Monday, July 31, 2017

Spiritual Calendar: August, 2017

3rd August, 2017: Putrada Ekadashi

Lord Vishnu is Propitiated

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.

5th August, 2017: Shani 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.

When a Pradosha Vrata falls on a Saturday, it is known as Shani Pradosh.According to Hindu astrology and horoscope, Lord Shani is believed to create problems for people in life. By observing a vrat and offering prayers on Shani Pradosh, one can escape from the ill effects of Lord Shani
7th August, 2017: Raksha Bandhan

 Lord Krishna Saves Draupadi's Honour

 Rakhi is a very famous festival for brothers and sisters. At Vrindavan, the one-month long sawan stuti of Lord Shiva and jhulan utsav of Thakurji that started on Guru-Poornima comes to an end.

According to Hindu Calendar Rakhi falls on Shravan Purnima (full moon day) which corresponds to July-August in the English Calendar.

Krishna and Draupadi: An incident concerning Krishna and Draupadi from the epic Mahabharata is centred on this festival. Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, had torn a strip off her silken sari and tied it around Krishna index finger to stop the flow of blood. Krishna was so touched that he promised to repay the debt and did so during the Vastra Haran of Draupadi. In the assembly of King Dhritarashtra when Yudhishthir lost her in gambling, Krishna indefinitely extended her saree, to save her pride.

The legend of Lord Yama and his sister Yamuna: Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Yama, the Lord of death and Yamuna his sister. Yamuna tied a rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved that he declared that whoever got a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection would become immortal.

11th August, 2017: Ganesh Sankashti Chaturthi

 Lord Ganesha

 This day is celebrated every lunar month on the fourth day (tithi) of Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase or waning phase).

Many devotees of Lord Ganesha observe a fast (vrata) on Sankashti Chaturthi for the entire day and this Sankashti fast is broken after taking darshan of Moon followed by worshiping of Lord Ganesha.

When Sankashti Chaturthi falls on Tuesday, it is known as Angaraki Chaturthi and it is considered even more auspicious.

13th August, 2017: Hal Shashti

 Lord Balarama

 This is the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the first expansion of the dark-hued Krishna. Devotees offer special prayers to Balarama, the icon of duty, honesty and simplicity to receive spiritual strength from Him.He incarnated on the full moon day of Shravana.

Balaram, Balarama and Sankarsana are some of Lord Baldev's other names. Balaram had incarnated as Lakshman in the Treta Yuga which came before Dwapar.

He is considered the incarnation of Sheshnaag, the thousand-headed snake on whom Lord Vishnu sleeps throughout periods of dissolution of the world.Because he was drawn from Devaki's to Rohini's womb, He is known as Lord Sankarsana. It is a common belief that he bestows riches on this materialistic world.

Balaram is also famed as Haldhar, the god of the farmers.They devotedly worship the plough, his weapon, before undertaking any task.

15th August, 2017: Shri Krishna Janamashtami

 badhai ho, badhai ho, badhai ho sabhi ko bhagwan Shri Krishna ke
 janamotsav ki badhai ho !

Celebrations are to be held at Sri Banke Bihari ji Temple, all the temples of Vrindavan, Gokul, Mahavan, Mathura, ISKCON and the world over.

 Lord Vishnu Incarnates as Krishna

The main purpose of the Lord’s incarnation is for the salvation of saints, destruction of evil and installation of righteousness as explained in the 'Bhagwad Gita.' Towards the end of the Dwapar Era, in the Hindu month of Bhadra, Mathura had the great fortune of witnessing Lord Krishna’s birth on Krishan Ashtami. Atrocities were on the rise, religion had become a mere farce and the deities were great pained. King Kansa terrified of his own death had imprisoned Vasudev and Devki, having killed six of their earlier children. The seventh child was to be the Lord Himself.
Shri Radha-Krishna, Our Yugal Sarkar at Gaura Colony.

 Our Yugal Sarkar, Shri Radha-Krishna at Gaura Colony

 Parampoojaya Susheela Bahinji shall lead the utsav at Gaura-Colony in front of our Yugal Sarkar or Thakurji.The search of the impassioned soul for union with god is centred within earthly Vrindavan. Its enraptured village girls representing Krishna's hungering devotees are passionately drawn to dark-hued Krishna's lyrical softness, innocent pranks, beautiful adornments and serene sensuality which add to His madhurya or sweet love.

Krishna's playful dalliance is nitya or eternal. One aspect of Lord Krishna’s enigmatic persona which distinguishes him from all other deities is his lila or divine play which makes him both human and divine at the same time, and becomes him ,most of all.Delighting in play he endears himself and brings joy to all his devotees.

15th August, 2017: Independence Day

 Wishing all Indians at Home & those Living Abroad a Very Happy Independence Day

16th August, 2017: Nand Mahotsav

 Shri Radharaman ji on Nandotsav

Krishna Janamashtami is followed by a day full of pomp and joyous abandon where Nandotsav or Nanda Mahotsav is observed in various temples all over the country. In the morning after Janamashtami or navami, Bihariji continues to sit in the jagmohan showering his blessing and loving tenderness to all. Priests and devotees distribute sweets, fruits, clothes, toys, utensils and coins as part of the celebrations. Devotional songs congratulating Nand Baba on the birth of Krishna are delightedly sung in unison.Everybody feels that the dark-hued Krishna has been born today and revels with enthused exultation.

 Footprints of Child Krishna
The ladies of the house mark the entrance of their homes with rice paste so as to form small feet of infants. They are always made pointing towards the house which is believed to mark the entry of child Krishna to their abodes and bring prosperity along with happiness.

18th August, 2017: Aja Ekadashi

 Raja Harishchandra & Rani Taramati

 Aja Ekadashi falls on the eleventh day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada (August – September).

As the legend goes once there lived a great King known for his truthfulness and popular as Satya Harishchandra. The King was passing through difficult times and sought shelter of the great Shri Gautam Maharshi.The sage asked the king to keep the fast of Aja Ekadsi with utmost devotion.

King Harishchandra observed the fast of Ananda Ekadasi. Soon after, he got back his wife, son and kingdom which he had lost in the past. Above all, the King ruled the kingdom happily and went back to God.

19th August, 2017: Shani Pradosh Vrat

 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.

When a Pradosha Vrata falls on a Saturday, it is known as Shani Pradosh.According to Hindu astrology and horoscope, Lord Shani is believed to create problems for people in life. By observing a vrat and offering prayers on Shani Pradosh, one can escape from the ill effects of Lord Shani

24th August, 2017: 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.

25th August, 2017: 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.

27th August, 2017: Shri Lalita Shashti

 Prime Ashtasakhi 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.

29th August, 2017: 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.

29th August, 2017: Swami Shri Haridas Jayanti

 Swami Shri Hari Das

On this day after the rajabhoga arti in the evening at 4 0'clock there is rasa 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 Radha Rani'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 |'

29th August, 2017: Maharshi Dadichi 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.

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