The first Holy festival which marks the beginning of the New Year, new month and new day for the Hindus falls on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. It is known as Gudhi Padwa (in Maharashtra), Ugadi (in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh). [In other parts of country it is celebrated during Nau Roz (Kashmir), Baisakhi (Punjab), Cheti Chand (Sindhi), Naba Barsha (Bengal), Goru Bihu (Assam), Puthandu (Tamil Nadu), Vishu (Kerala)] On this very day Lord Brahma created the Universe. Therefore for Hindus, this day carries special importance. The day is celebrated with an auspicious bath, followed by decorating the doorway with a ‘toran’, performing ritualistic worship and hoisting the Gudhi.
Gudhi Padwa is celebrated as Ugadi (or Yugadi) in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The day, begins with ritual showers (oil bath) followed by pooja to god and Panchanga Shravana.Houses are decorated with Mango Leaves and Rangoli and everyone in the family wear new clothes and celebrate the festival by wishing each other New year greetings.
The eating of a specific mixture called Bevu-Bella (Neem and Jaggery) in Kannada, symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of good and bad, Happiness and Sorrow. Eating Neem and Sweet Jaggery means one need to take both Good and Bad or Happiness and Sorrow should be accepted together and with equanimity through the New Year. The special mixture consists of:
1. Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness, signifying Sadness
2. Jaggery which is sweet, signifying Happiness
In Karnataka a special dish called Obbattu or Holige (Puran Poli), is prepared on this occasion. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made in to a paste) stuffed in a flat roti like bread. It is usually eaten hot/cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka.
Gudhipadwa is a Yugadi tithi (A lunar day that marks the beginning of an Era). Since Deity Brahma created the universe on this day, scriptures describe gudhi as the Brahmadhwaj (Flag of Deity Brahma). Prajapati waves are present in maximum proportion on this day, and by ritualistically worshipping a gudhi on this day the worshipper gets maximum benefit of these waves.
Since gudhi is also a symbol of Bhagwan Shriram’s victory, it is also known as Vijayadhwaj (Flag of victory). Therefore, ritualistic worship of gudhi is not only the worship of Brahmatej (Radiance of Brahman), but is also the worship of Kshatratej (Radiance of Kshatriya).
According to the tenet that man should perform spiritual practice and abide by Dharma (Righteousness) as per the times, it is essential for Hindus to worship the Brahman and Kshatra forms of the gudhi.
Besides victory, the gudhi also symbolises joy. Shriram returned to Ayodhya after slaying demon Ravan. This marked the beginning of Ramrajya. Gudhis were erected in Ayodhya then as symbols of joy.
‘Gudi Padwa’ is the day on which the universe was created. Since on this day Shri Brahma created the universe and the Satyayug began, it marks the commencement of the New Year.
The Divine consciousness emanating during sunrise, absorbed at that time lasts longer. Thus the Gudi should be worshipped within 5-10 minutes after sunrise !
On Gudi Padwa, the waves consisting of the fire principle (Tej tatva) and the creative Prajapati waves are activated on a large scale. The Divine consciousness emanating during sunrise, absorbed at that time lasts longer. This consciousness is stored in the body cells and is used as required. Hence the Gudi should be worshipped within 5-10 minutes after sunrise.
Position of the Gudi: Care should be taken to raise the Gudi next to the main entrance of the house. The spot selected should be on the right side of the entrance(when facing outwards from the entrance of the home). The right side symbolizes the active state of the soul.
1. The area selected for raising the Gudi should be cleaned and then a Swastik rangoli should be drawn on the ground. Turmeric and vermilion (Haldi-kumkum) should be offered at the centre of the Swastik.
2. While raising the Gudi, the ‘Shiva-Shakti’ principle in the Universe should be invoked. This enables all the constituents of the Gudi to accept divine principles.
3. The Gudi symbolizes the ‘Sushumna nadi’ of our body. Hence, the Gudi should be raised at the entrance. And it should be kept tilted at an angle.
The Gudi is a symbol of victory. Amongst the various qualities of God, ‘Being Victorious’ is one and it symbolizes that God has achieved victory at the outset and at various levels. To symbolize this at every level of war, a Gudi is hoisted.