New Year Celebration
Everyday in Puttaparthi is special as thousands gather to offer worship to their Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Nevertheless, some days are unique because of the large number of devotees, belonging to various faiths and cultures, who congregate to make their important days memorable, by being in this small spiritual town, the Abode of Peace, Prasanthi Nilayam. Because devotees throng from all regions of India and the world, Prasanthi Nilayam is vibrant every month of the year.
The festival calendar at Puttaparthi includes New Year celebrations. It is not just January 1st every year, but the Chinese, Telugu, Tamil , Malayalam and Gujarati New Year days are also celebrated.
Devotees gather at the Lotus feet of the Lord with prayers and offerings. Bhagawan’s messages on these days are an awakening call for further transformation. The devotees organise events that showcase their culture. This is an opportunity for everyone gathered to understand better and develop respect for different cultures.
Though all festivals are celebrated with great joy, Swami has said, “It is one’s foolishness to single out a particular day in a year and celebrate that day with great joy. For a true devotee, every day is a festival day.” What then should we bear in mind while celebrating New Year Day or indeed any festival?
In his Ugadi (Telugu New Year) message delivered on 13th April 2002, Swami has shown the best way to celebrate a festival. He says, We will be celebrating Ugadi in its true spirit only when we give up our narrow-mindedness and selfishness. On Ugadi day, people wake up early; have a sacred bath, put on new clothes and relish sweets and delicacies. It is rather easy to have external cleanliness and to wear new clothes. They are interested only in external cleanliness and are not concerned about purifying their hearts which are tainted with evil thoughts and evil feelings. But that is not the purpose of celebrating festivals. True celebration of Ugadi lies in purifying one’s heart, developing selflessness and giving up evil tendencies, thus, making man noble. The day when you give up bad qualities, fill your hearts with love and take to the path of sacrifice, is true Ugadi. What is it that we have to do on this day of Ugadi? Starting today, we must make efforts to purify our hearts. So on this sacred day, fill your hearts with love, become embodiments of love and undertake sacred activities.