Many of the festivals, rites, rituals and even the dress habits
of the adherents of Sanatana Dharma -- the Hindus, have deep spiritual
significance and Amma actively encourages their propagation. In
this section let us try to discover the Cultural Heritage of India,
Her contributions to the world and the Life, Festivals and Philosophy
of Indian people.
Festivals in India
In India, festivals do not just offer people a temporary
reprieve from their daily grind. Imbued with deep inner significance,
each festival is a multifaceted celebration. The day on which
a particular festival is celebrated has a special astrological
significance, and certain observances on these days yield
manifold benefits. That is why Indian festivals are marked
by certain observances such as fasting, oil massages, particular
pujas, abstinence, etc.
In the Indian tradition all ones needs, be it at a
totally gross level or the most subtle, are sought through
the Divine. So if one wants material prosperity, one worships
Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity; for knowledge one worships
Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning. Though Hindus ultimately
believe in one Supreme Divine Entity, to meet the differing
needs and mindsets, the different aspects of the Supreme
are worshipped as different gods and goddesses.
Each festival is also associated with a story
from the Puranas that gives an insight into the deeper spiritual
significance underlying the celebration. Part of common folklore,
these stories reach out to ordinary people in a way that dry
theological facts cannot. These stories are also underpinned
by certain philosophical premises. In India, the term for philosophy
is darshan, which means to see or perceive.
In Indian philosophy, that which is seen by a rishi (Self-realized
seer) is the Truth, and what he or she propounds is the Truth;
speculations about Truth do not fall within the scope of
Indian philosophy. It was these rishis of ancient times who
conceived of festivals as a means of reaching out to all
sections of society and uniting the body, mind and intellect
within each individual for the physical, material and spiritual
uplift of humankind.