Celebrations are “breaks” or “time-outs” from our mechanical routine works. They are needed to keep us remain human beings and stop us from becoming machines producing some goods. Students just study, do more study, and continue studying while adults just work, do more work, and continue working. Without breaks students become machine who can take tests and adults become machines which produce money and take care of regular tasks without having any life in it. Results are frustrations and depressions. After needed “breaks” and “time-outs” we can work better and enjoy our work.
If these celebrations fill our minds with positive and uplifting thoughts, then they give us not only rest but satisfaction and fulfillment. Higher than that is spiritual growth. If celebrations become a part of our spiritual practice, then we grow spiritually. We develop deeper understanding of our life, our relationship with others and the world. Spiritual growth brings out the best lying within us and is beneficial to us, our families and the society.
There is a popular mind-set that ‘Pray to God when we are in trouble.’ The underlying thought with this is ‘Why pray to God when we are happy, doing well, or achieving what we want with our own capacity? At that time we do not need God. (We forget that God has given us body and mind to achieve whatever we have achieved.) When we find out that we cannot achieve what we want with our own strength then we feel need for help and we pray to God.’ It looks very logical and practical. But, then our prayer will be business-like and will not produce much result. If we get what we want in the world with prayer, then we will continue to pray otherwise we call ourselves ‘atheist’ and put God and spiritual progress aside. Ultimately we will be missing the real aspect of life and live a superficial life. Saints say that we cannot get away easily from the spiritual development. The blows of life will remind us to think about the meaning of life, will open our eyes to the Reality of it, and bring us to the spiritual development.
Knowing this popular mind-set Sant Kabir made a couplet in Hindi:
“Dukhame sumiran saba kare, sukhame kare na koy
Jo sukhame sumirana kare, dukha kaheko hoy”
“Everyone prays to God, when one is miserable or suffering. No one prays to God, when one is happy. But, if one prays to God when one is happy, then one does not become miserable.”
Does this mean that miseries do not come to people who pray to God? We have seen Saints, Sages and devotees have suffered! Surely, it does not mean that. As I understand, it means that a prayerful person learns how to handle the miseries. When miseries come, a prayerful person with inner strength faces the miseries. Then two things happen: either miseries go away or this person learns how to go through the miseries without breaking down. A prayerful person when goes through miseries of life, not only he/she does not get negatively impacted by the miseries, but his/her inner strength gets multiplied. So, let us celebrate special occasions with full heart and mind, make them as parts of our spiritual practice and grow spiritually to live a peaceful and blissful life.