Sunday, April 16, 2017

Manohar Bhaiya on 'Shri Krishna Karnamrita:' Second Shloka

An emotional explanation of the first two shlokas by highly revered Shri Manohar Das ji is being given as a tribute to his holy memory. Urged by divine inspiration Baba has written about the inner emotional state of Shri Billavmangal ji. 

 Shri Manohar Das ji

 asti svastaruni-karagra-vigalat-kalpa-prasuna-plutam
vastu prastuta-venu-nada-lahar-inirvana-nirvyakulam  |
hasta-nyasta-natapavargam akhilodaram kisorakriti  ||2||

Dark-hued Krishna

 In a state of frenzied madness Shri Billavmangalji is progressing on the way to Vrindavan. Initially inspired by Chintamani, thereafter getting diksha by siddh (spiritually realized) saint Shri Somagiri, then acquiring spiritually instruction from shiksha-gurush ca bhagavan shikhi-pishcha-maulih Krishna, as well as the madhurya of having attained Krishna’s darshan, Billavmangalji raves about all these experiences. A new lila or divine play is pouring out from his heart every second. He has lost consciousness of his mind and body.

Beauteous Krishna is Addressed as Vastu by Billavmangal ji

 Billavmangalji is not walking on the path leading to the holy city but having assumed the sakhi bhava he is already in Vrindavan. Lila cannot manifest outside Vrindavan therefore asti or does it actually exist is initially uttered from his mouth. He sees Krishna’s svarupa in Shri Vrindavan and says that vastu, an unparalleled miraculous divine entity is present here. Someone asks where is it? He answers can’t you see it is right here in front. Why did he say entity and not person? Reason being he is dazzled the moment he beholds Krishna-he does not know what to say. Because he has seen Krishna the first time- never has he had such an experience. A completely divine-forever new entity, this is what he  feels. He is conscious of a new svarupa, a new beauteous form, all the shringara is fresh…everything is fresh and new…therefore some inexpressible object -and that too not far away but very close, right in front-these words pour out from his mouth. The melodious sound of the flute play is flowing from His mouth-that sound is not some musical note of a particular raga-it is an object which has attained the state of purna nirvana [1](brahma anand)

 The flute play is making his heart restless, making it ardently long for Krishna. That which is sthai or indelible and nitya or eternal has been called vastu in the Shrimad Bhagwat. Therefore the word vastu must have been spontaneously uttered from highly learned Billavmangal ji’s mouth.

Passionately Drawn by Lord Krishna's Flute Play   

The emanating flute sound has made even rishis-munis who have attained the state of nirvana, self-realized souls who have attained the state of brahma anand[2] and yogis of fulfilled desires[3] ardently long for dark-hued Krishna. nirvana-nirvyakulam-it is not as if the sound of the flute play reached out to just these people but penetrating through the entire Brahmand[4]  and all the fourteen bhuvanas or cosmological regions, it reached right up to Shiv Loka and Brahma Loka. Shiva forgot about His samadhi [5]. Not being able to refrain himself, he left Shiv Loka, headed towards Vrindavan and got immersed in raas and rasa.

Lord Krishna's Flute Play Mesmerizes the Cosmos

 When Krishna’s melodious flute play reached the ears of Indra and other devas, the devangnas, apsaras, kinnars ardently longed for Him along with the devas. Supreme Lover Krishna began to manifest in front of them.Devas sat on their vimanas and following the flute play, flooded the vault of the sky. Penetrating the sky, they were mesmerized on seeing blue-hued Krishna. The devangnas swooned on inhaling the body fragrance of Krishna. The flowers they had plucked from Nandanvan fell from their hands and began to be showered on Krishna because their limbs had relaxed. Dark-hued Krishna accepted these flowers as per their respective bhavas. They began to experience the joy of Krishna in this bhava dasha or state of love flowing towards the Lord (bhavgrahi janardhan). Sound of the flute play overturned the fourteen bhuvanas but this was just its outward effect it had. Let us hear this from the mouth of Shri Billavmangal ji about how it affected the gopis for whom it was played.

 Gopis' Love for Krishna

 On seeing the gopis’ love, the purest emotion a soul may have for its divine source, Lord Krishna, the embodiment of sampurna prema [6] could not stop Himself. He became restive to drink the prema rasa. Picking up the flute from which rasa flows, He began sending the loveladen message to His beloveds from His lips. The flute sound entered their ear cavities, and the gopis’ love surged forth with burning eagerness. The gush of love swiftly escalated from the flute at this end-and the gopis’s love escalated with double speed at the other end and they were passionately drawn towards Krishna. Generally the gushing flow of rivers heads towards the ocean and merges in them but in this case the ocean’s flow surged towards the rivers…which was so astonishing!

Sunat chalin brajvadhu, geet dhuni kau marag gahi,
Bhavan bhiti,drum-kunj-punj,kithun atki nahin|
Naad-amrit kau panth rangeelo, suchham bharee,
Tihi vrajtiya bhale chaleen, aan kou nahin adhikari |
(Nand Das)

 Acquiring the Gopi Rupa,Shri Lilashukh  Resides in Vrindavan

 The path of the gopis is beyond mundane lust, pure prema laden with rasa is all that exists. It is even beyond the heart-so how could the gopis know  the state of their bodies-nothing could stop them. Shri Lilashuk is himself steeped in the gopi deha and gopi bhava. Having acquired the gopi rupa, the form of a Braja milkmaid, he resides in Vrindavan and gives a description:

Gopis Passionately Drawn by Krishna's Flute Play

venu-nada-lahar-inirvana-nirvyakulam  |

When gopis heard the flute sound they headed towards the flute play in infinite numbers-every limb of the gopis’ loosened, but they continued running in delicious anguish. The drawstrings of their dhotis became loose due to the speedy gush of prema, the ecstasy of hearing Krishna’s flute play. Their hands moved to hold up their dhotis but they were helpless-theirs minds were not working. Their hearts had been passionately drawn and had reached the Supreme Lover. Therefore Lilashuk is describing the sensuousness of their slipping drawstrings, which depicts their state of ardent longing. Immersed in religious rapture, he is drowning in the ocean of love. Just imagine! What a state?

Supreme Lover Krishna Surrounded by Thousands of Gopis

-gopi-sahasravritam Billavmangalji says further on- Lord Krishna is surrounded by thousands of gopis steeped in this ecstatic state. The eternal Brajendra Nandan[7] is holding their dhotis’ drawstrings with the front portion of his hands whereas they are bound in the embrace of Krishna’s folded arms. The beauty and youth of the gopis is further enhanced because of the drawstrings becoming loose over and over again. With a nirvikar [8]bhava, the darling son of Nanda is becoming absorbed in the madhurya bhava, the sentiment of sweet romance. Who can possibly describe this youthful madhurya-only a rasika immersed in the gopi bhava can know about it. The joy of relishing the beauty of this gopi prema is known only to Braj Nandan and the gopis, they are the sole enjoyers and benefactors of this rasa. The unprecedented joy of their mutual union is Maharasa-the Maharas, a moment of grace when the god and the gopis are in unison. There is neither Lord Krishna nor the gopis beyond this moment of eternity-which Supreme Lover and which beloved?

The Maha Rasa

 The Maha rasa, whose svarupa is rasa, whose beauty is rasa, whose lila is rasa- everything is just rasa, the highest taste.

Lilashuk now sums up the situation:

Every Youthful Krishna Grants Moksha

 hasta-nyasta-natapavargam akhilodaram kisorakriti

Ever youthful Lord Krishna in whose hands it is to grant moksha to those who seek refuge in him, is the storehouse of such generosity.

[1] Purna nirvana: state of eternal bliss, in reunion with the Ultimate Being
[2] Brahma anand: [2]( anand or pure bliss is an eternal aspect of Brahman which we experience when we unite with Him), purnakam (of fulfilled desires)
[3] Purnakama: yogis of fulfilled desires
[4] Brahamanda: One of the earliest ideas of an "egg-shaped cosmos" comes from some of the Sanskrit scriptures. The  term for is derived from two words- 'Brahm' (ब्रह्म) meaning 'cosmos' or 'expanding' and 'anda' (अण्ड) meanind 'egg'. Certain Puranas such as the Brahmanda Purana speak of this in detail.
[5] Samadhi: profound meditation
[6] Sampoorna prema: He is full of love
[7] Brajendra Nandan: the son of the King of Braj
[8] Nirvikar: blemishless

Friday, April 7, 2017

'Shri Krishna Karnamrita:' First Shloka

[An emotional explanation of the first two shlokas written by highly revered Baba Manohar Das ji is being given as a tribute to his holy memory. Urged by divine inspiration revered Baba has written about the inner emotional state of Shri Billavmangal ji.]

Shri Manohar Das ji
cintamanir jayati somagirir gurur me ,
shiksha-gurush ca bhagavan shikhi-pishcha-maulih  |
lila-svayamvara-rasam labhate jayashrih  || 1||

  Chintamani Turns Towards Lord Krishna

 First of all Shri Billavmangal ji says glory be to prostitute Chintamani, not to Bhagavan[1], or his guru, not to Shri Ganesh the bestower of auspiciousness, or to Shri Shankar, or some god of goddess. What is it so?

Shri Billavmangal ji

Billavmanagal ji's having attained the correct path, is an accommodation of God’ causeless mercy. However, Shri Billavmangalji does not remember anyone, but the one who had been the cause of his degenerate state, his life had seen a steep decline by coming into contact with her. The one who had to be reproached and blamed, he is singing the glories of that very Chintamani. What has happened to the wisdom of Billavamangalji, a greatly learned man hailing from a South Indian Brahmin family? It is a matter which needs to be reflected over in great seriousness.

Chintamani Gave Spiritual Instructions to Billavamangal ji

 Look-Was that prostitute who had been delighted to entice Billavmangalji, rich in wealth, family an affluent and highly learned person, and had been looting his wealth and, youth,   competent enough to give him spiritual instructions. On seeing his lustfulness and the handing over his entire being to her, she should have been beside herself with joy. How did she get the good sense to advise him? How did she muster the courage? This matter is beyond comprehension. Highly valuable principles were uttered from her mouth and they had such an immediate effect on a highly learned person like Billavmangalji. Astonishing! Truly astonishing! We will have to go into the depth of this matter.

Krishna Advises Arjuna

ishawarah sarvabhutanam hridayshuarjuna tishthati /
bhramyan sarvabhutani yantrarudhhani mayaya // Bhagvadgita18.61
The Lord abides in the heart of all beings, O Arjuna, causing all beings to act (or work out their Karma) by His power of Maya as if they are (puppets of Karma) mounted on a machine. (18.61)…”

It is the unusual play of hridayshe tishthati. Chintamani is merely a puppet mounted on a machine. Shri Billavmangal ji is a recipient of the Supreme Lord’s grace for the past so many births.  He has to be reminded of this fact. It will be fruitful to get him cured from that very source from where he has been afflicted with this disease.

Eyes Open to Spiritual Reality

 As Billavmangal ji set off, the fire of repentance blazed, the infinite anguish of being separated from the Supreme Lover Krishna. Vishasya vishamaushadham: poison is used as a medicine to cure a number of diseases. Lord Krishna, the ocean of mercy, entered Chintamani’s heart and spiritually instructed Billavmangalji through the medium of her voice. Awakening the dormant bhavas in him, impelling a great divine ray of light, a spiritual awareness in Shri Billavmangal ji’s heart was instantly awakened due to its unerring impact. His eyes opened to spiritual reality.

Virtuous thoughts are awakened when advice is given for a very long time to a person who has fallen into bad company. However the transformation in Billavmangalji’s case was like an electric current, it did not take even a minute for the awakening to take place. As soon as he heard Chinatamani’s words, he turned towards the path of loving devotion to Krishna.

Path of Raga Anuraga

 tivratapen dhuta shubhah Due to the intense fire of repentance, all his auspicious and inauspicious deeds were burnt to ashes. Attaining the suddha sattva svarupa: the form of pristine purity, Shri Billavmangal set off on the spiritual path of his destination, in search of his goal, and straightaway reached the feet of his guru Somagiri. What instructions did he give? He could only give the advice of Brahma prapti or attainment of liberation because of being a sannyasi, but he didn’t. Billavmangalji was an adherent of the path of shudh raga anuraga[2]. He had assumed that attraction to the prostitute was anuraga so the dry unemotional advice of Brahma Gyan[3]  would not have uplifted him.

Lord Krishna Wearing Peacock Feathers

 Therefore the Supreme Lord Himself manifested in front of Billavmangalji as his shiksha guru or spiritual preceptor:
shiksha-gurush ca bhagavan shikhi-pishcha-maulih |

Shri Billavmangal ji could have just said Bhagavan but why did he address Him as shikhi-pishcha-maulih? Let us first be fully acquainted with His shringara and then get to know about His rupa or beauteous form, gunas, nature and rasa. How eligible was Billavmangal ji as a recipient also deserves thought. The wealth he attained, is described in ‘Shri Krishna Karnamrita,' in Billavmangalji's words. Shri Krishna forever longs to listen to this composition. His ears are never satisfied. He keeps drinking its nectar and will continue to do so.

The Seed of Krishna's Rasa Sprouted in Billavmangalji's Heart

 Although Billavmangal did not choose Chintamani as his guru the words ‘Jai ho jai ho!” were passionately uttered because she had done him a favour. He got diksha from saint Somagiri and his heart was spiritually illuminated but he continued feeling the absence of the desired object. He began calling out to God with a tenderly compassionate heart. The seed of  juiciness was already sprouting in the core of his heart due to previous births. The word sarasta or juiciness is connected to Bhagavan, which he spread on coming to Vrindavan.

Braj Gopis, the Rightful Enjoyers of Krishna's Rasa

 Truly, the Lord is rasa ‘raso ofavai sah[4],’ manifesting in the form of romantic dalliances. 

tehi mag vrajtiya chalin, aan kou nahin adhikari!
The Braj gopis are the rightful enjoyers of Krishna’s rasa.

 Ineffable Beauty of Supreme Lover Krishna

 Billavmangalji came and stood amidst this rasa vatika, the garden of rasa. Burning in the fire of repentance, he became radiant and ardently thirsted for rasa. He had darshan of his rasamaya Guru for the first time in bhagavan shikhi-pishcha-maulih. Besides,he wondered who was coming towards him, wearing peacock feathers on His head. Oh this is Bhagavan! Soon after, he beheld Lord Krishna's beauteous form and His shringara, and his heart chose Krishna. As soon as Billavmangalji beheld the Lord, every fiber of his being stood erect, he shed tears, his body trembled, and sattvik bhavas became apparent. He walked towards rasanagri like an insane person. The images of hundreds of charming beauteous forms were contained in his eyes. Shri Billavmangalji’s eyes were initially mesmerized by shikhi-pishcha. Why did Krishna wear the peacock tail feather? What did it mean? To adorn the head with some bird’s feather. What was its purpose?

Shri Radha-Krishna Dancing with Peacocks

Listen, they say it was a pleasant day of the rainy season and Priya-Priyatam were dallying in the forest. Peacocks assumed that they were the ghan[5](cloud) and damini( lightning), and  began dancing. Seeing them, Priya-Priyatam, the Supreme Lover and His Beloved, were very delighted and they too began dancing. All of a sudden Priyaji picked up a peacock feather and made it Krishna’s head ornament. This enhanced His beauty even further. Seeing His ineffable beauty Shri Radha swooned and entered a state of unconsciousness. Lord Krishna is always delighted in Radha’s happiness. Therefore he wears the peacock feather. Simultaneously eyes in the peacock feather remind Him of the shape of Shri Radha’s eyes. The armlet, kundals, and other ornaments do not enhance the beauty of His limbs because of bhushnam-bhushnangam, His own limbs are like ornaments.  But Krishna’s beauty is further enhanced by the peacock feather,it is called His head ornament.   
Shri Billavmangal saw the peacock feather first of all. He said bhagavan shikhi-pishcha-maulih so that nobody assumed Him to be an ordinary person so he added the term Bhagavan.

Lord Krishna Wearing Peacock Feather

And then he beheld Bhagavan wearing the peacock feather as yat-pada-kalpataru-pallava-shekhareshu, 

Krishna's Lotus Feet Fulfill Desires like the Kalpataru

 whose lotus feet fulfill everyone's desires like the kalpataru. These lotus feet fulfill all the desires of Braj gopis. Their heart’s desire is to dally with Krishna.  A stream of intoxication keeps flowing from the lustrous nails of His toes -those Braj gopis are forever plunging in that intoxicating wave

 Gopi Geet

  It has been said in the Gopi Geet: 
charan pankajam shantmam cha te ramannah staney-shvarp-yadhihan || 13 ||
 O Priyatam (dearest)! Please posit Your lotus feet on our hearts. It is the sole means of pacifying the agony which arises due to our separation from You. The interpersonal romantic exchange which takes place between Krishna who is rasa and Braj gopis who are steeped in rasa, is rasa.

Priya-Priyatam, the Supreme Lover & His Beloved

 lila-svayamvara-rasam labhate jayashrih . Rasa is of various types but what is’ lila swayamvar’ rasa - which Billavmangal ji is boasting of.

The One who has accepted rasa is rasa or the one whom rasa has accepted is rasa? The supreme rasa is actually rasa, he is singing its glories; the one which lila itself accepts or the one which is totally governed by lila, the one sheltered by the realm of lila or which makes Priya-Priyatam and Braj gopis constantly dance to its tune. Purna rasa is where interpersonal romantic exchange forever takes place and which chooses Priya-Priyatam. The entire rasa mandala is steeped in the Maha Rasa. Silently relishing that rasa with absolute absorption, Billavmangalji could just say lila-svayamvara-rasam labhate jayashrih[6] .

Shri Radha-Krishna's Lila

There is no lila or rasa beyond the great governance of lila which selects Priya-Priyatam, glory be to such a lila.
Billavmangal ji got drowned in the infinite flow of this lila and never stepped out. He has indicated the depth of relishing that rasa. Whatever has been written later on is merely a belch(a summarized version) of what he actually experienced.

Lord Krishna did not choose lila rasa but lila chose Priya-Priyatam with its own capability. Billavmangalji got absorbed in divine play and lost consciousness.  Infinite yugas passed by, he lost his true identity, based on the soul's relationship with God.

Relishing Krishna's Beauteous Form

 lal priya mein bhai na chinhari |
Only the governance of rasa prevailed therefore its glories are being sung. Billavmangalji is singing the glories of that state in a frenzied state and walking on. Getting immersed in the rasa of lila, he gradually relishes Krishna’s beauteous form. What is being described by his voice has manifested as ‘Shri Krishna Karnamrita.’

Lord Krishna's Majesty

He says in the last shloka’
yato yatah prasarati me vil ocanam ,
tatas tatah sphurau tavaiva vaibhavam ||112||
Billavmangal ji is relishing Krishna’s majesty as it manifests and is walking on. Even on his eyes being fully satiated, he seems unsatisfied.

Steeped in The Gopi Bhava

 Shri Billavmangalji is seen steeped in the gopi bhava in the last two lines of the first shloka. He entreats and longs to relish the lila svayamrasa which cascades from the Lord’s lotus feet, and bestows supreme rasa,[7] on the gopis, We too, while relishing the constant rasa gushing from Shri Billavamangal ji’s mouth, have to follow him. So be it!

[1] Bhagavan:  an epithet for God, particularly for Krishna and other avatars of Vishnu in Vaishnavism,
[2] Raga anuraga: Sneha which is possessed of an intense longing is called raga. Upon the appearance of raga, even a moment's separation is intolerable, whereas in meeting, great sorrow appears like happiness. The complete opposite of this situation is found in separation (i.e. great happiness becomes a source of unbearable distress). This raga causes its worshipable object to be experienced as eternally fresh, and being ever increasingly fresh itself, it is transformed into anuraga.
[3] Brahma Gyan: Brahm Gyan’ (Divine Knowledge) is an eternal technique through which we can practically experience and realize God.
It is the process of seeing and realising the True Self (Atman) within our human frame.
[4] Sah: of the Taittiriya Upanishad (2.7.1)
[5] Ghan-Damini: a perfect metaphor to the combined beauty of the dark Lord (Ghana or dark cloud) and his fair consort, Radhaji.(Damini or lightning)
[6] Jayashri: (Shri Radha gives Her heart, life and soul to Krsna. Offering Her life thousands of times over, She offers arati to the rays coming from His toenails, and by this She feels the same bliss as if it were Her svayamvara. To select a bridegroom from lakhs and lakhs 1 of suitors is called a svayamvara, a tradition in ancient India.)

[7] Awareness: the zenith of spiritual awareness ,such love represents the purest emotion a soul may have for its divine source,

Friday, March 31, 2017

Spiritual Calendar: April, 2017

2nd April, 2017: Shri Yamuna Jayanti

Shri Yamuna Maharani

 Yamuna Jayanti is dedicated to the Yamuna River and it is also known as Yamuna Chhath, observed mainly in Mathura. It is observed on the sixth day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) in Chaitra (March – April). Special pujas are offered on the banks of the Yamuna River on this particular day. On Yamuna Jayanti, Yamuna ji is believed to have appeared on earth in the form of a river.

Invariably people visit banks of the Yamuna River and do puja. Taking a sip of water, they chant” Yamuna Maiya Ki Jai.” Shri Yamuna is known to fulfil all our desires not of this material world but for attaining Lord Krishna She grants fruition when we long to attend to Krishna's needs, sight His lilas and relish His rasa or religious rapture ,making us reach the heights of elation and ecstasy.

4th April, 2017:Shri Durga Ashtami

Goddess Durga

 On the 8th day of the navratris, yagna and homa are performed. Pure ghee, kheer and sesame seeds are offered to Goddess Durga. Many people in north India celebrated the 8th day as ashtami when nine young girls symbolizing Navdurge are fed with halwa, puri and kale chane.

In Hindu mythology Durga is Shakti, the divine feminine energy. According to a legend, Lord Brahma granted a boon to Mahishasur, the buffalo demon. Armed with infinite power, the asura created havoc in the universe, and started terrorizing the deities. One fine day he ventured to Swargaloka to kill Indra. Greatly distressed, Indra and other deities begged Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, released their energies or shaktis which flashed forth and fused together, bringing to life a magnificent Goddess resplendent with many arms.

Acclaimed as Durga, she was ravishingly beautiful and deadly. The armed Durga rode a Lion and fought a fiercely bloody battle with Mahishasur, raging for nine days and nights. Finally on the tenth day, Durga trampled him under her foot and Mahishasur was killed. The Goddess’s triumph because of her innate divinity symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

5th April, 2017: Shri Ram Navami

Lord Rama

 We celebrate Ram Navami on the ninth day of the new moon in the month of Chaitra to mark the birth of Lord Rama and his three brothers, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughana. In some parts of India devotees also mark the nine days of Ram Naumi as Nao Ratri (nine nights).

Lord Ram was born at sharp midday on the ninth day of the bright side of the month of Chaitra. (Whereas Lord Krishna was born at midnight in the dark side of the month of Bhadrapath – around August of every year)

Tulsidaas, the great narrator who wrote the Ramayana noted that Lord Vishnu came to earth for the protection of four living beings: Brahmans, Devis and devtas, gau mata (holy cow) and Saints.

Lord Vishnu incarnated as Rama to destroy the demon king, Ravana, so that brahmans and saints could worship freely again. It was after all the gods and goddesses together with Mother earth (in the form of a holy cow) went to Lord Vishnu that he agreed to transcend on earth.

 Anand Das Baba, a Great Hanuman Devotee

Sri Ramnaumi Bhandara is also organised at the ashram of Ananddass Baba who was a great Hanumana devotee and the deities (Lord Ram-Sita & family) whom he served, wear a new dress on each Sri Ramnaumi. Thereafter, Sri Ram Kirtan is held in the evening again.

7th April,2017: Shri Kamada Ekadashi Vrat

 Lord Vishnu

This ekadashi expiates all sins including Brahma Hathya.The legend of Kamada Ekadasi is mentioned in the Varaha Purana as a conversation between Lord Krishna and King Yudhistira.

Once, a Gandharva called Lalita was married to a beautiful woman. After his marriage, he was unable to do his regular tasks with dedication because of attraction towards his wife. Pundarika, the King of the Gandharvas, therefore cursed him to become a cannibal. Gandharva with his wife wandered to many holy places to get rid of the curse.

While they were passing by a hermitage, they met a Sage and asked for a remedy to get rid of this curse. That Sage advised them to perform the religious observances associated with Kamada Ekadashi and that was fasting. As suggested by the Sage, the Gandharva couple observed the Kamada Ekadasi fast and got rid of the curse.

8th April,2017: Shani Pradosh Vrat 

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 and fasting are the main rituals of Pradosham. When the Pradosh Vrat falls on Saturday it is known as Shani Pradosh Vrata.
9th April, 2017: Mahavir Jayanti

Lord Mahavir

In Jainism, Mahavir Janma Kalyanak is the most important religious holiday. It celebrates the birth of Mahavira, the last Tirthankara. On the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April.

Lord Mahavir was born on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon of Chaitra. Chronology places Mahavir's birth in 599 BCE. He was born into royalty as the son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala. It is said that when Trishala finally gave birth to Mahavir, Indra bathed the newborn with celestial milk, a ritual which marked him as a Tirthankar.

Shri Surdas wrote about the most beautiful childhood lilas or playfull dalliances of Lord Krishna. He is one of the astachhap kavis of the Pushti Marg Sampradaya.

The bhajan sites of Surdas are Sur Kuti and Sur Samadhi which lie within the periphery of Vallabhacharyaji's Baithak.

Shri Nathji being a svarupa or living presence of Lord Krishna was clearly perceptible for the poet. The padas sung in praise of Nathji are compiled in the text 'Sur Sagar'. Through his poetic creations, Surdasji enhanced the beauty of worship, giving bhakti a new more intimate direction. Remaining a Krishna devotee, he did not lose sight of the Lord's romantic nuances and was therefore able to bring both religious and aesthetic truths to his compositions.

Celebrations: Local statues of Mahavir are given the abhisheka or ceremonial bath. During the day, Jains are engaged in some charitable act in the name of Mahavir while others go to temples for meditation and prayers. Typically lectures are held in temples to preach the path of virtue as defined by the Jain doctrine. Donations are collected to promote charitable missions like saving cows from slaughter or feeding the poor.

10th April, 2017: Chaitra Purnima

Full Moon on Chaitra Purnima

Chaitra Purnima is sacred for taking a dip in holy rivers and doing charity. Chaitra Purnima marks the end of Chaitra Mahina in North Indian Hindi calendar. Chitragupta Puja is also celebrated on Chaitra Purnima in some North Indian castes.

11th April, 2017: Hanuman Jayanti

Baby Hanumana, a Great Hanuman Devotee
 Hanuman Jayanti Is an important festival of Hindus and celebrates the birth of Lord Hanuman during the month of Chaitra.Sri Hanuman is worshipped all over India either alone or together with Lord Rama. Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and born of the Wind-God and Anjani Devi. A symbol of strength and energy, He is the living embodiment of Ram-Nam, a great devotee and an exceptional celibate. He did what others could not do-crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam, burning the city of Lanka and bringing the sanjeevini herb for restoring Lakshmana to life again.

On Hanuman Jayanti people read the Hanuman Chalisa, fast and spend the whole day chanting the name of Ram. The devotees visit temples and apply a tilak of sindoor to their foreheads from Hanuman's idol as a symbol of good luck.

13th April, 2017: Baisakhi

Celebrating Baisakhi

The Baisakhi harvest celebration is an occasion of dancing, singing, music, wearing of festive garments and religious praise in India. The festival marks the start of the New Year in the Nanakshahi solar calendar and recognizes the Sikh religious faith.

14th April, 2017: Sankashti Chaturthi

 Lord Ganesha

 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/auspicious sight 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. Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Puranmasi or full moon during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.

22nd April, 2017: Shri Vallabhacharya Jayanti

Shri Vallabhacharya

 Shri Vallabhacharya is one of the five main Acharyas of the Hindu Religion. (The other four being Shankaracharya, Shri Ramanujacharya, Shri Madhavacharya and Shri Nimbarkacharya.) He propagated the philosophy of Shudhadvaita and founded the Pushtimarg, a sect of the Hindi religion around 1500 AD.

Lord Krishna appeared as Shri Nathji in front of him and ordered him to propagate the pushti kind of devotion among the chosen ones and bring them back in their original state to Golok-dham.Shri Nathji assured him that with brahamasambandha, (relationship with God) whichever soul gains entry into the Pushti Marg, its impurities will refrain from obstructing the soul's relation with the Divine and the soul will be eligible to pursue His bhakti.

22nd April, 2017: Varuthini Ekadashi

 Lord Krishna Talks about Varuthini Ekadashi to Yudhishtira

 Varuthini Ekadashi Is observed on the eleventh day of Krishna Paksha or waning phase of the moon in Chaitra/Vaisakha month. It is believed that observing Varuthini Ekadasi makes a person fortunate, prosperous, expiates his sins and helps him in attaining moksha. The greatness of fasting on this Ekadasi was narrated to Yudhishtira (the eldest of the Pandavas) by Lord Krishna and is mentioned in the Bhavishyottara Purana.

 It is an auspicious fast dedicated to Lord Shiva and 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.

24th April, 2017: Soma Pradosh

 Lord Shiva

 It is an auspicious fast dedicated to Lord Shiva and 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. The Pradosh which falls on a Monday is of special significance and is known as Soma Pradosh

26th April, 2017: Vaisakh Amavasya

Devotees Bathing in the Ganges

Many devotees bathe in the holy Yamuna, Ganges and other rivers. Several devotees throng to Sri Banke Bihari Temple as Akshay Teej is round the corner.

28th April, 2017: Parshuram Jayanti

Lord Parshuram

 Lord Parshuram is the sixth avatar of Vishnu and belongs to the Treta yuga. He is the son of Jamadagni, a Brahmin and Renuka, a Kshatriya . He received an axe after doing austere penance to please Shiva, from whom he learnt warfare and other skills. Fighting back the advancing seas, he thus saved the lands of Konkan and Malabar. Parshurama is said to be the first warrior saint. A temple of Parshuram is situated at Akhnoor, 18 km away from Jammu. Every year, in May, a grand fete in the form of a parade, with hundreds of tableaux, throngs through the main city of Jammu to celebrate Parshuram Jayanti.

28th April, 2017: Akshay Tritiya

Charan Darshan of Shri Banke Bihari in Vrindavan

 The only occasion when Lord Bankey Bihariji gives His charan-darshan once in a year, with millions of people thronging the temple.

Akshyay means something that does not perish and the acts performed on this day become perennial in nature.

Our revered Lord Shri Banke Bihari ji Maharaj is extra generous on this particular day. One can meditate on His lotus feet today for which saint Surdas had sung: 
bandaun charan kamal hari raie |
jaki kripa pangu giri langhe, andhe ko sab kachhu darsaie ||
bahiro sune, mook puni bole, rank chale sir chhatra dharaie |
surdas swami karunamaya, bar bar bandaun tehi paie ||

which means:

'By the grace of the lotus feet of Shri Banke Bihariji all impossible things become possible in the world. The lame can cross high mountains, the blind can see everything, the deaf can hear, the dumb can speak and the poor can become rich and move with a chhatra (ceremonial umbrella, generally used in grand processions). The poet says my lord is so kind, full of kindness; I bow to His Lotus Feet! Bow To His Lotus Feet! Again and again. '

29th April,2017:Jayanti of Shri Manohar Baba

 Shri Manohar Baba

 Revered Baba Manohar Dasji had truly religious qualities like spiritual knowledge (understanding the identity of the self with the ultimate Brahman), asceticism and discernment. He renounced the world like vomit and sought the refuge of Shri Bal Krishan Dasji Maharaj, a great virtuous guru.

By Shri Maharajji's grace, Baba crossed over the toughest of spiritual stages and was resolute in his perennial quest for union with the divine.

In His honour, a monthly kirtan is being held for the past so many years in Gurgaon. Everyone is requested to attend the group singing of devotional songs for Sri Hari.

29th April, 2017: Shri Vinayak Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha

 The fast is kept to please Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is called Vighanharta and a puja begins with the worship of Lord Ganesha.

Each lunar month in the Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha as per the Hindu scriptures. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Puranmasi or full moon during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi. 

30th April, 2017: Shri Shankaracharya Jayanti

Shri Adi Shankaracharya

 Adi Shankaracharya was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. His teachings are based on the unity of the Atman and Brahman—non-dual Brahman, in which Brahman is viewed as without attributes.

Shri Radha Krishna Kripakataksha Stotra is the most renowned hymn of praise written by Adi Shankracharyaji. He revived the Sanatan Dharma as ritualistic frauds were misguiding innocent people. Shankaracharya ji is known to have written some of the most beautiful commentaries on the 'Bhagavad Gita', the 'Srimad Bhagawatam' and many stotras praising Lord Krishna and goddess Yamuna.

30th April, 2017: Soordas Jayanti

Shri Surdas

Shri Surdas wrote about the most beautiful childhood lilas or playfull dalliances of Lord Krishna. He is one of the astachhap kavis of the Pushti Marg Sampradaya.

The bhajan sites of Surdas are Sur Kuti and Sur Samadhi which lie within the periphery of Vallabhacharyaji's Baithak.

Shri Nathji being a svarupa or living presence of Lord Krishna was clearly perceptible for the poet. The padas sung in praise of Nathji are compiled in the text 'Sur Sagar'. Through his poetic creations, Surdasji enhanced the beauty of worship, giving bhakti a new more intimate direction. Remaining a Krishna devotee, he did not lose sight of the Lord's romantic nuances and was therefore able to bring both religious and aesthetic truths to his compositions.