I am about to write about something that you may in this day and age take to with your new- age sarcasm….or not! My skepticism stems from the nonchalance on our part…yes, including me, towards our holy books or manuscripts. owing to the steadfast and materialistic lives we are forced to lead. This isn’t a sermon….least of all that! As new as i was to the International Gita Mahotsav, that is held every year in Gita bhoomi, Kurukshetra, I was intrigued!
How many of us have actually read Srimad Bhagwad Gita? The Bhagwad Gita is the most sacred, important Hindu script, referred to as the ultimate philosophy of Karma, done more than 5000 years ago. Gita Mahotsav or Jayanti is the birthday of Bhagwad Gita. This day falls on Shukla Ekadashi of the Margashirsha month. According to the English calendar, this festival occurs during November or December. It is that sacred day when Lord Krishna gave the immortal message to Arjuna, awakening him to his duty in Kurukshetra.
This year International Gita Mahotsav is being celebrated from 7th of December till 23rd of December. Inaugurated by Honorable President Ramnath Kovind, taking part in the commemoration Yagna. The festival has taken a celebratory turn with Art Festivals, Craft melas, Culinary delights, Culture based competitions, Light and Sound Shows and Cultural Events through the 14 days along with Gita Paath, Chanting and seminars discussing the inculcation of Gita Saar in our lives whilst observing the festival with en-masse recitation of all 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita.
The festival is not restricted to only Hindus and India, it is celebrated all across the globe by the devotees and followers of Krishna and the Gita. It has captured the interests of many foreigners who have taken to the teachings of Bhagwad Gita. Over the years, Gita Jayanti is being celebrated in not only India but also Singapore and Malaysia in large scale. Temples in India who have deity of Lord Krishna also celebrate this day. It has also increased the popularity of Hinduism all over the world. All temples of ISCKON across the globe celebrate this day with proper rituals and offerings to the God. The free spirit of the festival urges me to visit atleast once…contrary to the fanaticism attached to religious practices.
Some Facts About The International Gita Mahotsav:
- Temples dedicated to Lord Krishna celebrate this day with great enthusiasm, which includes performing puja along with special prayers.
- Devotees from different parts of India and abroad, like to visit Kurukshetra on this day and take a holy bath in the sacred ponds.
- Apart from holy bath, puja of Lord Krishna can be performed at home with aarti at the end.
- Since, it is celebrated on Ekadashi, it is important that devotees who fast on this day do not consume any kind of grains like rice, wheat, and barley.
- There have been many organized celebrations taking place to teach the value of Dharma to the youth of today through explanation of the Gita on this special day.
- The trains to and from Kurukshetra don a festive decorative look akin to a wedding!
Observing this day holds more importance in the current times as it coaxes individuals to act correctly for the near future because one reads the holy book Gita. The main purpose of celebrating Gita Jayanti is to recall the words of Gita and to apply it in our daily life. It allows individuals and families to lead a courageous, productive as well as an active life….It may sound mundane , but i must confess it was a bit of an eye opener, giving a reality check to the whims that we live with.