Monday, November 4, 2013

Spiritual Calendar: November 2013

1st November, 2013: Dhanteras/Dhanwantari Jayanti

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.

1st November,2013: Lord Shiva's Pradosh

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.

2nd November, 2013: 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, rescued 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.

2nd November, 2013: Roop Chaturdashi

 The Ineffably Beautiful Lord Krishna

A person’s visual appearance is enhanced by worshipping Lord Krishna on this day.A saint used to live in a place called Hiranyagarbha. Once he tried to invoke the Lord by praying to Him. He performed austerities but faced a lot of problems.

Hence the saint was distressed. The saint asked Narad Muni why he had to face so many problems despite worshipping the Lord. Narad Muni told him that he had prayed in an inappropriate manner.

Narad Muni suggested that the saint keep a fast on the day of Chaturdashi in the Kartik Krishna Paksha and worship Lord Krishna on this day. Narada assured the saint that he would become beautiful and healthy if he did so. The saint followed all principles of the fast and became healthy. Thus Narak Chaturdashi came to be known as Roop Chaturdashi.

On this day, a person should wake up early and take a bath. He should put some Apamarg leaves in water before  taking a bath. A four-faced lamp should be kept in a platter for worshipping the Lord. Roli, jaggery, gulal and flowers should also be kept in this platter.

After worshipping Lord Krishna, lamps should be lit in different corners of the house. Ganesha and goddess Laxmi must be worshipped with dhoop and lamps. Lamps are also donated on this day. Fourteen lamps dedicated to Lord Yama are lit in the southern direction.  A devout worshipper is freed from all sins and problems.

2nd November, 2013: Hanuman Jayanti

 Shri Hanuman Mandir, Sarangpur

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.

3rd November, 2013: Diwali / Shri Lakshmi 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.

 Ardhnarishwar 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.

4th November, 2013: Annakoot or Sri Goverdhan Puja

 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).

5th November, 2013: 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.

5th November, 2013: Yama Dwitheya Snan

 Yamaraj with His Sister Yami

Tradition has it that the older sister takes her brother by the hand and the two bathe together in the Yamuna. Yamuna is the twin sister of Yamaraj, the god of death, and it is said that she intervenes on behalf of brothers and sisters to protect them from the depredations of her brother.

After bathing custom has it that the brother and sister go to the Yamuna-Yamaraj temple and offer prayers there. Afterwards, the sister marks her brother’s forehead with tilak, symbolizing her wishes for his long life. Then they will exchange sweets and gifts and the brother usually offers a sari or some other piece of clothing to his sister.

 Yama, the God of Death

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.Yamaraj with His Sister Yami

Tradition has it that the older sister takes her brother by the hand and the two bathe together in the Yamuna. Yamuna is the twin sister of Yamaraj, the god of death, and it is said that she intervenes on behalf of brothers and sisters to protect them from the depredations of her brother.

After bathing custom has it that the brother and sister go to the Yamuna-Yamaraj temple and offer prayers there. Afterwards, the sister marks her brother’s forehead with tilak, symbolizing her wishes for his long life. Then they will exchange sweets and gifts and the brother usually offers a sari or some other piece of clothing to his sister.

6th November, 2013: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi VrataKartik

Chhath Puja: 6th November to 9th November, 2013

 Devotees Salute the Setting Sun

Offering reverence to the solar deity, Chhath is the only festival in the world where devotees offer salutations to the setting sun; the only occasion when the setting sun as opposed to its rising is celebrated for its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death.

The word Chhath denotes number six in Hindi and begins on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik (October-November.) It is a festival celebrated by Biharis on the sixth day after Diwali; a 4 day long celebration accompanied by rituals or Suryashashthi. The festivities comprise of fasting, folklores, hymns on the celestial Ganges or any fresh water body. Chhat Maiya is celebrated on the banks of the Ganges in Patna and Yamuna in Delhi with thousands of hands offering ‘Arghya’ to the sun making it an ethereal sight.

10th November, 2013: Gopashtami

 Lord Krishna, the Cowherd

An important festival it is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is observed on the eighth day of the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Kartik (October – November). Gopashtami celebrates Krishna's becoming an independent cowherd. Gau Puja or worship of cows, is undertaken in many regions of India.

It is believed that Lord Krishna was allowed to herd cows, the wealth of his village, for the first time on this day by Nanda, as he had been only looking after calves up until then. Mother Yashoda and Nand Baba are delighted to see their pampered Krishna take on his responsibilities. Invariably it is a great boon to Dama & Sumangal, Krishna's sakhas, since they can play spirited antics with the dark god now.(Shrimad Bhagavat-Canto 10,chapter XI, verse 37) It's in the forest that Krishna kills Vatsasura, Bakasura, Aghasurr and other demons. Lord Brahama is fascinated by His childlike, playful activities here and decides to take away the cows.( chapters 13 to 15 of the 10th Canto, Shrimad Bhagavat)

The festivities are a major event in Vrindavan, Mathura, Nathdwara and other sites closely related to the cowherd god. In Nathdwara, cow herders bring hundreds of cows and their calves to the temples and the cows are beautifully decked for the occasion. Gopa Ashtami was a festival meant for boys but it is said that Radha dressing up like a boy, joyously took part in it.Those worshipping the balgopal or child form of Lord Krishna can offer the special makan-mishri bhog to Him.

11th November, 2013: Akshay Navami

 Women Celebrate Akshay Navami in Patna

Also known as Amala Navami, it is the ninth day of waxing phase of the moon in Kartika Month.The popular belief is that the Treta Yuga started on this day An important event on Akshay Navmi is the distribution of alms and receiving of presents. It is observed as Akshay Navami Parikarama Divas in North India. Goddess Jagadhatri is worshipped on this occasion in West Bengal. Legend has it that Lord Surya (Sun God) worshipped Goddess Durga on this day and was rewarded properties that he possesses.

The Romantic Dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna

Millions throng Vrindavan from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and so on for the joint parikrama or circumambulation of Mathura-Vrindavan, which takes around 6 hours. The famed 84 kos parikrama of Braj which covers Mathura, Goverdhan, Barsana, Vrindavan and Gokul, and began on Sharad Poornima is on in full swing and will take a week to complete. Ashtyaam lilas, showcasing the playful dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna from dawn to dusk are being enacted in Vrindavan.

13th November, 2013: Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi

    Dev Prabhodhini Ekadashi

Utthana Ekadasi, or Prabodhini Ekadashi, is observed during the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Kartik (October – November). The importance of Dev Prabodhini Ekadasi is narrated to Sage Narada by Brahma in the Skanda Purana. Observing this Ekadasi, a fast dedicated to Lord Vishnu, gets rid of the remorse of committed sins and leads to liberation or moksha.

13th November, 2013: Tulsi Vivah

Goddess Tulsi's Marriage to Shaligram ji

Tulsi Vivah or the ceremony of Tulsi's marriage to Vishnu or Krishna His incarnation, can be performed any time between Prabodhini Ekadashi to Kartik Poornima. Usually it is performed on the eleventh or the twelfth lunar day depending on the region. The wedding of Tulsi marks the end of the monsoons and the beginning of the Hindu wedding season.

The legend of Tulsi Vivah and its rites are revealed in the Padma Purana. According to Hindu mythology, the basil plant was a woman named Vrinda, a synonym of Tulsi. She was married to the Jalandhar, a demon-king. Due to her pious nature and devotion to Vishnu, her husband became invincible. Even Shiva, the destroyer, could not defeat Jalandhar. So He requested Vishnu, the preserver, to find a solution. Vishnu disguised as Jalandhar violated Vrinda. Her chastity destroyed, Jalandhar was killed by Shiva.

Vrinda cursed Vishnu to become black in colour and be separated from his wife. Thus, he was transformed into the black Shaligram stone and in the Rama Incarnation, his wife Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and separated from Him. Vrinda then burnt herself on her husband's funeral pyre due to the shame. Vishnu transferred her soul to a plant called Tulsi. According to a blessing by Vishnu, Vishnu in the form of Shaligram married Tulsi on Prabodhini Ekadashi. To commemorate this event, the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed to commemorate this event.

 15th November, 2013: Lord Shiva Pradosh Fast

16th November, 2013:Vrischika Sankranti

 Sankranti means transition.When the sun transits from one rashi (zodiac sign) to Scorpio that day is known as Vrischika Sankranti.Since the sun passes through twelve rashis there is one sankranti every month.(Sun enters Scorpio)

16th November, 2013: Vaikunth Ekadashi

Vaikunth, the Abode of Lord Vishnu

Vaikunth Chaturdashi is observed on the fourteenth day of the Shukla Paksha of the Kartik Month. This festival is dedicated to Maha Vishnu who did puja of Lord Shiva on this day. As per legend Vishnu visited the holy city of Varanasi for worshipping Shiva. Lord Vishnu wanted to offer 1000 flowers to Shiva. To test the religious devotion of Vishnu, Shiva hid one flower. Finally Vishnu realized that one flower was missing and offered His lotus eye to Shiva.

Shiva Presents the Sudarshan Chakra to Vishnu

Shiva was very pleased with Vishnu's unflinching devotion and presented Him the sudarshan chakra or divine disc. Vaikunth Chaturdashi is celebrated with great fervour in Vaishnava Temples and devotees offer 1000 flowers to Vishnu during the puja. Vishnu Sahasranama, Vishnu Ashtottram, Vishnu Stuti and Vishnu Purana are religously recited on this particular day.

17th November, 2013: Kartik Poornima

 Kartik Poornima is celebrated on the full moon of Kartik (November–December) and the month long Kartik Snan is over. It is also known as Tripuri Poornima or Tripurari Poornima. It is sometimes called Deva-Diwali - the festival of lights of the gods and coincides with Guru Nanak Jayanti

Kartik poornima is the birthday of Matsya, god Vishnu's fish-incarnation (avatar). It is also the birthday of Vrinda, personification of the Tulsi plant and of Kartikeya, the god of war and son of Shiva.

Shri Radha-Krishna

This day is particularly dear to Radha, the beloved of Krishna for it is believed that Krishna and Radha danced rasa and Krishna worshipped Radha on this day.

21st November, 2013: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

29th November, 2013:Utpanna Ekadashi

 Shri Ranganatha on Utpanna Ekadashi

It is also known as Utpatti Ekadasi. It is observed on the eleventh day in the first half of the month of Margasirsha and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Puranas reveal that once the gods and their king Indra were driven out of swarga by demon Mura.The devas took refuge in Lord Vishnu and pleaded that He restore their lost kingdom. Lord Vishnu asked the devas to assemble at Chandravati to fight Demon Mura. The Lord easily defeated the demon army but could not defeat demon Mura.

After a while Lord Vishnu decided to rest in a cave at Badrikasrama and slept. Mura arrived to annihilate Lord Vishnu. All of a sudden,from the Lord's transcendental form emerged a goddess with eight arms, brandishing several weapons. She battled and killed Mura. When Lord Vishnu woke up He blessed her, stating that she was His energy. Since she had appeared on the 11th day of a lunar fortnight, she was named Ekadasi. Vishnu affirmed that those who worship Him and observe Ekadasi Vrat, their sins will be expiated and they will attain salvation. Lord Krishna advises his devotees to start their Ekadasi Upvas on Utpanna Ekadashi and break it on Dwadashi.

30th November,2013: Lord Shiva Pradosh Vrata