Amma’s Message on Tamil New Year on Pournami (Full Moon) Day - 13.04.2006
Amma blesses and wishes everyone "Puthandu Vazthukal" or Happy New Year, 2006
“Sarva Mangala Mangalye Shive
Sharanye Thrayambage Gowri
In Hindu Dharma there are many festivals and functions celebrated almost every month. What is the meaning of these celebrations? Why do we celebrate the birth of the New Year and why do we have to celebrate every Tamil New Year’s Day? Why do we celebrate Deepavali every year? Is it only for preparing a special variety of dishes, eating and making ourselves merry? No. The celebration of every festival has many diversified meanings.
For example let us take Tamil New Year’s Day. Every Tamil New Year has a distinct name. The New Year, which is coming, is called VIYA VARUSHAM. ‘VIYA’ means ‘SPECIAL’ or ‘UNIQUE’ and VARUSHAM is a solar year. This New Year will be wonderful and special and will provide all the virtues. The reason for celebrating this day every year is not only for enjoying a grand feast with our family and friends. Behind every celebration there is an important Virtue (Dharma) which leads mankind on the right path.
If someone gives another person a beautiful, new outfit with the colour and design he likes and asks him to wear it. The one receiving the outfit will not put it on right then and there. He will first cleanse his body before he puts on the new outfit. As an example, someone who is working on the land and has mud all over him or someone who works in a kitchen and has grease all over him would not put on a new outfit right as he gets it, first he would take a shower and then change into the outfit.
An atmosphere has to be created which is suitable for something new, so in order to take on something new we have to get rid of the old. In the same way, before entering into the New Year, we have to get rid of all the negative qualities from our souls, and pray that the New Year brings us peace, wisdom, joy and happiness. This is the reason why we celebrate New Year’s Day every year.
There are barriers that come in the way which can block us from achieving peace, joy and happiness. These barriers are anger, jealousy, adultery, greed, ill-feelings and resentments to name a few. As we are going to enter into the New Year, we have to remove these barriers from our hearts and minds. So from this day on, let go of all the negativity that imprisons us. Accept this New Year as you would accept a new outfit. Welcome this New Year with a prayer that you will have good thoughts, do good deeds, show love to all living beings and do service to mankind. Remove all negative qualities from the heart and prepare to receive all the good virtues instead.
The grace of Ambal (the Mother Goddess) is essential for everybody throughout the New Year. Everything is possible if there are blessings from the Mother Goddess. There is a name for Amma (Mother) in the Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam. The name is ‘Bhava Nagamya’ which means “Thinking”, whoever keeps thinking about Amma all the time will receive Amma’s blessings in abundance. When we keep on thinking about Amma we will get Amma’s blessings without fail.
It is not necessary to offer an elaborate Puja or an expensive Yagam to receive Amma’s blessings. It is enough if we keep Amma in our minds whenever possible instead of thinking bad thoughts and committing sins. We become or change into whatever it is we constantly keep thinking about. This is what is meant by the word ‘Bhavam’. If we always keep Amma’s name in our minds, Amma’s blessings will automatically be showered on us.
What is something new? Something new is something that you have not yet received. Let this New Year be a year, which bestows all the best to everyone; a year, which inculcates charity in our minds; a year, which promotes divine faithfulness; a year, which sows love and affection. In the New Year, let your faith grow, do service to mankind and give charity towards helping the needy.
If a question is asked as to who has problems in life, everybody will raise their hands. However, in spite of the problems we say we have in life, everyone is still carrying on with his day-to-day life. Who stops eating because he has problems? Nobody! Who keeps awake all the time due to problems in life? Nobody! Who stops watching T.V. serials because of problems in life? No one! No matter what happens or what problems we are faced with, certain things do not stop. But certain other things are not done and when questioned why, the reason we give is that we have problems.
When asked why we have not done any charitable acts, the reason given from most of us is ‘problems in life’; such as ‘I myself am in a difficult situation. How can I do charity for others?’ We are prepared to stop a very serious fight, long enough so we would not miss a particular TV show and continue the fight after the show, but we are not prepared to give up anything so that we can contribute to a charitable cause.
The mind tries to achieve everything it favours dearly, overcoming whatever stands in its way to do so. If someone applies his mind with all his might to accomplish something, he will definitely accomplish it. Everybody has some kind of problem or the other. In spite of this, is there any one who sacrifices getting the things he thinks are essential for him? With all the problems we think we have, we do not fail to sleep; we do not fail to eat; we do not fail to attend any joyful function. In this same way, we must learn to do some kind of charity along with tackling the ever prevailing problems.
There is no particular sect of people that is supposed do charity. Decide from this New Year onwards that “I will do some kind of charity (Dharma) as best as I can afford; I will set aside about 2% of my income for a charitable purpose”. If you are firm in your mind about this resolution, it will certainly come true. The mind is solely responsible for person’s conduct and achievement.
The reasons for problems and difficulties in the present life are the sins committed knowingly or unknowingly in the previous births. In order to ease these problems and difficulties one has to get involved in charitable causes. There is no maximum, fixed amount of charity that a person has to do. One must continue to do charity work as much as possible to be released from the bondage of negative karma and live a happy, peaceful and harmonious life. So in the New Year, make a firm decision in your mind that out of your income you would set aside a certain percentage for charitable activities.
People of more than 80 years of age have come here, trudging from far away places covering several kilometres. But the youngsters around 30 years of age feel that this place is too far away and it is impossible to travel such a long distance; and more so to sit there for so many hours. If you think you can do it, it is possible and if you think you can’t then, it is impossible. How is it that these age-old people made it possible to reach this place in spite of their physical weaknesses? They have come as you can see all around you. It was possible because of their firm, strong and healthy minds.
With firm and decisive minds, try to do charity as much as you can in this New Year. There are many forms of charity, like feeding the poor; helping to keep the lamps lighted in the temples which are neglected; cleaning the dirty temples; (some of these does not cost money, but a service through physical work) taking part in worships. These are only a few of many kinds of charity that can be done. Every one expects a life filled with peace and happiness at least in this New Year because there were suffering and agony throughout last year. This is the prayer of every one. In order for this prayer to be fulfilled, one has to express good will and an eagerness to do charity.
Charity is like a seed of a banyan tree. It is so tiny in size but grows into a gigantic tree sheltering many living beings and yields fruits in abundance. Charity is just like this. If one act of charity was done it would yield virtues in multitude. It removes sins, which are responsible for the problems and sufferings, and bestows a life full of peace and happiness. Please keep two things in mind in the New Year. First, remove all the negative thoughts from your minds and hearts and keep Amma’s name on your mind whenever possible. Second, be involved in charitable activities as much as you can. If these two principles are followed in life, poverty will vanish and you will experience peace, joy and happiness.
For this auspicious New Year, Amma blesses all the life beings in all the worlds that they may live in peace, joy and harmony.