Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spiritual Calendar, 16th-31st January, 2012

19th January,2012 : Shat Tila Ekadashi

Shat-Tila Ekadashi
This ekadashi falls on the eleventh day of Krishnapaksh in the month of Paush.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 (the thousand names of Vishnu) and worshipping Lord Vishnu is a must for devotees.

Please offer til-ladoos to Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, your family deity, the child form of Krishna or Lord Rama at home. As til is considered beneficial for the cold winter months, kindly give sesame seeds to needy students and the poor, this season .

20th January, 2012 : Til 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 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.

23rd January, 2012: Mauni Amavasya
And the famed holy dip in Prayag during the Magh Mela. Mauni Amavasya is the no moon day in Magh(January to February) as per the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India. Several Hindus keep a vow of absolute silence on this day. According to Hinduism, mauna or silence is an integral part of spiritual discipline. Derived from the word muni, mauna ideally symbolizes a state of oneness with the Self. Silence has also been described by Adi Shankaracharya as one of the three essential attributes of a sanyasi. In recent times Ramana Maharshi popularized silence as a medium of spiritual instruction.

Devotees Bathing at the Sangam in Prayag
On Mauni Amavasi a large number of Hindu devotees join Kalpavasis at Sangam in Prayag (Allahabad) and meditate the whole day in an attempt to calm the restive mind. Bathing in the holy Ganges and other such sacred rivers,frugally eating selective foodstuffs like fruits or items made of kootu-flour, visiting religious shrines and listening to discourses by holy men on this particular day is said to bestow great merit.

In fact the Magh Mela in Allahabad attracts millions of devout Hindus to bathe at the confluence of rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Many mendicants and aspirants stay on the banks of these rivers in Prayag. Aspirants who come here and stay for the entire month of Magh while doing religious observances are known as kalpavasis. Religious discourses, kirtans and satsangs are held for the devotees. Brahmans and others are bestowed with gifts and foods in charity.

On Mauni Amavasya traditionally Lord Vishnu is worshipped and the peepul tree is religiously circumambulated.

Shri Banke Bihari ji, Vrindavan
There is a great rush of devotees at the Shri Banke Bihari ji Temple in Vrindavan on every Amavasya. Since this is the Mauni Amavasya of the Magh Month, the devout Hindus thronging the shrine will be far greater.

26th January,2012: Happy Republic Day

26th January, 2012: Ganesh Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha
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.

28th January, 2012: Basant Panchami

Celebrating Basant Panchami with Joyous Abandon
Seasons undergo change and Basant Panchami heralds the arrival of spring.

Sprinkling of Gulal Starts in Vrindavan
From Basant Panchami the sprinkling of gulal or red coloured powder starts in Braj-Vrindavan and continues up to Holi. In Braj this festival of colours is celebrated for a span of 41 days (foreword on Braj Bhoomi Mohini by Saint Ushaji).

Saint Usha ji's Yugal Sarkar
At Vrindavan our Sri Yugal Sarkar (the svarupas of Shri Radha-Krishna) are decked with mustard flowers specially brought from Sri Nandgaon and padas of Basant are joyously sung in the evening.

28th Janaury, 2012: Saraswati Puja

Goddess Saraswati
It is is a Hindu festival celebrating Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and art is celebrated every year on the panchami or fifth of Magh (January-February), the first day of spring. Traditionally during this festival children are taught to write their first words; brahmins are fed; ancestor worship (Pitr-tarpan) is performed; Kamdev, the god of love, is worshipped; and most educational institutions organise special prayers for Ma Saraswati. Notebooks, pencils and pens are kept at the Devi's feet for blessings and used by the students thereafter.

Ma Saraswati is the goddes of academics and arts. Everyone prays to her for guidance and knowledge for which the Saraswati Vandana Mantra is recited by her devotees on Sarawati Puja and every morning.

The Saraswati Vandana Mantra:

Yaa Kundendu tushaara haara-dhavalaa,Yaa shubhra-vastra'avritaa |

Yaa veena-vara-danda-manditakara,Yaa shweta padma'asana ||

Yaa brahma'achyuta shankara prabhritibhir Devai-sadaa Vanditaa |

Saa Maam Paatu Saraswati Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaa-pahaa ||

The one who is fair like the jasmine blossom, the moon and a garland of tushar flowers, and the one who is decked in radiant white clothes.

She whose hands are adorned by the most excellent veena, and the one who is seated on the pristine white lotus.

The one whose glories are constantly sung by Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and other primary gods.

O Mother Bhagwati Saraswati get rid of my sluggish mental inertness.

Thought for the New Year, 2012:

Saint Usha ji Fondly Known as Bobo
Saint Ushaji or Boboji would say "Please Thakurji with your reverential belief and religious devotion to such an extent that he holds your hand Himself just like bhakta Prahlada. Then there is no need to worry whether one is flung into the fire or told that God is present in the pillar because bhakta Prahlada was secure in the lap of Narsing Bhagwan.

Bhakta Prahlada Gets the Blessings of Narsingh Bhagwan
Let us respectfully salute Lord Sri Hari who shows parental kindliness to his own devotees, because of which new mysteries of bhakti (religious devotion), gyan (understanding of the identity of the self with the ultimate brahman and vigyan (acquired knowledge of the world [as distinct from knowledge of brahman acquired by meditation and study]) are revealed everyday.

No comments: