All the dates given below are as per the Banke Bihari Panchang of Vrindavan
1st January: A Very Happy New Year to you and your family members.
It's customary to bow at the holy feet of Lord Ganesha on the new year. The foremost god of the Hindu pantheon, Ganesha is beheld as the most auspicious God of new beginnings and widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati
Soon after, we must propitiate Ganesha's parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Lord Shiva or 'The Auspicious One', works for our well being, is the refuge of loving tenderness, is splendidly generous, bestows religious devotion to Krishna and is maha yogeshwar. Shiva, the supreme Vaishnava, is often venerated as the adi guru who resides in spiritual mentors of this mundane world. Easily pleased, Lord Shankar manifested for our Bobo in Vrindavan and made this spectral revelation that he was her spiritual preceptor for Krishna's madhurya or sweet love.
1st January, 2011: Lord Shiva Pradosha
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 the Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening. Thus please offer plain water and bel patra to Lord Shiva to herald the New Year of 2011 with an auspicious note. The bel patra or leaf of the wood-apple tree represents the three eyes of lord Shiva and the three gunas, as mentioned in the Puranas and scriptures at various instances.
Thereafter invoke the grace of Lord Vishnu, the maintainer of the Universe. So that he may bless us with a peaceful and prosperous new year, chant the Vishnu Sahasranaama or 1000 names of Vishnu.
The Hindu Nav Varsh Begins on Chaitra Pratipada
Though the Hindu Nav Varsh starts on Chaitra Pratipada (the first month, of the Hindu lunar year,March to April)as per the Shri Banke Bihari Panchang of Vrindavan.The Hindu New Year is observed on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada (4th April 2011), the day after Amavasya. Chaitra Navratri or Basant Navratri begins on Nav Varsh or the day of Chaitra Pratipada and ends on Sri Ram Navami.
Heartiest congratulations to respected uncle Laxmi and Vrinda on birthday of 1st January,2011.
4th January, 2011: Poush Amavasya (tenth month of the Hindu lunar calendar,22nd dec 2010 to 19th January 2011) the first new moon day of the New Year attracts a large number of devotees from all over the world.
Devotees Take a Dip on Poush Amavasya
Considered auspicious for Hindus, many devotees visit sacred rivers and take a dip early in the morning and offer oblations (tarpan) to their departed ancestors. Hindus offer Pinda and Shraddh karma to dead ancestors.
Shri Banke Bihari ji in Vrindavan
One can hear the Shri Banke Bihari Aarti and the Shri Banke Bihari Ashtak at the www.bihariji.org. The Ashtak is a compilation of eight verses in Sanskrit dedicated to the praise of Shri Banke Bihari Maharaj and composed by Shri Jagdish Goswami when the present temple was being constructed in the 1860’s. Recitation of the ashtak or octet relieves the devotee of worldly worries and above all ensures sharanagati which means he finds lasting peace in the lotus feet of Shri Bankey Bihari.
Swami Shri Haridas
The devotional compositions of Swami Haridas compiled under the heading of Kelimal can be chanted. The word Kelimal means garland (Mal or Mala) of plays (Keli). This volume consists of 110 compositions in Indian classical music and is dedicated to the romantic dalliance of Shyama-Shyam in the nikunja or Nikunj Keli.
Siddhant Ke Ashtadash Pad (eighteen poems of principles): Swami Haridas came to Vrindavan in the sixteenth century AD. when the country had already seen foreign aggressions. The knowledge of Sanskrit and ancient philosophy had become extinct but these times were relatively peaceful as Akbar pursued a path of reconciliation.
During that period Swami Haridas composed these eighteen quadruplets containing the extract of philosophy in Braj bhasha, the language of common man. The complex relationship between the world, soul, creator and maya who runs the world has been explained in simple words. The true nature of the soul and salvation by total surrender to His desire (as expounded in Shrimad Bhagvat Gita and other epics) is also dwelt upon.
12th January, 2011: The Birthday of Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863–July 4, 1902),was the chief disciple of the 19th century Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and founded the Ramakrishna Mission. He introduced the Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America and brought Hinduism to the status of a world religion by end of the 19th century. Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta in 1863. Swami's father by his rational mind and the mother by her religious temperament influenced his thinking. While searching for someone who could directly demonstrate the reality of God, he came to Ramakrishna and became his disciple. Ramakrishna taught him the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta or non-dualism and that service to man was the most effective worship of God.
14th January, 2011: Makar Sankranti or worship of the Sun God. Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac it is known as Makar in Hindi.
The Sun God is Worshipped on Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase and ends the inauspicious phase which begins around mid-December. It is believed that any sacred ritual can be sanctified in a Hindu family from this day onwards.Sankranti marks the termination of the winter season and the onset of spring.
Devotees Bathe on Makar Sankranti
At Vrindavan, Rishikesh and Allahabad millions of devotees will take a dip in the holy River Yamuna or the Ganges on this pious day. Invariably they will give charity to the needy .
Bhagwan Surya-Narayan is considered the ancestor of Lord Ram ji and the very first disciple of Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavat Gita and will be worshipped with joyous abandon.
Shri Radha Vallabha Thakurs in Vrindavan
Today a bhoga of khichdi will be offered to Sri Yugal Sarkar or Thakurji particularly at the Radha Vallabh ji Temple at the holy dham of Vrindavan. We must also offer khichdi bhoga to our ishtdev or family deity and liberally donate it to brahmins and the needy.
Let us humbly bow at the holy feet of Mahaprabhu Hit Harivanshji and sing:
Govind Gopinath Gopijan Vallabh
dehi pad pallav, hey Radhavallabh
which means Thakurji or Lord of Mahaprabhu Hit Harivanshji kindly bless us with thy grace, divine love & holy feet.
16th Jan, 2011: Putrada Ekadashi.The ekadashi is celebrated on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha in the Poush Month.
Lord Vishnu is Worshipped on Putrada Ekadashi
Rituals: On this day Lord Vishnu is worshipped and one keeps a fast for children. The devotees keeping a fast, wake up early in the morning and bathing soon after, worship Lord with due respect. Their children have long lives and couples who are childless are blessed with a child.
The Legend of Putrada Ekadashi
A man named Suketu and his wife Shaiya were very sad since they did not have any child. Suketu decided to commit suicide and went into the jungle, leaving his wife alone. And after many days, when he sat famished under a tree, a sage came to Suketu and asked his problem. Suketu told him the reason for his sorrow and thereafter the sage advised him to observe the Putrada Ekadashi Vrat. Suketu was very happy and immediately went back home. He kept the Putrda Ekadashi fast with his wife and after sometime they got a healthy child and lived happily thereafter.
17th January 2011: Lord Shiva's Pradosha Fast
19th January, 2011: Paush Poornima.
Paush Purnima is the full moon day of the Poush Month. It is considered very auspicious as the Magh Mela and its Snan starts at the Allahabad Prayag Triveni Sangam.
Hindus Take a Dip in the Triveni Sangam on Paush Purnima
Hindus believe that taking a holy dip at the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, or any other location of holy rivers like the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and Brahmaputra is very auspicious and expiates the sins committed in their lives.
The festivals of Shakambari Jayanthi and Shakambari Purnima are celebrated on Paush Purnima and it is the last day of Poush Navratras.
Our friends in Dubai can mentally do the parikrama or circumambulate Mount Goverdhan. Shri Giriraj is blessed because it here that Lord Krishna spreads His joy and expresses His love. If one does parikrama of the mountain just once he is expiated from all sins. Finally attaining His favoured deity, goes to Vaikuntha because Shri Radha's Pranvallabha or Lord Krishna adorns the peak of Shri Govardhan.
23rd January, 2011: We have the monthly Sri Hari Kirtan from 5 to 7 pm at Mr.S.M.Bhatnagar's place.
Shri Hari Kirtan
30th January, 2011: Shat-Tila Ekadashi is observed on Krishna Paksha Ekadashi of the Magh Month (eleventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar, January to February).
Lord Vishnu on Shat-Tila Ekadashi
Til means sesame seeds and shat stands for six. The entire offering of six types of sesame seeds on Shat-tila Ekadasi is considered highly meritorious. Reciting the Vishnu Sahasra Nama stotram (thousand names of Vishnu) and worshipping Lord Vishnu is a must for devotees.
Please offer til-ladoos to Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, your ishtdev or family deity, the child form of Krishna or Lord Rama in your home. As til is considered beneficial for the cold winter months, kindly donate the sesame seeds to needy students and the poor, liberally this season .