News & Notes 685:Maasimaham
Maasimaham is a religious festival held in Pondicherry every year in Tamil month of Maasi. This year it falls on 11.02.2017. Auroville has declared an optional holiday for its units on this occasion. It is arranged on the seashore in Vaithikuppam, a fisherman hamlet, which is very near a place where Patel Salai and north end of Beach Road meet. If you closely observe the various aspects of the festival, you will find that it reflects the features of the Evolutionary Process of Yoga of Nature as explained by the Vedic Rishis.
On this day the devotees in and around Pondicherry start coming to Vaithikuppam from early in the morning onwards. Deities from various temples in and around Pondicherry start arriving to the seashore of this village. They are all well decorated with ornaments and flowers and the priests perform pujas for them. Because of the presence of deities on the seashore, the seawater becomes sacred and is called ‘Theertham’. Some devotees have a good dip in the sea and others would collect seawater in their palm and sprinkle it over their head. That is why this festival is called ‘Theerthavaari’. Then the devotees go to the deities and ask the priests to perform special pujas in their names. They spend sometimes on the seashore and leave the venue late in the evening, following the procession of the deities.
Most of the devotees are not aware of the Vedic truths underlying the various aspects of the festival. Only those who are familiar with the Vedic ideas could interpret the different features of the festival in accordance with the Vedic tradition. Devotees who are in touch with the seawater have to visualize themselves as follows. They are mental beings in the Heart Ocean, the mental plane of Consciousness in the Universe. They struggle and suffer in their life due to the ignorance and darkness in their nature. Diti, who is the Mother of the mental beings in the Heart Ocean and contains, constitutes and conducts her children, is unable to liberate them from the struggle and suffering in their life, since she, too, has half knowledge and half ignorance. The deities on the seashore represent the overmental gods and goddesses, the children of Aditi, the divine Mother. They are in a state of illumination with the divine Knowledge, Power and Bliss due to their exposure to Aditi and are ready to give them to those devotees who submit and surrender to them. Now the devotees, who are in possession of the Truth Consciousness, could lead a happy and prosperous life.
Maasimaham has a relevance to Auroville life. The Mother says that Auroville is a place for the practice of the Evolutionary Yoga of Nature. As this festival reflects the principles and practices of this Yoga, it would serve as a model for those who aspire to follow it in their life.
Submitted by Somasudaram