Friday, August 31, 2012

Spiritual Calendar, September, 2012

4th September, 2012: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

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.
Do not look at the moon on this night. But in case you do, you must read about the theft of the Syamantak Mani as described in the tenth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam (chapter 56 & 57).The episode narrates the blot of Satybhama 's father on Lord Krishna .

In ancient times, the course studies of students used to start from this day. On Ganesh Chaturthi boys also play with small stick in a particular way so the day is also known as 'Danda Chauth'.
12th September, 2012: Kamala Purushotammi Ekadashi

Lord Vishnu 

Padmini Ekadashi is observed during the waxing phase of the moon (Shukla Paksha) only in the Adhika Masa. Also known as Kamala Ekadashi, this ritual is conducted to wash away the sins and reside in Vaikunta. The story behind its observance is associated with Padmini, wife of King Kartavirya.
A legend says that King Kartavirya was the ruler of the kingdom of Tretayuga. The king had been married to a thousand queens to have a son that could rule his dynasty. He had performed several austerities for over ten thousand years but to no avail. Thus, he set out to the forests. Knowingly, Padmini (one of the thousand queens of Kartavirya) followed him and met Anasuya (Maha Pathivrata) on the way. On enquiring about any vrat that could help in conceiving a baby, Anasuya asked her to observe two Ekadashis that fall in the Adhika Masam. As directed, both Kartavirya and Padmini observed the said fasts.

Soon after, Lord Vishnu appeared before the couple and further informed that they would soon be granted their wishes as they had observed vrats in the month that is considered highly auspicious. In due course of time, the couple was blessed with a healthy son, named Kartaviryarjuna, who was not only powerful but also defeated and imprisoned Ravana.

13th Sept ,2012: Lord Shiva Pradosh Vrata

 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. 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).

16th September, 2012: Bhadrapad Mahina Amavasi

 Adhik Bhadrapada Amavasya

Adhik Bhadrapada Amavasya or No moon day is on September 16. The Amavasi begins at 8:59 AM on September 15 and ends at 7:58 AM on September 16.
In the North India calendar the next month is the Bhadrapad Month or Nija Bhadrapada Masa.
17th September, 2012: The Badhai Utsav of Shri Svami Haridas ji Maharaj Begins 

Svami Shri Hari Das

Primarily we know him as the saint who realized God through nad brahma sadhna or constantly praying in music. He not only composed a large number of padas but also perfected newer ragas in classical music to sing them. He realized God in the form of Shri Bankey Bihari and started the tradition  of initiating his disciples into rasopasna bhakti. His birthday, which falls on Radha Ashtami is celebrated in Nidhivan and Vrindavan.

Kanya Sankranti, 17th September 2012


Kanya Sankranti marks the beginning of the sixth month in Hindu Solar Calendar. All twelve Sankrantis in the year are highly auspicious for Dan-Punya activities. Only a certain time duration before or after each Sankranti moment is considered auspicious for Sankranti related activities.

For Kanya Sankranti sixteen Ghatis after the Sankranti moment are considered  auspicious and the time window from Sankranti to sixteen Ghati after Sankranti is taken for all Dan-Punya activities.

17th September, 2012: Vishwakaram Puja

Panchamukha Vishwakarma

It is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in Vishwakarma's name, the Hindu presiding deity of all craftsmen and architects.

18th September, 2012: Varah Jayanti

Varaha Avatar or the Boar Incarnation of Vishnu
In Hinduism, Varaha, the third avatara of Vishnu manifests as a boar. The incarnation symbolizes the resurrection of earth from pralaya or deluge and the establishment of a new kalpa or cosmic cycle. He fulfils his dharma as a Vishnu avatara by defeating Hiranyaksha, a demon who had carried earth (prithvi) to the bottom of the cosmic ocean. The combat between Lord Varaha and Hiranyaksha lasted a thousand years, which the Lord finally won because of his innate divinity. Vishnu married Prithvi in this avatara.

18th September, 2012: Hartalika Teej

Praying for a Husband like Lord Shiva

This is a three-day festival, celebrated by women in honor of Parvati, in the month of Bhadrapad. By praying to Parvati on these three days, unmarried girls hope to get a husband like Shiva. Married women pray to her for marital bliss. According to Hindu mythology, Parvati was in love with Shiva. Being an ascetic however, Shiva was not aware of her. Parvati performed penance in the Himalayas for many years before Shiva finally noticed her.

 Realizing the depth of her love and devotion, he agreed to marry her .Since then Parvati has been worshipped as Haritalika.

Women and young girls maintain nirjala vrata on these three days, and keep awake all three nights. This is symbolic of the penance which Parvati undertook to get Shiva as her husband. They offer food to Brahmins and young girls.

19th September, 2012: Ganesh Janam Utsav

An Idol of Lord Ganesha

Brilliantly crafted idols of Ganesha are brought home about ten days in advance on Ganesh Janam Utsav which marks the birth of Lord Ganesha.There He sits in state till Anant Chaturdashi (29th Sept) when he is devoutly immersed in water.In almost every neighbourhood a brightly decorated Ganesha idol is made and worshipped for all of the ten days.On the day of the Ganesh festival laddoos and modaks which are Ganesha's favourite sweets are distributed and Ganesha temples are crowded with devotees.

20th September, 2012: Rishi Panchami

 Rishi Panchami

The fast on the fifth day(Pancahmi) of the waxing moon (shukla paksh)of Bhadrapad is undertaken by both men and women, to expiate sins.

After a bath in the sacred water, the devotees should clean his/her hands 108 times, rinse the mouth 108 times and listen to the story of Ganesh, Navagreh, Saptarishi and worship Arundhati. Fruits are to be eaten only once in a day by virtue of which all sins are expiated.

On Rishi Panchami homage is paid to the Sapta Rishis or seven sagesKashyapa, Atri, Bharadhvaja, Vishvamitra, Gauthama, Jamadagni and Vashishta.
21st September, 2012: Baldev Chhat

 Lord Balarama

This is the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the first expansion of the dark-hued Krishna. Devotees offer special prayers to Balarama, the icon of duty, honesty and simplicity to receive spiritual strength from Him.He incarnated on the full moon day of the month of Shravana.

Balaram, Balarama and Sankarsana are some of Lord Baldev's other names. Balaram had incarnated as Lakshman in the Treta Yuga which came before Dwapar.

He is considered the incarnation of Sheshnaag, the thousand-headed snake on whom Lord Vishnu sleeps throughout periods of dissolution of the world.Because he was drawn from Devaki's to Rohini's womb, He is known as Lord Sankarsana.As of today there are many temples ofDauji(elder brother)where he is worshipped religiously. It is a common belief that he bestows riches on this materialistic world.

21st September, 2012: Sri Lalita Jayanti at Uncha Gaon near Barsana in Braj.

 Lalita Devi,the Prime Ashtasakhi

Lalita Devi is the prime ashtasakhi and the eldest amongst Krishna's gopis. As per astrological calculation, Shri Lalita Jayanti or the date of her birth falls on the day before Sri Radhashtami.Though a close confidante of the divine couple, she is more inclined to Sri Radhika.

An intimate companion of Radharani, Lalita is the khandita with a contradictory and hot-tempered nature. Her complexion is bright yellow and garments the colour of peacock feathers. Her mother is Saradi Devi and father is Vishoka. Her husband is Bhairava, who is a close friend of Govardhana Malla, the husband of Candravali.

23rd September, 2012: Shri Radha Ashtami

Shri Radha Rani

As Krishna is the source of all manifestations of God, Sri Radha his consort is the source of all shaktis or feminine manifestations of cosmic energy. She is thus the supreme deity in Gaudiya tradition, for it is said that she controls Krishna with her love and that perfect spiritual life is unattainable without her grace.

The most revered occasion for the denizens of Barsana, its celebration begins with chanting the lilas or divine play of Sri Radha with thousands of padas being sung in her honour.

The festive occasion is observed 15 days after Janmashtami of Lord Krishna. It falls on the eighth day of the Bhadrapada Month in the Hindu calendar, in the waxing phase of the moon somewhere between (August-September). Sri Radha was born in Barsana, a suburb of Mathura, as the daughter of Vrashabhanu and Kirti.

Though Radhastami is on 23rd September, this year, the kirtan at Gaura Colony in Vrindavan will be held on Sunday night of 22nd September because the abhishek (ceremonial bathing of an idol) of Kishoriji is at 4 am, just before sunrise. During revered Bobo's time everyone used to celebrate Radhashtami with joyous abandon in Barsana.They would do jaagran for the entire night and have darshan of Radha Rani's abhishek in the temple of Sriji, next morning.

23rd September, 2012: The Janamotsav of Rasikacharya Shirmomani Shri Svami Haridas ji Maharaj

Svami Shri Hari Das

Today after the rajbhoga aarti in the evening at 4 o' clock there is rasa lila in the temple of Shri Banke Bihari ji. Svami Shri Hari Das realized God in the form of Shri Bankey Bihari, started the tradition of and initiated his disciples into rasopasna bhakti. He is also known as Adya Acharya of Raas Leela tradition.

Lord Krishna Braids Radha Rani's Hair

Nidhivan as well as the Banke Bihari temple are beautifully decorated with flowers, flags and buntings. In afternoon, around 4:30 PM, the Rasa Lila is enacted in the courtyard of the temple, only once a year. The theme of the Lila is veni guthan, that is, Krishna makes up the hair of Radha and ties it into a lovely nice braid. The Leela is based on one of the compositions of Swami Haridas from Shri Kelimal:

In the evening a grand procession, called chav, is taken out from the temple. It consists of several brass bands, other musical performing groups, decorated elephants, high flags and kitan mandalis. Goswamis participate in a group singing devotional songs, celebrating the birth of Swami Haridas in a style known as samaj gayan. Many gifes such as Prasad of Bihariji are carried to be presented to Swami Haridas. It is as if Bihariji is going to greet Swami Haridas on this auspicious occasion.

The procession heads for Nidhivan, the place of Swami Haridas’s penance and  appearance of Bihariji. On arriving here the prasad sent by Bihariji is offered and  the Rasa Lila is enacted late into the night; the only day when devotees can stay in Nidhivan so late in the evening. On the conclusion of Rasa Lila, there is aarti performed and devotees disperse chanting:

jai jai shri kunjbihari shri haridas, jai jai shri vrindavan nidhivan vaas

23rd September, 2012:Maharshi Dadhichi Jayanti

Sage Dadichi

is dedicated to Sage Dadhichi an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and a descendent of Sage Angira. Sage Dadhichi was born on the Shukla Ashtami day (waxing phase of moon) in the Bhadrapad month (AugustSeptember).

Legend has it that the devas who were losing a battle to the asuras were advised to use weapons made of Sage Dadhichi's bones to win the battle. Devas requested Sage Dadhichi for his bones. The humble saint readily agreed and went into deep meditation as his soul merged with Brahman. That is when the devas made use of the bones of Sage Dadhichi to fight the Asuras and triumphed.

In the Dadhichi Samaj special pujas are held on the day.

26th September, 2012: Padma Ekadashi Vrata or Deva-Sayani Ekadasi

 Padma Ekadashi

Lord Sri Krishna told Yudhisthira, " I shall gladly tell you a wonderful historical event that Lord Brahma once narrated to his son Narada. One day Narada asked his father, 'What is the name of the Ekadasi that comes during the light part of the month of Ashadha'.

'Fasting on this Ekadasi purifies one of all sins and fulfils all desires. Just to please the Supreme Lord Hrishikesha, the master of the senses, one should fast on this day.'

'Oh son, there was once a saintly king in the Surya Vansha (Sun dynasty) whose name was Mandhata.Once, however, because of some sin in his kingdom, there was a drought for three years. The great sage Angira Muni then said, "Oh king Mandhata, you should observe a fast on the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Ashadha. This auspicious day is named Padma Ekadasi, and by its influence plentiful rains and grains will surely return to your kingdom."

Lord Sri Krishna concluded, "My dear Yudhishthira, Padma Ekadasi is so powerful that one who simply reads or hears its glories becomes completely sinless. Oh Pandava, one who wishes to please Me should strictly observe this Ekadasi, which is also known as Deva-sayani Ekadasi.

27th September, 2012: Shiva Pradosh Vrata

 Lord Shiva

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. Generally people observe Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening.

29th September, 2012: Anant Chaturdashi Vrata

Shri Radha Rani or Kishoriji

Anant Chaturdashi has been celebrated since ages to please Lord Adi Narayan or Lord Shri Hari after the appearance of Kishoriji in Braj on Bhadra Shukla Ashtami. The whole of Braj celebrates it as the chhathi of Sri Kishoriji and thus the badhai gaan of Sri Radha Asthami continue to be sung in joyous abandon till this date.

Lord Ganesha Visarjan

When the festivities of Ganesh Janam Utsav, the Ganesha idols which have been worshipped for the past ten days are taken out in grand processions. Accompanied by fireworks, displays, beating of drums and thousands singing devotional songs, the idols are immersed in a nearby sea, lake or river;this is known as visarjan. People chant in joyous abandon "Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudcha Varshi Laukar Ya!" (O Lord Ganesha, return soon again next year!)

Once when grieved Yudhistra of the Mahabharata, was wandering in the forests, Lord Krishna suggested,Oh! Yudhistra, you should worship God Anant (Vishnu) ritually. Your problems will be over and you will get back your kingdom..

He narrated the story of Saint Kaunidney,who was married to a godly daughter of a brahmin Sumantu. Once at night she saw a number of women going for worship. She asked the importance and they explained that they were worshipping Anant (Vishnu) and that an armlet with fourteen knots, tied on the arm, blessed the devotee with indefinite happiness.

29th September: Manohar Baba's Punya Tithi

Shri Manohar Dasji

Manohar Bhaiya was born on the night of Akshay Teej in May, 1919 (Vaishakh shukla chaturthi). Maheshwar situated on the holy banks of the Narmada River in Nimar district of Madhya Pradesh, has the honour of being his birthplace. His father was the family priest of Rani Ahilyabai and hence a learned brahman or pandit.

The grasping prowess of Manohar Baba in the fields of Yajurved, Karamkand and Ayurveda was so sharp that he passed the ‘Kavyatirtha Examination’ in Sanskrit with flying colours. In 1935 the RSS requested him for social work and various philanthropic activities. Quitting the RSS in 1942, he concentrated on daily worship of the Shivlinga by 108 belpatras, learnt Yoga from Guru Rangnaath, imbibed Gayatri paath under the instructions of Great Mahatma Kulkarniji and performed many other religious observances.

The great moment of renunciation surfaced in 1945. A saint came to Maheshwar and chanted the Hare Rama Hare Krishna mantra with such enthused exultation like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that Manohar Baba left for Shri Banke Bihariji temple in Vrindavan, right away.

Manohar Baba reached Vrindavan after eight days.Totally exhausted and famished, he was reluctant to beg for alms since he came from a rich background.However the ordeal got over soon enough because Shri Balkrishan Dasji Maharaj was waiting to embrace him for all times to come. 'Charit Vaibhav' is a biography of Balkrishan Dasji Maharaj authored by our lovable Manohar Bhaiya.

Dredging up old memories, I vividly remember that it was Saint Ushaji of Vrindavan who urged me to bow at his holy feet ever since childhood and I am eternally grateful to her for this noble act.

30th September, 2012: Nija Bhadrapada Purnima

 Purnima or Full Moon Day

The full moon day in a traditional Hindu calendar is known as Purnima. Some devout Hindus observe a fast on this day from morning to evening. The Bhadrapad Purnima in September is of great importance and marks the beginning of the Pitrupaksha. The next fifteen days are dedicated to observing rituals for dead ancestors, parents and relatives. Some communities start the Shradh rites from the Purnima day.

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