Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spiritual Calendar November, 2010

2nd November, 2010: Ramaa Ekadasi

Ramaa Ekadasi is observed on the eleventh day in Krishna Paksha of the Kartik month according to the North Indian calendar. Whereas as per the Gujarati, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka Calendars, Ramaa Ekadasi falls on Ashwayuj Krishna Paksha Ekadasi.

Brahma Vaivarta Purana

An account of the legend and the significance of Ramaa Ekadasi is given in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. In a conversation held between dark-hued Krishna and Yudhistira, Lord Krishna details the story of prince Shobhana who attained salvation in his next life by keeping the fast of Ramaa Ekadasi.Shobhana ruled a kingdom on Mount Mandarachala and his wife Chandrabhaga finally enjoys marital bliss with him.

3rd Nov, 2010: Lord Shiva's Pradosh Fast & Dhanteras or Dhanvantari Jayanti

Dhanteras ushers in Diwali, India’s festival of lights. Marking the first day of the five day Diwali festivities; it is a harbinger of good fortune. Dhanteras falls on the auspicious thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November). Dhan in Dhanteras stands for wealth and teras means the thirteenth.

Goddess Laxmi Riding Uluka, the Owl

On Dhanteras Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune relies on Uluka the owl to carry her wherever she disperses her material and spiritual riches on this day in particular.

Dhanwantari, the Physician of the gods

Also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari Triodashi It is celebrated in honour of Dhanavantri, the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Dhanteras is celebrated with joyous abandon all over India and is particularly significant for the business community for whom it is customary to purchase precious metals on this day.

4th November, 2010: Chhoti Diwali

The day before Diwali, is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi on a smaller scale, with fewer lights being lit and bursting of crackers.

Naraka Chaturdasi

Naraka Chaturdasi: Satyabhama was infuriated by Narakasura's malice towards women and Krishna granted her a boon to fight the demon, rescue the imprisoned women plus recover Goddess Aditi's earrings.After the demon was slain, Lord Krishna married all the sixteen thousand women to spare them disgrace.

Vamana Avatar Pushing King Bali Underground

Bali Pratipada: According to myth, when King Bali was becoming too mighty, Vishnu, incarnating as Vaman Avatara, appeared in his court. The dwarf incarnation asked for land which he could cover in three paces. King Bali readily granted the Brahmin’s request, who transformed into Lord Vishnu, covering heaven with his first step and the earth with his second. With his third step Vishnu covered king Bali's head and pushed him underground.Ever since, King Bali’s death was commemorated as celebrations of Chhoti Diwali.

Lord Hanuman

4th November, 2010: Hanuman Jayanthi is celebrated in honour of the birth of Hanuman, the monkey god widely propitiated throughout India. He was born to Kesari (the Wind God) and Anjani. Hanuman, the mighty ape that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil forces, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon. Believed to be an avatara of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is worshipped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion.

5th November, 2010: Diwali or Shri Laxmi Pujan

Significant Events related to Diwali:

Diwali, the Festival of Lights

Return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya: Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya after a 14 year exile, and a war in which he killed Ravana, the demon king. It is said that the denizens of Ayodhya lit ghee lamps to light their path in the darkness. Lord Rama journeyed from South India to his kingdom in the North. He passed through the south earlier; because of which the festival is celebrated a day before in South India.

Ardhnarishvar Shiva

Austerities of Shakti: According to the Skanda Purana, goddess Shakti observed 21 days of austerity from ashtami of shukla paksha (eighth day of the waxing period of moon) to attain half the body of Lord Shiva. This fast is known as kedhara vrata which is completed on Deepavali when Lord Shiva accepted Shakti as the left half of his form and appeared as Ardhanarishvara.

Lakshmi Puja

Lakshmi Puja: Lakshmi Puja marks the most important day of Diwali celebrations in North India. Hindus worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesha, the God of auspicious beginnings.Hindus leave the windows and doors of their houses open so that Lakshmi can step in. Rangoli patterns are drawn on the floors and the most popular is the lotus flower because images of Lakshmi show her either holding a lotus or sitting on one.There is much feasting and Diwali lamps make it easy for Lakshmi to find her way to favoured houses.

Goddess Laxmi is Worshipped as Kali in Bengal

The goddess is worshipped in her dark form as Kali in the Bengali and Oriya areas of India. Diwali marks the last battle in the period of Chaturmas when the demons become all powerful and must be wiped out.

6th November, 2010: Annakoot (a festival celebrated on the day following Diwali by placing foodstuffs in front of an idol of Vishnu-Krishna) or Sri Goverdhan Puja is on a Saturday.

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 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.


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 the day of Annakoot or the monthly circumambulation on every Poornima (the night or day of full moon).

7th November, 2010: Bhai-Dooj

Puja Thali of 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.

Yama, the God of Death

Bhai Dooj or Beej is calledYama 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.

12th November, 2010: Chhath Puja

Worship of the Setting Sun

The word Chhath is a festival celebrated by Biharis on the sixth day after Diwali; a 4 day long celebration accompanied by rituals or Suryashashthi. The festivities comprises of fasting, folklores and hymns being sung on the celestial Ganges or any fresh water body. Chhat Maiya is celebrated on banks of the Ganges in Patna and Yamuna in Delhi with thousands offering ‘Arghya’ to the sun making it an ethereal sight.

Offering reverence to the solar deity, Chhath is the only festival in the world where devotees offer salutations to the setting sun as the cycle of birth starts with death.

14th November, 2010: Gopashtami, or Gopa Ashtami

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.

Lord Krishna Takes the Cows for Grazing

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)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.

22nd October-21st November: Worshipping the Tulsi Plant

Indians give great spiritual importance to the month of Kartik which has begun from Sharad Poornima. To offer tulsi leaves at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna every day and lighting a diya before sun rise and after sun set while reciting the eight names of Tulsi, is highly beneficial in getting the blessings of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Maha Lakshmi.

Tulsi as Krishna Jivani

Asta-Nama-Stava from the Padma Purana; the Eight Names of Vrinda Devi:

1]Vrindavani-One who first manifested in Vrindavan

2]Vrinda-The goddess of all plants and trees.(Even if a single tulsi plant is present in a forest it can be called Vrindavan)

3]Vishvapujite-One whom the entire universe worships

4]Pushpasara-The queen of all flowers and without whom Krishna does not want to glance at other flowers.

5]Nandini-Seeing her gives immense bliss to devotees

6]Krishna Jivani-The life of Lord Krishna

7]Vishva Pavani-One who purifies the three worlds

8]Tulasi-One who can not be compared

15th November, 2010: Akshay Navami

Akshay Navami

Also known as Amala Naumi, is the ninth day of 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 day and was rewarded properties that he possesses.

Millions throng Vrindavan from Delhi,Punjab,Haryana and so on for the joint 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.

17th November, 2010: Devprabodhini Ekadasi

Prabodhini Ekadasi is Dedicated to Lord Vishnu

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.

The famous Tulsi Vivah is performed on this particular day by some communities and on the day after Ekadasi in some regions. The Chatur Mas period comes to an end and the famous Kartik Month Pandarpur Yatra is completed on this day.

19th November,2010: Lord Shiva's Pradosh Fast

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.

21st November, 2010: Kartik Poornima is on a Sunday.

Kartik Poornima (Kartik purnima) is celebrated on the full moon of Kartik (November–December). 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.

Lord Shiva Kills Demon Tripura with a Single Arrow

The Poornima derives its name from Tripurari, an epithet of god Shiva who as Tripurantaka ("Killer of Tripurasura") killed the demon Tripurasura on this day.The killing of the demon by Shiva overjoyed the gods and they pronounced the day as a festival of illuminations. This day is also called "Dev-Diwali" - the Diwali of the gods.

Kartik poornima is the birthday of Matsya, god Vishnu's fish-incarnation (avatar). It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the 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.

The monthly Sri: Hari Kirtan is at Rahul and Madhulika's house from 5 to 7 pm, and all are cordially invited.

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