Thursday, June 29, 2017

Spiritual Calendar: July, 2017

4th July, 2017: Devshayani Ekadashi

Lord Vishnu Resting in 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  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.

6th July, 2017: Pradosh

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, 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.

9th July, 2017: Guru Purnima

Lord Shiva as Adi Dakshinamurthy

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.

10th July, 2017: 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 kanwar is a decorative bamboo pole carried on the shoulder with covered pots of water balanced at both ends.

10th July,2017: Shravan Somwar Vrata

Lord Shiva

The month of Shravan is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Hindu calendar. The entire month is considered auspicious for seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva.

Shravan month is also known as Sawan in the states of North India. All Mondays which fall during this month are considered highly auspicious for fasting and known as Sawan Somwar Vrats. Many devotees observe fasting for sixteen Mondays from the first Somwar of the Sawan month.

On every Monday of this month, devotees throng to Shiva temples throughout India to worship the sacred Shivalingam.

10th July, 2017: 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.

12th July, 2017: Sankashti 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.

19th July, 2017: Kamika Ekadashi

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.

21st July, 2017: Pradosh

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.

Pradosh Vrat is observed on both Trayodashi Tithis, i.e. Shukla Paksha Trayodashi and Krishna Paksha Trayodashi, in lunar month.

23rd July, 2017: Hariyali Amavasya

Phool Bangla of Shri Banke Bihari ji

It is a monsoon festival celebrated on amavasya in the Shravan month in North India. Lord Shiva is worshipped on this day for wealth, prosperity and a good harvest. Grand fairs are held in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Hariyali Amavasya is celebrated with enthused fervour in Dwarkadhish temple of Mathura, Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan and other temples of Lord Krishna and Shiva.

The Phool Bangla Utsav in Banke Bihari Temple of Vrindavan, during which a house of flowers is made daily in the evening, culminates on this day. Great importance is given to green colour in this festival since it reflects the greenery of nature after the first showers of monsoon.

26th July,2017: Hariyali Teej

Saint Usha Bahenji's Yugal Sarkar on a Jhulan

The first of the three main Teej festivals is observed on the third day of the shukla paksha of Shravan. Vrindavan is certainly worth a visit on this day as Shri Banke Bihariji is posited on a jhoola sinhasan, religious hymns are chanted and lilas of Radha-Krishna are narrated. Saint Ushaji's Thakurji is already resplendent on a swing from 5 to 6 pm for the entire month of Shravan.

Women fast on this day. Married women fast for their husbands and a happy married life. Unmarried girls fast in order to get a good husband in the future. This festival is known as Hariyali Teej in the eastern part of the country. Nature can be seen flourishing and women enjoy themselves with songs, swings etc.

The Teej in the Shravan month is of great religious importance. According to a legend, Parvati kept fasts during this period to impress Lord Shiva. These fasts helped Parvati in marrying Lord Shiva. It is also believed that Parvati completed hundred years of  austerities on this day.

26th July, 2017: Vinayaka Chaturthi

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.

27th July, 2017: Naag Panchami

Child Krishna Vanquishes Kalia Naag

Naag Panchami is a festival during which religious Hindus in some parts of India either worship images or live Nagas on the fifth day after Amavasya of the Shravan Month. Traditionally, married young women visit their premarital households to celebrate the festival. A traditional aspect of the celebration involves young women swinging joyously on swings temporarily hung on tree branches, particularly in the villages of India.

According to Puranic mythology, Brahma’s son Kashyapa had four wives. The first wife gave birth to Devas; the second, to Garudas; the third --named Kadroo--, to Nagas; and the fourth, to Daityas. Nāgas were the rulers of Patal-Loka.

Lord Krishna had conquered Naga Kalia and put an end to his evil deeds on Naga Panchami. As per a myth, the Kathmandu Valley used to be a vast lake. When human beings began draining the lake to make space for settlements, the Nagas were enraged. To protect themselves against the wrath of Nagas, people gave the latter certain areas as pilgrimage destinations, thus restoring the harmonious balance of nature

28th July, 2017: Kalki Jayanti

Kalki Avatara

That is when Lord Kalki will take birth in this Kaliyuga. Observed on Shukla Paksha Sashti in the month of Shravan it is the most auspicious time to purchase a new house or car.

In Hinduism, Kalki is the tenth and final incarnation of Vishnu who will come to end the present age of darkness and destruction. Kalka in Sanskrit refers to ignorance and hence denotes the "destroyer of darkness". Other similar derivations from Sanskrit - include one simply meaning 'White Horse'.
30th July, 2017: Janam Utsav of Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

Let us bow to Bhaktimati Usha  Bahenji 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, 2017: Goswami Tulsidas Jayanti

Goswami Tulsidas

Gosainji was a dedicated devotee of Lord Rama and the writer of 'Shri Ramcharitmanas,' a great Hindu epic. He was born on Shravan Shukla Saptami of 1498 AD in Rajpur, Chitrakoot district and was a Sarayuparina Brahmin by birth.

Tulsidasji intensely loved his wife Buddhimati and she enlightened him by saying that if he loved Lord Rama half as much as her he would attain eternal bliss. Thereafter Tulsidas became an ascetic. He got a vision of Lord Rama through Hanumanji and began composing the Shri Ramcharitmanas. On Tulsidas Jayanti one must read or hear the Ramcharitmanas, visit shrines of Lord Rama plus Hanumanji, and feed Brahmins.

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