ST. Valentine is the patron saint of love and romance. One's sweetheart chosen on this day is called one's valentine. Any letter, note, card, picture or gift passed between loving couples on this day is also called a valentine. Not much is known about St. Valentine. His fame rests on his martyrdom for love and romance. The story goes that there was a war going on in the country and there was a ban on romance and wedding on account of conscription. It is said that St. Valentine made nothing of the ban and went on holding wedding rites and blessing couples against great odds. It is believed that he received capital punishment for this act of `sedition'.
St. Valentine's Day is also supposed to be the pairing day of birds. In India the day falls in the month of Magha in the season of Shishira which is the pairing time for many birds and animals. During this period many migratory birds come to India from as far as Australia for pairing and breeding. For humans also Magha is the month of love and romance with pleasant weather preparing the flora for the oncoming season of Vasanta. Magha is also a well- loved raga, tender, soulful, romantic and redolent of the fall of honeydew and the cuckoos feeding on mango shoots cooing sweetly.
It is in this season of love and romance that Krishna and the Gopikas went about their own `Valentine Day' (Rasaleela) in Brindavan. It is in this season that Uma did penance to win the love of Siva. Kama and his spouse Rati came to her aid by advancing the season of Vasanta and dancing to the rhythm of the tender nature to make Siva's penance-hardened heart fall for her. Krishna is not just the romantic wizard of Brindavan, drawing all the Gopikas to him by his magical flute.
He also plays St. Valentine to bring together loving hearts. He played Valentine for his sister Subhadra and bosom friend Arjuna. Just one more story of Krishna playing valentine: In a famous Krishna temple in the south, two devotees happened to sit in for a certain period, keeping to their vows. One was praying for money to take the hand of his sweetheart in marriage and the other, who was rich and a skinflint, for cure for his limp. Krishna appeared in the dream of the former devotee and asked him to snatch the latter's money-purse and run away with it. He did as told. The skinflint gave a hot chase to get back his money, putting all his life into it. He caught hold of the thief, but then he happily let go of him with the money, as the hot chase had cured him of his lameness. That's St. Valentine-Krishna.
Is St. Valentine's day un-Indian and un-Hindu? That's a laugh. Only exclusivism is un-Hindu. In Hinduism all meets all. St. Valentine meets Sri Krishna and Ganga meets Volga. That's the real resilience of Hinduism. The very term un-Hindu is sort of an oxymoron. Hinduism by its very nature and content is all- enveloping. Hinduism accepts any and all things, with tonal or appearantial modifications if necessary, but never rejects anything. That is why being Hindu is the heaven on earth. Hinduism has a born dynamic, all-inclusive, ever-expansive and never-failing epistemic soul. If and when Hinduism has a genuine battle for survival, this soul activates itself and neutralises its `enemy', not by hostility but by way of absorption. It is in this way that it digested the Samkhya. Charvaka and Buddhistic challenges. If and when Hinduism has to battle, it battles not with batons but with reason. Every age has its own digestive reason. If you feel aggrieved, look for your age's digestive reason after dropping the batons. May all good things flow to us from everywhere, prayed our ancients. Life is a search for happiness. Anything that makes life happier and at the cost of none is a good thing.
St. Valentine's Day is not a season for licentiousness, nor is it just juvenile fancy. Even aged couples can celebrate it with a sign or gift and take the dross out of relationships. It is one day in the year for growing young in mind. Mere memories of togetherness can often rejuvenate minds.