Friday, August 27, 2010

Spiritual Calendar October, 2010

4th October: Indira Ekadasi is on a Monday

Indira Ekadashi occurs during the krishna paksh (dark fortnight) waning phase of the Ashwin Month (September – October). The glories of Indira Ekadasi are highlighted in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana and are explained by Lord Krishna to Yudhisthira. It is believed that observing this Ekadasi helps in absolving sins committed by us and our forefathers in hell are liberated.

Lord Vishnu

The Ekadasi falls during the Pitru Paksh Shradh in North India and fasting on this day is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that King Indrasena observed Indira Ekadasi on the advise of Devarshi Narad and saved his father from the sins committed on earth, helping him ascend to heaven.

Religious observances are performed and a single meal is eaten on the day before Ekadashi. A complete fast is observed on Indira Ekadashi by staunch devotees and in the afternoon some people perform rituals dedicated to the dead.The fasting of Indira Ekadasi ends the next day and is broken by having food with family members.

5th October: Lord Shiva's Pradosha Fast is on a Tuesday

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) in the evening.

Worship of Shiva throughout the night, bathing the Shivalinga with panchamrta (milk, curd, ghee, sugar and honey), homa, japa or chanting of the mulamantra (Aum Nama Shivaya) and praying for forgiveness are the other religious observances. At the end of the vrata one must do parana (break the fast by partaking the offerings).

Holy Navratras: 8th October onwards

Goddess Durga

In Hindu mythology Durga is Shakti, the divine feminine energy. According to a legend, Lord Brahma granted a boon to Mahishasur, the buffalo demon. Armed with infinite power, the asura created havoc in the universe, and no one could dare defeat or kill him. One fine day he ventured to Heaven or Swargaloka to kill Indra who entreated Lord Shiva for help. Enraged at such blatant misuse of Brahma’s boon, Lord Shiva along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, released their energies. The shaktis of the Trinity flashed forth and fused together, bringing to life a magnificent Goddess resplendent with many arms.

Acclaimed as Durga, she was ravishingly beautiful and deadly. The armed Durga rode a Lion and fought a fiercely bloody battle with Mahishasur, raging for nine days and nights.Finally on the tenth day, Durga trampled him under her foot and Mahishasur was killed, saving the universe from his reign of terror. The Goddess’s triump because of her innate divinity symbolizes the victory of good over evil. These nine days are solely devoted to propitiation of the Mother Goddess or Shakti Incarnate.

9th October: Patotsav of Lalji's Shri Thakurji is on a Saturday

A traditional sacred ritual celebrating the anniversary of prana-pratishtha (consecration of an idol) of a murti prevails in Hinduism. Known as patotsav the word is composed of paat derived from a strip of cloth tied on the head of an idol and utsav meaning festival.

Patotsav of Shri Radha Vallabhji

Basically the ceremony invokes the Supreme Being due to the belief that the idols have lost some of their divinity during the entire year.This could be because of laxity in our devotional service or the great burden weighing on the lotus feet of the idol by devotees infatuated by maya. By celebrating the patotsav our sentiments for the Supreme Being and spiritual preceptor are rejuvenated again.

15th October: Shri Durga Ashtami

Durgashtami, also famed as Mahashtami or Veerashtami, is the eighth day of the Durga Navratris. Goddess Bhadrakali, the powerful form of the mother goddess, incarnated on Ashvin Krishna Ashtami day along with the yogini ganas to annihilate demon Mahishasur.Durga means indefatigable in Sanskrit.

Durga Ashtami

On the 8th day of this colorful festival, yagna or religious sacrifice and homa or fire rituals are performed. Pure ghee, kheer and sesame seeds are offered to Goddess Durga.The main rituals related to Durga Navratris are performed on Durga Ashtami. Many people in north India celebrate the 8th day as ashtami when nine young girls representing the Navdurge are fed with halwa, puri and kale chane.

16th October: Shri Durga Navami

Mahishasura Mardhini

On Mahanavami, the Mother Goddess became Mahishasura Mardhini by slaying the demon Mahishasura.

Ayudha Puja

The ninth day is also celebrated as Ayudha Puja. After slaying Mahishasura by Goddess Durga there was no need of her weapons and they were thus kept aside and worshipped.

Goddess Saraswati

On navami day, Goddess Saraswati is honoured by worshipping the books and records at home.

17th October: Vijayadashmi or Dussehra

Lord Rama Killing Ravana

On this day in the Treta Yuga, Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, killed the demon king,Ravana who had abducted Sita.Ramayana a great epic records how Rama, his brother Lakshman, Hanuman and their troops of monkeys battled to rescue Sita from Ravana's Lanka.

Lord Rama Invokes the Blessings of Durga

Rama had performed Chandi Homa and invoked the blessings of goddess Durga.She blessed Rama with a knowledge of the secret means of killing Ravana.

Effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath being Burnt

On Dussehra, effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakaran and son Meghnath are erected and burnt with joyous abandon at sunset, marking the victory of good over evil.This event gets rid of a household's ten vices represented by ten heads of Ravana namely,lust, anger, delusion, greed, arrogance, jealousy, mind, intellect, will and ego.

On the day of Ashvin Shukla Dashami, Rama's army found Sita and defeated Ravana. Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya on the same day.Ever since Rama's triumph has been celebrated as Vijayadashami.

On Vijayadashami,Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Vani tree so that he could live in disguise during the promised exile.It is said that one who begins his learning to work on Vijayadashami will be a grand success as Arjuna was in the war of Kurukshetra.

22nd October: Sharad Purnima is on a Friday

Lord Krishna Dancing with the Gopis in Madhuvana

On Sharad-Poornima, Vrindavan devotees celebrate the divine union of the ascending soul with the descending Lord Krishna; a moment of purity and effulgence when the god and the gopis are in unison. The miracle of the Raas Lila: that supreme moment of Krishna’s manifestation as human lover and divine incarnate dancing with the gopis in the forest of Madhuvana

Lord Krishna Bathing with Gopis in the Yamuna

and bathing with them in the flowing waters of the Yamuna on the radiant night of Sharad Poornima, the autumnal full moon, enchants us.

Shri Banke Bihariji

In celestial Vrindavan the most popular deity Shri Bihariji is majestically decked with mormukut, katikachini and vanshi on Raas Poornima. Millions of devotees from all over Punjab, Delhi, UP and the entire world throng to have his radiant darshan which is possible only once a year!

23rd October: Kartik Snan Starts

Kartik Snaan at Har Ki Pauri

Kartik Maas, the eighth lunar month of the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India, is considered highly auspicious. Kartik Snan begins on October 23 and ends on November 21 in the year 2010.Various scriptures of Hinduism have numerous references regarding the holiness of the month. Taking a holy dip (Bathing) in the river Ganges at Prayag and Badarikashrama located in the Himalayas in the month of Kartik is considered a means of attaining salvation and is known as Kartik Snan.

The Matsya Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

It is believed that Lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of Matsya (fish) with the task of restoring the lost Vedas in this month. The greatness of taking a bath in the holy rivers in Kartik is mentioned in the Puranas. Lord Krishna has also narrated the importance of the month of Kartik to Satyabhama.

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva is said to have destroyed demon Tarakasur on the Purnima of this month.

24th October: Patotsav of Shri Vipin-Meenu Aggarwal is on a Sunday

26th October: Karva Chauth is on a Tuesday

Karva Chauth is a traditional Hindu festival wherein married women observe a fast and worship the karva filled with water (or make an offering of a karva filled with sweets). As the name signifies, karva means an earthen pot with a spout, used in prayers. Chauth corresponds to the fourth day leading to the name Karva Chauth. The event falls on chaturthi tithi after the full moon in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar, about nine days before Diwali.

It is customary for married women to fast the entire day without food or water for the longevity of their husbands’ lives, well-being and prosperity. The ritual is of great significance for wedded bliss. A woman who keeps this vrat or fast is acclaimed as Saubhagyavati (a joyous state of wifehood). In the evening they listen to the Karva Chauth katha and the fast is over after moonrise.

30th October, 2010: Ahoi Ashtami is on a Saturday

Goddess Hoi
Celebrated in autumn on Ashtami (eighth day of a lunar fortnight), the Ahoi Ashtami is a festival before Diwali when women pray for their children. The ritual is usually celebrated in the Karthik month (October-November) of the Hindu calendar.

Very similar to Karwa Chauth, although not overly popular, the Ahoi Ashtami is a fast specifically observed by mothers for the well-being of their sons.It is performed mostly by people living in Northern India when pure water is offered to stars in the evening by mothers praying for the long life of their sons.Families having children do worship goddess Hoi and seek her blessings for a fruitful Diwali which is just a week away.

Lord Krishna

31st October: Shri Hari Kirtan at Rajeev and Sonias's place is on a Sunday from 5 to 7 pm in the evening.

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