Monday, October 31, 2011

Spiritual Calendar: November, 2011

1st November, 2011: Chhath Pooja

Chhath Puja

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 and making it an ethereal sight. Purvanchalis do night-jagran and worship the Sun in the morning after taking a bath in the river Yamuna.

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

3rd November, 2011: Gopashtami

Lord Krishna, 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.

4th November, 2011: Akshya Naumi

Women Celebrate Akshay Navami with Gaiety in Patna

Also known as Amala Naumi, it 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 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.

6th November, 2011: Devprabodhini Ekadasi

Prabhodhini 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.

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. Marriages can take place from now onwards.

7th November, 2011: Tulsi Vivah

Tulsi's Marriage to Shaligram ji

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 the shame. Vishnu transferred her soul to a plant called Tulsi. According to a blessing by Vishnu, Vishnu in the form of Shaligram married Tulsi on Prabodhini Ekadashi. To commemorate this event, the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed to commemorate this event.

8th November, 2011: Lord Shiva's Pradosha

Shiva's Pradosh

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.

9th November, 2011: Vaikunth Chaturdasi

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 the 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.

10th November, 2011: Kartik Poornima

Kartik Poornima (Kartik purnima) 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.

Shiva Kills Tripurasura

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.

14th November, 2011: Sri Ganesh Chaturthi Fast

Lord Ganesha

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.

21st Nov is Utpanna Ekdashi Fast

Sri Ranganatha on Utpanna Ekadashi

Utpanna Ekadashi also 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 demon 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 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.

22nd November, 2011: Lord Shiva's Pradosh Fast

Lord Shiva

The puja is observed in the evening on Trayodashi or 13th day in Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha of the Hindu month. It is auspicious to perform Shukra Graha Dosha Nivarana Puja on this day.

25th November, 2011: Kartik Maas Amavasya

Ma Kali

It is the last day of the sacred Kartik Month. Usually people observe a fast on this day and worship Kali, as Shakti on the night of Kartik Amavasya.This particular form of Kali is known as Shyama which means black in Sanskrit. Being a highly auspicious day, any puja performed on this day is very fruitful. Also known as Amavasi or Amavas, it is the darkest day in a Hindu calendar and is referred to as the new moon day. In North India, it is the Margashirsh Amavasya.This day is chosen for performing Shradh and Tarpan by many Hindu communities.Some Hindu communities observe a partial fast and have meals once during the day.

28th November, 2011: Vinayaki Chaturthi

Shri Vinayak

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.

29th November, 2011:

Shri Banke Bihari, Vrindavan

Vihar Panchami also known as Bihar Panchami, is the day when Shri Bankebihari (Lord Krishna) appeared 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 Haridas

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.

29th November, 2011: Vivah Panchami of Lord Ram and Sita

The Vivah of Shri Ram & Sita

is 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.

30th November, 2011: Lord Kartikeya Fast

Lord Kartikeya

Tamil god Murugan is very powerful and praised by all Tamilians. There are many temples of Lord Muruga In Tamilnadu and in foreign countries. Due to His loving nature towards devotees, Kartikeya is acclaimed as the God of love. Among his six famous temples, one of the important is Palani Murgan temple. Devotees of Murga follows Viratham on Sashti days. After Full moon (purnima) day or No moon day (amavasai ), the Sixth day is considered as Sashti according to Hindu culture.

The most popular Tamil festival, Skanda Sashti falls in the Tamil month of Aippasi. In 2011, Skanda Sashti is in November, and there are 3 Sashti days in this month. Sashti fasting is an important vritham associated with Lord Murugan and one attains his blessings by doing so.

No comments: