Guiding Light: Significance of Harvest Festivals

Once there was a young man who fell into difficult times. He joined the queue in a neighbouring ashram where free food was being distributed. While standing in the queue, the head of the ashram, a sannyasi noticed the strong body and intelligent eyes. After he ate, the Mathadhipati called him and said, ‘You seem to be an intelligent, young man capable of hard work. How come you are depending on the ashram for your food?’ The young man replied, ’In these difficult times there is no one offering a job or even a loan to start a business’.

So, the Swami made him an offer, ‘You can stay in the ashram, eat food with us. We have an empty plot of land. Cultivate it and when the product is ready, give a share to the ashram and the remaining is yours.’ The young man, overjoyed at the opportunity, toiled and cultivated that empty plot of land into a beautiful farm. As the produce was getting ready for harvest, the Swami says, ‘Young man, look at what you and God have made together’. The young man replied, 'That is true'. But you should have seen this plot when only God was there.’

The Swami smiled, ‘It is your effort that has contributed to the produce. At the same time, the rains are God-given. The fertility of the soil is God-given. The strength in your limbs and the intelligence to cultivate the farm is God-given. Everything that we have is God-given. When the produce is ripe and ready for harvest, let us raise our hands in grateful acknowledgement of Bhagavan in our lives.’ There is not a single field of activity in which Bhagavan does not play a role. Bhagavan is not someone sitting in Timbuctoo.

He is manifest in every law of the universe, whether it is scientific or otherwise. That is why Makara Sankranti in its various forms is celebrated all over in India, and one of them is Magh Bihu. What we and God together can achieve if all the stakeholders and farmers in the agitation had this attitude, a solution can be found overnight.

(The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at aarshavidyaf@gmail.com)

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