Friday, December 2, 2016

Spiritual Calendar: December, 2016

3rd December,2016: Vinayak Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata



 Lord Ganesha
Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha according to Hindu scriptures. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon and during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Purnimasi or full moon and during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.
The most significant Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in the month of Bhadrapada and is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
4th December: Vihar Panchami

 Shri Banke Bihariji
 Vihar Panchami also known as Bihar Panchami, is the day when Shri Bankebihari (Lord Krishna) manifested in Vrindavan for Swami Shri Haridas. The incident is 523 years old when Akbar reigned and Tansen was his darbari. Millions of devotees throng the Biharji Temple to revel in the festivities. This auspicious event is said to have taken place on the fifth day of the moon's waxing phase in the Margashirsh Month.
 
 Swami Shri Hari Das
 Popularly known as Bankey Bihari Prakat Mahotsav, the entire premises of Nidhivan as well as the Bankey Bihari Temple are beautifully decked with flowers, flags, buntings and lights on this occasion. Special pujas and rituals are performed and another great attraction is the colorful processions taken out on this day.
 
4th December, 2016: Vivah Panchami
 

Shri Ram & Sita Vivah Utsav
Observed on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha in the Margashirsha month. The day is observed as the Vivah Utsav of Sita and Rama in temples and sacred places associated with Sri Rama in Mithilanchal region and North India.

 
 Shri Anand Das Baba
 At Anand Das Baba's Ashram, a grand bhandara is usually organised. Saint Ushaji opined that he was Rambhakt Hanuman Himself. She used to tell us how He would spend entire days and night at the sandy beaches of Sri Yamuna without food for days at a stretch and ardently longed for the divine love of Ramji. An amazing trait of His religious devotion was Baba's constant love for Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna forever dwells, even though he was a great bhakta of Lord Rama.
 
10th December, 2016: Janamotsav of Shri Balkrishan Das ji Maharaj

 Shri Balkrishan Das ji Maharaj
 Maharaj Bal Krishan Dasji was a great saint of Vrindavan, who had experienced the highest ideal of religious rapture by relishing the lilas or divine play of Shri Radha-Krishna.
 
 Gita Jayanti
 The janamotsav of Shri Bal Krishan Dasji Maharaj Of Venu Vinod Kunj, Vrindavan and Shri Bhagavad Gita Jayanti happen to fall on the same day. Maharajji was born on the day when Lord Krishna revealed the nature of time and duty to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, about 5225 years ago. Gita Jayanti is observed on the eleventh day of the bright half moon (Shukla paksha) of the Margashirsha month (November – December). Devotees from all over India converge at Shri Dham Vrindavan to celebrate this occasion. 
 
10th December, 2016: Mokshada Ekadashi

 Mokshada Ekadashi
 This legend as taken from the Brahmanda Purana is as follows:
Yudhishthira Maharaj said, "What is the name of the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Margashirsha (November-December) and removes all sins? "
Lord Sri Krishna replied, "This Ekadasi is famous as Mokshada because it purifies the faithful devotee of all sinful reactions and bestows liberation upon him. The worshippable Deity of this auspicious day is Lord Damodara.
" There once was a beautiful city named Champaka-nagar and the best of saintly kings Maharaj Vaikhaanasa, ruled over his subjects as if they were his very own sons and daughters. The king had a dream one night in which his father was seen to be suffering torture in one of the hellish planets ruled by Yamaraj.
" ' O brahmanas,' the king addressed them, 'In a dream last night I saw my father suffering on a hellish planet. Now I have no peace in my mind, and even this beautiful kingdom has become unbearable to me.'
" The twice born brahmans replied, 'O king, in the mountainous forest not far from here is the ashram where a great saint Parvata Muni resides. Please go to him, for he knows the past, the present, and the future and can surely help you in attaining relief from your misery.'
"Upon the advise of brahmans, the distressed king immediately set out for the ashram of sage Parvata Muni.
"Then, Parvata Muni, the best of all sages, closed his eyes and meditated on the king and said, 'Your father is suffering the consequences of committing a great sin. In his previous life he quarrelled with his wife and forcibly enjoyed her sexually.'
"Parvata Muni said, 'During the light fortnight of the month of Margashirsha there occurs an Ekadasi called Mokshada'.
"Hearing this, Maharaj Vaikhaanasa profusely thanked the great sage and returned to his palace to observe the vrata. Then he perfectly and with full faith observed the Ekadasi fast with his wife, children, and other relatives and dutifully gave the merit from this fast to his father.
Soon after, the king's father was escorted to the celestial region.'
Lord Krishna confirmed, "O son of Pandu there is no better fasting day than this Ekadasi and one goes back to Godhead, never to return to this material world."
11th December,2016: Pradosh Vrata

 Lord Shiva
Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept for propitiating Lord Shiva. With his blessings all desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment.Generally people observe Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas.) It begins at sunrise and ends during twilight in the evening.
13th December, 2016: Margashirsha Poornima

 Margashirsha Poornima
 Margashirsha Poornima or full moon day is the last day in a month in the calendar followed in North India and is known as Pournami in South India. Fasting from sunrise to sunset is observed by some Hindus on Purnima and this day is chosen by many Hindus for pujas like the Satyanarayan Puja and Dattatreya Jayanthi, and Annapurna Jayanti is also observed on this day.
 
13th December,2016: Dattatreya Jayanti

 Lord Dattatreya
Dattatreya Jayanti, is a Hindu holy day, commemorating the birthday celebration of the Hindu god Dattatreya (Datta), a combined form of the Hindu male divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Margashirsha (Agrahayana) month according to the Hindu Calendar (December/January) throughout the country, and particular in Maharashtra. 
 
17th December, 2016: Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha
 Sankashti Chaturthi also known as Sankata Hara Chaturthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This day is celebrated in every Lunar month or Hindu calendar month on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase or the waning phase). On this day, the devotees observe strict fast. They break the fast at night after having darshan of the moon preceded by prayers to Lord Ganesha.
Sankashti means deliverance during troubled times, hence observing this fast is believed to reduce your problems as Lord Ganesha symbolizes the remover of all obstacles and supreme lord of intelligence.
Before moonlight the Ganapati Atharvashesha is recited to summon the blessings of Lord Ganesha.
24th December, 2016: Safala Ekadashi Vrata

 Safala Ekadashi
 Safala Ekadashi is observed on Paush Krishna Paksha Ekadasi day as per North Indian calendars. The vrata helps devotees to attain success in every sphere of life.
The spiritual importance of Safala Ekadashi is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana as the conversation between Lord Krishna and Yudhistira. The legend of Safala Ekadashi is associated with King Lumpaka who was sinful by nature but after keeping the Ekadasi Vrat he was blessed with a blissful life and attained salvation after death.
26th December, 2016: Som Pradosh Vrata

 Lord Shiva
 Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept on the 13th day of each lunar fortnight for propitiating Lord Shiva.

With his blessings all desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment.It is said that on this day all gods and goddesses assemble at Mount Kailash to worship Lord Shiva. The Pradosh which falls on a Monday is of special significance.


28th December, 2016: Shradh Amavasya

 Shradh Amavasya
 The last day of the waning phase of the moon is called Amavasya. Amavasya is the end of the Krishna paksha of the Hindu month.There are many Hindus who undertake a complete fast on Amavasi. Some Hindu communities take a single meal on this day which is considered apt for doing Tarpan and Shradh for dead parents and other relatives.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

'Shri Krishna-Karnamrita:' One hundred and Twelfth Shloka

anugraha-dviguna-vishala-locanair ,
anusmaran
mridu-murali-ravamritaih |
yato
yatah prasarati me vilocanam ,
tatas
tatah sphurau tavaiva vaibhavam ||112||

Simple Meaning:


 Gentle Flute Play & Doubly Expanded Eyes of Krishna

 Always remembering Your madhurya O Krishna, I pray that wherever my sight shall wander, therein along with the nectarous, gentle low sweet sounds of Your flute as well as Your eyes, doubly expanded with mercy, You manifest Your beauty, sweetness and opulence before me!

Rasa-laden Commentary:


  Amorous Frolics of Krishna, the Supreme Lover

 Shripad Billavmangalji Maharaj says,” O Supreme Lover Krishna! May I always see the expansion of Your opulence and sweetness. May the sweetness of Your amorous frolics, the beauty of Your capriciousness, keep manifesting before me wherever my eyes shall wander. Ask at least something, if not much, about what should be there in that amorous play, that sweet opulence of Yours.


Krishna's Rasa-laden Eyes

 Firstly, Your juicy pointed eyes should be laden with rasa and blooming on their own and simultaneously Your grace, affectionate grace should also be showered on me-Your naturally wide eyes should have doubly expanded with rasa and mercy and I see…Oh! What a madhur joyous sweetness and opulence in that expansion…I see that my memory is contained in Your huge eyes. Truly! You are remembering me through eyes which have become double their size with grace. Oh! How greatly fortunate am I! As if the earnest effort of my entire life has incarnated and is brimming in Your eyes. Furthermore, where my eyes are becoming ecstatic on seeing my remembrance cascading from Your doubly expanded eyes there my ears have also been soaked in some rasa madhuri to quench their thirst.


Krishna's Flute Play

 When You remember me through the tender melodious sound of Your flute, by making the flute holes drink the nectar of Your lips, call out to me by taking my name with an affectionate amorous voice- and give me some message.



Dark-hued Krishna Manifests in Front of Billagmangalji

 Sinking and rising in the melody of Your flute play-my remembrance becomes a subject of my hearing and when I look up Your beauty, sweetness and opulence have manifested in front of me-



Gopis are Passionately Drawn by Krishna

Yes that same sweetness and opulence in which the Braj beauties are lost and who have been smitten by these traits of Yours. Enraptured by this persona of Yours they have left their families, husband, children and relatives. May that very sweet opulence of Yours forever flash in front of me wherever my sight shall wander.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Spiritual Calendar: November, 2016


1st November, 2016: Annakoot or Sri Goverdhan Puja


 Lord Krishna Lifting Mount Goverdhan

Lord Krishna’s lifting of Goverdhan Mount for seven days at a stretch before Diwali inaugurates the ethos of shringara bhakti. Dark-hued Krishna admonishes the people of Vraja and tells them not to become a prey to ritualistic Vedic worship of Indra Pujan but instead engage in a more humanistic dharma of love by worshipping Goverdhan.


 Annakoot

Soon after the prayers and aarti were done as per customary norms, 56 sumptuous delicacies were ceremoniously raised as bhoga (offerings of food) before the deity (Mount Goverdhan). After the Lord relished the feast, it was the Vrajwasis turn to approach the mount of food and savour prasad. Now, the Lord asked them to take a round of the mount, which measures 21kms or 14 kos.'

Krishna granted a boon that from now onwards Goverdhan was no more a mount but His svarupa or living presence and any person who takes a parikrama or circumambulation of Sri Girirajji will be certainly blessed with the fulfilment of all his desires. Ever since, the parikrama of Sri Girirajji is undertaken by millions of devotees almost daily, not just the annual one on Annakoot or the monthly circumambulation on every Poornima (the night or day of full moon).

1st November, 2016: Vishwakaram Puja


 Vishwakarma Puja

It is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in Vishwakarma's name, the Hindu presiding deity of all craftsmen and architects.

1st November, 2016: Bhai Dooj


 It is a ceremony performed by Hindus on the second day after Diwali. Sisters celebrate the loving adulation for their brothers by putting an auspicious tilak of vermilion or sandalwood paste on their foreheads. They perform an aarti to their brothers, honouring them for protective care and pray for their well-being. Brothers load sisters with lavish gifts and bless their younger sisters, pledging protective support.

1st November, 2016: Yama Dwitheya Snan


 Yamaraj with His Sister Yami

Tradition has it that the older sister takes her brother by the hand and the two bathe together in the Yamuna. Yamuna is the twin sister of Yamaraj, the god of death, and it is said that she intervenes on behalf of brothers and sisters to protect them from the depredations of her brother.

Custom has it that after bathing the brother and sister go to the Yamuna-Yamaraj temple and offer prayers. Afterwards, the sister marks her brother’s forehead with tilak, symbolizing her wishes for his long life. Then they exchange sweets and gifts and the brother usually offers a sari or some other piece of clothing to his sister.


 Yama, the God os Death

Bhai Dooj or Beej is called Yama Dwitheya as it's believed that on this day, Yama, the God of death and the custodian of Naraka, visits his sister Yami. She puts the auspicious mark on his forehead, praying for his well being. It is an implicit belief that anyone who receives a tilak from his sister on this day will never be flung into hell.

3rd November, 2016: Vinayak Chaturthi Vrata


 Lord Ganesha

Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha according to Hindu scriptures. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon and during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Purnimasi or full moon and during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.

The most significant Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in the month of Bhadrapada and is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.

4th November, 2016: Chhath Puja


 Devotees Offer Salutations to the Setting Sun

Offering reverence to the solar deity, Chhath is the only festival in the world where devotees offer salutations to the setting sun; when the setting sun as opposed to its rising is celebrated for its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death.

The word Chhath denotes number six in Hindi and begins on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik (October-November.) It is a festival celebrated by Biharis on the sixth day after Diwali; a 4 day long celebration accompanied by rituals or Suryashashthi. The festivities comprise of fasting, folklores, hymns on the celestial Ganges or any fresh water body. Chhat Maiya is celebrated on the banks of the Ganges in Patna and Yamuna in Delhi with thousands of hands offering ‘Arghya’ to the sun thus making it an ethereal sight.

4th November, 2016: Nahay khay
5th November, 2016: Lohanda and Kharna
6th November, 2016: Sandhya Argh
7th November, 2016: Suryodaya Argh

8th November, 2016: Gopashtami


 Govinda, the Cowherd

An important festival it is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is observed on the eighth day of the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Kartik (October – November). Gopashtami celebrates Krishna's becoming an independent cowherd. Gau Puja or worship of cows, is undertaken in many regions of India.

It is believed that Lord Krishna was allowed to herd cows, the wealth of his village, for the first time on this day by Nanda, as he had been only looking after calves up until then. Mother Yashoda and Nand Baba are delighted to see their pampered Krishna take on his responsibilities. Invariably it is a great boon to Dama & Sumangal, Krishna's sakhas, since they can play spirited antics with the dark god now.(Shrimad Bhagavat-Canto 10,chapter XI, verse 37) It's in the forest that Krishna kills Vatsasura, Bakasura, Aghasurr and other demons. Lord Brahama is fascinated by His childlike, playful activities here and decides to take away the cows.( chapters 13 to 15 of the 10th Canto, Shrimad Bhagavat)

The festivities are a major event in Vrindavan, Mathura, Nathdwara and other sites closely related to the cowherd god. In Nathdwara, cow herders bring hundreds of cows and their calves to the temples and the cows are beautifully decked for the occasion. Gopa Ashtami was a festival meant for boys but it is said that Radha dressing up like a boy, joyously took part in it.Those worshipping the balgopal or child form of Lord Krishna can offer the special makan-mishri bhog to Him.

9th November, 2016: Akshay Navami


 Women Celebrate Akshay Navami in Patna

Also known as Amala Navami, it is the ninth day of the waxing phase of the moon in Kartika Month.The popular belief is that the Treta Yuga started on this day. An important event on Akshay Navmi is the distribution of alms and receiving of presents. It is observed as Akshay Navami Parikarama Divas in North India. Goddess Jagadhatri is worshipped on this occasion in West Bengal. Legend has it that Lord Surya (Sun God) worshipped Goddess Durga on this particular day and was rewarded properties that he possesses.


  The Romantic Dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna

Millions throng Vrindavan from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and so on for the joint parikrama or circumambulation of Mathura-Vrindavan, which takes around 6 hours. The famed 84 kos parikrama of Braj which covers Mathura, Goverdhan, Barsana, Vrindavan and Gokul, and began on Sharad Poornima is on in full swing and will take a week to complete. Ashtyaam lilas, showcasing the playful dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna from dawn to dusk are being enacted in Vrindavan.

11th November, 2016: Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi


Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi

Utthana Ekadasi, or Prabodhini Ekadashi, is observed during the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Kartik (October – November). The importance of Dev Prabodhini Ekadasi is narrated to Sage Narada by Brahma in the Skanda Purana. Observing this Ekadasi, a fast dedicated to Lord Vishnu, gets rid of the remorse of committed sins and leads to liberation or moksha.

11th November, 2016: Tulsi Vivah


 Goddess Tulsi's Marriage to Shaligramji

Tulsi Vivah or the ceremony of Tulsi's marriage to Vishnu or Krishna His incarnation, can be performed any time between Prabodhini Ekadashi to Kartik Poornima. Usually it is performed on the eleventh or the twelfth lunar day depending on the region. The wedding of Tulsi marks the end of the monsoons and the beginning of the Hindu wedding season.

The legend of Tulsi Vivah and its rites are revealed in the Padma Purana. According to Hindu mythology, the basil plant was a woman named Vrinda, a synonym of Tulsi. She was married to the Jalandhar, a demon-king. Due to her pious nature and devotion to Vishnu, her husband became invincible. Even Shiva, the destroyer, could not defeat Jalandhar. So He requested Vishnu, the preserver, to find a solution. Vishnu disguised as Jalandhar violated Vrinda. Her chastity destroyed, Jalandhar was killed by Shiva.


Vrinda cursed Vishnu to become black in colour and be separated from his wife. Thus, he was transformed into the black Shaligram stone and in the Rama Incarnation, his wife Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and separated from Him. Vrinda then burnt herself on her husband's funeral pyre due to shame. Vishnu transferred her soul to a plant called Tulsi. According to a blessing by Vishnu, Vishnu married Tulsi in the form of Shaligram on Prabodhini Ekadashi. To commemorate this event, the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed to commemorate this event.

12th November, 2016: Pradosh Vrata


 Pradosham

Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept on the 13th day of each lunar fortnight for propitiating Lord Shiva. With his blessings all desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment. It is said that on this day all gods and goddesses assemble at Mount Kailash to worship Lord Shiva.

13th November, 2016: Vaikunth Chaturdashi


 Vaikunth, the Abode of Lord Vishnu

Vaikunth Chaturdashi is observed on the fourteenth day of the Shukla Paksha of the Kartik Month. This festival is dedicated to Maha Vishnu who did puja of Lord Shiva on this day. As per legend Vishnu visited the holy city of Varanasi for worshipping Shiva. Lord Vishnu wanted to offer 1000 flowers to Shiva. To test the religious devotion of Vishnu, Shiva hid one flower. Finally Vishnu realized that one flower was missing and offered His lotus eye to Shiva.


 Shiva Presents the Sudarshan Chakra to Vishnu

Shiva was very pleased with Vishnu's unflinching devotion and presented Him the sudarshan chakra or divine disc. Vaikunth Chaturdashi is celebrated with great fervour in Vaishnava Temples and devotees offer 1000 flowers to Vishnu during the puja. Vishnu Sahasranama, Vishnu Ashtottram, Vishnu Stuti and Vishnu Purana are religously recited on this particular day.

14th November,2016: Kartik Purnima


 Kartik Poornima Also Known as Deva Diwali

Kartik Poornima is celebrated on the full moon of Kartik (November–December) and the month long Kartik Snan is over. It is also known as Tripuri Poornima or Tripurari Poornima. It is sometimes called Deva-Diwali - the festival of lights of the gods and coincides with Guru Nanak Jayanti




Matsya Avatar

Kartik poornima is the birthday of Matsya, god Vishnu's fish-incarnation (avatar). It is also the birthday of Vrinda, personification of the Tulsi plant and of Kartikeya, the god of war and son of Shiva.


 Shri Radha-Krishna

This day is particularly dear to Radha, the beloved of Krishna for it is believed that Krishna and Radha danced rasa and Krishna worshipped Radha on this day.
 
14th November, 2016: Guru Nanak Jayanti



Guru Nanak (1469-1539 C.E.) was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the Sikh Gurus.  His birth is celebrated worldwide on the day of Kartik Purnima as per the Hindu lunar calendar.

17th November, 2016: Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata



Lord Ganesha

According to the Hindu Calendar, a lunar month has two fortnights. The Chaturthi or fourth day that arrives in Krishna Paksha or the dark fortnight is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.

Devotees of Lord Ganesha keep fast from sunrise to moonrise on Sankashti Chaturthi. Sankashti means deliverance during troubled times. Lord Ganesha, the Supreme Lord of intelligence, symbolizes the remover of all obstacles. Hence it is believed that one can get rid of all obstacles by observing this fast.

The fast is supposed to be strict and only fruit, roots and vegetable products are to be consumed. The staple Indian diet on Sankashti Chaturthi includes sabudana khichadi, potato and peanuts. Devotees break the fast at night after sighting of the moon.

25th November, 2016: Utpanna Ekadashi



Shri Ranganatha on Utpanna Ekadashi

lso known as Utpatti Ekadasi. It is observed on the eleventh day in the first half of the month of Margasirsha and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Puranas reveal that once the gods and their king Indra were driven out of swarga by demon Mura.The devas took refuge in Lord Vishnu and pleaded that He restore their lost kingdom. Lord Vishnu asked the devas to assemble at Chandravati to fight Demon Mura. The Lord easily defeated the demon army but could not defeat Mura.

After a while Lord Vishnu decided to rest in a cave at Badrikasrama and slept. Mura arrived to annihilate Lord Vishnu. All of a sudden,from the Lord's transcendental form emerged as a goddess with eight arms, brandishing several weapons. She battled and killed Mura. When Lord Vishnu woke up He blessed her, stating that she was His energy. Since she had appeared on the 11th day of a lunar fortnight, she was named Ekadasi. Vishnu affirmed that those who worship Him and observe Ekadasi Vrat, their sins will be expiated and they will attain salvation. Lord Krishna advises his devotees to start their Ekadasi Upvas on Utpanna Ekadashi and break it on Dwadashi.

26th November, 2016: Shani Pradosh Vrata


 Pradosham

It is  an auspicious fast dedicated to Lord Shiva and is observed on the thirteenth day of every fortnight (Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha) in the Hindu calendar. Shivalinga puja at the time of pradosha time and fasting are the main rituals of Pradosham.

In all Pradosha vratas, Shani Pradosha which falls on a Saturday and Soma Pradosham on a Monday are important days

29th November, 2016: Margashirsh Amavasya


 Margashirsh Amavasya

According to Hindu mythology, Amavasya is a name given to the New Moon or no moon’s night. Amavasya  has great importance in Hindu mythology. It is said that if you offer Shraddha rituals to your ancestors on this day, it gives them peace.
Some Kundali Dosh Puja (pacifying the negative effects of planets) are also performed on this day.