India is the land of festivals. Surely, there must be some reason behind this. Our ancestors were scientists of spirituality. Long ago they discovered that if there is no joie de vivre in life, then it’s not worth living.
That’s why they put such a tradition of fastings and festivals which lasted for the entire 365 days. Today, if you are going to plough the field, it will be marked with some festivities, tomorrow is the festival of sowing seeds, and when the harvest comes home, it’s also festival time.
These fastings and festivals were designed in accordance with harvest and changing seasons. Different special dishes are made for the different festivals. This is also not without reason. Our festivals show complete adherence to the routine and regimen of Ayurveda. This means food, fun, and regimen according to seasons. On some full moon or Purnima, Holi and Raksha Bandhan are celebrated, and on some other new moon or Amavasya, we celebrate Diwali with the lighting of lamps. We welcome the new seasons with festivities and also bid them farewell with festivities. There is so much rationality, so much gratitude.
No other civilisation has been able to set such a rhythm with the seasons and atmospheric conditions. When the sun changes its direction and goes northward, we celebrate Makar Sankranti, Pongal, and Lohri in January. This is a sign that the winter is about to go away. After the winter, with spring comes the festival of colours, Holi. Then comes Navratri which tells us that the summer has arrived. Along with the monsoon showers, there is also a flurry of festivals. Guru Purnima,
Teej, Raksha Bandhan, Nagpanchami, and Janmashtami. And then with the arrival of winter, come Navratri, Dussehra, Deepawali, and Chhath Puja too. There is a purpose behind fasting as well. Since ancient times, our forefathers have understood the application of the science of thought power and willpower. The disorders of the body and mind are eliminated by fasting, but its basic purpose is to develop willpower.
If your willpower is strong, you are naturally a strong character, determined person. Only a determined person is successful in life. A person who does not have firmness of mind is fickle in words and deeds, and cannot achieve extraordinary successes in life. Hence, the tradition of fasting was introduced.
Why all this?
Our sages and enlightened masters had long ago recognised a fundamental weakness of human beings that your desires do not let you sit and relax. Men and women will keep doing something or the other. In such a situation, it is necessary to take you in a state of relaxation for some time. That is why all the religions of the world made such arrangements so that people can get some rest for some time.
It is said in the Book of Genesis that it is against religion to work continuously. Even God rests on Sundays. Jesus Christ said to the fishermen, “Look at the birds flying in the sky, they neither do any work nor worry. Still, the Supreme Father makes arrangements for their food. Humans, are you not more important to the Father than these birds?” Even among the Jews, it is forbidden to work on the Sabbath, that is, Saturday.
And our Sanatan Dharma is known as the religion of festivals and festivities. Our sages have made so many fasts and festivals so that humans can learn to rest a little. When you are in a state of relaxation, you can introspect. Our forefathers knew that only when you are calm, you will be able to watch the train of your thoughts. Only when the noise of thoughts in your mind has subsided, a sense of witnessing will arise. And only after the rise of the witnessing spirit, you will know that whatever is happening, you are not the doer. Your status is only that of the observer. Then why so much hustle! At least stay for a while in these festivals, sit down, and introspect.
The author is the founder of Science Divine