Today we celebrate the beginning of the Hindu Year of Hemalambi, 5119. At the Aadheenam our year began with yesterday's early morning homa which was followed by a talk by Satguru. Next, monks and devotees paraded out to the flagpole to lower the coral pink flag of the Moksha Ritau and replace it with the bright orange flag of the Nartana Ritau. The parade then continued to Iriavan Temple and inside for arati. The recently arrived silver naga for Iraivan's crystal Lingam was temporarily placed in the Sanctum, Giving us an idea of what the future installation will be like.
Nartana Ritau, the season of Dancing with Siva, begins on Tamil New Year. This is the period of creation, the warm season, from mid-April through mid-August. 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 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.
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.
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 realms of the Aadheenam's acreage. 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.
The daily sadhana is the Sivachaitanya Panchatantra: experiencing nada, jyoti, prana, bhakti and darshana. In Sanskrit, it is a time of learning new slokas and mantras. In the family community, prasnottara 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. It is a time of hatha yoga and philosophical teaching.
The blessings of Lord Murugan awaken wisdom which resides in his chakra. "Pray to Lord Murugan to unravel the great mysteries of the universe." When we get emotional we lose touch with our wisdom. Murugan inspires penance to soften karmas and purify the mind, chitta-shuddhi. If you do kavadi in the right spirit, to get the full blessing, have in mind specific misdeeds, apologize to the deity, learn from it, promise to do your best. Visions are still happening. Feeling the energy of the deity is stronger during festivals such as Skanda Shashti.