Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spiritual Calendar: February, 2013

2nd February, 2013: Shri Ramanandacharya Jayanti


 Shri Ramanandacharya ji

Ramananda (1299-1410) was a Vaishnava sant. He is considered to be the reviver of the Ramanandi Sect. For the most part of his life Ramananda lived in the holy city of Varanasi, was a pioneer of the Bhakti movement, and a social reformer in Northern India. He was known for communicating in vernacular Hindi and accepting disciples of all castes. His 12 disciples-Anantananda, Bhavananda, Dhanna Bhagat, Kabir, Nabha, Naraharyanda, Pipa, Ravidas (also known as Guru Ravidas), Bhagat Sain, Sukhanada, Ranka and Tulsidas (the author of the Ramcharitmanas) are very famous.

3rd February, 2013: Kala Ashtami


Kala Bhairava

 Kalashtami or Kala Bhairava Asthami is observed on the eighth day of Krishna Paksha in each lunar month. This fast is dedicated to Lord Kala Bhairava. Kala Bhairava is the fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva associated with annihilation.
Devotees observe a fast on this day which is considered ideal to propitiate Kala Bhairava. Pinda daan and Pitru tarpan rituals can be performed on this day. Feeding dogs is considered auspicious on this day. 

6th February, 2013: Shat Tila Ekadashi Vrata


 Lord Vishnu

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 .

8th February, 2013: Pradosh Vrat


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. It is said that on this day all gods and goddesses assemble at Mount Kailash to worship Lord Shiva.

Worship of Shiva throughout the night, bathing the Shivalinga with panchamrta (milk, curd, ghee, sugar and honey), homa, chanting 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).

10th February, 2013: 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.

12th February, 2013: Kumbh Sankranti


Kumbha Sankranti

Kumbha Sankranti marks the beginning of the eleventh month in Hindu Solar Calendar. All twelve Sankrantis in the year are considered auspicious for Dan-Punya activities.

For Kumbha Sankranti sixteen Ghatis before the Sankranti moment are considered Shubh and the time window of sixteen Ghati before Sankranti to Sankranti is taken for all Dan-Punya activities.

During Kumbha Sankranti offering to cows are considered highly auspicious. Also taking bath in Ganges especially in the Triveni where the  Ganga and Yamuna converge is considered highly auspicious.

13th February, 2013: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat


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.

15th February, 2013: Basant Panchami


 Godess Saraswati

Basant Panchami is a Hindu festival celebrating Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and art. It 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.


 Celebrating Basant Panchami with Joyous Abandon

The colour yellow has an important role to play. People usually wear yellow garments, Ma Saraswati is dressed in yellow and worshipped with puja and havan, and yellow-hued sweets are relished and distributed amongst families.


The virtuous worship goddess Saraswati for spiritual enlightenment and the white swan of Saraswati stands for sattva or the quality of goodness.


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 20th March that is 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) areAt 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.

Mustard Flowers

 On Basant Panchami adorn your Thakurji or living presence of Lord Krishna with yellow or mustard flowers.Offer yellow rice (namkeen tahri/sweet pudding and halwa (including the one made of besan) or besan laddus to your Thakurji.


21st February, 2013: Jaya Ekadashi Vrata

Lord Vishnu
Jaya Ekadasi is on a Monday and is observed on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha Magh.Though Magh is an auspicious month for propitiating Shiva, this Ekadasi is auspicious for Vishnu Puja. On this day, Lord Vishnu and Shiva are both worshipped. Keeping the Jaya Ekadasi Vrat gives devotees an opportunity to get rid of their sins and attain salvation.


Lord Krishna Narada & Yudhistira

The legend of Jaya Ekadasi Vrata is explained in the Padma Purana as a conversation between Lord Krishna and Yudhistira.
decked with mustard flowers specially brought from Sri Nandgaon and padas of Basant are joyously sung in the evening.


 
Mustard Flowers

On Basant Panchami adorn your Thakurji or living presence of Lord Krishna with yellow or mustard flowers.Offer yellow rice (namkeen tahri/sweet pudding and halwa (including the one made of besan) or besan laddus to your Thakurji.


18th February, 2013: Bhishma Ashtami


 Bhishma Ashtami

This festival is associated with 'Bhishma Pitamaha, the legendary king of Mahabharata whom Lord Krishna praised as the Lord of the lords. Bhishmashtami ie Bhishma Ashtami,is the festival which is celebrated on the twenty-third day of Magha (Jan-Feb) and eighth lunar day of the light half (waxing phase of the moon).

Important part of this festival is the worship of the Pitris, the ancestors.It is the next day to Ratha Saptami.It is believed that Bhishma's soul departed on this day after the war of Kurukshetra came to an end. Bhishmashtami is dedicated to Bhishma, the son of Ganga, and great uncle of the Pandava and Kaurava.Bhishma died childless without any direct descendant.

                                                             Rituals

On this day devotees take bath early in the morning,perform the pooja and observe the fast from sunrise to sunset.Being the 'Pitamaha', all the devotees come together and make religious offerings of Ganga-water, to his spirit.Sesamum seeds and boiled rice is offered to him.These rituals compensate the sins of the whole year.

This offering is given to the childless hero Bhishma of the race of Vyaghrapada. Then people pray saying, "May Bhishma, the son of Santanu, the speaker of truth and defeater of his passions, obtain by this water the oblations due by sons and grandsons."

21st February, 2013: Jaya Ekadashi Vrata


Lord Vishnu

Jaya Ekadasi is on a Monday and is observed on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha Magh.Though Magh is an auspicious month for propitiating Shiva, this Ekadasi is auspicious for Vishnu Puja. On this day, Lord Vishnu and Shiva are both worshipped. Keeping the Jaya Ekadasi Vrat gives devotees an opportunity to get rid of their sins and attain salvation.

The legend of Jaya Ekadasi Vrata is explained in the Padma Purana as a conversation between Lord Krishna and Yudhistira.

22nd February, 2013: Bhishma Dvadashi


Bhihma Dvadashi

Bhishma Dvadasi, is observed on the 12th day in the month of Magha (January – February) during the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon). Bhisma Dwadasi is also known as Magh Shukla Dwadasi. It is widely believed that Pandavas performed the last rites of Bhishma, the son of King Shantanu and Ganga in Mahabharata, on this day.

It is popularly believed that Bhisma who was wounded and lying on a bed of arrows chose to leave the earth 58 days after the beginning of the Great War in Mahabharata. Bhishma was blessed with a boon that he could choose the day of his death. It is believed that he chose Magh Shukla Ashtami day to leave the earth and merge with Brahman.

On the Bhishma Dwadasi day, Pandavas performed the last rites of Bhishma Pitamah on the banks of Ganga.
There is a popular belief that offering Tarpan and Shradh on the day to ancestors is highly beneficial. Some people also perform Tarpan in the name of Bhishma as he had no children.

23rd Febraury, 2013: Shani Pradosh Vrata


Lord Shiva

Is an auspicious fast dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is observed on the thirteenth day of every fortnight (Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha) in the Hindu calendar. Shivalinga puja at the time of pradosha time and fasting are the main rituals of Pradosham.


In all Pradosha vratas, Shani Pradosha which falls on a Saturday and Soma Pradosham on a Monday are important days

25th February, 2013: Magh Purnima


Devotees Bathe at the Triveni in Allahbad

 Magh Purnima is the full moon day in the month of Magh (January – February) during which the famous Kumbh Mela and annual Magh Mela take place at the Triveni Sangam in Prayag, Allahabad. Thousands of Hindu devotees converge to take a holy dip at the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in Allahabad. It is an important day to bathe and for some Hindus, the last date of Magh Snana. Please take a dip in the Ganges, Yamuna or any other sacred river. There will be a great rush at Goverdhan/Vrindavan and Kamad Giri at Chitrakoot for parikrama or circumambulation.


It is believed that Vishwamitra II performed a ritual bath during the Kumbh Mela on a Magh Purnima in 2382 BCE. Maghi Purnima usually falls at the end of Magh and signals the end of the Kumbh Mela. Most Kalpvasis start their return journey from the Sangam on this day.

27th February, 2013: Saint Ushaji's Punya Tithi 


Saint Usha Bahenji Fondly Known as Bobo

(anniversary of her death) falls on a Wednesday and will be observed at Gaura Nagar Colony, Vrindavan. Born on 30th July,1925, Usha Bahenji gained entry into Gauloka (where Lord Krishna forever dwells) in 1992 after Basant Panchami but before Sri Shivratari. In this way both the festivals were unaffected, a truly sublime happening!


Chaitanya Mahaprabhu & Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa were secular saints of India and inspired Saint Usha ji fondly known as Bobo. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Haridas sji, a Muslim whereas Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa though a great devotee of goddess Kali, actually practised Islam and Christianity for some months.


28th February, 2013: Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata


 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.

3 comments:

Minakshi Aggarwal said...

thank you for putting across such a complicated information in simple terms. It is really helpful.

Meenu

Anonymous said...

verry nice information

Shatrughan Sharma said...

nice