Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Light of Wisdom

While browsing the Internet,I came across a suggestion to divert the expenses incurred in celebrating the festivals to develop the Human Resources and build the nation to become a World Leader.Even the stalwarts of HRD may laugh at this suggestion. Such questions arise from the minds of those who do not understand the basics and significance of festivals.Instead of becoming an example for others they merely pretend to show interest in developing the nation.Let persons like him ask themselves by touching their heart the question"What percentage do I voluntarily donate from my income towards charity?"

Festivals are meant to unite people and create an atmosphere of brotherhood which is essential for peaceful living and development.Gradual drop in faith will foster hatred among people which is detrimental for national development.At the same time one must remember that it is extremely important to know the background of every festival instead of blindly celebrating it.Apart from regional festivals,there are National festivals like Deepavali wherein people from all parts of the country celebrate with joy forgetting all differences.Greeting each other through cards may be viewed as a waste but then one must look at the amount of goodwill it creates.If we take Ganesh Chathurthi as an example,we should admit that it provides income for numerous poor people who struggle for their daily wages.Austerity is always welcome but not at the cost of the festival.Hence it is important to celebrate the festivals in an affordable manner instead of criticising them.A rich person can afford to buy a costly silk sari whereas others can go for a dress which he can afford.The critic can not expect the rich to go for a cheaper one or buy a cheaper car or an ordinary house and divert his expenses towards developing Human Resources.

Affordability does not seem to be a constraint when we look at the poor section of people celebrating festivals.During the festival of Lamps, all people regardless of being rich or poor light lamps in front of their houses and celebrate the function. The only disappointing aspect is the absence of eagerness to know the significance of the festival they celebrate.On Karthikai Deepam Day,palm leaves are arranged like a cone in front of Shiva temples and lit. People in Tamil Nadu call it as "Sokkappaanai".I overheard a lady asking the other lady why it was lit.The former replied that it was customary and no significance was known to her. When Thiruvannamalai Deepam was telecast on TV,the commentator said the panai(Palm)leaves were used for Sokkan(Lord Shiva - whose beauty was unparallel),hence it was named as "Sokkappaanai" I do not know whether my interpretation is acceptable to many.Let me explain it in Tamil first. It is "Sokkappanai Jothiyaaga vazhipaduvadhu".It means Lord Sundareswara(Arunachaleswara)is worshipped in the form of Fire.

Festival of Lamps also signifies the need for Enlightenment in everybody.According to the legend,Vishnu and Brahma claimed superiority over each other and there appeared Lord Shiva in the form of a mountain between them.Both of them failed to reach the top and bottom of the Hill and finally accepted the supremacy of Shiva and worshipped Him when He appeared in the form of Fire on this day.

It was on this day Parvathi became the inseparable half of Shiva.This is the reason why Karthigai Deepam is lighted on top of the Hill at Thiruvannamalai as soon as the idol of Ardhanareeswara is brought near the flag post. The whole atmosphere is enchanting and it is difficult to enunciate.It has to be experienced.