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NEWSMAKERS

Cheti Chand 2015

Just us Jhoole Lal or Uderolal of Sindh, since centuries, has been protecting us from being tossed by the waves of life and providing us with succour, so also this Cheti Chand, at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission, Dada J.P. Vaswani stilled the tossing of our minds and filled us with peace and calm. What a perfect way to step into the New Year!

The essence of Cheti Chand was captured by the upbeat, joyful and foot-tapping traditional Sindhi songs, glorifying the Lord. The renditions filled one with nostalgia for the land and the life that had been left behind, yet there were affirmations of hope and the positive, of which the Cheti Chand was a harbinger.

A treat was provided of a few audio-visuals depicting love and sacrifice, courage and faith in the locales of ancient Sindh. The narration of these folklores was done by Dada himself, making them more poignant.

When Dada came on stage he saw an ocean of orange. These were the caps which had been distributed among the large audience, with wishes printed on them for a happy Cheti Chand. Even Dada was given one to wear. Seeing the eager sea of faces, which overflowed into the grounds outside, Dada warmly welcomed everyone and expressed his pleasure and surprise at such a large turnout of Sindhis. Dada blessed everyone with prosperity, and remarked that though we may be a small and disbanded community, yet we can set an example to the rest of the world.

The gold and gleaming décor on the stage, along with the lit up picture of Sadhu Vaswani, shed a beautiful golden glow on Dada’s visage. With a benign smile Dada continued, “In the 10th Century, Sindh had been under the rule of the Muslims, with a king who ruled with an iron hand.​ He sent for all the Sindhis and they were encouraged to convert to Islam. They were confused and asked for some time to consider. They knew they didn't have the arms or the manpower to oppose the king. They went to the riverside and did 'tapasya', performed austerities, and continuously repeated the Name of the Lord, for forty days.

“The Name Divine is more powerful than an atom bomb,” Dada told us. “On the 40th day, one of them gets a dream. He hears a voice say - Don't worry. I will be born soon and will come and protect you. I will be born in Ratan Chand's house. The day Jhulelal or Uderolal was born, is the day referred to as Cheti Chand, the new beginning, the New Year.”

“As a child, Jhulelal would talk strange things. He was taken to Goraknath, who was a shining star of spiritual life at that time. This child, at that young age, asked him for a 'mantra'. Goraknath gave him the 'mantra' of 'Alakh Niranjan'.”

Dada continued to explain that Cheti Chand has thus been celebrated in India since centuries. There are 'melas' or fun fairs; Jala Ashram where cold sweetened drink is distributed outside institutions due to the rising heat; big satsangs are organised and 'prasad' is distributed. The latter comprises of many items, but 2 are essential - a stick of sugar candy, signifying the pleasant experiences of life, and a leaf of 'neem' representing the bitter. This is to indicate that both, the pleasant and the painful, should be accepted as 'prasad' from the Lord.

Forcefully continuing, Dada said, “We should learn to accept and courageously face everything - this is the true Sindhi spirit. We lost everything - our homes, our land, yet we did not give up. Instead we should be filled with gratitude.”

“Once, Sadhu Vaswani called us to give a final 'mantra' and the word was 'shukur' or gratitude. The word is made up of three consonants - 'sh' for 'shah' or the Lord, 'k' for 'kare' or does and 'r' for 'razi' or accept - which means we accept all that the Lord does. Such a person is always happy. For this we must establish a close relationship with God.”

Dada told us that in ancient India, 8 days after Cheti Chand comes the day of Ram Naomi, which heralds the birth of Lord Rama. These eight days are very auspicious and should be spent in repeating the Name of the Lord as much as possible.

Then Dada read out to us a song he had composed welcoming Lord Rama and His all pervading light, with a request that the repetition of His Name makes his life also sublime.

The grand finale was a medley of all the Sindhi songs with reference to Jhulelal. The vast congregation with their accompanying loud claps and chorus, almost brought the roof down. It was truly an ideal beginning for a New Year!

 

 

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