On the day of the Pongal, prepare a fireplace made out of mud. Light camphor and set fire. Keep the pot on the fire. When the earthenware pot becomes hot, pour milk into it. Place a few blades of Bermuda Grass (Arugampul) in it. This grass is natural and has medicinal value. It is useful not only for human beings, but also for animals. When the milk boils, we say, “Pongalo Pongal!” Then, we cook raw rice and vegetables and prepare Pongal. We offer this Pongal to Lord Surya and Mother Nature. All of us say happily, “Pongalo Pongal!” We celebrate Pongal with our family members, relatives, and friends. This happy occasion fills our mind with affection, love, and compassion. It helps us develop love and affection not only among the human beings, but also among all living things.
Parents bring up their children and educate them. Later on, children go to different places to find jobs. Even while they are working away from home, they come back home during the Pongal festival and join their families in the celebrations. This is indeed an opportunity for all the members in the family to get together and celebrate the festival with great joy. All of us sit together and talk, forgetting ourselves. During these occasions, whether it is a festival or a marriage, we get an opportunity to join the family. We keep our house and surroundings clean. We bathe, draw designs with rice flour on the floor (kolam), light camphor, pray to God, talk cheerfully with everyone, and greet friends and guests warmly. This is Pongal celebrations.
The next day is Maattu Pongal. Farmers need bullocks for ploughing their fields and all of us need cows for milk. Cow is a symbol of prosperity for the whole family. We can see all the qualities of motherhood in a cow. We give her a bath on the Maattu Pongal day, apply kumkum on her forehead, put a flower garland around her neck, and feed her. In olden days, food was cooked in earthenware pots. Such food was indeed very good to taste. As science advanced, man began to use gas for cooking and food was cooked in metal pots. When we use brass vessels to prepare food for a longer period of time, the food begins to lose taste gradually. There is a difference in taste, between the food that is cooked in clay pots and that in a brass vessel. Clay is natural. It is a component of nature.
Nature and the five elements are an integral part of our existence. They help us live a good life and do good deeds. They fill our mind with good thoughts and good qualities. Let us look at the letter ‘Om’. It consists of ‘Aa’, ‘O’, and ‘Um’. When these three sounds are said together, we hear the sound ‘Om’. When we add ‘Ma’ to it, it becomes ‘Amma’. When we talk about God and Adi Parasakthi, we add ‘Om’ before the word. The word ‘Om’ and the word ‘Amma’ have definite meaning. When we say the name ‘Allah’, the letter ‘Aa’ has importance.
Celebrating a festival by all of us together, itself, is Pongal. When a festival comes, it isn’t necessary to celebrate it by borrowing money from someone. It is a custom among all of us, that we wear new clothes on a festival day.
We need to understand the power and importance of nature. Instead, we are giving more importance to science. Science is indeed very important to life, but it may also bring about adverse effects.
When dirt accumulates, it begins to stink. The dirt needs to be removed. In the same manner, we need to fill our mind with good thoughts. A coconut palm is useful to us, in different ways. Each part of the coconut palm is useful. We, too, need to be helpful to others. In olden times, there was love, affection, and good relationships among human beings. Now, the affection (pasam) lasts only until you finish the sweet pudding (payasam) that you have been offered. We forget both the pudding and its sweet taste. The days ahead are indeed bad. You may think that this sentence is repeated each time. We need to respect and worship the Nature, respect and love our parents and elders.
Living in a joint family is very good. We live together. We eat together and we talk together. These make all of us happy. The words that the elders say are indeed meaningful. The heart pumps blood to different parts of the body. If the blood doesn’t reach the brain, the other organs fail to work. The places where we live must have fresh air. We need to eat good food. We need to do good things. There is an old saying, “Give alms to the poor even by begging of others.” Charity is very important.
Nowadays, we have Petromax lights. This kind of light is very useful during weddings. Just as a Petromax light, we, too, need to be useful for some purpose. The lantern of the olden times is a similar one. Even when we keep them in a corner when they are not in use, they remain there, thinking that we may use them for some purpose one day. Similarly, the oil lamp that we light traditionally is aware that we will use it when we need it. Now, let us look at electricity. When the power fails, we make use of the Petromax light, lantern, or the oil lamp. Hence, we know that each has its own importance. Scientifically, we dig bore-wells. Using electricity, we pump water from the bore-well. If there is no power, we won’t get water. We need to think how hard people have to work to make bore-wells. When we drink water from the ordinary well, it tastes very good. We don’t think about tomorrow. After having food today, we are satisfied. We eat the same food today and tomorrow. We drink the same water. We aren’t much thoughtful about the future.
We give more importance to money. We go abroad in search of money. A few years ago, people used to come back from abroad after working there for a few years. We get love and affection from our family members, in the motherland. When we stay away from our motherland, we fail to get the kind of affection and love that we experience in the family. It is very prevalent in recent years. We need to work hard and also help the needy.
It is the five elements in nature that keep us alive. Even the birds take care of their nestlings, just as a mother takes care of her children. They keep their young ones away from danger. We try to indulge in unwanted things. We want to pass time somehow. The different minute parts within the clock work together to show the time accurately. Because of their combined effort, the clock shows each hour at the right time. We need to respect nature. We need to grow with the help of nature. We cannot say what may happen in the future. We must help others and be charitable. That alone will last forever. We must help our neighbours, poor people, and also our relatives, who really need our help. We must have only good thoughts in our mind.
God can become man and man can become God. Man may not become an animal. Even animals have good qualities. If you look at monkeys, you will know the amount of love that they have among them. Look at the waves in the ocean. They have their own qualities. The mind of man is filled with desires. Instead, he should fill his mind with waves of love and affection. Man’s desires have no limits, but the ocean waves have their limit. When the waves reach a certain limit, they stop for a moment and recede. We need love and affection. We need the ocean waves. We need goodness, for which we need to fill our mind first, with good thoughts.
The ocean is a part of nature. Even the ocean has been created by nature. Nature tells us to do good to others. The nature takes care of every living being on this Earth. When an earthquake happens, we have to think about why it happens. There is a reason and that reason is the Superpower, God. Similarly, when a storm occurs, it can even destroy a ship on the sea. Science cannot find a solution for the calamities that occur in Nature. Hence, instead of giving too much of importance to science, it is indeed better to worship the power of Nature. Always do good to others and listen to good advice that we receive from others. Instead of sending the aged to old age homes, we must keep them with us and take care of them.
We do need money, but we may not give undue importance to it. You may need a car. You may need a helicopter, but they may not be used for self-destruction. We need to have self-control. Just as Nature takes care of us with love and compassion, we, too, need to fill our minds with affection. Our mind must be pure. Even when we see something, we may not pretend that we do not see it. Similarly, when we hear something, we may not act as if we didn’t hear it. We may not have ego and arrogance. We need to do charity and help the poor. Always, we need to think, “Charity, charity.” Meanwhile, unrighteousness may raise its head. It may bring about great destruction and calamity. Both of them are related to science.
In olden times, the puranas were written through inscriptions on stones. In modern times, you get them in software. We understood the Ramayana and the Mahabharata more from the inscriptions and from plays. We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow. Hence, sages wrote the Ramayana and the Mahabharata for us to read and understand. If we had followed the path of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, we would have been able to live peacefully. The fact that we don’t give enough importance to love and affection among the people has resulted in such a state, as is prevalent in the world now.
We fly kites. The kite flies with the help of the wind. It is the thin thread that we hold in our hand, that helps us in this act. We can control the path of the kite with the help of the thread. When the wind has the right speed, the kite flies higher, but when the wind becomes strong, the same string that had been holding the kite snaps. The kite falls on the earth. It breaks into pieces. We need to live with love and affection among ourselves. The rich need to help the poor. The poor need to help the rich. Such a state has to come. Only then can we live peacefully. Om Sakthi! Adi Parasakthi!