Friday, April 05, 2019

UGADI tradition ... according to Yogini Shambhavi


Ugadi ushers in the Auspicious Vedic New Year
March 5-6, 2019
The festival of Ugadi heralds the beginning of a new astronomical cycle or New Year. Ugadi comes from two words, 'Yuga' meaning 'era', and 'aadi' means 'the beginning’. In the Vedic calendar, the astronomical New Year is marked by the new Moon in Pisces, which usually occurs in late March or early April. This is the new moon of the Hindu month of Chaitra, called Chaitra Shukla Pratipad. 
It is called Ugadi in the south, and reflects the Sanskrit Yugadi as beginning the Yuga or time cycle.
Ugadi is considered to be the most auspicious and sacred time to start on a new venture or sadhana or spiritual practice.
The most significant fact about the Hindu festival of Ugadi is that the festival comes with a very important and relevant message for every spiritual aspirant.
All the experiences that one has, good or adverse must be dealt with unconditional equanimity. Whatever happens throughout the year must be taken up calmly and faced gracefully.
We should learn to rise with grace above all happiness and sorrows, failure and success, trials and tribulations. 
Ugadi is believed to be the day when Brahma - the Creator, in the Hindu Trinity - formed the universe. It’s also the time when Spring is ushered in heralding new beginnings and Sankalpa (sacred intents). Our prayer must be for a peaceful world cultivating deep reverence for Mother Earth and Mother Nature.
Ugadi Pachchadi
In the South Ugadi is celebrated with a delicacy known as 'Ugadi Pacchadi', a preparation comprising of six tastes (shadruchi sammelan), each representing a special characteristic. The ingredients of this preparation, though of differing tastes when mixed in definite proportions result in a delicious dish.
The underlying idea conveys that the six characteristics of life should be handled by every individual in a balanced way making one’s life a harmonious existence.
Neem Buds: Indicate distress and sorrow of life, as they are bitter in taste.
Salt: Indicates the salty or testing moments of life.
Jaggery: Indicates auspicious and happy moments of life.
Chilli or pepper: Indicates temperamental and aggressive moments of life.
Unripened Mango: Indicates the tanginess of challenges in life.
Tamarind extract: Indicates the sourness of strife in life.
Prasadam is to be taken on an empty stomach initiating a deep cleansing process as a ritual for the coming year.
Neem or Margosa leaves are taken with jaggery as prasad.
Ugadi Celebrations and Rituals
Ugadi is celebrated with great devotion and reverence. According to the traditions and rituals, preparations for the day of Ugadi begins a day or two prior with ritualistic washing and cleaning of the home, which also is a cleansing of the mind, heart and body. 
Homes are decorated with colorful rangolis or Kolams that are drawn at entrances and stringing together mango leaves on the doors and windows symbolizing well-being and prosperity in the New Year.
Ugadi rituals include ritualistic worship of the Devata (gods and goddesses) to invoke blessings for the New Year tidings, praying for peace, wealth, health and prosperity. 
It is celebrated as Ugadi in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, as Navreh in Kashmir, as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, as Baisakhi in Punjab, as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, as Vishu in Kerala, Bohag Bihu in Assam and as Cheti Chand by the Sindhi community. 
Although the New Year of the Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Kashmir community falls on the same day, the New Year day might differ for the other communities. However, the time of the New Year remains the same for one and all, and that is during the month of Chaitra of the Hindu Calendar (March). The first day of the month Chaitra signifies Hindu New Year day.
Traditionally, reading literary works, poetic recitations, sacred rituals, chanting of mantras, listening to the future predictions and hearing classical music are a part of the Ugadi celebration.
‘Panchanga Sravanam’, the religious almanac for the year to come, is the most observed ritual of Ugadi. Predictions for future are organized at temples. The day is considered to be auspicious to start new ventures and deepen one’s spiritual life.