Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1064. Happy Festival Time....!

Starting with the Varamahalakshmi Vrata in
Shravana Maasa there are a lot of Hindu festivals lined up for the next few months. We have Krishnaastami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Anant Chaturdashi in Bhadrapada followed by Dasara in Ashvija and Deepavali in Karthika.

Festivals help create an atmosphere where the mind which is always immersed in the mundane affairs will focus on spiritual impetus. Thereby giving the opportunity to experience the sense of belongingness by bringing together the families and communities. We need to be fortunate that our ancient traditions have gifted us with various festivals. It is amazing to know that every Utsava (Festival) is intertwined with Vrata (Religious Votive).

While Utsava is the outer way to express life in its natural state of liveliness, Vrata is to purify the three namely Manasika, Vachika and Kayaka (Thought, Word and Deed). The word Vrata is a combination of two syllables “Vr” means conduct and “rta” is order. Vrata means orderly conduct which is self discipline. Vrata though is guided by some ritualistic practice as suggested in scriptures, it is personal where conviction becomes the key. I remember the incidence in Ramayana where Sitamata offered sand balls instead of the prescribed traditional rice and til balls as pinda to her father-in-law (King Dasharatha) while in exile. The Jivatma of Dasharatha accepted it joyfully. The orderly conduct at display.

The festival does have a tinge of pomp and show but it is not to be pretentious. Moreover there are different ways every individual would think of adoring the Deity and make an offering during festivals. I have observed that some raise objection to the kind of offering made, be it the Naivedya or the choice of fruits or flowers. I fail to understand how one can decide on what could be offered and which has to be avoided. Besides, in that sense what is there for us to offer which is not His? Who are we to intervene between a devotee and his Deity on the issue of adoring or offering?

When Sri Krishna went to Hastinapura as the divine ambassador, He wished to stay at Vidura’s place. When He arrived Vidura had left his house and his wife was present. On seeing Krishna, she was very happy and her joy knew no bounds. She was so spellbound that she did not know what was happening. She welcomed Him with respect. Krishna waited for Vidura. Seeing Krishna sitting in her house she was lost in thoughts. She didn’t know what to do. She offered him bananas. In total joy, she peeled the banana, gave the pealed skin and threw the fruit down. Lost in ecstasy she offered Him banana peels and without any objections He happily ate all them. 

This is a perfect example to illustrate how a devotee lost in ecstasy behave and also how the Deity value the love and affection shown to Him by His devotee. He never minds what is given to Him by His devotees what is more important to Him is the love for Him. He values only the devotion shown to Him because He is Bhaktavatsala, the devotee is very dear to Him than anything else. Maharshi Valmiki in Ramayana and Bhagvan Vyasa in Mahabharata have brought out these incidences to make us think what is more important. 

So undeterred by the probe made by others on what you have offered or how you have performed the rituals, just offer yourself to the Deity and enjoy the Bliss. 

Happy Festival Time.....! 

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