अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्।
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्॥
Ayam Nijah Paro Veti Ganana Laghuchetasam।
Udaracaritanam Tu Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam॥
Meaning: Only the ignorant and narrow-minded people discriminate with the strangers. The wise and magnanimous believe that the entire world is one family.
Celebrations Of India
India (also known as Bharat) is a land of happiness and faith, a country known for its rich heritage and a dynamic culture. This is reflected in its festivals celebrated across the Indian subcontinent. What makes India truly unique is its multi-lingual diversity and multi-ethnic society. Perhaps there is no other country in the world that can boast of having more than 22 languages and 19,500 dialects as India does.
India, being the world’s largest democracy, exerts its influence upon the world in the field of science and medicine too. The ancient Ayurveda system developed in India has gained popularity due to its efficiency and usage. The practices of yoga and meditation are followed worldwide that keep the body and mind free of ailments. The United Nations has recognized Yoga as a unique solution for physical and mental wellbeing, and hence declared 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.
Perhaps it is impossible to define India without knowing its spiritual beliefs. Several world religions originated from India, these are Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and various Guru-ism, all contributing to the diverse culture and festivals. Religion in India is a huge influencing factor in the personal life of the people and also directing their public life and activities. If the underlying roots of the Indian culture are considered, dating approximately 5000 years back, it is noticed that the religious texts are the source that has shaped the society and and day to day life at a large.
Heritage, Culture, and Diversity
India draws a vivid picture of the rich heritage she possesses. Carrying out the legacy of being one of the oldest civilisations of the world, India draws a confluence of traditions, cultures, architecture, art, dance, music along with its diverse flora and fauna. Knowing about the rich heritage is almost like repainting the pages of history.
Temples, fort, palaces, museums and art galleries, and performing arts are the continuing pieces of heritage that are treasured. Temples like the Khajuraho in Madya Pradesh, Sun Temple in Odisha, Meenakshi Temple and the Chola Temples in Tamil Nadu are some of the many surviving bits of heritage taken care of by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A scientific theory is attached to the geographical location of these temples. Most Indian temples are located in regions of high magnetic fields which enables to amplify the positive radiating energy. The marvel of Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Hampi, Sanchi Stupa, etc. are some of the mesmerising relics taken care of by the ASI and UNESCO. Natural heritage sites comprise National parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Some areas like the Himalayas, Indo-Burma region, the Western Ghats, Sundaland are a part of biodiversity hotspots, containing species richness and a high degree of endemism.
India portrays a rich cultural heritage as well, it is known that the Indian cultural values remain deep-rooted inside an Indian no matter wherever the person resides. This indicates the importance of traditional aspects and culture in Indian society. Some of the cultural values constitute touching the feet of elders for their blessings, Namaste as a methodology of greeting, performing rituals of fasting for religious occasions. The concept of Athithi Devo Bhava is incubated in the minds of every Indian which implies that ‘the guest is equal to God’. Indian attire and cuisine is also a benchmark in expressing their culture. The ancient Vedic mantras are also a part of religious events that helps to freshen up minds and enrich ancient knowledge.
Fairs and Festivals
The vibrancy of India emerges from the different festivals of the varied religious sects. This indicates the joyful spirit of the Indian culture. The festivals embark the social, religious, and cultural mood of the Indians. Some festivals are region specific while some are observed as national festivals, and each and every festival is unique in its own way. Festivals are at the heart of people’s lives here, and this is the reason why India is known as a ‘Land of Festivals’. Some of these festivals are listed below
◙ The Southern part of India celebrates Pongal as a ‘thanksgiving festival’ for their harvest each year in the month of January. It is a four-day festival that brings blessings and joy from the Sun-god. Around the same time, the eastern states of India indulge in Basant Panchami, dedicated to Devi Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge.
◙ Holi is perhaps regarded as one of the most popular and amiable festival, celebrated across the country. It is celebrated for a day and a half which includes Holika Dahan and the splash of colours. There is a feeling of brotherhood and oneness propagated in Holi, which puts no bar on religion or race.
◙ Navratri and Durga Puja is a major festival celebrated across India. Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami marks the end of Navratri as well as Durga Puja. Dussehra is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and the demolition of Lanka. It is believed that on this day, Devi Durga gained victory over the demon Mahishasura, and restored dharma on earth.
◙ Deepavali, the festival of lights, is the most spectacular festival celebrated in Indian subcontinent. It commemorates Lord Rama’s return with his wife after 14 years of exile and his triumph over the devil King Ravana, the victory of good over evil. During Deepavali, streets and houses are brightened with candles and clay lamps that are decorated magnificently.
◙ Janmastami marks the birth of Lord Krishna, considered to be the an avatar of Lord Vishnu. On this day many Men and women fast and pray to Lord Krishna, and kids dress up like Lord Krishna.
◙ The whole of Orissa twirls around with enjoyment with during the Rath Yatra, the festival of chariots. The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath’s annual visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple (maternal aunt’s home) near Saradha Bali, Puri.
◙ Mahavir Jayanti is regarded as the most significant festival of the Jains. There are huge celebrations in the states of Gujrat and Rajasthan with offerings made to the temples. In Vaishali, the birthplace of Mahavira, the grandiosity, and splendour of the festival are marked. The month of May experiences Buddha Jayanti each year. The northeastern states of India mark this festivity with great glamour. People shroud themselves in white and dedicate themselves to the practicing of ahimsa and selflessness.
◙ Buddha Purnima marks the birth of Lord Buddha, and is a major festival of Buddhism. On this day prince Siddhartha Gautama attained Nirvana (enlightenment) and became Buddha (the enlightened one). To celebrate this day, all the Monasteries and Temples are decorated with flowers across all over India.
◙ Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Gurupurap, is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, known as the founder of the Sikh dharma. The festival includes a three-day Akhand Path, where the holy book of Sikhs (Guru Granth Sahib) is read without a pause. The divine book is draped with flowers and is carried on a waft around the city or village. Traditional melodies are sung during the procession.
◙ Talking about gatherings and not mentioning the Kumbh Mela is absolutely unmissable. It is generally celebrated every three years in Allahabad, Varanasi, Haridwar, and Ujjain and is regarded as one of the biggest gatherings in the world. Indians feel the transfer of energy and spiritual enlightenment after vising the Kumbh Mela.
The festivities of India perhaps never seem to cease. Other major festivals celebrated in India include – Makar Sankranti, Janmashtami (birth of Lord Krishna), Ganesha Chaturthi (birth of Lord Ganesh), Maha-Shivratri (night devoted to Lord shiva), Raksha Bandhan, Chhath Puja etc., marked with much gaiety all across the Indian subcontinent. All the Indian-festivals are all celebrated with peace and devotion. Different states express religious glamour with functions, fairs, and rituals.
Philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Sanskrit: ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्’ ; वसुधैव means ‘the earth’ and कुटुम्बकम् means ‘family’) is a phrase which appears in the ancient text of Maha Upanisad, and means ‘the world is one family’. The concerned verses declare that it is only the small-minded people who discriminate with a stranger, while for the magnanimous, the entire world is one family. Its underlying philosophy of oneness continues to be relevant and effective in alleviating global conflicts in the present age. This aphorism clearly indicates that our destinies are linked together. It is important to use our ancient knowledge and wisdom to practically and strategically build a better world .
The world looks upon Indians with respect and inspiration. Perhaps before foreign invasion and colonization, India was the wealthiest nation in the world. The earliest impacts of India could be traced from the ancient Mediterranean Civilizations which had strong trading relations with the advanced Indus Valley Civilization. The influence of India over the neighboring counterparts has been continual, mostly because of spiritual outreach during the medieval times.
The influence on the western world was initially sporadic, confided to trade exchanges only. The different periods of history too acknowledged Indian influences in art, architecture, food, and fashion. After India’s independence, the influence upon the world emerged distinct and continual with the foreign embracing the Indian way of life, Indian science, and ancient practices. The spread of Indian literature and spiritualism is helping the world know more about the glory and greatness of India.
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