Deepavali or Diwali is the greatest festival in Hindu calendar. The festivities reinforce our optimism and give us the confidence to strive for a better tomorrow. Diwali is typically a five-day affair with ‘Laxmi Pooja” at the heart of auspicious occasion. However, in the greatness of the primary occasion, we tend to overshadow the various significant celebrations that have been clubbed with Diwali fanfare. Govardhan Pooja or Annakut is the most important among these parallel celebrations.
The festival is traditionally linked to the legend of Lord Krishna and his heroics in saving the people of Braj from the wrath of Indra. However their deep symbolism in the narration that signifies the ability of human beings to overcome any eventuality. Indra the ‘lord of rains’ has a special place in Hindu python considering the overwhelming importance of agriculture in the Indian way of life. untimely rains and bad weather can wreak havoc on the prospects of good crops and continuity of farming. As our civilization prospered, our people gained more and more confidence to control the volatility of nature. Human ingenuity created opportunities even where they were none. From cultivation in the delta to plowing of the most difficult ravines, humanity learned the art of using natural resources to the best of its advantages.
Lord Krishna’s raising of the mountain is a mark of this confidence that humanity has in its abilities. Torrential rains and worst of natural vagaries represented by Indra had to ultimately bow to the faith and determination of mere mortals. This is a story of triumph, of jubilation and restoration of faith in humanity.
The example is as relevant today as in the age of Mahabharata. Climate change and limitation of resources have cast a long shadow over the prospects of the entire farm sector. it is this belief in the human ingenuity that will ultimately see us through these turbulent times.
The tradition of Annakutt of also associated with goddess Annapurna and the offering of food to major deities. This point to the perennial tradition of sustainability and resolve against food wastage in our culture. Even in midst of the Diwali pomp, the idea of consuming pre-cooked food points to the concern for food availability. It is this contrast that has lessons for not just India but the entire humanity. The current challenge in global food security is not food security but ensuring availability for the last person. By learing to conserve food and making best utilization of natural resources, we can ensure a bright future for the entire humanity.