Puthandu Valthukal! Happy New Year. The Sun has moved into Mesha/Aries and a New Year begins for many different communities that take this day as the beginning of the year-- Tamil Bengali, Malayali (Kerala) Assam, Pujabi, Burma, Thailand and others. At Kauai Aadheenam, it also marks the change from the Moksha Ritau to the Nartana Ritau. We observe this change of seasons by raising a new flag. We also take this opportunity to share Gurudeva's guidelines for the next four months, with these excerpts from the Saiva Dharma Shastras.
Beginning with Hindu New Year in mid-April, three seasons of the year divide our activities into three great needs of humankind--the learning of scripture in the first season, Nartana Ritau; the living of culture in the second season, Jivana Ritau; and the meditating on Siva in the third season, Moksha Ritau. Thus we are constantly reminded that our life is Siva's life and our path to Him is through study, sadhana and realization. In ritau one, we teach the philosophy; in ritau two, we teach the culture; and in ritau three, we teach meditation.
114 The First Season: Nartana Ritau
Nartana Ritau, the season of Dancing with Siva, begins on Hindu New Year. This is the period of creation, the warm season, from mid-April through mid-August. The teaching is Dancing with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism, Sivena Saha Nartanam. This foundational text is featured in all mission satsangas. The key word of this season is planning. The colors are orange, yellow-gold and all shades of green--orange for renunciation, yellow-gold for action, and green for regeneration. High above, the main Hindu flag flies the color orange, heralding the Nartana Ritau throughout this season, symbolizing sadhana and self-control. The other colors adorn smaller flags. This is the season of giving special attention to those in the grihastha ashrama. It is a time of awakening, renewal, review. The emphasis is on seeing ahead, planning for future years. It is a time of planning retreats and other activities for youths and adults for the entire year. During this time of looking forward, the Church's six-year plan is updated by the Guru Mahasannidhanam and stewards and another year added. The Saiva Dharma Shastras are studied; and any needed additions in supplementary manuals, representing new growth, are made. The practical focus is completion of unfinished projects. Secular holidays to observe among the families include Mother's Day in May, Father's Day in June and Grandparent's Day in August. In the monastery the monks begin their annual 31-day ayurvedic herbal cleansing. Intensive cleaning of monastery buildings and grounds takes place. The special dietary adjustments for the season come into effect and new menus are established. New clothing is issued and old garments mended. This season of harvest and new growth is also the time to review and reestablish picking and planting routines for the gardens. It is a time for ordering seeds and plants for the year, of planting trees, fragrant vines and the annual crop. Review is made for scheduling the care of all nine realms of the Aadheenam's 51 acres. Kadavul temple and the Guru Temple are cleaned and renewed during this season, and the adjacent grounds receive special, abundant attention. Karma yogis are invited to help in this and other areas with planting and weeding, digging, fertilizing, fence repair and more.
115 The Sadhanas of the First Season
The daily sadhana is the Sivachaitanya Panchatantra: experiencing nada, jyoti, prana, shakti and darshana. In Sanskrit, it is a time of learning new shlokas and mantras. In the family community, prashnottara satsanga is held for one and all to attend. Families plan for their annual pilgrimage. Shrine rooms are renewed and redecorated for the year, and the clothing of all is renewed in the Hindu style of the current fashion. It is a time of doing things for others, religious outreach. In the missions, Nartana Ritau is the time of bringing in new students and Church members. It is a time of hatha yoga and philosophical teaching.
116 Festivals and Realms of the First Season
The main festival of Nartana Ritau, and of the entire year, is Guru Purnima. The mathavasis hold special conclave on Vaikasi Vishakham, the full moon day of May. The three Aadheenam realms of the season are: 1) Rishi Valley--with its secluded Guru Hut and parampara shrines on the banks of Rishi Valley's Saravanabhava Lake; 2) Wailua Farm, with its pastures, orchards and gardens; and 3) Kadavul Koyil, with its Guru Temple, entry gardens, Banyan Pavilion, Tiruneri path, sacred tank and its Puakenikeni and Mango Mandapams.