Vaisakhi endorses multicultural values

Venkat Raman – 
venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

For hundreds of millions of people in India, April is a month that denotes the dawn of a new era, with fresh hopes for better life, peace and prosperity.

Although India does not officially designate the spring season, its impact in the Northern Hemisphere during April is felt throughout the country.

April also ushers in the Hindu month of ‘Chaitra’ with Hindus in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu marking their New Year.

It is during this month that farmers put their sickles to harvest and collect precious life-saving crops.

For Sikhs, it became the Holy Day since 1699, as it marks the birth of the Khalsa (Sikh Brotherhood).

Vaisakhi is celebrated today with much gaiety, vigour and enthusiasm. It will be observed in New Zealand on April 13, 2016.

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, the religious home of the Sikhs, is richly decorated and glows with the luminescence of thousands of lights and showers its blessings on the millions of devotees who congregate there on this day.

Significant message

Vaisakhi endorses-Golden Temple Amritsar WebThe religious remembrance mixed with festivals throughout the country combine to make this an exciting and particularly festive time for all.

The message of Vaisakhi has particular relevance in today’s multicultural and multi-faith New Zealand. It promotes friendship and mutual respect as the way forward. This is consistent with the command of the Tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh: “Consider the whole of humanity as one; we are all children of One God.”

Bhakti Movement

The Bhakti movement in Medieval India was responsible for many rites and rituals associated with the worship of God by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of the Indian subcontinent.

For example, Kirtan at a Hindu Temple, Qawali at a Dargah (Muslims), and singing of Gurbani at a Gurdwara were derived from this movement.

The Movement was in vogue between 800-1700.

“The word Bhakti is derived from ‘Bhakta’ meaning to serve, honour, revere, love and adore. In the religious idiom, it is attachment or fervent devotion to God and is defined as “that particular affection which is generated by the knowledge of the attributes of the Adorable One.”

Vaisakhi endorses-Takanini Gurdwara WebThe concept is traceable to the Vedas where its intimations are audible in the hymns addressed to deities such as Varuna, Savitra and Usha.

However, the word Bhakti does not occur there.

It occurs for the first time in the Upanishads where it appears with the co-doctrines of grace and self-surrender.” (Heritage of the Sikhs by Harbans Singh)

Excerpts from Sikhism, its philosophy and History.

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Greetings from us

Vaisakhi or Baisakhi has come to occupy a larger dimension with millions of Punjabis in general and the Sikh community in particular, celebrating it with renewed vigour and hope year after year. This year, Indians in general and Sikhs in particular will celebrate the festival in New Zealand on April 13.

Indian Newslink is privileged to publish this Special Report highlighting the meaning and purpose of the festival and what it connotes to the people across the world, with the events organised in New Zealand.

The following pages will illustrate the energy and enthusiasm with which the Sikh community marks the ‘onset of good times,’ with the strong belief that hard work and honesty will always be rewarded.

We offer our greetings to the members of the community marking the occasion and wish them peace and prosperity and success in all their endevours.

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