In the Indian culture, there was a time when there used to be a festival every day of the year – 365 festivals in a year – because a festival is a tool to bring life to a state of exuberance and enthusiasm. That was the significance and importance of festivals. The whole culture was in a state of celebration. If today was ploughing day, it was a kind of celebration. Tomorrow was planting day, another kind of celebration. Day after tomorrow was weeding, that was a celebration. Harvesting, of course, is still a celebration. But in the last 400 or 500 years, poverty has come to our country, and we have not been able to celebrate every day. People are satisfied if they just get some simple food to eat. So all the festivals fell away and only 30 or 40 festivals remain. We are not even able to celebrate those now because we have to go to the office or do something else daily. So people usually celebrate only around 8 or 10 festivals annually.
Make life a celebration
To bring back this culture in people, Isha celebrates four important festivals: Pongal or Makarasankranti, Mahashivarathri, Dussehra and Diwali. If we don’t create something like this, by the time the next generation comes, they will not know what a festival is. They will just eat, sleep and grow up without concern for another human being. All these aspects were brought into Indian culture just to keep a man active and enthusiastic in so many ways. The idea behind this was to make our whole life into a celebration.
The Importance of festivals
Mahashivarathri, is perhaps the most important of festivals in India, and offers a powerful possibility for spiritual growth.
Guru Pournami, which falls on the first full moon day after Dakshinayana or the Summer Solstice, honors the Adi Guru or first Guru, Shiva, and marks the day when he began the transmission of yoga to the Saptarishis, his first seven disciples.
Makar Sankranti festival, traditionally seen as a harvest festival is a day when there is a significant movement in the zodiac – the arrangement of the earth’s dial around the sun.
Ugadi marks the Telugu new year, and also shares its date with new year celebrations in several other parts of the country. Sadhguru looks at the nature of the Indian calendar and explains why this period of the year was chosen as the new year.
Mahalaya Amavasya or Pitru Paksha is an important occasion when one traditionally honors his or her ancestors. Sadhguru explains the science behind these rituals.
Dussehra or Vijayadashami is one of the most important Indian festivals. Sadhguru explains how each of the days in this 10-day period are significant, and how they can bring success and victory into our life.
Ayudha Pooja, the tradition of worshiping our tools and implements, is a powerful opportunity to bring devotion and reverence into our lives.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is a time when we can dispel darkness and bring in the light of clarity.