Sunday, December 1, 2013

Spiritual Calendar: December, 2013

2nd December, 2013: Somvati Amavasya

Somvati Amavasya

The day of conjunction of the sun and moon, on the fifteenth day of the dark half of a lunar month is known as Amavasya, the last day of the waning moon. Though Amavasya occurs every month, Hindus believe it to be 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 whoever takes a bath in sacred rivers on this day becomes prosperous, free of diseases and grief. There is a belief that souls of ancestors will rest in peace if children and relatives take a dip in the sacred river Ganges at Haridwar, Triveni and other places.

Women worship the peepul tree and tie a 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. 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.

6th December, 2013: Vinayak Chaturthi Vrata

Lord Ganesha

According to Hindu scriptures Chaturthi Tithi(s) belongs to Lord Ganesha. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi.

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. Devotees of Lord Ganesha, who intend to observe a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi, wake up early in the morning and take a bath. After wearing laundered clothes, they head towards the nearest temple or perform a small puja at home, to offer prayers to the deity.

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, 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.

7th December
: Shri Bihar Panchami

Shri Banke Bihariji

Bihar Panchami, is the day when Shri Bankebihari (Lord Krishna) manifested in Vrindavan for Swami Shri Haridas. The incident is 523 years old when Akbar reigned and Tansen was his darbari. Millions of devotees throng the Bihariji Temple to revel in the festivities. This auspicious event is said to have taken place on the fifth day of the moon's waxing phase in the Margashirsha Month.

 Shri Lalita Sakhi 

Swami Haridas who was none other than Lalita sakhi, continuously meditated on Nitya Raas and Nitya Vihar of Lord Krishna at nitya Vrindavan. He used to compose songs and sing them in praise of the Lord. Swami Haridas chose a secluded dense forest area in Nidhivan as his gateway to the Lord's nitya vihar and mostly sang and meditated there.

Swami Shri Haridas

His disciples wanted to know what was so special about that particular place. One day, which happened to be the birthday of Vithal Vipul, Swamiji called all his disciples and asked them to enter the Kunj. Vithal Vipul led them to the interior of the kunj where they were almost blinded by a bright, intense light. Astonished, they all went to Swamiji and spoke of their strange experience that the seemingly dark interiors of the kunj were so intensely illuminated. Swamiji prayed and the disciples followed with their eyes fixed on the kunj.

Soon after, moved by their dedication and the grace of Swamiji, the Lord appeared with His divine consort.

This idol of Bihariji is revered as a svarupa or the living presence of God and called by different names: Bihariji, Bankey Bihari ji, Kunj Bihariji and many others.


Popularly known as Bankey Bihari Prakat Mahotsav, the entire premises of Nidhivan as well as the Bankey Bihari Temple are beautifully decked with flowers, flags, buntings and lights on this occasion. Special pujas and rituals are performed and another great attraction are the colourful processions taken out on this day.

The main celebrations start at Shri Bankey Bihariji Prakatya Sthal in Nidhivan. Abhishek is done here early in the morning, in full public view. The symbolic footprints of Shri Bankey Bihariji Maharaj are given a ceremonial bath by milk, curd, honey, ghee and water. Thereafter, the place is decorated with fine cloths, frills, flowers and jewellery. Finally panchamrit ( a mix of milk, curd, honey, ghee and water) is distributed among the devotees.

Later in the morning, a grand procession is taken out from Nidhivan to the Shri Bankey Bihari Mandir. The procession consists of several brass bands,musical groups, decorated elephants, high flags and keertan groups. It is headed by three decorated chariots seating the images of Swami Shri Haridasji, Shri Vithal (Veethal) Vipul Devji and Shri Goswami Jagannathji Maharaj.The bhava is that Swami Shri Haridasji along with his disciples is going to greet Shri Bankey Bihariji Maharaj on this auspicious occasion.

The procession passes through the main bazaars of Vrindavan and reaches Shri Bankey Bihari temple by the time of Rajbhog (12 in the noon). Images of the saints are taken inside the temple and then Rajbhog is offered to Bihariji. Devotees believe that Bihariji enjoys the meals offered by Swami Haridasji with his own hands, as He sits on Swami Haridas' lap. After Rajbhog Arti, prasad is distributed among the devotees.
7th Dember,2013: Vivah Panchami of Lord Ram and Ma Sita

Shri Ram Sita Vivah

It is observed on the fifth day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Margashirsha. The day is observed as the Vivah Utsav of Sita and Rama in temples and sacred places associated with Sri Rama in Mithilanchal region and North India.

Shri Anand Das Baba

Saint Ushaji used to say that he was Rambhakt Hanuman Himself. He would spend entire days and night at the sandy beaches of Sri Yamuna without food for days at a stretch and ardently longed for the divine love of Ramji. An amazing trait of His religious devotion was Baba's constant love for Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna forever dwells, even though he was a great devotee of Lord Rama.

8th December,2013: Shri Skand Shashti

Lord Kartikeya

Skanda is a Hindu god also known as Kartikeya or Murugan. Shashti Vratham is an auspicious fast dedicated to Lord Subramanya or Murugan. Devotees fast on Shashti day and worship Murugan with shodashopachara puja.

There are two Shashtis in a month and devotees of Skanda observe partial or full fast on the Shashti occurring after the new moon (Amavasya)

13th December, 2013: Janamotsav of Shri Balkrishan Dasji Maharaj

Shri Balkrishan Dasji Maharaj

Maharaj Bal Krishna Dasji was a great saint of Vrindavan, who had experienced the highest ideal of religious rapture by relishing Shri Radha-Krishna's madhurya or sweet romance.

The Janamotsav of Shri Bal Krishna Dasji Maharaj Of Venu Vinod Kunj, Vrindavan and Shri Bhagavad Gita Jayanti coincide. Maharajji was born on the same day when Lord Krishna revealed the nature of time and duty to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, about 5225 years ago. Gita Jayanti is observed on the eleventh day of the bright half moon (Shukla paksha) of the Margashirsha month (November – December). Devotees from all over India converge at Shri Dham Vrindavan to celebrate this occasion. 

Devotees from all over India are likely to converge at Shri Dham Vrindavan from 8th December,2013onwards. Programme for the six day celebration is as follows:

9th December, 2013: Samaj-9 to 12 AM

This is a musical programme, a vocal rendition of the padhati  or traditional form of kirtan as was sung by Shri Haridas Maharaj,the great saint and singer. He was the Guru of  Baiju Bawra and it is ethereal to hear this rendition having a rhythm which is superb and enchanting. You will feel that you have left this material world far behind and are in the presence of the Gopis and Lord Krishna.

10th, 11th and 12th December : Bhaktmal Katha-9 to 11:30 AM
Bhaktmal Katha will be read by Bhaktmali Bihari Sharanji

Bhaktmal is an Awadhi poem which gives short biographies of more than two-hundred Bhaktas. It was composed by Nabhadas, a saint belonging to the tradition of Ramananda. The work is free from miraculous events, and is widely believed to be an unbiased account of Bhaktas across all sectarian paths. In case of many Bhaktas, the Bhaktamal gives the earliest reliable account, and hence is considered an important source for literary and devotional history of northern India.

13th December,2013: Abhishek and Malaya Arpan- 7 to 12 AM

Select Bhajans from ' Bhav Nirjhar' are sung by the devotees, Bhav Nirjhar is a compilation of Poojya Maharaj jis poems and is sung in praise of His Lord and master Lord Krishna.

On this particular night the devotees stay awake the whole night and sing the mahamantra in different ragas

Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare  |

14th December, 2013: Bhandar-12 AM

A day to celebrate and rejoice.Young devotees dance and sing badhai. This is followed by a bhandara.

13th December, 2013: Mokshada Ekadashi

Mokshada Ekadashi

Its legend as taken from the Brahmanda Purana:

Yudhishthira Maharaj said, "What is the name of the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Margashirsha (November-December) and removes all sins? "

Lord Sri Krishna replied, "This Ekadasi is famous as Mokshada because it purifies the faithful devotee of all sinful reactions and bestows liberation upon him. The worshippable Deity of this auspicious day is Lord Damodara.”

" There once was a beautiful city named Champaka-nagar and the best of saintly kings Maharaj Vaikhaanasa, ruled over his subjects as if they were his very own dear sons and daughters. The king had a dream one night in which his father was seen to be suffering torture in one of the hellish planets ruled over by Yamaraj.”

" ' O brahmanas,' the king addressed them, 'In a dream last night I saw my father suffering on a hellish planet. Now I have no peace in my mind, and even this beautiful kingdom has become unbearable to me.”

" The twice born brahmins replied, 'O king, in the mountainous forest not far from here is the ashram where a great saint Parvata Muni resides. Please go to him, for he knows the past, the present, and the future and can surely help you in attaining relief from your misery.'

"Upon the advise of brahmins, the distressed king immediately set out for the ashram of sage Parvata Muni.

"Then, Parvata Muni, the best of all sages, closed his eyes and meditated on the king and said, 'Your father is suffering the results of committing a great sin. In his previous life he quarrelled with his wife and forcibly enjoyed her sexually.'

"Parvata Muni said, 'During the light fortnight of the month of Margashirsha there occurs an Ekadasi called Mokshadaa'.

"Hearing this, Maharaj Vaikhaanasa profusely thanked the great sage and returned to his palace to observe the vrata. Then he perfectly and with full faith observed the Ekadasi fast with his wife, children, and other relatives and dutifully gave the merit from this fast to his father.

Soon after, the king's father was escorted to the celestial region.'

Lord Krishna confirmed, "O son of Pandu there is no better fasting day than this Ekadasi and one goes back to Godhead, never to return to this material world."

14th December, 2013: Shani Pradhosh Vrata

 Lord Shiva

The Pradosh falls on a Saturday and therefore it is known as Shani PradoshPradosh 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.) It begins at sunrise and ends during twilight in the evening.

16th December, 2013: Dhanu Sankranti

Dhanu Sankranti

On this day the Sun transits to Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius). Dhanu Sankranti marks the beginning of the ninth month in the Hindu Solar Calendar. Dhanu Masam begins in Malayalam Calendars and Margazhi Masam begins in Tamil Calendars.

Sankranti is highly auspicious for dana and punya. Only a certain time duration of Sankranti is considered auspicious. Dhanu Sankranti is of great significance in Orissa and special prayers are offered to Lord Jagannath on this day.The Sun God (Surya) is also worshipped on this day.

17th December, 2013: Margashirsha Purnima

Margashirsha Poornima

Margsahirsha Poornima or full moon day is the last day in a month in the calendar followed in North India and is known as Pournami in South India. Fasting from sunrise to sunset is observed by some Hindus on Purnima and this day is chosen by many Hindus for pujas like the Satyanarayan Puja and Dattatreya Jayanthi, plus Annapurna Jayanti is also observed on this day.

21st December, 2013: Sankashti Chaturthi

 Lord Ganesha

The chaviti or the fourth day of the month of the Krishna Paksha or waning phase of the moon is known as Sankashti Chaturthi. Devotees of Lord Ganesha observe the Sankashti Chaturthi Vrat. It is believed that by doing so one is freed from all difficulties known as Sankat.

Devotees observe a day long fast on Sankashti Chaturthi. In the night after seeing the moon,bhaktas worship Lord Ganesha. After praying to Lord Ganesha, devotees eat the offering made to Lord Ganesha and take care to visit a Ganesha Temple on Sankashti Chaturthi Day.

28th December, 2013: Safala Ekadashi

Safala Ekadashi

Safala Ekadashi is observed on Paush Krishna Paksha Ekadasi day as per North Indian calendars. The vrata helps devotees to attain success in every sphere of life.

The spiritual importance of Safala Ekadashi is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana as the conversation between Lord Krishna and Yudhistira. The legend of Safala Ekadashi is associated with King Lumpaka who was sinful by nature but after keeping the Ekadasi Vrat he was blessed with a blissful life and attained salvation after death.

30th December, 2013: Som 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.It is said that on this day all gods and goddesses assemble at Mount Kailash to worship Lord Shiva. The Pradosh which falls on a Monday is of special significance.

1 comment:

Minakshi Aggarwal said...

Very informative & intresting calender with all significant days.