Chanakya Thoughts: Reasons why we should celebrate festivals

Common man deserves to be treated with dignity, care and concern. And, one of the best way to show this is by participation in various festivals and celebratory activities.

Come festival, and everybody gets into a celebratory mood. But, many times, people end up associating festivals with castes, communities or religions. And, unfortunately, instead of connecting us with others, festivals, sometimes divide us.

This should not be the case. Irrespective of your own tradition, one should be able to appreciate and participate in all festivals. This shows respect towards other cultures. And, finally, leads to mutual respect among all.

Chanakya was of the same opinion as well. Book 13 of Arthashastra contains a section on how a leader is supposed to behave in a territory that has been conquered by him.

Should he respect and participate in all the festivals of other regions, including that of an enemy country that has been conquered, what about a friendly country?

Chanakya says, “And he (the leader) should show the same devotion in festivals in honour of deities of the country, festive gatherings and sportive amusements.” (13.5.8).

A common man deserves to be treated with dignity, care and concern. And, one of the best ways to show this is by participating in various festivals and celebratory activities.

Here is what we can learn from the above Chanakya sutra:

Show devotion towards and honour for all deities

Festivals are connected to some gods and goddesses. And, every person has an emotional connection to his/her respective deity. So, what if the festival is not associated with the religion you follow, you can at least show respect and devotion to them. You can honour them. A person does not lose anything by respecting another culture or festival. In fact, such an act only leads to acceptance by other communities.

To win over the confidence of the people staying in the newly acquired territory, it is important to show respect to local deities. Chanakya suggests leaders to do the same. The locals will love this gesture. We can also apply this in our personal lives. We can celebrate our own festivals and participate in and appreciate the festivals of others too.

Participate in festive gatherings

Festivities are about coming together of family and friends. During festival, do not just sit at home and be a loner; get ready and go out… (of course, with Corona around, please be cautious and follow protocols). Wear new dresses, deck up your home with colourful decorations, and take selfies and photos. This is what festivals are about. So, have a participative spirit and enjoy with others.

Another important aspect of festivals is food. There are delectable spreads of lip-smacking dishes being prepared during festivals… not only at home but also at marketplaces, hotels and restaurants. Just enjoy them. Of course, take care of your health, too. But, do not miss out on such little joys of life.

Sportive amusements

There are many activities that take place during festivals. Sports being one of the major amusements. Various temples and many state governments organise tournaments during festivals. For instance, in Kerala during Onam, there are snake boat races. In Maharashtra during Ganeshotsav, in Punjab during Baisakhi various activities are organised. Such sportive amusements attract not only local but also an international audience.

And, a most important aspect, during festivals economy also gets an uplift. People purchase a lot of things, not only for oneself but also for others. To give and receive gifts is a joy that everyone enjoys.

Hence, remember, as festival season is around (with Holi being celebrated today), do not be a miser. As per your capacity, spend on oneself and others too. Joys get multiplied when everyone participates and contributes to the festive atmosphere.

Let us celebrate not just festivals, but every moment of our lives.

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.


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