Ugadi day at Prasanthi Nilayam – 2015
Among the many names we use to describe God, one profound and significant one is, 'Adi', meaning the 'Beginning'. All theistic cultures and civilizations believe that God is the source and beginning of creation. And that is why the Lord is extolled as 'Adi'. This feeling is probably expressed in the practice of worshipping the Lord at the wake of any new beginning; for anything new must begin from Him alone. The India tradition is renowned for the preservation of some of these ancient practices, and that is why, while modern civilizations welcome a new year with celebrations and parties, in India, a new year is assured in with worship and prayers. And India being a collage of cultures, people of each region celebrate their own New Years and in their own unique worshipful ways.
Ugadi is the New Years day for the Telugu speaking people, and understandably it is celebrated with piety in the divine presence in Prasanthi Nilayam. But this day, though referred to by different names, is the holy New Year's day for people of many other states of India too, like people of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and the Sindhis too.
Time is like the endless expanse of the sky. And man-made years and months are like the floating clouds. We may find some cloud formations beautiful and others chaotic, but the sky is changeless, relentless and has nothing to do with the clouds that momentarily float past it. Realising this truth will enable us to accept all that comes our way with fortitude and detachment. This powerful message that one must accept with equanimity all that comes one's way, is beautifully conveyed through the special prasadam that is made during the Ugadi celebrations – the Ugadi Pachadi. It contains all flavours - sweet, sour and bitter, representative of the different emotions one may go through in life. We accept the Ugadi Pacchadi as prasadam with the prayer, “Lord, Just like we accept as prasadam this Pachadi which has all flavours, we accept all the emotions, pains and pleasures that are to come to us in this New Year as Your Prasadam.”
A New Year indeed has to be welcomed with joy and gaiety, but in all this we must not forget that time moves on swiftly, and that it is indeed necessary for us to introspect whether we are living the purpose for which this life is given to us. Celebrations of such festivals in Bhagawan’s presence were special for this very reason. Yes there is rejoicing and revelry. But Bhagawan always drew our attention to the essential significance of the observance, and made sure that the soft spiritual calling is not drowned in the din of the festivity.
Speaking on Ugadi day of 2002 Swami reminded us:
“On Ugadi day, people wake up early, have a sacred bath, put on new clothes and relish sweets and delicacies. It is rather easy to have external cleanliness and to wear new clothes. But that is not the purpose of celebrating festivals. True celebration of Ugadi lies in purifying one’s heart, developing selflessness and giving up evil tendencies, thus, making man noble. What you eat and wear alone does not qualify this day as Ugadi. Today you may wear a new shirt, but how long will it remain new? Tomorrow it becomes old! Nobody reads the same newspaper every day. Today’s newspaper becomes tomorrow’s waste paper. Our life too is like a newspaper. Once you have finished reading a newspaper, you do not like to read it again and again. You have been given this life, and you experienced it. Enough is enough! Do not ask for another birth now; just as you would not read the same newspaper again. You have read through this newspaper, you have experienced it, you have rejoiced, you have suffered, you have gone through it all, now do not seek another. You should pray, “Oh God! You have given me this newspaper (life) today and I have experienced all that I need to. I do not want to have another newspaper; I don’t want another birth”.
This is the spirit in which Swami inspired us to celebrate each New Year, and this is the spirit it in which it is celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The celebrations at Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam on 21 March, 2015-Saturday- will be as below:
08.30 hrs Panchanga Sravanam by Brahmasri Kuppa Siva Subramanya Avadhani Garu (Project Officer & Principal, TTD Veda Paathasaala, Tirumala).
16 30 hrs In the evening there will be a concert by Smt. Nitya Santhoshini, Sri Nihal & party. The Ugadi celebrations culminate with a musical offering, 'Sri Sathya Sai Gaanamrutham' by the Sivam Bhajan Group from Hyderabad, on Sunday morning.