Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Spiritual Calendar: January, 2015

1st January, 2015: Paush Putrada Ekadashi Vrata

Putrada Ekadashi

This Ekadasi is specially observed by married couples for getting healthy children. A popular legend mentioned in the Puranas indicates that a King was able to beget a son by observing Putrada Ekadashi. After bathing early in the morning, the idol of Lord Vishnu should be bathed with curd, milk and water. Prayers should be done using roli, chandan, dhoop and deep.

It is also highly commendable to feed poor children and old people on the day.

The significance of Putrada Ekadashi was narrated to Yudhishtira by Lord Krishna and is found in the Bhavisyotara Purana.

Ekadasi is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is observed on the 11th day of the waning and waxing phase of moon in the traditional Hindu calendar.

2nd January,2015: Pradosh Vrata (Shukla Paksha)

Lord Shiva

 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.) It begins at sunrise and ends during twilight in the evening.

5th January, 2015: Paush Purnima

Paush Purnima Snan

 Paush Purnima is the full moon day of the Paush Month. It is considered very auspicious as the Magh Mela and its Snan starts at the Allahabad Prayag Triveni Sangam.

Hindus believe that taking a holy dip at the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, or any other location of holy rivers like the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and Brahmaputra is very auspicious and expiates the sins committed in their lives.

The festivals of Shakambari Jayanthi and Shakambari Purnima are celebrated on Paush Purnima and it is the last day of Poush Navratras.

Mount Goverdhan

Our friends in Dubai can mentally do the parikrama or circumambulate Mount Goverdhan. Shri Giriraj is blessed because it here that Lord Krishna spreads His joy and expresses His love. If one does parikrama of the mountain just once he is expiated from all sins. Finally attaining His favoured deity, goes to Vaikuntha because Shri Radha's Pranvallabha or Lord Krishna adorns the peak of Shri Govardhan.

12th January, 2015: Swami Vivekananda Jayanti

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863–July 4, 1902),was the chief disciple of the 19th century Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and founded the Ramakrishna Mission. He introduced the Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America, and brought Hinduism to the status of a world religion by end of the 19th century. Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta in 1863. While searching for someone who could directly demonstrate the reality of God, he came to Ramakrishna and became his disciple. Ramakrishna taught him the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta or non-dualism and that service to man was the most effective worship of God.

13th January, 2015: Lohri

Punjabis, irrespective of their religion, continue to practice their Punjabi Folk Religion. Respect to the seasons and the natural elements of fire, wind, water and the earth is very important. Lohri is a festival dedicated to the end of the Winter season whereas Teej (known as Teeyan in Punjabi) is dedicated to the rain/Monsoon season and Basant is dedicated to Spring .

Over time, people have associated Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti. The central character of most Lohri songs, Dulla Bhatti was a Muslim highway robber who had converted from Sikhism. He lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Regarded as a hero in Punjab, he robbed the rich and rescued Sikh and Hindu girls being forcibly taken to be sold in the slave market of the Middle East. He arranged their marriages to Sikh and Hindu boys with the proper rituals and provided them with dowries. So every other Lohri song expresses gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.

14th January, 2015: Makar Sankranti

Worshipping the Sun God

Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn Zodiac it is known as Makar in Hindi.

Bathing in the Ganges on Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase and any sacred ritual can be sanctified in a Hindu family from this day onwards.Sankranti marks the termination of the winter season and the onset of spring.

At Vrindavan, Rishikesh and Allahabad, millions of devotees will take a dip in the holy River Yamuna or the Ganges on this pious day. Invariably they will give charity to the needy.

Bhagwan Surya-Narayan is considered the ancestor of Lord Ramji and the very first disciple of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavat Gita, and He will be worshipped with joyous abandon.

Shri Radha Vallabha Thakurs in Vrindavan

Today a bhoga of khichdi will be offered to Sri Yugal Sarkar particularly at the Radha Vallabhji Temple at the holy dham of Vrindavan. We must also offer khichdi bhoga to our ishtdev or family deity and liberally donate it to brahmins and the needy.

16th January, 2015: Birth Anniversary of Shri Radha Baba

Sri Sri Radha Baba

In 2012-2013, the birth centenary of Sri Sri Radha Baba (16th January 1913-13th October 1992) was being celebrated at His birthplace, Gorakhpur, Kolkatta and Delhi to spread the message of love. In quest of the divine, Shri Shri Radha Baba came in contact with Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar through Jai Dayal Ji Goenka, a spiritual personality and the founder of Gitapress.

In 1987, highly revered Bobo sent the aunties of Vrindavan, her inner circle of devotees and me for his darshan.Today we feel truly blessed because we had stayed at Gita Vatika for full one week, in the year 1987.

16th January, 2015: Shat Tila Ekadashi

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.

18th January,2015: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.

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).

20th January,2015: Mauni Amavasya

Devotees Bathing at the Sangam in Prayag

We have 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.

20th January, 2015:Paush Amavasya

The first new moon day of the New Year attracts a large number of devotees from all over the world.

Devotees Take a Dip on Poush Amavasya

Considered auspicious for Hindus, many devotees visit sacred rivers and take a dip early in the morning and offer oblations (tarpan) to their departed ancestors. Hindus offer Pinda and Shraddh karma to dead ancestors.

Shri Banke Bihari ji in Vrindavan

One can hear the Shri Banke Bihari Aarti and the Shri Banke Bihari Ashtak at the The Ashtak is a compilation of eight verses in Sanskrit dedicated to the praise of Shri Banke Bihari Maharaj and composed by Shri Jagdish Goswami when the present temple was being constructed in the 1860’s. Recitation of the ashtak or octet relieves the devotee of worldly worries and above all ensures sharanagati which means he finds lasting peace in the lotus feet of Shri Bankey Bihari.

Swami Shri Haridas

The devotional compositions of Swami Haridas compiled under the heading of Kelimal can be chanted. The word Kelimal means garland (Mal or Mala) of plays (Keli). This volume consists of 110 compositions in Indian classical music and is dedicated to the romantic dalliance of Shyama-Shyam in the nikunja or Nikunj Keli.

Siddhant Ke Ashtadash Pad (eighteen poems of principles): Swami Haridas came to Vrindavan in the sixteenth century AD. when the country had already seen foreign aggressions. The knowledge of Sanskrit and ancient philosophy had become extinct but these times were relatively peaceful as Akbar pursued a path of reconciliation.

During that period Swami Haridas composed these eighteen quadruplets containing the extract of philosophy in Braj bhasha, the language of common man. The complex relationship between the world, soul, creator and maya who runs the world has been explained in simple words. The true nature of the soul and salvation by total surrender to His desire (as expounded in Shrimad Bhagvat Gita and other epics) is also dwelt upon.

 24th January, 2015: Basant Panchami

Goddess 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 Holi.In Braj this festival of colours is celebrated for a span of 41 days (foreword on Braj Bhoomi Mohini by Saint Ushaji).

Saint Ushaji's Yugal Sarkar

At 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.

30th January,2015: Jaya Ekadashi

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.

1 comment:

Minakshi Aggarwal said...

Very informative calander,we get all information about everyday's significance spiritually.
Thank you!