14 April, 2008

Happy Vishu !!!

If your first step is wrong, it is often said, the whole journey will be wrong. All over the world, strong emphasis is laid on beginnings. Getting off to a good start is essential, as the beginning is the foundation upon which everything that comes after, rests.

Indian culture, perhaps more than any other, stresses the importance of beginning things properly. The position of the stars and planets is taken into consideration to ensure auspicious beginnings, homas are performed and stotrams are chanted to Lord Ganesha in order to remove potential obstacles before the start of any undertaking.

In Kerala, the start of the Zodiac New Year—when the sun enters into Sidereal Aries, Ashwini nakshatra—is celebrated as Vishu.
It is said that what one sees when one first opens one's eyes on Vishu morning is an indication of what one can expect in the year to come. Thus on Vishu, effort is made to ensure that one opens one's eyes before an auspicious image—the Vishukkani.

While the festival is called "Vishu" only in Kerala, across India festivals sharing the same spirit—such as Ugadhi in Andhra Pradesh and in Karnataka, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Bihu in Assam and Baisakhi in Punjab—are celebrated around the same time of year.

The Malayalam word kani literally means "that which is seen first," so "Vishukkani" means "that which is seen first on Vishu."

Arranged in the family puja room the night before by the mother in the family, the Vishukkani is a panorama of auspicious items, including images of Lord Vishnu, flowers, fruits and vegetables, clothes and gold coins.

Gold—both in colour and in coin—is central to the Vishukkani. Kanikkonna, a golden-yellow flower associated with Sri Krishna is used liberally throughout the puja room. This flower only blooms when the sun is in its most exalted position astrologically—the month surrounding Vishu. In the puja room, the flower represents the sun itself, the eyes of Lord Vishnu. Gold coins are symbols of monetary affluence, as well as cultural and spiritual wealth, which the elders of the family must share freely with the younger generation. Vishukkaineettam, the distribution of wealth, is another aspect of the festival. It should be given freely and accepted with reverence

The grandmother or mother who arranges the Vishukkani will sleep in the puja room after she is finished and then, waking during the auspicious hour of the Brahma muhurata (4:00 to 6:00 a.m.), she will light the oil-lamp wicks and take in the auspicious sight. She will then walk to the rooms where the rest of the family is sleeping and wake them. Covering their eyes, she will then lead them to the puja room, where she will allow them to take in the auspicious sight.

Upon opening one's eyes, one is overwhelmed with the glorious darshan of the Lord. The mirror—which is symbolic of Bhagavati (Devi), not only increases the lustre of the Vishukkani via the reflection it offers, but also shows our own face, reminding us that God is not someone sitting in the heavens upon a golden throne, but the pure consciousness that is our true nature. The mirror also points to the importance of making our mind pure enough to render this truth unadulterated.

Vishukkani points to a year of abundance—both spiritually and materially. Food, light, money, knowledge—all should fill our life. Taking in the Vishukkani we should pray that the vision remains with us throughout the year. It is not enough that the joy we take from viewing the Vishukkani stops just at being a visual delight. It must reflect in our thoughts and in our actions. The auspicious start of the year—which has come to us due to the grace of beginning it with a divine vision—is not for us alone. It is up to us to spread this love, happiness and hope to the rest of society.
(Article source : amritapuri.org)
I leave you with pictures of the Vishukkani at The Krishnans'.

"Here's wishing everyone a Very Happy Vishu.
May the coming year be filled with Peace, Love, Happiness and Good Health."

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9 voice(s) said so:

Compulsive Dreamer said...

Happy Vishu to you too! This is a beautiful post and I hope you dont mind that I have linked it to this post of mine http://howiwishfornewbeginnings.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/happy-vishu-to-all/

Nat said...

A very Happy vishu to you and family too!

DotMom said...

Is the gudi padwa or ugadi I think as it is called else where?

Happy Vishu to you too!

Candyfloss said...

Happy Vishu to you all!

I tried to spend mine watching at least one of the 3 new Mallu movies they were showing on Asianet - I averaged about 20 minutes of each instead :-)

Aryan said...

Happy Vishu to you to....The Vishu Kani is amazing..I am thinking about my childhood days where I used to do Namaskaram to each and every elders to get Kaineetaam...
Couldn't even get konna poo in Hyderabad...

Sunita said...

Happy Vishu to you too :)

K 3 said...

Happy Vishu to you too! Nice write up on Vishu

dipali said...

Somewhat late Vishu greetings. Wishing the Krishnans a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead.
The few years we spent in Kerala were wonderful- I insist that we are honorary Malayalees!

Just Like That said...

Better late than never.. Happy Vishu to the Krishnans. (Its still april anyway)Was in Kerala for Vishu, and so had loads of Konnappoo. I have too many cousins!! it was Sonny boy's first experience - that he understood- of kaineetam.