Friday, July 1, 2016

Spiritual Calendar: July, 2016

2nd July, 2016: Pradosh Vrata

  Lord Shiva

The puja is observed in the evening on Trayodashi or the 13th day in Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha of the Hindu month to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. It is auspicious to perform Shukra Graha Dosha Nivarana Puja on this day.

4th July,2016: Somwati Amavasya

Somwati Amavasya

The last day of the waning phase of the moon is called Amavasya, the end of the Krishna paksha of the Hindu month.  Like every year Somvati Amavasya is that no Moon day which coincides with Mondays. Particularly considered auspicious to perform Pitra Puja, it holds great importance for all married women. A few festivals like Diwali celebrated on this day. Amavasya is considered sacred for ancestor rituals.

6th July, 2016: Rath Yatra

Lord Jagannath, Subhadra & Balbhadra

Jagannath is a Hindu God worshipped primarily by the people of Orissa and Bengal. Jagannath is generally considered an aspect of Lord Vishnu or his avatara Krishna. He is worshipped as part of a triad along with Krishna's brother Balabhadra and his sister Subhadra.

 The Chariots of Shri Jagannath, Subhadra & Balbhadra

The most famous festival related to Jagannath is the Ratha Yatra, where the three deities are transported in three massive wooden chariots pulled by devotees from Puri to Gundicha Temple, about 3 kms away. Similar Ratha yatra processions are organized all around the world.

8th July, 2016: Vinayaki 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.

15th July, 2016: Devshayani Ekadashi

 Lord Vishnu Resting in the Kshir Sagar

(Devotthan Ekadasi will come about 5 months after Devshayani Ekadashi. Sanyasis call it the Chaturmaas and stay at one place for these 4 months.) It is one of the most important Ekadasis. As per the Puranas, Lord Vishnu is said to take rest in Kshir Saagar or the Ocean of Milk on this day and steps out after four months, on the 11th day of the first bright half of Kartik( the eighth month of the Hindu lunar calendar.) It is believed that Hindu gods and goddesses are resting during this period.

17th July, 2016: 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.

Generally people observe Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening.

Worship of Shiva throughout the night, bathing the Shivalinga with panchamrta (milk, curd, ghee, sugar and honey), homa, japa or chanting of 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).Pradosh timing is 4:20 to 6 o' clock in the evening.
Pradosh Ashtakam is an auspicious prayer chanted during Pradosh Shiv Pujan.

19th July, 2016: Guru Purnima

 Shiva as Adi Dakshinamurty

 The highest form of a Guru is Lord Shiva Himself (Adi Dakshinamurthy) or ultimate knowledge, and a Guru is the manifestation of that knowledge. It is such an important annual festival that most Indians visit the ashrams of their respective gurus or spiritual preceptors in Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mathura and Vrindavan.

Lord Shiva 'The Auspicious One', works for our well being, is the refuge of loving tenderness, is splendidly generous, bestows religious devotion to Krishna and is Maha Yogeshwar.

Easily pleased, Lord Shankar manifested for Usha Bahenji (fondly known as Bobo), a great saint of Vrindavan, and made the spectral revelation that He was her spiritual preceptor who would take her to the pivotal concept of Krishna's madhurya or sweet love.

20th July, 2016: The Shravan Month Begins

 Worshipping Shiva in Shravan

The first Monday of Shravan is dear to all the gods, especially Shiva. On every Monday of this month, devotees throng to Shiva temples throughout India to worship the sacred Shivalingam.

Kadwarias in the month of Shravan: 

Soon after many devotees of Lord Shiva shall carry kadwarias to Haridwar/ Gopeshwar in the sacred Lord Shiva's month of Shravan (name of the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar). A kadwar is a decorative bamboo pole carried on the shoulder with covered pots of water balanced at both ends.

20th July, 2016:Jhulan Utsav Begins in Braj Mandal

 The Yugal Sarkar on a Swing

 In the sacred town of Vrindavana, Saint Usha Bahenji's Yugal Sarkar are resplendent on a swing from 5 to 6 pm for the entire month of Sawan.

23rd July,2016: Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi

  Lord Ganesha

 Chaturthi is celebrated on the 4th day from full moon day. Devotees fast on this day.The Chaturthi after Purnimasi or full moon and during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.
30th July, 2016:Janam Utsav of Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji 

 Revered Usha Bahenji, a Great Saint of Vrindavan

Let us bow to Ushaji whose ishtdev or favoured deities are Shri Radha-Krishna and Lord Shiva is her guru or spiritual preceptor. Hence it seems but natural that she was born in Shravan, the month of worshipping Shiva.

 30th July, 2016: Kamika EkadashiLet us bow to Ushaji whose favoured deities are Shri Radha-Krishna and Lord Shiva is her guru or spiritual preceptor

Lord Vishnu

The story of Kamika Ekadashi from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana is as follows: The saintly king Yudhishthira requested Lord Krishna to narrate glories of the ekadashi which occurs during the dark fortnight of the Shravan Month (July-August).Krishna said that once Narada Muni asked Lord Brahma the name of this ekadashi,the deity who was to be worshipped, the process to be followed and its merits.Lord Brahma happily agreed because just hearing about the Kamika Ekadashi is equivalent to performing a horse sacrifice.

One who worships Lord Vishnu attains greater merit than bathing in the Ganges,having darshan of Lord Kedarnath in the Himalayas,bathing at Kurukshetra during a solar eclipse, donating earth in charity, taking a dip in the Kali Gandaki River or Godavari River on full moon. Observing Kamika Ekadashi bestows the same merit as donating a milk-cow and her calf along with their fodder. Oh Narada, Lord Krishna himself confirmed that the one who fasts on Kamidka Ekadashi is more blessed than a person studying the spiritual texts and does not have to suffer future births.

Lord Krishna affirmed that this sacred day nullifies the sin of killing a brahman or an unborn child in the womb and transports one to Viakuntha, where Lord Vishnu forever dwells.

31st July, 2016: Pradosh Vrata

 Lord Shiva

 The puja is observed in the evening on Trayodashi or the 13th day in Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha of the Hindu month to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. It is auspicious to perform Shukra Graha Dosha Nivarana Puja on this day.

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