacles.
मैं आशा करता हूं कि यह प्रार्थना हम सबको याद रहनी चाहिए। हम साहस और उत्साह के साथ अपने भविष्य में भी अग्रसर हों और दृढ़ संकल्प के साथ एक खुशहाल, संतुष्ट और स्वस्थ जीवन जिएं। हम में कठिनाइयों और क्षणिक विपत्तियों का सामना करने का धैर्य हो।
Let the new year bring good news to each one of us and our families. Let it usher in prosperity and happiness in our lives. Let it instil ‘Sanmati’ in each of us so that conflicts and violence are minimized, Durmuhuthams are few and far between and most of the days have many Amritha Kshan. Today we heard about the astrological overview of next year in the Panchang Shravan. In my view, we can create a more peaceful prosperous world around us if we can transform our thinking and actions by focusing on a different Panchaang or five components: Satsankalp(Good Intentions) Sadasadvivechan(Clearly analyzing each action whether it will result in good or bad outcomes), Sadvachan(Speaking pleasantly and truthfully), Satdarshan(Seeing the positive side of things and spreading good thoughts) and Sadaachar (Implementing what is good for us and for all others ).
नूतन वर्ष हमारे और हमारे परिजनों के लिए खुशियां ले कर आए। नया वर्ष हमारे जीवन में सुख और समृद्धि लाए। हमने सन्मति जागृत हो जिस से हम मतभेद, विवाद,संघर्ष और हिंसा की संभावनाओं को कम कर सकें, हमारे जीवन में दुर्मुहुर्त कम से कम ही आएं और अधिकांश दिनों में प्रायः अमृत क्षणों की ही अधिकता हो। आज हमने पंचांग श्रवण में आगामी वर्ष के लिए ज्योतिषीय व्याख्या सुनी। मेरे विचार से यदि हम अपने कर्मों और विचारों को इन पांच अवयवों पर आधारित एक नए पंचांग के अनुसार परिवर्तित कर सकें तो हम अपने चतुर्दिक एक अधिक शांत और समृद्ध विश्व का निर्माण कर सकते हैं। ये पंच अवयव है - अच्छी नियत से किया गया सत्संकल्प, हमारे किसी भी प्रयास का परिणाम अच्छा होगा या बुरा इसका सदासद्विवेचन, सत्य और शुभ वचन सद्वचन, सदैव सकारात्मक दृष्टिकोण रखना और सद्विचारों का प्रसार करना - सतदर्शन तथा सदाचार जो हमारे और सभी के लिए अभीष्ट हो।
मैं आपको और आपके परिजनों को इस आशा के साथ हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं देता हूं कि आगामी नव वर्ष हमारे लिए अधिकाधिक उज्ज्वल रहेगा।
In advance, I would also like to convey my wishes to people in other states who are going to celebrate New Year festival in April.
बैसाखी दियां लख लख वधाइयां
बोहाग बिहुर शुभेश्शा जोनाइसु
I wish you and your families all the best and I hope that our tomorrows will continue to be bright and even brighter in the coming year.