Why do Indians have so many festivals? – Divine Discourse Summary – Navaratri – September 29, 2017
Since time immemorial, in the culture of India, devotion to God has been praised as the highest. It is in India alone that we find so many gods and goddesses worshipped in so many ways, so many times in a year. It is only here that every single day is being dedicated to some god or the other. The lives of all the Indians have always revolved around God and nothing else. Dharma, artha, kama moksha – the Chatur purusharthas – also are designed in such a way that ultimately using all that you have, you reach God. The four Ashramas – from Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa- everything is again designed in order to help you go towards God and not away. Such an ideal is only in a country of India, you do not see it anywhere else in the world.
And because our ancient people knew that our minds are quite fickle and they will deviate from this noble path of attaining God, they incorporated so many festivities, so many festivals and so many other kinds of Pujas and Archanas in our daily lives so that we always keep our mind focused on God even if it strays away.
The first three days (of Navaratri festival) we have worshipped the aspect of Durga which represents the Tamogunam. She is killing the negative qualities which are represented by Tamas in us. The excess of anything is to be avoided. It is only when you do that that you have that Kriya shakti, the ability to do things. If you do not have the will power (Ichcha shakti) to do what you need to do, you will not be able to use your body and its faculties for anything. This Ichcha shakti or the will power is the one which helps you continue your actions which you have started. That is represented by Mahalakshmi. So, the next three days we have worshipped Mahalakshmi. The last three days are celebrated as the festivities or prayers to Goddess Saraswati -Mahasaraswati. She represents the Jnana shakti or power of wisdom or intellect in every being. You must pray that you must also attain the highest wisdom that you are Divine. The six qualities that every student needs to learn are good conduct, good intellect, truthfulness, devotion, discipline, dutifulness. When you get all these six things from your education, that education alone is good education. These six qualities make you a good student. Reveling in the devotion of God is the true identity of Indians. May you all live up to this identity. Bring back this ancient culture of India into our present-day society – that of devotion to God.