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Showing posts from February 1, 2008

Pongal To Be Tamil New Year Day

The first day of the Tamil Month ‘Thai,’ which is now celebrated as Pongal, will be the official Tamil New Year Day. This announcement was made by the Tamil Nadu Governor during the customary address to the Tamil Nadu State Assembly recently in January 2008. Governor’s customary address speaks the mind of the ruling government. Till now the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai, which falls on April 13 or 14 had been celebrated as the Tamil New Year Day.
It is said that the government took this decision to change the date of the New Year after there was a consensus among the Tamil scholars.
Recalling the historical background of the decision, the Governor said that in 1922 over 500 scholars, led by Maraimalai Adigal, founder of the Thani Tamil Iyakkam (Pure Tamil Movement) met at Pachaiyappa’s college in Chennai and decided that Tamils needed a separate calendar in the name of Tamil savant Tiruvalluvar. They also determined that the birth year of Tiruvalluvar was 31 BC. This was acc…

Swami Chidanand Saraswati on Mantras and Japa

Mantras and Japa help us to concentrate. We live in a world that is overflowing with sensory pleasures and stimulation. Our lives are very busy with work, errands, chores, etc. Therefore, it is very difficult to simply still the mind. Mantras and Japa and special pujas serve as bridges between this world and the divine realm. They offer us a way to transverse the water which may seem impassable.However, mantras and japa are means to the end of God realization. They are the means, not the end themselves. Once we develop that close, intimate bond with God, mantras and japa become less necessary. Imagine that you love someone with all your heart. You don’t need to take a ‘mala’ and recite her name over and over gain to remember her. Similarly, once we have that deep love for God, we don’t need to continue doing japa to bring us into contact with Him. We will be in contact all the time. Our lives will become our japa.