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A Celebration of New Beginnings

In Honor of Bali Pratipada, October 20, 2017

The Light of the Self is Ever New

On the Siddha Yoga path new beginnings hold great significance. They contain boundless potential for new insights and greater vision. They are also a time to celebrate our progress on the spiritual path, and they inspire us to further our effort. At the time of new beginnings, the light of celebration signifies the light Shri Guru has kindled within us.

Bali Pratipada is another opportunity to experience wonder and gratitude for life and all the joy it holds. In Gujarat and some parts of Maharashtra, the new year is celebrated on Bali Pratipada, the day after Divali. It is a lunar holiday, and in 2017 Bali Pratipada falls on Friday, October 20.

yellow sun

Bali Pratipada takes place the day after Divali, the Festival of Lights. On Bali Pratipada, Lord Vishnu, in his incarnation as Vamana, conquered the demon king Bali. This story celebrates the triumph of the light of knowledge over the darkness of ignorance.

Bali Pratipada is one of the three-and-a-half most auspicious days of the year according to the panchanga, the traditional Indian calendar.

open book

Bali Pratipada is an auspicious time to make resolutions, renew our commitments to friendships, and rededicate ourselves to cultivating positive attitudes. It is a day bursting with fresh hope and possibilities, and we can celebrate its exuberant spirit by dressing in new clothes; sharing happiness and love with family, neighbors, and friends; enjoying and exchanging nature’s abundance through holiday foods; and expanding our knowledge by reading a book we have not read before.

A person's actions, words, and outlook on New Year's Day are believed to set the tone for the year ahead. It is a time to make a resolution to put forth the effort to overcome differences with others. On New Year’s Day we recognize that through our awareness of unity, each of us contributes to the peace of this world. One way we do this is by greeting one another with warmth and good wishes. We say to each other Nutan Varshabhinandan.

This means “Happy New Year” in Hindi. Nutan is “new,” varsh is “year,” and abhinandan means “ovation” or “homage.” So when we say Nutan Varshabhinandan! we pay homage to one another, and honor the New Year.

namaste

A Siddha Yogi from India describes the traditions of Bali Pratipada in her hometown:

On the New Year, we have a big feast, we wear new clothes, we perform puja. In India, the puja differs from family to family; you might do puja to a deity or perform a fire ceremony. My family follows the Siddha Yoga path, and so we would recite Shri Guru Gita.

It’s also traditional, in the days leading up to the New Year, to clean and decorate the home. A lot of people also paint their homes. It’s a physical cleaning, and it also has symbolic significance. It signifies completion and new beginnings.

red abundance

There where there is no darkness,
nor night, nor day,
nor Being, nor Nonbeing,
there is the Auspicious one alone,
absolute and eternal;
there is the glorious splendor
of that Light from whom in the beginning
sprang ancient wisdom.

Svetashvatara Upanishad IV, 18

Raimundo Panikkar, trans. The Vedic Experience: Mantramanjari
(Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977) p. 83-84.

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These words of Jnaneshwar remind me of how I love to get up and see the sun rise every day. I am always inspired because the sunrise is a little different every day, yet the rising of the sun is so constant.

Watching the sunrise each day gives me hope that within me, there is the inevitability of a new sunrise—a new way of looking at things and a sense of new possibilities, even in the midst of challenges.

Even if it’s a cloudy day and I can't see the sunrise—because I see it so often, I still know it’s there.
 

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Reading this quotation of Jnaneshwar Maharaj rescued me from the limited way in which I was viewing my daily routine. It redirected my vision to the treasure that I am always carrying within me: the awakened Kundalini Shakti. And it reminded my heart of my gratitude to Baba Muktananda for granting me shaktipat diksha, and to Gurumayi for guiding my sadhana with so much love, generosity, compassion, and wisdom.
 
Thanks to the light shed by this quotation, I look forward to returning to my routine with a refreshed appreciation for all the gifts in my life, and a renewed capacity to "experience wonder and gratitude for life and all the joy it holds" in the days to come.

a Siddha Yogi from Illinois, USA

I feel so grateful for the opportunity to refresh my resolutions on this day of new beginnings. In New England, the familiar green of spring and summer has transformed into a dazzling display of hues—red, orange, and purple. Today I feel that nature delights in ushering in this New Year with us, as I have never seen more vibrant shades of crimson. This verse from the Upanishads inspired me with the insight that on this day, a day of new beginnings, there is just as much boundless potential as there was at the very beginning when the ancient wisdom first sprang from the Light.

Nutan Varshabhinandan!

a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA

For two days, I have felt within myself an immense energy of unconditional love. I am floating with joy on huge waves of happiness and uplifting vibrations. In my meditation this morning, Gurumayi was holding my hand and guiding me toward a new beginning.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for always being in my heart, where distances are nonexistent.

A Happy New Year, full of light and blessings!

a Siddha Yogi from Mersin, Turkey

The morning was crisp with autumn. The stars were shining. The candles were lit in the meditation room, and the arati was playing. It felt so auspicious, a time to make new resolutions and begin afresh. How vibrant! How sacred! I was filled with love for all. This spiritual journey on the Siddha Yoga path is filled with the jewels of God, and I am so happy that in this birth I have received shaktipat.

Gurumayi, thank you for all the grace you bestow on this blessed Siddha Yoga path.

a Siddha Yogi from South Carolina, USA