Friday, July 1, 2011

Spiritual Calendar: July, 2011

Amavasya, the Last Day of the Waning Moon

1st July, 2011: The month of July starts with Amavasya.There is a natural surge of energies in the human body on these specific days. As a result Amavasya or new moon day and purnima or full moon days hold a special significance for spiritual seekers. The amavasya vibrations are conducive to men just as the purnima vibrations are conducive to women. Any sadhana or religious observances performed during this time has a greater impact on the human system.

The new moon day of every month is considered auspicious for the worship of forefathers and poojas are done. No travel should be scheduled on the first day of the new moon, as travel without moonlight in the ancient times was forbidden.

Shrimad Bhagwat Katha

2nd July,2011: The holy Srimad Bhagwat Path in Sanskrit going on at 'Hari: Vrinda Dham since 26th June, 2011, culminates on 2nd of July.

Shri Jagannath, Subhadra & Balram

3rd July, 2011: Lord Sri Jagannath ji's Rath Yatra from 5:30 pm to 8pm for which a large number of devotees are assembling from all the states, is a spectacular event. Jagannath is a Hindu God worshipped primarily by the people of Orissa and Bengal. Jagannath is generally considered an aspect of Lord Vishnu or Krishna, his avatara Krishna. He is worshipped as part of a triad along with Krishna's brother Balabhadra and his sister Subhadra.

The most famous festival related to Jagannath is the Ratha Yatra, where the three deities are transported in three massive wooden chariots pulled by devotees from Puri to Gundicha Temple, about 3 kms away. Similar Ratha yatra processions are organized all around the world.

Lord Ganesha

4th July & 18th July,2011: Sri Ganesh Chaturthi Fast

Ganesha, the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon is beheld as the most auspicious God of new beginnings and widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Devotees of Lord Ganesha, who intend to observe a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi, wake up early in the morning and take a bath. After wearing laundered clothes, they head towards the nearest temple or perform a small puja at their home, to offer prayers to the deity.

When people fast on Ganesh Chaturthi, they either opt for the nirjal vrat (a stringent, waterless fast) or phalahar vrat (a diet). Devotees are allowed to have sweets including til ke ladoo , gajak and rewari along with tea and coffee. In order to concentrate, the devotees chant mantras invoking Lord Ganesha and sing bhajans in his praise. It is believed that if one observes a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi with sincerity, he is blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.

Lord Kartikeya

6th July, 2011: Kartikeya Chhathi, falls on the sixth day after Amavasya (New Moon) in the Hindu calendar.Kartikeya is a Hindu god who is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Accordingly, he is the brother of their son, Ganesha. A Hindu god, he is also known as Skanda or Murugan. Chhathi is the sixth day after the birth of a child when ceremonial observances including the naming of the child, are performed.

Lord Vishnu Resting in Kshir Sagar

11th July, 2011: Devshayani Ekadashi on a Monday . (Devotthan Ekadasi will come about 4 months later on 6th November, a Sunday. Ascetics call it the Chaturmaas and stay at one place for these 4 months.)It is one of the most important Ekadasis. As per the Puranas, Lord Vishnu is said to take rest in Kshir Saagar or the Ocean of Milk on this day and steps out after four months, on the 11th day of the first bright half of Kartik, the eighth month of the Hindu lunar calendar.) It is believed that Hindu gods and goddesses are resting during this period.

Lord Shiva's Pradosham

12th July, 2011:Lord Shiva's Pradosham Fast, a Tuesday, which ends in the pradosha or twilight period. Pradosha occurs twice in a month on the 13th day. There are two Pradoshas – one during the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of the moon and the other during the Krishna Paksha or waning phase of the moon. Fasting on this day grants success, peace and fulfilment of our desires. It is believed that darshan of any form of Shiva during this period dispels ignorance.

Lord Shiva as Adi Dakshinamurthy

15th July, 2011:Gurupurnima,on a Friday. The highest form of a Guru is Lord Shiva Himself (Adi Dakshinamurthy) or ultimate knowledge, and a Guru is the manifestation of that knowledge. It is such an important annual festival that most Indians visit the ashrams of their respective gurus or spiritual preceptors in Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mathura and Vrindavan.

Bhagwan Ved Vyas

15th July, 2011: Bhagwan Ved Vyas Pooja. Veda Vyasa is Sanatan Dharma’s first and greatest acharya. He classified the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the Brahma Sutras, and recited the Mahabharat which Shri Ganeshji penned down. The Mahabharat is glorified as the fifth Veda. Of all Mahabharat’s sections, the Bhagavad Gita is its most important essence and crown jewel.

Shirdi Sai Baba

15th July, 2011: The famed puja of Shirdi's Sai Baba also falls on this day.

Sai Baba of Shirdi also known as Shirdi Sai Baba was an Indian guru, yogi, and fakir who is regarded by his Hindu and Muslim devotees as a saint. Hindu devotees consider him an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Many devotees believe that he was a Satguru, an enlightened Sufi Pir, or a Qutub. He is a well-known figure in many parts of the world, but especially in India, where he is much revered.

The Month of Shravan is Dear to Lord Shiva

18th July: The first Monday of Shravan is dear to all the gods, especially Shiva. On every Monday of this month, devotees throng to Shiva temples throughout India to worship the sacred Shivalingam.

Kanwarias, the Devotees of Lord Shiva

Kanwarias in the month of Shravan: Soon after many devotees of Lord Shiva shall carry kanwarias to Haridwar/ Gopeshwar in the sacred Lord Shiva's month of Shravan (name of the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar). A kanwar is a decorative bamboo pole carried on the shoulder with covered pots of water balanced at both ends. On the first Monday of Sawan after Guru-Poornima that is on 18th July, 2011 the media will witness the great influx of devotees. A similar grandeur shall be visible on 25th July, the second Monday,1st August, the third Monday and 8th August, the fourth Monday just before the end of Shravan before Rakhi.

Lord Shiva's devotees are known as kanwarias in the local dialect because they carry these earthen pots. Dressed in saffron coloured garments these pilgrims carry water collected from the Ganges in Haridwar and Gangotri from where the river originates in Uttarancahl and return to their home towns. Here they consecrate the lingams or phallic symbols of Lord Shiva as a mark of thanksgiving to him.

Lord Krishna

23rd July, 2011: The monthly kirtan of Shri Hari begun by revered Manohar Baba is being held at Alok's home. In the Shrimad Bhagwat (11/14/24)Lord Krishna says, “ Vaag Gadgada...Punaati ” which means,” Those who take my name purify not only themselves but the whole world!" Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, “Geetava tu Arjun” or “Oh Arjuna! Those who dance on taking my name, in fact, do really exchange me for good!”

Jhulan Utsav in Vrindavan

All are requested to attend the kirtan along with their Thakurji or Yugal-sarkar so that it becomes a grand Jhulna Utsav. In the holy town of Vrindavana, the festival of Jhulan Utsava lasts for 13 days. It starts on the third day (tritiya) of the bright fortnight of Shravan (July-Aug) and lasts until the full moon night of the month. During this festival the deities of Radha-Krishna in temples are gently swayed on a swing.

This is one of the biggest festivals of the year and Vrindavana is packed with thousands of devotees from all over the world. At some temples, the swings are made of gold and silver. Some of the prominent temples where this festival is celebrated are the Banke Bihari Temple, the Radha-Ramana Temple in Vrindavana and the Dwarkadish temple in Mathura.

Lord Vishnu

26th July, 2011: Kamika Ekadashi

The story of Kamika Ekadashi from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana is as follows: The saintly king Yudhishthira requested Lord Krishna to narrate glories of the ekadashi which occurs during the dark fortnight of the Shravan Month (July-August).Krishna said that once Narada Muni asked Lord Brahma the name of this ekadashi,the deity who was to be worshipped, the process to be followed and its merits.Lord Brahma happily agreed because just hearing about the Kamika Ekadashi is equivalent to performing a horse sacrifice.

One who worships Lord Vishnu attains greater merit than bathing in the Ganges,having darshan of Lord Kedarnath in the Himalayas,bathing at Kurukshetra during a solar eclipse, donating earth in charity, taking a dip in the Kali Gandaki River or Godavari River on full moon. Observing Kamika Ekadashi bestows the same merit as donating a milk-cow and her calf along with their fodder. Oh Narada, Lord Krishna himself confirmed that the one who fasts on Kamidka Ekadashi is more blessed than a person studying the spiritual texts and does not have to suffer future births.

Lord Krishna affirmed that this sacred day nullifies the sin of killing a brahman or an unborn child in the womb and transports one to Viakuntha, where Lord Vishnu forever dwells.

Lord Shiva & Parvati Seated on Nandi, the Bull

28th July: Lord Shiva Pradosh

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.

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).

Phool Bangla at Sri Kanak Bhavan, Ayodhya

30th July, 2011:Haryali Amavasya

Hariyali Amavasya is on a Tuesday. It is a monsoon festival celebrated on Amavasya in the Shravan month in North India.Lord Shiva is worshipped on this day for wealth, prosperity and a good harvest.Grand fairs are held in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Hariyali Amavasya is celebrated with enthused fervour in Dwarkadhish temple of Mathura, Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan and other temples of Lord Krishna and Shiva.

This day culminates the Phool Bangla Utsav in Banke Bihari Temple of Vrindavan, during which a house of flowers is made daily in the evening. Great importance is give to the green colour in this festival since it reflects the greenery of nature after the first showers of monsoon.

Highly Revered Saint Usha ji Fondly Known as Bobo

30th July, 2011: Appearance day of Boboji or Saint Ushaji of Let us bow to Ushaji whose ishtdev or favoured deities are Shri Radha-Krishna while Lord Shiva is her guru or spiritual preceptor.. Hence it seems but natural that she was born in Shravan, the month of worshipping Shiva.

If possible:

1. Keep a fast on every Monday from 18th July till Rakhi which is on 13th August.

2. Daily offer water, milk and belpatras on Shivlingams, idols of Lord Ganesha and Ma Parvati at home or in any temple.

3. Also chant daily at least three beads of Om Namah Shivah and seven beads on a Monday which is traditionally regarded as Shivji's day. In fact Shivji (incarnating as Hanumanji during Shri Ram avatar) is paramguru of all Vaishnavas (Rameshwaram, Gopeshwar. ) NRIs may chant Shri Shiv Stuti daily which is available on internet as well.

The 12 Jyotir-Lingams

4. Do visit the sites of Lord Shiva like Rishikesh and the 12 Jyotir-Lingams during this month of Shravan.

5. In Shravan Braj,Vrindavan (Mathura) also has a special practice of swings being put up.The jhoolas of Lord Bihariji and Radha-Krishna are very famed. Shri Krishna Kripakataksha Stotram 8th Verse.

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