Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Being a holiday season, I was thinking of holidays and celebrations and how we are
misguided and practically abuse the meaning of “Celebration”.

What is celebration and what is the purpose of celebration and who benefits from it—these kinds of thoughts crossed my mind. Celebration is a joyous occasion and when we participate in it, we feel happy and our mind will entertain pleasant thoughts. We celebrate God’s birthdays, like Krsihna ashtami, Christmas, Sri Ramanavami, or any festivals like that which are religious traditions. In our Vedas, it says that God will accept anything either gold or even a small flower but only if you offer it to Him “whole heartedly”, but generally we offer Him “hole heartedly”! These celebrations will give you physical happiness when you decorate your home, wear nice clothes and keep your surroundings and your body clean and fresh. The day gives you joy when you visit with family and friends and exchange good ideas, and it gives you mental peace when you do offerings to God. The purpose of celebrating religious functions and festivals is to remember GOD and to reflect on why He took the form and the significance of His “Avatar” and what we can learn from His deeds in that particular manifestation. Some may say that his action can be identified only to that particular period of time and cannot be adopted into this present situation. How wrong they are? You may not be able to adopt them in the present times literally so to speak, but when I said “significance”, you have to consider the meaning and the fundamental truth behind it but should not take it literally. Truth, “satyam” can never be changed in any period of life. Forgetting that celebration means selfless activity, people celebrate both religious and cultural and traditional functions to suit their needs. For instance, when I asked a person what kind of dish that he offered to Lord Krishna on Krishna ashtami, he said “ my wife made “Pulihora” to offer God because it is my favorite dish. How selfish he is? He offered to God not what God would like, but offered to God what he likes! This is the finest example of selfishness!

Does that mean is it enough to celebrate only on that occasion and remember God only once a year? The same question applies not only to God but for people too. Celebrating special days for people is a part of cultural tradition. Is it enough to celebrate Father’s day, Mother’s day, Birthday and Anniversaries like Wedding anniversary and even the Death anniversary once a year and forget about those people for the rest of the year? You can interpret it in different ways. First, even if you remember them everyday, it would be more like momentarily or for a short period of time, like few minutes. But that special day would give you a chance to reflect about them, and if the person is alive, show him your gratitude, your love, your affection, your regards and so forth by celebrating with him. So, this gives you an opportunity to reflect on that person and at the same time reflect on yourself you really feel about him and what you can do for someone else selflessly. If you think in the opposite way, you do celebrate these special days once a year for show off and forget about that person, for the rest of the year, which shows how selfish you are.

The bottom line is it is you who counts here. A dead person is not there to appreciate it. A living person can surely see or read through it whether you are sincere in your actions. Giving some gift or something to a person, it makes you feel good inside and get satisfaction when you see the joy and appreciation from the receiver. The person, for whom you are doing this, is the benefactor and you are the beneficiary. You are reaping the benefits of a good deed.

You are the only one who is responsible for your own actions. We generally take things for granted, especially when you are physically close to one person. “Absence makes the heart grows fonder” is so very true. When you are away, you make it a point to remember since you miss them and want to do something for them. But when you are right there, you forget, or you pretend you are busy or you think of hundred excuses for not acknowledging the other person or even procrastinate and think that you can do next year. You are the one who is missing the opportunity to show how truly you appreciate that person. You are the one who has to make it “a special day” for yourself. It is already a special day for him whether you do it or not, and you better remember the significance of a “Celebration”.

When it comes to festivals, we tend to forget “the significance” completely, and indulge ourselves in merriment by consuming good food, alcohol, gambling by betting even in playing cards, and partying. The trend is to spend more than what you can really afford or what other person really deserve. We even tend to compete with others in gift giving. As if that is not enough, we even expect something from that person. When you give you think, “he better give me something nice to me in return sometime soon, since I am already spending this much money for his gift”. If they don’t meet your expectations, then you are the one who is disappointed, get angry unnecessarily and spoil your own mood. Who is getting affected by all this? It is YOU! And you alone! Remember, the celebration is spoiled for you, and everybody else is enjoying. This is all because you are “expecting”! If you didn’t, then whatever you get is going to be something special for you. Then you can reap the benefit of happiness and thankfulness.

The celebrations are for acknowledging and appreciating one another, but not spending money beyond your means, it is for keeping your body, mind, and intellect in tune with God by praying and offering to God, it is the time to do some activity for others by sharing, donating or doing something for less fortunate than you are, thanking God or reflecting on what you have and appreciating rather than reflecting on what you don’t have or why you don’t have the material things that other person have (which you tend to do in normal every day to day life) and acknowledging all the people you come across in your life and how you are benefited from them directly or indirectly, or sometimes, how their negative words or actions made you strong or made you think and act in the right direction.