Different people perceive life’s jubilations differently. An upcoming festival is a joy to most and a relief to many. Those who focus on new clothes, sweets, fun and frolic elements of the festival, perceive it as a joy. Those who focus on the freedom it gives you from the burden of work since a festival also means a holiday, look at it as relief. What does a festival herald for you?
Most people choose to float on the ritual of the festival rather than delve into its essence. They celebrate festivals with mechanical enthusiasm rather than essence-based awareness. The question shouldn’t be - have we enjoyed the festival; rather it should be — have we been upgraded by the festival. Rather than thinking how we have celebrated the festival; we should be thinking have we contemplated during the festival.
Interestingly, almost every festival in the world is born to commemorate the sacrifice of some divine personality. Janmashtami is as much a festival to celebrate the sacrifice of Vasudev and Devaki as it is to celebrate the birth of Krsna. Diwali is as much a festival to celebrate the spirit of sacrifice of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Sita as it is a festival of lights to celebrate their return to Ayodhya.
Christmas is as much a festival to celebrate the spirit of sacrifice of Christ as much as it is a festival to celebrate his birth. Dusshera is a festival to celebrate the sacrifice of Vibhishan as much as it is to celebrate the victory of Rama over Ravana. Independence Day is a festival to celebrate the sacrifice of the martyrs as much as it is to celebrate freedom from domination.
The question now is, if someone’s hard work and sacrifice is celebrated as a festival now, what should be our role in it? Do these dates on the calendar mark the freedom from burden of work or do they actually mark opportunities to achieve freedom from selfishness; to dilute it by our frivolousness or uphold its sanctity by genuine appreciation and active gratitude? Being not in sync with the mood of the festival is like going to a funeral ceremony not for contemplating on the good qualities of the departed, but for using it as a networking opportunity.
When a festival is celebrated it brings smiles of joy but when a festival is contemplated, it brings tears of gratitude. Celebration with contemplation uplifts us, sobers us, inspires us, empowers us and infuses us with the mood of respect and sacrifice.
When a festival is celebrated money is spent, but when a festival is contemplated blessings are earned!
Festivals should be a time for contemplation and upgradation.
Every festival celebrates not only a happy event like birth but also many sacrifices that went along with it.
Diwali is as much a festival to celebrate the spirit of sacrifice of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Sita as it is a festival of lights to celebrate their return to Ayodhya.
Festivals are not merely dates for holidays but an opportunity to be free from selfishness. If we understand the sacrifice that goes behind the festival, the mood changes from being frivolous to that of responsibility.
(The writer is an author, TEDx speaker, story teller, corporate trainer and visiting faculty in premiere management school)