Opinion Op Ed 01 Feb 2017 Mystic Mantra: Basan ...
Kulbir Kaur teaches sociology at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, Delhi University

Mystic Mantra: Basant - Yellow fields & new life

Published Feb 1, 2017, 1:02 am IST
Updated Feb 1, 2017, 7:05 am IST
The love of the almighty is the true manifestation of Basant.
Devotee praying
 Devotee praying

Rejoice, my love, rejoice. Its spring here, rejoice.” Basant ritu, or the spring season, is the season of happiness, freshness and rejuvenation. Nature affirms it in the form of greenery, flowering of mustard seeds and salutes the king of seasons — the spring. Basant Panchami heralds the beginning of spring and is one of the major festivals of Hindu religion celebrated on the fifth day of Magh month of Hindu calendar. The spring season is perfect, maintaining a balance. It is free from the intense heat of the summer and cold winters. The spring season is equivalent to a spiritual person, donning a yellow attire and in a perfect state of mind — calm and blissful. The season is quite but joyful, bountiful and full of happiness — like the stage of equipoise or sahaj, which symbolises spiritual peace.

When a man loses his ego and when pleasure and pain, pride and shame, joy and sorrow are alike to him, he attains the stage of sahaj — the calmness of mind. The stage of equipoise is expressed beautifully in Rag Basant, which appears in the Sikh tradition and is part of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Rag Basant, because of its gentle mood, is to be performed in a dignified slow tempo. During the Basant season, every ragi in the gurdwara starts Gurbani or the recitation of the Shabads with the Rag Basant. The composers of Gurbani in Rag Basant are Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Amardas, Guru Ramdas, Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur as well as a number of bhakts whose bani is included in the sacred Granth like Kabir, Namdev, Ravidas and Ramanand. In Sikhism, the reference to Basant is in the context of enlightenment and of the flowering of the soul. The love of the almighty is the true manifestation of Basant.

 

“When the mind is in spring, all people are rejuvenated. Blossoming forth and flowering through the Lord’s name, peace is obtained. Contemplating the word of the Guru’s Shabad, one is in spring forever, With the Lord’s name enshrined in the heart,” says the Guru. Basant is the season of union. Guru Arjan urges upon man to submit himself to the true Guru to achieve union with the divine. Not surprisingly, Amir Khusrow bursts out singing, Its spring here, rejoice... oh you are still enjoying your sleep, wake up... Let your eyes meet his, oh my love, rejoice. Its spring here again. Sufi Basant falls on the third day of Jumada al-Awwal, the fifth month of the Islamic calendar. The love, spiritual union of Amir Khusrow and Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia is rekindled in the month of Basant when the dargah is decorated with marigold and mustard flowers. Even the devotees celebrate the occasion dressed up in yellow colour. It is difficult not to associate Basant with yellow colour, which depicts hope, wisdom, harmony and change. The colour of spring is the colour of knowledge and learning. Basant Panchami also happens to be the birthday of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom. In many parts of India, specially West Bengal, a child starts his education on this auspicious day. This process of “beginnings” or “newness” takes a different form when farmers, on the day of Basant Panchami, worship the plough and start sowing the fields again. People prepare food with a yellow colour and celebrate the day with kite flying — with a hope to start a life on a fresh note.

 

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