Yugadi means the beginning of the times (Yug+Adi), commonly known as Ugadi. Time is cyclical. Adi Shankaracharya inspired us to recite “dinayaminyau sayam-pratah, shishira vasantau punarayatah”, day/ evening/ morning cycle continues, and seasons come again, it says. The cyclical nature of time makes it “end-less”. The probable beginning of the Yug was Yugadi and symbolically celebrated every year on the first of the Chaitra month, the month during which the full moon shall be in Chitta nakshatra (star constellation).
Vasanta rutu brings pleasantness and augurs well with its new beginning signals. Cold season yields and moves away. The dropping of the leaves by the trees makes them appear “over” by the end of the previous season. The fresh beginning and little leaves growing on the apparently desiccated wood communicate the universal message, “life is in continuity”. What the caterpillar may call an end, the butterfly calls a beautiful beginning.
The annual calendar begins with the month of Chaitra. The beginning of the Chaitra month is the festival that indicates the beginning of the new season. Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Baisakhi may be different names for the same festival in different regions, but the meaning and the spirit behind the festival are similar. As life is seen as cyclical, so also the time, kala. During the entire life, one passes through different phases, perceived to be good and also bad. There is inherently nothing good or bad about happenings. It is the attachment one has, and the side to which one is glued to makes the event good or bad. This can be extrapolated from a sports match to a war between countries.
Of the four Navaratris that happen every year, Vasanta Navaratri begins during this season. The beginning day is the Ugadi and the end of the Navaratri happens to be Rama Navami. In certain parts of the country, these nine days are spent fasting and minimalistic living. The end of the nine-day period is the festive occasion to celebrate the arrival of Shri Rama into this world. Rejuvenating spirits, renewing hope, and bouncing back after inevitable setbacks can be the inspiration from Ugadi. Living the qualities of Shri Rama can be “actionable” at the individual level.
Prof S Ainavolu is a teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You can read more at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog