Monday, September 5, 2016

Spiritual Calendar: September, 2016

4th September, 2016:Hartalika Teej

 Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati

This is a three-day festival, celebrated by women in honor of Parvati, in the month of Bhadrapad. By praying to Parvati on these three days, unmarried girls hope to get a husband like Shiva. Married women pray to her for marital bliss. According to Hindu mythology, Parvati was in love with Shiva. Being an ascetic however, Shiva was not aware of her. Parvati performed penance in the Himalayas for many years before Shiva finally noticed her. Realizing the depth of her love and devotion, he agreed to marry her .Since then Parvati has been worshipped as Haritalika.

Women and young girls maintain nirjala vrata on these three days, and keep awake all three nights. This is symbolic of the penance which Parvati undertook to get Shiva as her husband. They offer food to Brahmins and young girls.

5th September, 2016: Shri Ganesh Utsav

A Beautifully Crafted Idol of  Lord Ganesha

Brilliantly crafted idols of Ganesha are brought home about ten days in advance on Ganesh Janam Utsav which marks the birth of Lord Ganesha.There He sits in state till Anant Chaturdashi (15th Sept) when he is devoutly immersed in water.In almost every neighbourhood a brightly decorated Ganesha idol is made and worshipped for all of the ten days.On the day of the Ganesh festival laddoos and modaks which are Ganesha's favourite sweets are distributed and Ganesha temples are crowded with devotees.

7th September, 2016: Shri Lalita Sasti

 Prime Ashtasaki Shri Lalita Devi

 Lalita Devi is the prime ashtasakhi and the eldest amongst Krishna's gopis. As per astrological calculation,Shri Lalita Sasti or the date of her birth falls on the day before Sri Radhashtami.Though a close confidante of the divine couple, she is more inclined to Sri Radhika.

An intimate companion of Radharani, Lalita is the khandita with a contradictory and hot-tempered nature. Her complexion is bright yellow and garments are the colour of peacock feathers. Her mother is Saradi Devi and father is Vishoka. Her husband is Bhairava, who is a close friend of Govardhana Malla, the husband of Candravali.

9th September,2016:Shri Radha Ashtami

 Shri Radha Rani

 As Krishna is the source of all manifestations of God, Sri Radha His consort is the source of all shaktis or feminine manifestations of cosmic energy. She is thus the supreme deity in Gaudiya tradition, for it is said that she controls Krishna with her love and that perfect spiritual life is unattainable without Her grace.

The most revered occasion for the denizens of Barsana, its celebration begins with chanting the lilas or playful dalliances of Sri Radha with thousands of padas being sung in her honour.

The festive occasion is observed 15 days after the Janmashtami of Lord Krishna. It falls on the eighth day of the Bhadrapada Month in the Hindu calendar, in the waxing phase of the moon somewhere between (AugustSeptember). Sri Radha was born in Barsana, a suburb of Mathura, as the daughter of Vrashabhanu and Kirti.

9th September, 2016:Swami Shri Haridas Janamotsav

Swami Shri Haridas

On this day after the rajbhoga aarti in the evening at 4 o' clock there is rasa lila in the temple of Shri Banke Bihari ji. Svami Shri Hari Das realized God in the form of Shri Bankey Bihari, starting the tradition of and initiating his disciples into rasopasna bhakti. He is also known as Adya Acharya of Raas Leela tradition.

Lord Krishna Braids Shri Radha's Hair

Nidhivan as well as the Banke Bihari temple are beautifully decorated with flowers, flags and buntings. In the afternoon, around 4:30 PM, the Rasa Lila is enacted in the courtyard of the temple, only once a year. The theme of the lila is veni guthan, that is, Krishna makes up the hair of Radha and ties it into a lovely nice braid. The lila is based on one of the compositions of Swami Haridas from Shri Kelimal:

In the evening a grand procession, called chav, is taken out from the temple. It consists of several brass bands, other musical performing groups, decorated elephants, high flags and kirtan mandalis. Goswamis participate in a group singing devotional songs, celebrating the birth of Swami Haridas in a style known as samaj gayan. Many gifts such as the prasad of Bihariji are carried to be presented to Swami Haridas. It is as if Bihariji is going to greet Swami Haridas on this auspicious occasion.

The procession heads for Nidhivan, the place of Swami Haridas’s penance and appearance of Bihariji. On arriving here the prasad sent by Bihariji is offered and the Rasa Lila is enacted late into the night; the only day when devotees can stay in Nidhivan so late in the evening. On the conclusion of Rasa Lila, there is aarti performed and devotees disperse chanting:

'jai jai shri kunjbihari shri haridas, jai jai shri vrindavan nidhivan vaas |'

9th September, 2016: Maharshi Dadhichi Jayanti

 Maharshi Dadichi

 It is is dedicated to Sage Dadhichi an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and a descendent of Sage Angira. Sage Dadhichi was born on the Shukla Ashtami day (waxing phase of moon) in the Bhadrapad Month (August –September).

Legend has it that the devas who were losing a battle to the asuras were advised to use weapons made of Sage Dadhichi's bones to win the battle. Devas requested Sage Dadhichi for his bones. The humble saint readily agreed and went into deep meditation as his soul merged with Brahman. That is when the devas made use of the bones of Sage Dadhichi to fight the Asuras and triumphed.

In the Dadhichi Samaj special pujas are held on the day.

12th September, 2016: Padma Ekadashi Vrata

 Lord Vishnu

Lord Krishna told Yudhisthira, " I shall gladly tell you a wonderful historical event that Lord Brahma once narrated to his son Narada. One day Narada asked his father, 'What is the name of the Ekadasi that comes during the light part of the month of Ashadha'.

Lord Brahma replied,'It is known as Asadha Shukla Ekadasi and fasting on this day purifies one of all sins and fulfils one's desires. Just to please the Supreme Lord Hrishikesha, the master of the senses, one should fast on this day.

'Oh son, there was once a saintly king in the Surya Vansha (Sun dynasty) whose name was Mandhata.Once,however, because of some sin in his kingdom, there was a drought for three years.

The great sage Angira Muni then said, "Oh king Mandhata, you should observe a fast on the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Ashadha. This auspicious day is named Padma Ekadasi, and by its influence plentiful rains and grains will surely return to your kingdom."

Lord Krishna concluded, "My dear Yudhishthira, Padma Ekadasi is so powerful that one who simply reads or hears its glories becomes completely sinless. Oh Pandava, who wishes to please Me should strictly observe this Ekadasi, which is also known as Deva-sayani Ekadasi.”

13th September, 2016: Vaman Jayanti

The Vamana Incarnation

Vamana Jayanthi is the appearance day of Lord Vamana, the fifth and dwarf avatar of Lord Vishnu. This is the first complete human incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu. It is observed on Shukla Paksha Dwadashi (12th day in bright half) of the month of Bhadrapad.The main purpose of the Vamana incarnation was to restrain the demon king Maha Bali and to restore the rule of Gods on the earth. That is the main reason why Vamana sent Bali to Pathala Loka.

14th September, 2016: Pradosh Vrata

Lord Shiva 

 It 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.

15th September, 2016:Anant Chaudas

Lord Vishnu is Anant ( Infinite)

Once when grieved Yudhistra of the Mahabharata, was wandering in the forests, Lord Krishna suggested, “Oh! Yudhistra, you should worship God Anant (Vishnu) ritually. Your problecms will be over and you will get back your kingdom. You should observe a fast, in reverence to God Vishnu”.

He narrated the story of Saint Kaunidney,who was married to a godly daughter of brahmin Sumantu. Once at night she saw a numbr of women going for worship. She asked the importance and they explained that they were worshipping Anant (Vishnu) and that an armlet with fourteen knots, tied on the arm, blessed the devotee with indefinite happiness.

Idols of Ganesha Immersed in Water

Large processions are taken out on Anant Chaudas and idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in water.Brilliantly crafted idols of Ganesha have been brought home about ten days in advance on Ganesh Janam Utsav which marks the birth of Lord Ganesha.There He sits in state till Anant Chaturdashi.

16th September, 2016: Bhadrapad Purnima

Purnima, the Full Moon Day

Bhadrapad is an auspicious month in Hindu calendar. Celebrations are dedicated to Lord Ganesha during this month. However, Bhadrapada Purnima is an exception as the festivities on this day are dedicated to Lord Satyanarayana. This Purnima marks the beginning of the Pitrupaksha . The next fifteen days are dedicated to observing rituals and rites for dead ancestors, parents and relatives. Some communities start  Shradh rituals from Purnima day.

16th September, 2016: Manohar Bhaiya’s Punya Tithi

Shri Manohar Bhaiya

Manohar Bhaiya was born on the night of Akshay Teej in May, 1919 (Vaishakh Shukla Chaturthi). Maheshwar situated on the holy banks of the Narmada River in the Nimar district of Madhya Pradesh, has the honour of being his birthplace. His father was the family priest of Rani Ahilyabai and was a learned brahman or pandit.

The grasping prowess of Manohar Baba in the fields of Yajurved, Karamkand and Ayurveda was so sharp that he passed the ‘Kavyatirtha Examination’ in Sanskrit with flying colours. In 1935 the RSS requested him for social work and various philanthropic activities. Quitting the RSS in 1942, he concentrated on daily worship of the Shivlinga by 108 belpatras, learnt Yoga from Guru Rangnaath, imbibed Gayatri paath under the instructions of Great Mahatma Kulkarniji and performed many other religious observances.

The great moment of renunciation surfaced in 1945. A saint came to Maheshwar and chanted the Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mantra with such enthused exultation like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that Manohar Baba left for Shri Banke Bihariji temple in Vrindavan, right away.

 Shri Balkrishna Dasji Maharaj

 Manohar Baba reached Vrindavan after eight days.Totally exhausted and famished, he was reluctant to beg for alms since he came from a rich background.However the ordeal got over soon enough because Shri Balkrishan Dasji Maharaj was waiting to embrace him for all times to come. 'Charit Vaibhav' is a biography of Balkrishan Dasji Maharaj authored by our lovable Manohar Bhaiya.

Dredging up old memories, I vividly remember that it was Saint Ushaji of Vrindavan who urged me to bow at his holy feet ever since childhood and I am eternally grateful to her for this noble act.

16th September, 2016: Shradh Arambh


 Shradh is a ceremony held in honour and for the benefit of deceased relatives, observed at fixed periods,and on occasions of rejoicing as well as of mourning. The ritual is performed every year on the anniversary of a person's death as per the Hindu Calendar during the dark fortnight called Pitru Paksha in the Ashwin Month. It is believed that the Shradh performed during this period is highly auspicious as it reaches the deceased relatives instantly, making their souls rest in peace. Expiating all sins of our ancestors it helps them attain moksha or salvation.
19th September, 2016: Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha Being Blessed by Shiva & Parvati

 Sankashti Chaturthi also known as Sankata Hara Chaturthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This day is celebrated in every Lunar month or Hindu calendar month on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase or the waning phase). On this day, the devotees observe strict fast. They break the fast at night after having darshan of the moon preceded by prayers to Lord Ganesha.

Sankashti means deliverance during troubled times, hence observing this fast is believed to reduce your problems as Lord Ganesha symbolizes the remover of all obstacles and supreme lord of intelligence.

Before moonlight the Ganapati Atharvashesha is recited to summon the blessings of Lord Ganesha.

26th September, 2016:Indira Ekadashi Vrata

Lord Vishnu

The Ekadashi of Ashwin Krishna Paksha is called the Indira Ekadashi. On, this day, Shaligramji is worshipped and a fast is kept which expiates all sin. It is believed that this fast grants salvation to soul of ancestors who went to hell, after death. Just by hearing the story of this Vrata, a person gets the same fruits as performing a Yagya.

The Tale of Indira Ekadashi Fast:

 Sage Narada

In the golden age, there lived a glorious ruler Indrasen in the city of Mahishmati. He was blessed with a son, grandson, wealth and he used to easily destroy his enemies. When Maharishi Narada came there, the king stood up immediately and welcomed him with arghya.

Narada said “ Once I went to Yamlok and saw your father who was a wise, generous and religious person but he gave up the fast of Ekadashi in between.”

Your father has sent a message, “My son’s name is Indrasen and he rules over Mahishamti. If he observes the fast of Indra Ekadashi of Krishna Paksha, Ashvin Masa, then I shall get salvation. By the fruits of this Ekadashi, I will leave this place and reach heaven.”

Hearing this, Indrasen was upset and asked the method of Indira Ekadasi fast from Maharishi Narada.

28th September, 2016: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.

30th September, 2016: Sarvapitra Shradh / Pitra Visarjan

Sarva Pitra Shradh

Sarva Pitra Shradh is observed on the Amavasya (new moon day) of Ashwin Krishna. If Shardh has been missed or someone’s Shradh tithi (date) is unknown, Shradh can be done on the same day. In the evening,poori (fried bread) and special dishes (Kheer, Halwa etc.) are kept on the door so that our pitras or ancestors do not go back hungry, similarly lighting signifies brightening the way of ancestors.

Ashwini Amawasya is also called Pitra Visarjan. By a feast and donating to the brahmans, ancestors are being satisfied on this day. It is a belief that at the time of Visarjan ancestors blessed their sons.

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