Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spiritual Calendar: March 2013

1st March, 2013: Shri 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.

4th March, 2013: Kala Ashtami Vrata


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.

5th March, 2013: Shri Janaki Jayanti


Ma Sita

Sita Ashtami, or Janaki Janma, is believed to be the day when Mata Sita appeared on earth as per traditional calendar and Panchangs followed in North India. Sita Ashtami is observed on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) of Phalguna month (February – March).

Mata Sita is an embodiment of purity and wifely devotion and the consort of Sri Ram in Ramayan. Mata Sita was adopted by King Janaka; after he found her while ploughing his field.

6th March,2013: Vijaya Ekadashi Vrata


Lord Brahma & Narada

It is observed during the krishna paksha of the Phalgun Month as per the North Indian calendar. Those who observe this Ekadasi are said to triumph. This fact is highlighted in the Skanda Purana and narrated by Lord Brahma to Sage Narada.


  Lord Rama Wanting to Cross the Ocean

Legend has it that Lord Rama and his army comprising of monkeys and bears was searching for a means to cross the ocean to reach Lanka.That is when Lakshman spoke of a great Saint living nearby, who could provide them with a solution. It is this sage who raved about Vijaya Ekadasi and said that observing it would make Lord Rama victorious.


9th March, 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

10th March, 2013: Maha Shivratri Vrata


Maha Shivrati

Maha Shivratri, the night of the worship of Shiva is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the krishna paksha or waning phase of the moon in Phalgun. Along with keeping a fast, cold water and bel patra (leaves of the wood apple tree) are offered to the lingam during the day. The festival is celebrated by traditional offerings such as bathing Shiva in milk, panchamruta (milk,curd,ghee,sugar and honey [the symbols of sustenance]),one after the other in succession; or anointing the lingam with vermilion (kumkum), white consecrated rice and askshata, (symbols of fertility or creation), when Shiva is worshipped as the god of dissolution.

The three principal reasons for Shivratri are:


Sadashiv, the Cosmic Form of Shiva

1] Sadashiv, the cosmic form of Lord Shiva, appeared as 'Lingodbhav Moorti' precisely at midnight on Maha Shivratri. That is why all Shiva devotees keep vigil during the night of Shivratri and do abhishek of the Shivalingam (the form in which Shiva is worshipped). It is the night when Shiva performed the tandava nritya or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.


Lord Vishnu is Born as Krishna

It is believed that Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna, was born in Gokul in the middle of the night on Janamashtami, 180 days after Shivratri. Amazingly the circle of one year is divided into two by the festivities of Shivratri and Janamashtami.


 
Marriage of Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati

2] Lord Shiva was married to Goddess Parvati on Shivratri. Shiva without Parvati is an absolute 'Nirgun Brahman' (formless static God), whereas with Parvati, or purna-shakti, the most complete form of divine feminine energy, He becomes the 'Sagun Brahman' for his dedicated devotees.


Shiva as Neelkantham

3] On Shivratri, Lord Shiva became 'Neelkantham' or the blue-throated one by swallowing the deadly poison, halahala, that came up when the devas and asuras churned the sea to obtain the nectar of immortality. Even a drop of the poison would have annihilated the entire world but Shiva held it in His neck, which turned blue with its impact.Ever since Shivratri is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving to the Lord for protecting us from destruction.


The Yugal Sarkar of Saint Usha Bahenji

At highly revered saint Sushila Bahinji's Gaura Colony the festival is celebrated with Thakurji. At our residence that is 'Hari:Vrinda Dham', chanting of Om Namah Shivay and Lord Shiva-Parvati vivah from Baalkand doha 88 to 103 ( Goswami Tulsidassji's Sri Ramcharitmanas) given on pages 28 to 37 of the new edition of the Sankirtan & Stuti Dhara will be read.

11th March,2013 : Somvati Amavasya


 Bathing in the Ganges in Haridwar

The day of conjunction of the sun and moon, on the fifteenth day of the dark half of a lunar month. Amavasya or the new moon, is the last day of the waning moon. Though Amavasya occurs every month, Hindus believe it to be the most auspicious when it falls on a Monday. Amavasya is important for performing rituals for departed ancestors. Somvati Amavasya is associated with the new moon which occurs on a Monday.

The significance of Somvati Amavasya was narrated to Yudhishtra by Bhisma in the Mahabharata . It is said that who ever takes a bath in the sacred rivers on this day becomes prosperous, free of diseases and grief. There is belief that the souls of ancestors will rest in peace if the children and relatives take a dip in the sacred river Ganges at Haridwar, Triveni and other places.

Women worship the peepul tree and tie thread round the trunk of this tree 108 times. Peepul is the most sacred tree in India and is regarded as the dwelling site of the Hindu Trinity-Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The women circumambulate around the tree,108 times, with their hands folded. They pour water and milk on its roots and offer sandal paste, vermillion, wet rice and flowers.

13th March, 2013:Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa Jayanti


                            Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa Worshipped Goddess Kali

Jayanti of Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa He was born on 18th Feb 1836 in West Bengal in Kamarpukur, some 70 miles from Calcutta. Later Swami Vivekananda, Brahamanada and others became his disciples and set up Ramakrishna Missions, Ramakrishna Maths and hospitals all over India and the world. He lived in this mundane world for 50 years and worshipped Goddess Kali. Swami Ramakrishna also practised Christianity and Muslim rituals to endorse that all religions lead to one God if one is sincerely unbiased, in his commitments.
 
A great saint inspired by Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa to renounce this world was Sri Sri Balkrishan Das ji Maharaj of Vrindavan. He had experienced the highest ideal of religious rapture by relishing Shri Radha-Krishna's madhurya or sweet romance.

14th March, 2013: Meen Sankranti


 Meen Sankranti

It is the day when the sun transits into Meena Rashi or the Pisces zodiac. It marks the beginning of the Meena masam, the last month in the Malayalam religious calendar, Kollavarsham. Meen Sankranti is observed as a festival in Orissa.

15th March, 2013: Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata
 

 
Lord Ganesha

It is believed that if one observes a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi with sincerity, he is blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.

19th March, 2013: Holashtak Begins


 
 Holashtak

Holashtak witnesses the arrival of Holi. Looking at the literal meaning of Holashtak means eight days before Holi, that is Holashtak. Basically, we can see that holi is a festival of nine days instead of a single day. On the day of Dhulendi this festival comes to an end with colours and gulal.

20th March, 2013: Masik Durgashtami


Ma Durga

Durgashtami fasting is observed every month during Ashtami Tithi of Shukla Paksha. On this day devotees of Goddess Durga worship Her and observe a day long fast.

Prime diety of this day is godess Durga. The Masik Durgashtami in the month of Ashwin is considered highly auspicious, and also called as the Maha Durga Ashtami.

22nd March, 2013: The Holi of Shri Radha Rani at Barsana


Lathmaar Holi of Barsana

Men from Nandgaon, the land of Krishna, arrive to play Holi with the women of Barsana and hope to raise their flag over Shri Kishori ji's temple. But, instead of colours they are greeted with sticks by the gopis. Thus Holi in Barsana is called Lathmaar Holi. The men are smart enough and come fully padded, knowing fully well that they will not be allowed to retaliate on this particular day. In this mock battle they try their best not to be captured. However,those who are unlucky are forcefully led away and get a thrashing from the women. Further, they are made to don a female attire and dance in public.


 
Lord Krishna Dancing Before the Gopis

Renowned poets like Surdas, Nand-Das, Kumbhan-Das and others have beautifully described how Lord Krishna was forced to wear a sari and make-up, and dance before being set free by the gopis.
 
23rd March, 2013: Nandlala & Balrama Holi in Nandgaon


Holi in Nandgaon

The next day, it is the turn of men of Barsana. They retaliate by invading Nandgaon and drenching the women in colours of kesudo, naturally occurring orange-red dye, and palash. Whereas the women of Nadagaon beat the invaders from Barsana, in joyous abandon. Nandgram is the village of dark-hued Krishna's foster father, Shri Nandrai ji. Highly revered by Vaishnavas, the place invokes their devotional service. Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji says, “ Delightedly, Sri Krishna-Balram along with their sakhas daily go to graze cows, the wealth of their tiny village. Their mother splendidly decks the two brothers, packing chhak or their midday meal.”

23rd March, 2013: Amla Ekadashi


Lord Vishnu

It falls on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the waxing phase of the moon, in the lunar month of Phalgun (February–March). It is a celebration of Amla also known as the Indian gooseberry.

The god Vishnu, for whom ekadashis are sacred, is believed to reside in the tree. The Amla tree is ritually worshipped on this day to get the grace of the deity. The day also marks the beginning of the central celebrations of the festival of Holi, the Hindu festival of colours.

23rd March, 2013: Holi Celebrations Begin in Shri Banke Bihariji Temple


 
Shri Banke Bihari Ji

Holi celebrations start in Shri Banke Bihari ji temple from the evening of Amla Ekadashi and continue till Holika Dahan. During this time span, a silver hut is erected in the jagmohan and Shri Banke Bihari ji is resplendent there. He is much closer to devotees and easily accessible during this period. Bihari ji is adorned in a spotless white dress which is multi-hued by the end of devotees darshan.


 
Priests Sprinkle Coloured Water on Devotees

Colour is extracted by boiling the flowers of tesu in water. This naturally coloured warm water which has a pleasant fragrance, is sprinkled on devotees by the priests. A number of other scents like sandal paste, itra (sandal wood oil based natural perfumes), and rosewater are also distributed. Dry coloured natural powders in silver, gold, red, green, yellow and purple are used in abundance so that the temple interiors are colourful.


 
Songs Composed by Swami Haridas are Sung

Goswamis and groups of devotees sing songs composed by saints. While devotees of yesteryears, describe the varying moods and joyous scenes of Holi (such as the one composed by Swami Shri Haridas) in the temple courtyard as well as in city streets. They are well equipped with musical instruments like dhap, khartal, mridang, manjeera and chimta. Steeped in the spirit of holi, bhaktas throw coloured water and powder on each other, as they sing, dance and cry out – holi hai!


 Bobo ji's Yugal Sarkar or Sri Radha-Krishna

Usha Bahenji's Yugal Sarkar are coloured with gulal on their pedestal, from Basant Panchami till Holi.

24th March, 2013: Lord Shiva Pradosh Vrata


Lord Shiva

Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept for propitiating Lord Shiva.

26th March, 2013: Holika Dahan


Bhakta Prahlad is Unhurt on Holika Dahan

Bonfires are lit on the eve of Dhulendi, on Holika Dahan. After this observance prayers are said and praise is offered. The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape of young Prahlad when demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu, escaped unhurt.

27th March,2013: Dhulendi on Phalgun Purnima


 
The day when Holi is Played all over the Country.

Holi celebrations peak in Vrindavan as well as in the temple of Bihariji. As per tradition, Bihariji does not play Holi on this day but merely watches the devotees playing Holi.

27th March, 2013: Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabu Jayanti


 
Shri Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

He is (1486-1533) the celebrated Vaishnava saint and mystic, and chief exponent of the Gaudiya Vasihnavism movement in eastern India. Theologians of his school claim that Chaitanya was fair-complexioned because he was Radha's incarnation, yet internally he was Krishna. Since Lord Gauranga appeared nearly 600 years ago on Phalgun Poornima, our own Saint Ushaji used to bow to Him in Vrindavan on every Holi.
 
He specifically worshipped the forms of Radha and Krishna and popularised the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra. ISKCON established by Prabhupad ji is popularizing the famous Naam-sankirtan of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare

Hare Krishan Hare Krishan, Krishan Krishan Hare Hare ||

27th March, 2013: Appearance Day of Sri Hari Baba


 
Shri Hari Baba

The main attraction which drew everone to Shri Maharaj, a saint of the early twentieth century was the bhakti bhava of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the propagation of sankirtan. Impressed by his strict discipline of self-denial and conscientious observance of sankalp, Bhaktimati Usha Bahenjii had once raved, "He was a such a great devotee that the earth was blessed, the era was honoured and followers were enlightened by his calibre. Several festivals of Vrindavan were graced by his presence."

27th March, 2013: Appearance Day of Shri Anand Das ji Baba of Vrindavan


 
Shri Anand Das Baba

Highly revered Shri Anand Das ji Baba, a great devotee of Lord Hanuman, was a close associate of Manohar Baba. His dedicate devotion is renowned the world over.


30th March, 2013: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

1 comment:

Minakshi Aggarwal said...

very informative,attractive & associated with new & significant informations.This calender is very intresting full of rare information about Holi-The festival of Vrindavan.
Thank you!!
minakshi.