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.
Amma does Aarathi to start the Yagam
Amma puts a log into the Havaan
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
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
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.
Devotees attend the Full Moon Puja
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
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
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
For this auspicious New Year, Amma blesses all the life
beings in all the worlds that they may live in peace, joy and