Monday, March 31, 2014

Spiritual Calendar: April, 2014

2nd April, 2014: Matsya Jayanti

The Matsya Avatara

The appearance day of the Matsya Avatara of Lord Vishnu is observed on the third day of the waxing phase of the moon of Chaitra (March – April). Preserving all life forms in a boat during the deluge, the incarnation establishes the concept of Manus for each Great Yuga coupled with the task of recovering the lost Vedas.

There is only one temple in India dedicated to Lord Matsya – Nagalapuram Veda Narayana Swamy Temple near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Matsya and the idol has the head and torso of Lord Vishnu and golden human-like feet.

3rd April, 2014: Vinayak 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.

7th April, 2014: Shri Durgashtami

Goddess Durga

On the 8th day of the navratris, yagna and homa are performed. Pure ghee, kheer and sesame seeds are offered to Goddess Durga. Many people in north India celebrated the 8th day as ashtami when nine young girls symbolizing Navdurge are fed with halwa, puri and kale chane.

In Hindu mythology Durga is Shakti, the divine feminine energy. According to a legend, Lord Brahma granted a boon to Mahishasur, the buffalo demon. Armed with infinite power, the asura created havoc in the universe, and started terrorizing the deities. One fine day he ventured to Swargaloka to kill Indra. Greatly distressed, Indra and other deities begged Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, released their energies or shaktis which flashed forth and fused together, bringing to life a magnificent Goddess resplendent with many arms.

Acclaimed as Durga, she was ravishingly beautiful and deadly. The armed Durga rode a Lion and fought a fiercely bloody battle with Mahishasur, raging for nine days and nights. Finally on the tenth day, Durga trampled him under her foot and Mahishasur was killed. The Goddess’s triumph because of her innate divinity symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

8h April, 2014: Shri Ram Navami

Lord Rama

We celebrate Ram Navami on the ninth day of the new moon in the month of Chaitra to mark the birth of Lord Rama and his three brothers, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughana. In some parts of India devotees also mark the nine days of Ram Naumi as Nao Ratri (nine nights).

Lord Ram was born at sharp midday on the ninth day of the bright side of the month of Chaitra. (Whereas Lord Krishna was born at midnight in the dark side of the month of Bhadrapath – around August of every year)

Tulsidaas, the great narrator who wrote the Ramayana noted that Lord Vishnu came to earth for the protection of four living beings: Brahmans, Devis and devtas, Gao mata (holy cow) and Saints.

Lord Vishnu incarnated as Rama to destroy the demon king, Ravana, so that brahmans and saints could worship freely again. It was after all the gods and goddesses together with Mother earth (in the form of a holy cow) went to Lord Vishnu that he agreed to transcend on earth.

Anand Das Baba, a Great Hanuman Devotee

Sri Ramnaumi Bhandara is also organised at the ashram of Ananddass Baba who was a great Hanumana devotee and the deities (Lord Ram-Sita & family) whom he served, wear a new dress on each Sri Ramnaumi. Thereafter, Sri Ram Kirtan is held in the evening again.

11th April 2014: Phool Bangla

Thakur Banke Bihariji in a Phool Bangla

 The Phool Bangla Utsav in Vrindavan starts from Chaitra Shukla Ekadasi up to Haryali Amavasya (Shravan Amavasya). During this festival of flowers, Shri Banke Bihari ji is decked with leaves and flowers of summer. The leaves of Vatvriksha (Banyan) are strung as garlands and ornaments for Bihari ji. Phool Bangla means a house of flowers which is erected daily in the evening to seat Sri Banke Bihari ji, Sri Radhavallabh ji, Sri Radharaman ji and deities of other temples in  Vrindavan. Devotees long to see this ethereal sight in the scorching summer.


11th April, 2014: Kamada Ekadashi Vrata

Lord Vishnu

The ekadashi expiates all sins including Brahma Hathya.The legend of Kamada Ekadasi is mentioned in the Varaha Purana as a conversation between Lord Krishna and King Yudhistira.

Once, a Gandharva called Lalita was married to a beautiful woman. After his marriage, he was unable to do his regular tasks with dedication because of attraction towards his wife. Pundarika, the King of the Gandharvas, therefore cursed him to become a cannibal. Gandharva with his wife wandered to many holy places to get rid of the curse.

While they were passing by a hermitage, they met a Sage and asked for a remedy to get rid of this curse. That Sage advised them to perform the religious observances associated with Kamada Ekadashi and that was fasting. As suggested by the Sage, the Gandharva couple observed the Kamada Ekadasi fast and got rid of the curse.

12th April, 2014: 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

14th April, 2014: Mesha Sankranti

Mesha Sankranti

Mesha Sankranti is also known as Maha Vishuva Sankranti. According to Vedic astrology the Sun enters Mesha Rashi or the Aries Zodiac on this day.It marks the beginning of the New Year in most Hindu Solar Calendars.

14th April, 2014: Vaisakhi

Celebrating Vaisakhi

The Vaisakhi harvest celebration is an occasion of dancing, singing, music, wearing of festive garments and religious praise in India. The festival marks the start of the New Year in the Nanakshahi solar calendar and recognizes the Sikh religious faith.

15th April, 2014: Shri Hanuman Jayanti

Birth of Hanumana, a Great Devotee of Lord Rama

Hanuman Jayanti Is an important festival of Hindus and celebrates the birth of Lord Hanuman during the month of Chaitra.Sri Hanuman is worshipped all over India either alone or together with Lord Rama. Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and born of the Wind-God and Anjani Devi. A symbol of strength and energy, He is the living embodiment of Ram-Nam, a great devotee and an exceptional celibate. He did what others could not do-crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam, burning the city of Lanka and bringing the sanjeevini herb for restoring Lakshmana to life again.

On Hanuman Jayanti people read the Hanuman Chalisa, fast and spend the whole day chanting the name of Ram. The devotees visit temples and apply a tilak of sindoor to their foreheads from Hanuman's idol as a symbol of good luck.

18th April, 2014: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

 Lord Ganesha

The fast is observed to please Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is called the Vighanharta and a puja begins with worship of Lord Ganesha.

The Legend of Ganesh Damnak Chaturthi Fast

A tale recounts how the Gods decided to choose their leader between the brothers-Kartikeya and Ganesh. Whoever took three rounds of the earth first, would be acclaimed with the position. Kartikeya seated on a peacock, his vehicle, soon enough set out for the mission. Ganesh was given a mooshak or rat, which moved swiftly. He made obeisance to his parents and circumambulating them three times, completed the test before Kartikeya. He reasoned, "My parents pervade the entire universe and going around them, is more valuable than going round the earth." All present were amazed at Ganesha's logic and he was renowned as Ganadhipati or leader, now famed as Ganapati.

25th, May 2014: Sri Vallabhacharya Jayanti

Shri Vallabhacharya

Shri Vallabhacharya is one of the five main Acharyas of the Hindu Religion. (The other four being Shankaracharya, Shri Ramanujacharya, Shri Madhavacharya and Shri Nimbarkacharya.) He propagated the philosophy of Shudhadvaita and founded the Pushtimarg, a sect of the Hindi religion around 1500 AD.

Lord Krishna appeared as Shri Nathji in front of him and ordered him to propagate the pushti kind of devotion among the chosen ones and bring them back in their original state to Golok-dham.Shri Nathji assured him that with brahamasambandha, (relationship with God) whichever soul gains entry into the Pushti Marg, its impurities will refrain from obstructing the soul's relation with the Divine and the soul will be eligible to pursue His bhakti.

25th, May 2014: Shri Varuthini Ekadashi Vrata

Lord Krishna Talks of Varuthini Ekadashi to Yudhistira

Varuthini Ekadashi Is observed on the eleventh day of Krishna Paksha or waning phase of the moon in Chaitra/Vaisakha month. It is believed that observing Varuthini Ekadasi makes a person fortunate, prosperous, expiates his sins and helps in attaining moksha. The greatness of fasting on this Ekadasi was narrated to Yudhishtira (the eldest of the Pandavas) by Lord Krishna and is mentioned in the Bhavishyottara Purana.

26th April, 2014: 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

29th April,2014: Amavasya

Devotees Bathe in the Ganges

Many devotees bathe in the holy Yamuna, Ganges and other rivers. Several devotees throng to Sri Banke Bihari Temple as Akshay Teej is round the corner.

1 comment:

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