Nandananama Samvatsara begins on March 23, 2012. Nandana means that which bestows happiness. The year is ruled by the planet Shukra or Venus. Nandananama Samvatsara ends on April 10, 2013.
The year Nandana returns after a cycle of 60 years. Why is the number 60 so significant in our lives? Says Sanskrit scholar Dr. Kandadai Ramanujacharya, “The number six is symbolic in more than one way. Life has six stages: birth, growth, change, identity, decay and death. Similarly, man is wrought with six moods: hunger, lust, joy, sorrow, aging and annihilation. Six is a significant number in as much as it represents our mind which is our sixth sense organ with six faculties: reason, emotion, thought, awareness, knowledge and intelligence. Six impurities that rival man, according to our Shastras are lust, anger, greed, pride, delusion and envy.
The universe is full with sixes. And we celebrate our 60th year of birth because, by then we would have completed a full circle and man is supposed to move over to a higher plane to attain reality, having completed his duties on the material plane.
The zero beside the six in our philosophy stands for shunya or Nirguna Brahman, which is the unseen, existing power that is responsible for all life. It is beyond the physical, has no beginning or end. The zero therefore is the beginning and end. We were born on a particular year of our Hindu almanac and we go back to the year of birth on completing 60.
For many of us, Ugaadi marks the day to begin something new too. Let's hope this Ugaadi, Nandana brings forth the ‘Ananda' in more than one way into our lives!