“In the childhood form, wearing nice jewelry and clothing, He plays in the dirt and His limbs become full of dust. With child-like speech, Rama plays with all the brothers and children.” (Dohavali, 117)
बाल बिभू।सन बसन बर धूरि धूसरित अंग |
बालकेलि रघुबर करत बाल बन्धु सब सन्ग ||
bāla bibhū।sana basana bara dhūri dhūsarita aṃga |
bālakeli raghubara karata bāla bandhu saba sanga ||
“If using the normal world as a reference point, there really is just one time of year. I understand that arbitrary markers don’t mean much, that there are pockets of people around the world who operate differently. We can find many communities that have their own traditions, and these places may not be prominently featured on popular television and film.
“Bear with me. When speaking of the industrialized world, you have Christmas. Another popular faith has an important holiday around the same time, so this has gradually morphed into the term, ‘Holiday Season.’ Whether you observe or not, people tend to be happier. They have something to look forward to. There is a day or series of days which become important. The government officially recognizes the occasion with the closing of offices and so forth.
“Compare and contrast with the Vedic tradition. You have so many holidays. Perhaps the family you are born into follows four or five important observances throughout the year, but you could actually commemorate something almost every day, if you wanted.
“Does that not take away from the uniqueness? If every day is a vacation, doesn’t it mean that no days are? Do you see what I mean? A holiday is something special, which means distinct from other days. If you have a holiday all the time, then it is no longer special.”
If browsing the greeting card aisle in the local supermarket, the arrangement of cards is based on the occasion. If you are purchasing a card to celebrate Valentine’s Day, for instance, you don’t want to accidentally pick one for a birthday. The error would be immediately obvious. The message itself would say, “Happy Birthday,” instead of, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
The Sanskrit term relevant to this discussion is nityotsava. If developing a matching greeting card, the message might say, “Happy Everyday.” We always have something to celebrate. The festivities are continuous; no break.
This is because nityotsava is tied to the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that Anantadeva laments not having enough resources to accomplish his preferred task. Anantadeva is something like the first expansion of the Almighty; He is always in the mood of service. His name refers to his seemingly unlimited number of hoods in the form of a transcendental serpent.
Anantadeva uses those hoods to glorify God. It would be as if a popular recording artist has the most amplifiers to use at a rock concert. Maybe they have a playlist that does not end. They have enough songs in their catalog to continue the concert for weeks and months.
Even with this ability and engagement, Anantadeva feels like he is shortchanging the Almighty. He would like to have a greater opportunity for glorification. More hoods. More time. More wonderful verses strung together in song, to match Bhagavan’s name of Uttamashloka.
For the jiva souls wandering through the material world, we can find something each and every day to celebrate about the Supreme Lord. For instance, we can look to the childhood play of the avatara of Vishnu known as Shri Rama.
In the Dohavali of Goswami Tulsidas, we learn how the mother nicely dresses Rama, who then goes out and plays in the dirt. This is not an elaborate description, but the meditation can continue for years and years. Just see how kind the Supreme Lord is. He is greater than the entire universe and more, but if a devotee should desire to dress Him, He plays the role of a small child.
Where there is a will, Shri Rama finds a way. He fulfills the desires in pure devotion by creating endless opportunities for service. Nityotsava is an opportunity for recurring and renewing bliss, bringing peace, love and joy in a place otherwise filled with sadness and despair. Happy Everyday can begin and conclude with the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
As holiday today,
Towards celebration way.
Because glories of Rama found,
And together we will sound.
Most happiness to us bringing,
When His holy names singing.
Tomorrow to repeat the same,
Rising sun our blessed gain.