Following the festival of Diwali 2016 comes Indian New Year 2016 in Vedic astrology or Jyotish. This is also the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar used in India. The year is 2073. According to mypanchang.com, Indian new year 2016 falls on October 31 worldwide. This is the Gujarati and Marwadi new year, as different regions of India will celebrate the new year at varying times.
Govardhan Puja or Annakut is performed on this day, especially at Krishna temples. This commemorates Shri Krishna’s victory over Lord Indra. Indra was using his thunderbolt excessively to display his power and thus endangering many lives by creating a great deal of rain. To save the lives of people, Krishna lifted Govardhan Mountain, which created the rain, with one finger. Krishna told his devotees to worship Govardhan Mountain so that they could honor nature. Indian temples create a mountain of grains or food for Govardhan puja.
Traditionally, Indians celebrate new year’s day by adorning new attire and going to their local temple first thing in the morning. They commence the year on a reverential note and pray for blessings for the coming year. Devotees offer flowers and sweets (mithai) to the temple. The first money spent that year is an offering to a temple or some charity, to begin the year with an act of generosity.
Indian New Year 2016 is the day when people lay their troubles of the past year to rest and begin anew. The new year is called “Bestu Varas”. People apply fresh coats of paints to their walls. Merchants close their accounting ledger and begin a new fiscal year. Business owners do puja to their ledgers, so that Lakshmi may bless them for the coming year.
Students worship Saraswati, the goddess of speech, learning, and wisdom. Students also do puja to their school books and notebooks. As symbols of sacred knowledge, books are never placed directly on the floor.
Vedamurti Vivekshastri Godbole of Shri Krishna Yajurveda Pathashala in India advises. “Pray to Saraswati on New Year’s day for good knowledge and wise thinking. Chant the Kundalini Stavah for Saraswati; this chant comes from Rudryamala. Pray to and worship your Guru. Guru will give you proper knowledge. Chant the Guru Paduka Panchakam which comes from the Skanda Purana. Go to the temple, pray there, and offer dakshina.”
Women cook and share sweets with friends and family. Sweets stand for the sweetness in life, which we all savor. Sukhadi (soo-khuh-dee), a sweet made from ghee, jaggery and wheat flour is usually cooked and offered for the New Year in Gujarat. Nuts and cardamom are also added. A sumptuous feast is prepared for the evening.
Indians go and visit their friends and relatives, particularly their elders, and seek their blessings. They wish each other “Happy new year” with the Gujarati greeting of “Saal mubarak” or the Hindi blessing of “Nutan varshabhinandan.”
On the first day of the Indian new year, the first four items traditionally purchased are mung dahl, flowers, yogurt, and salt. Vedamurti Vivekji explains, “Mung dahl is wholesome for the body. There is plenty of salt in the ocean. Lakshmi arose from the ocean as one of the gems during the samudra manthan. Salt is her brother. Krishna liked yogurt a lot. In Ayurveda, yogurt has good properties when used properly.
If you would like to know how to optimize the year ahead both personally and professionally, you may schedule a Vedic astrology reading.
Nutan varshabhinandan and saal mubarak to you for Indian New Year 2016! Shubh Bestu Varas! May Lakshmi bless your pocketbook, may Saraswati sit on your lips, and may Krishna guide your devotional practices.
Also published on Medium.