Celebration Usher in the good life with Ugadi this year. RANEE KUMAR
For all of us living in this region, it is the beginning of a new year (Yuga aadi/Ugaadi). Though most of us like to go by the English calendar, it is celebration time as we usher in the new year as per the regional almanac that has been in existence from time immemorial. Therein lies our identity and we wish to live by it. It may not be the New Year eve bash; but definitely, it means beginning with a singularly ethnic food - sweet-sour chutney that is most appetising. The chutney is supposed to symbolise the six flavours of life: sweet, bitter, sour, saline, spicy and caustic. We have just bid goodbye to the ‘Khara' samvat (year) and we are beckoning the ‘Nandana' with hope of joy. Nandana primarily means that which bestows joy. Every year is ruled by a planet: this time around, Nandana is ruled by the planet Venus or Shukra who is considered to be feminine-natured. This deity is the sixth planet (representing Friday) on the chart.
The year Nandana returns after a cycle of 60 years. Why is the number 60 so significant in our lives? Says Sanskrit scholar Dr. Kandadai Ramanujacharya, “The number six is symbolic in more than one way. Life has six stages: birth, growth, change, identity, decay and death. Similarly, man is wrought with six moods: hunger, lust, joy, sorrow, aging and annihilation. Six is a significant number in as much as it represents our mind which is our sixth sense organ with six faculties: reason, emotion, thought, awareness, knowledge and intelligence. Six impurities that rival man, according to our Shastras are lust, anger, greed, pride, delusion and envy.
The universe is full with sixes. And we celebrate our 60th year of birth because, by then we would have completed a full circle and man is supposed to move over to a higher plane to attain reality, having completed his duties on the material plane.
The zero beside the six in our philosophy stands for shunya or Nirguna Brahman, which is the unseen, existing power that is responsible for all life. It is beyond the physical, has no beginning or end. The zero therefore is the beginning and end. We were born on a particular year of our Hindu almanac and we go back to the year of birth on completing 60.
Then why do we begin our new year, way after January? According to our almanac, the month of Chaitra (mid-March-April) is the onset of spring. It simply means the beginning of new life in nature.
In earlier days, the agro-economy of this country, dictated the celebration based on the joy of experiencing prosperity. Till date, our rural bases are sources of our wealth.
So, it is but natural, that with spring we usher in the newborn joy. For many of us, Ugaadi marks the day to begin something new too. Let's hope this Ugaadi, Nandana brings forth the ‘Ananda' in more than one way into our lives!
The number six is symbolic in more than one way. Life has six stages: birth, growth, change, identity, decay and death.