april 2023 krishnaarchana 5 MAIN FEATURE By Shaji Krishnan Significance of Vishu Our Sanatana dharmic texts view humans as a smaller representation of the universe, based on microcosm-macrocosm point of view. “Yat pinde tad Brahmande”; that which is in microcosm is in the macrocosm and one is in all; all is in one declared our Upanishads. Our philosophies did not stop there – it went on to prove that the entire universe is interconnected, inter-related and inseparable. It is a well-known fact that every living being takes part in nature’s processes and everything in nature is changing for the better. Eons ago, our forefathers took giant leaps in this regard. They accepted, welcomed, and assimilated all the natural changes as festivals. This allowed us to be one with Mother Nature and to slowly evolve, physically, emotionally, spiritually and progress towards the goal, as prescribed in our Vedas. Science and logic Every festival deep within, had a scientific reasoning and logic. In due course of time, some of these truths eventually got morphed and/ or covered with multi-layers of customs, traditions, and rituals. Vishu is a Malayali New Year festival. It typically falls in the middle of April; the first day of Medam, the first month of the Malayalam calendar. The equinoxes are the only time when both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere of our Mother Earth experience roughly the equal amount of daytime and nighttime. During this time, the sun is exactly over the equator and days and nights are of equal duration. In Sanskrit, Equator, the imaginary line that divides our Earth into two equal halves, is called “Visvadrutta Rekha”. Hence the name “Vishu”; the first day of the astronomical calendar new year, based on the movement of the sun. Vishu is a festival where all elements of nature come together and welcome new hopes for a bright future. It also signifies new beginnings, new hopes, and aspirations. Six components Vishu-kani, Vishu-kaineettam, Vishu-kodi, Vishu-paddakam, Vishu-bhalam and Vishu-sadya are the six most important components of Vishu celebrations. Vishu festival begins with worship of Lord Vishnu/Krishna on Vishu pulari (early morning Brahma muhurta time; between 4am and 6am on Vishu day) at which time, Vishu-Kani is seen. Vishu-kani means “the first thing to be seen at dawn”. On the previous night, a Vishu-kani is set up in the prayer room of the house. It is believed that Vishukani seen at dawn brings good luck and prosperity for the entire year. Items such as coconut, betel leaves, arecanut, kani-konna flowers, kanmashi (kajal), raw rice, lemon, golden cucumber, jackfruit, a metallic mirror, vermillion, holy books, cotton dhoti/kasavu mundu, ornaments and coins or currency notes are neatly arranged in a Uruli, a traditional bowl made of bronze alloy. A traditional Nilavilakku (bronze/brass lamp) is also lighted and placed together with the Vishu-kani before the deity. Most items of Vishu-kani have significant meaning. But in general, Vishukani exemplifies the relationship between humans and nature. Significance of mirror All members of the family wake up during the Brahma muhurta time and with closed eyes go to the prayer room, to get the first darshan of the Lord and Vishu-