Monday, October 3, 2011

Spiritual Calendar: October, 2011

28th September to 5th October, 2011: The Navratras

Goddess Durga

In Hindu mythology Durga is Shakti, the divine feminine energy. The Goddess’s triump over Mahishasur, the buffalo demon symbolizes the victory of good over evil. These nine days are solely devoted to propitiation of the Mother Goddess or Shakti Incarnate.

29th September to 6th October, 2011: Shrimad Bhagwat Saptah at Mittalji's home.

The Shrimad Bhagwat Saptah

2nd October, 2011: Shri Hari Kirtan

Lord Krishna

at Kohlij's home from 5 to 7 pm on a Sunday. The monthly sankirtan os Shri Hari was begun by revered Manohar Baba, a great saint of Vrindavan.

4th October,2011: Shri Durga Ashtami

Ma Durga

Durgashtami, 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.

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.

5th 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, Goddess Saraswati is honoured by worshipping the books and records of accounts at home.

6th 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 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.

7th October,2011:Papankusha Ekadashi

Lord Madhusudana

Fasting on Ekadashi (comes twice a month). One should not consume any grains or meat on this day. Lord Krishna says that if a person fasts on Ekadashi, “I will burn up all his sins. Indeed this day is the most meritorious day for destroying all kinds of sins.” In the katha of Papankusha Ekadashi from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana,Yudhishthira Maharaj says, “ Oh Madhusudana, what is the name of the Ekadashi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Ashvina? Please be merciful and disclose this truth to me." Lord Krishna goes on to reveal the glories of the Papankusha Ekadashi which expiates all sins.

Oct 9 : Lord Shiva's Pradosh

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.

11th October,2011: Sharad Purnima

The Raas Lila

On Sharad-Poornima, Vrindavan devotees celebrate the divine union of the ascending soul with the descending God. 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 Bihari ji

In celestial Vrindavan the most popular deity Shri Bihari ji 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!

12th October,2011: Kartik Snan Begins

Kartik Snan 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 12 and ends on November 10 in the year 2011. 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

The Matsya Incarnation

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.

15th October, 2011: Karwa Chauth

Karwa Chauth

Karwa 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 Karwa 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. 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.

15th October, 2011: Shri 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.

19th October, 2011: Ahoi Ashtami

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 Karva 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.

23rd October, 2011:Ramaa Ekadasi

It is observed on the eleventh day in Krishna Paksha of the Kartik month according to the North Indian calendar.

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.

24th October, 2011: 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.

24th October, 2011: Dhanteras or Lord Dhanvantri Jayanti

Lord Dhanvantari

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 Lakshmi 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.

25th October, 2011: 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

Vamana Avatara 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 celebration of Chhoti Diwali.

25th October, 2011: Sri Hanuman Jayanti

Hanumana with Lord Ram & Sita

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.

26th October, 2011: 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.

27th October, 2011: Annakoot 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).

28th October, 2011:7th 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

Yama Dwitheya

Bhai Dooj or Beej is called Yama 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.

29-30 October,2011:Raas

The Raas Lila

All are most humbly requested to attend the Raas Lila celebrations with family and friends, at Sai Dham Temple, Uppal South End, Sohna Road, Gurgaon. Though Vrindavan's reputed Swami Shri Ram Kunj Bihari Mandali is performing, we are requesting them to focus on the Bal Lilas of Lord Krishna.

30th October,2011: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Fast

Lord Ganesh

31st October, 2011: Kartik Panchami

Lord Vishnu & Lakshmi

It is observed on the fifth day of Kartik Month and is the final day of celebrating Diwali. It is considered an auspicious day to start business activities. People visit their friends and relatives, and offer gifts and sweets.Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped along with Kubera, her treasurer. At some place Vishnu is worshipped too.

31st October, 2011: Appearance day of Shri Gayaprasad Pandit ji

Revered Pandit Gaya Prasadji:

He was born in the Kalyanpur village of Fatehpur. Later he came to Hathras and got married, working in a factory with honesty. The renunciation and penance of revered Udiya Baba became his ideal.

Leaving the children he ventured to Vrindavan and religiously followed the parikrama ritual staying at Laxmi Narayan temple. Often he walked to Vrindavan for sighting Shri Bihariji. The vatsalya bhava or maternal tenderness was predominant in his nature of worship. But once during revered Usha Bahinji’s visit, he recounted the manifestation of Kishoriji, sakhis and gopis with the roles of Lalita and Vishaka in Lord Krishna’s pleasure pursuits and was thrilled. He stressed on dedication to the Lord and blindly following the guru.

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