- Feb 23, 2009
Significance of Baisakhi in India
Baiskhi is also spelled 'Vaisakhi', vibrant Festival of Baisakhi is considered to be an extremely important festival in India for number of reasons. Apart from being important for the farmers as a harvest festival, the festival is of prime importance in Sikhism as a foundation day of Khalsa Panth. Besides, auspicious Baisakhi day is of importance for astrological reasons too!!
Astrological Significance of Baisakhi
The festival of Baisakhi falls on April 13 every year and April 14 once in every 36 years.
Change in date is because of the fact that date of Baisakhi is reckoned according to the solar calendar. Astrologically, the date of Baisakhi is significant as marks sun's entry into Mesh Rashi. For this very reason, many people also know Baisakhi as Mesha Sankranti. The auspicious date of Baisakhi is celebrated all over India under different names and rituals. It is celebrated as 'Rongali Bihu' in Assam, 'Naba Barsha' in Bengal, 'Puthandu' in Tamil Nadu, 'Pooram Vishu' in Kerala and 'Vaishakha' in the state of Bihar.
Significance of Baisakhi for Farmers
For the agriculturally rich state of Punjab and Haryana, Baisakhi marks the time for harvest of Rabi (winter) crops and is therefore extremely significant for the farmers. Baisakhi Festival is also celebrated as a Thanksgiving Day festival in these states. After waking up early and dressing themselves in new clothes, farmers visit temples and gurdwaras to express gratitude to God for the good harvest and seek blessing for ensuing agriculture season. Farmers also celebrate Baisakhi by performing energetic bhangra and gidda dance and participating in Baisakhi Fairs.
Significance of Baisakhi in Sikhism
Baisakhi is of major importance for the people following Sikh faith. As it was on a Baisakhi Day, in the year 1699 that the Tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa Panth or the Order of Pure Ones and gave a unique identity to Sikhs. The Sikhs are the only people who celebrate their birthday because they were born on that day as a new nation. There is hardly any group in the world that can boast such a privilege.
On this day the Guru Gobind Singhji administered Amrit (nectar) to his first batch of five disciples making them Singhs, a martial community. The tenth Guru initiated the five Sikhs (Panj Piaras) who in turn baptised the Guru.
Thus distinction between the Guru and disciple was fused and the Guru undoubtedly became the father of the Khalsa nation The duality in spirituality between the Master and disciple (Chela) is observed when the disciple adheres to the Master's teachings and discipline. The men took on a common surname, Singh ('Lion'), a reminder to be courageous, which they still do to this day. Women take on the name Kaur ('Princess'), to emphasise dignity. The Sikh Gurus exceeded this relationship by giving their followers to adopt their form.
Khalsa is my form.
In the Khalsa do I reside (Guru Gobind Singh)
.By doing so, he eliminated the differences of high and low as people of all classes and castes came forward to adopt this new religion; especially those who had been depressed and despoiled for generations under an obstinate social system. After adopting Sikhism as their new faith they could now discard the stamp of inferiority and attained equality with the highest in the land. Thus Guru Gobind Singhji established that all human beings were equal.
The creation of Khalsa nation gave rise to 3 important aspects of Sikhism namely the Khalsa civilisation; the Sikh form and the manner of implementing the philosophy of Guru Nanak as prescribed – Shabad surat abyass:
Suraá¹¯ sabaá¸ báº–av sÄgar á¹¯arÄ«â–«ai NÄnak nÄm vakáº–Äá¹‡e.
By Surat-Shabad do thou cross the ocean of phenomena
By uttering His Nam, O Nanak
The mission of Guru Nanak was achieved after the sacrifices of the Gurus, sacrifice by the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh and numerous sacrifices by shahid Singhs. These three aspects encompassed and protected all that was achieved during the 314 years.
Baisakhi is celebrated across the globe wherever there are Sikh people. They are reminded of the great baptismal ceremony of 13th April 1699 when the first five Sikhs were initiated into the Khalsa Order. Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi by participating in special prayer meetings organized at gurdwaras. They also carry out joyful Baisakhi processions to mark the day.
If the Sikh religion had not been created the work done for 314 years would have been dissipated and at the most the followers of the Gurus would have been dubbed Nanak panthis similar to Kabir panthis. The message of the Gurus would have been lost. And Nanak would have become another object of worship. The Sikhs would have been prey to pseudo Gurus. This scenario is evidenced by the fact that even today some non-practicing Sikhs have gone astray and adopted fake Gurus and others digressed almost into idol worship and forfeiting their faith in gurbani – Bani is Guru and the Guru is Bani.
Food for thought for 'fanatic' friends whom I otherwise consider as 'Fundamentalists of major Indian community'.
Q. Imagine what would have been the plight of 'Fundamentalists of major Indian community' in the present senario if Sikh religion had not been created ?
Significance of Baisakhi in Other Religions
Baisakhi has special significance for the Hindus, it is the start of the New Year, and is celebrated with requisite bathing, partying, and worshipping. It's believed that thousands of years ago, Goddess Ganga descended to earth and in her honor, many Hindus gather along the sacred Ganges River for ritual baths. This day of Baisakhi is otherwise also significance for the Hindus as it was on this day in 1875 that Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj - a reformed sect of Hindus who are devoted to the Vedas for spiritual guidance and have discarded idol worship. Besides, Baisakhi day is of relevance for the Buddhists as Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment and Nirvana on this auspicious day.
In Kerala, the festival is called 'Vishu'. It includes fireworks, shopping for new clothes and interesting displays called 'Vishu Kani'. These are arrangements of flowers, grains, fruits, cloth, gold, and money are viewed early in the morning, to ensure a year of prosperity. In Assam, the festival is called Bohag Bihu, and the community organizes massive feasts, music and dancing. Bengalis mark it as new years day or 'Naba Varsha' or Pohela Boishakh in Bengal, Assam and Tripura. Puthandu (Tamil New Year) in Tamil Nadu. Whatever the history says, today Baisakhi is celebrated with all pomp and show in almost all parts of the country.
Significance of Baisakhi in India | Pilgrimage Blog on Speakingtree.in