Basant Panchami – Festival of Love
Yeh Mausam Ka Jadu Hai Mitwa,
Nahi Dil Pe Kabu Hai Mitwa…
So goes the popular bollywood number aptly describing the flavour of the spring season. Trees are already shedding their leaves and the breeze is swiftly sweeping them away as if preparing to welcome the king of seasons–“Ritu Raj Basant”. Bright green soft new leaves are raising their heads confidently. Basant Panchami marks the onset of spring season called the Basant Ritu in India. Basant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Magh of Indian calender.
The chill of the winter months now gone,the sun is a bit warmer but not yet hot. Cheerful and bright Sun, the lovely green grass, a colourful riot of flowers of myriad hues, chirping and singing birds – It is as if the Mother earth is in celebration. It is a normal practice for the people to spring – clean their houses and decorate them. It symbolizes that unless and untill the old clutter is not cleared, we cannot welcome the new and the beautiful. People wear new clothes especially yellow coloured ones.
Yellow colour holds special significance on this day. Basant panchami is named after the colour Yellow which is called basanti rang in Hindi. Yellow coloured sweets are prepared using saffron, Yellow flowers are offered to the deities. There is charming practice of strolling in the beautiful gardens savouring the beauty of nature on this day. The presiding deity of this festival is Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom. Performing artists give their maiden performance on this day for luck and success. Special pooja is organised by educational institutions on this day to seek blessings for their students.
This day is also dedicated to Lord Krishna – fun and frolic of Radha-Krishna is gloriously celebrated in Brij. Nature is at its lovely best, sweet songs of the birds and humming of the bumble bees fills the air with romance, no wonder it is the favourite season of this celestial couple. And of course Cupid (Kamdev) and his consort (Rati) also very coveniently choose this day to replenish their quiver of love arrows! Hence this festival is also called the “Festival of Love.” Western tradition celebrates this festival as the famous Valentine’s Day which falls a few days before or after Basant panchami.
Spring or basant as it is called in India is the season of regeneration and rejuvenation. Their is something inexplicable in the atmosphere, which draws a person out of sloth and slumber. Coming of this season reminds us every year that, how so ever harsh the winter may be, the magic wand of basant can surely breathe new life in the entire creation. And also there is a great message for the seekers – it is only when the cold and stony beliefs are shed and we surrender ourself that rediscovery of ourself takes place – the basant of the sadhna. And do we not experience ‘basant’ in day to day life – when our hardwork is rewarded, we feel encouraged to go on and never loose hope. Basant undoubtly infuses hope in us to move on…
Aao vasant, phir se koi aisa geet sunao,
Jiske meethe sur vish ko bhi amrit kar de,
Aao vasant, phir se koi aisa deep jalao,
Jiske divya prakash se antas me ujala bhar de
Aao vasant, ek bar phir aisi ras phuar bikhrao,
Jiske nikhre rang jeevan ke kone-kone ko abir-gulaal se bhar de.
Dekho aye vasant udi man patnang, ambar ko chune chal di………
Friends wishing you all a very joyous and colourful Basant Panchami which falls on 8th February 2011.
Archana Sharma is an M.Phil in Life Sciences and practises in Astrology, Numerology and alternative therapies. She is currently pursuing research in Medical Astrology.