Sunday, January 8, 2017

Spiritual Calendar, January, 2017


2nd January, 2017 Vinayak Chaturthi



Lord Ganesha

An auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha, it falls on the 4th day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the moon) of a lunar fortnight or on the fourth day after Purnima or full moon. Ganesha devotees observe a fast on Vinayak Chaturthi.

Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis. According to Hindu scriptures Chaturthi Tithi(s) belongs to Lord Ganesha. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Purnimasi or full moon during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.
5th January, 2017: Guru Govind Singh Jayanti


The Jayanti is a Sikh festival that commemorates the birthday of Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. It is a religious celebration in which prayers for prosperity are offered.

Guru Govind Singh was the 10th Sikh Guru of Nanak. He was born at Patna, Bihar, India, on December 22, 1666.

Guru Govind Singh was the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, who gave his life to protect religious freedom. He succeeded his father and became a Guru at nine years of age. In his lifetime, he stood against the Mughal Rulers and fought against injustice. In 1699, Guru Govind Singh took five men from the lower caste of society and baptized them as His Five Beloveds. It was his dedication to God, his fearlessness and his desire to protec people from being oppressed that led Guru Govind Singh to establish the Khalsa, a military force of saint-soldiers which he baptized.

Before his death in 1708, he declared the Guru Granth Sahib, which is Sikhism’s Holy Scripture, to be the permanent Sikh Guru.

8th January, 2017: Putrada Ekadashi


Putrada Ekadashi

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.

10th January, 2017: 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.

Worship of Shiva throughout the night, bathing the Shivalinga with panchamrta (milk, curd, ghee, sugar and honey), homa, chanting 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).

When the Pradosh Vrat falls on Tuesday it is known as Bhaum Pradosh. It enhances physical health and brings prosperity.

12th January, 2017: Paush Purnima


Paush Purnima Snan

Paush Purnima is the full moon day of the Paush Month. It is considered very auspicious as the Magh Mela and its Snan starts at the Allahabad Prayag Triveni Sangam.

Hindus believe that taking a holy dip at the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, or any other location of holy rivers like the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and Brahmaputra is very auspicious and expiates the sins committed in their lives.

The festivals of Shakambari Jayanthi and Shakambari Purnima are celebrated on Paush Purnima and it is the last day of Paush Navratras.

Our friends in Dubai can mentally do the parikrama or circumambulate Mount Goverdhan. Shri Giriraj is blessed because it here that Lord Krishna spreads His joy and expresses His love. If one does parikrama of the mountain just once he is expiated from all sins. Finally attaining his favoured deity, he goes to Vaikuntha because Shri Radha's Pranvallabha or Lord Krishna adorns the peak of Shri Govardhan.

13th January, 2017: Lohri


Punjabis, irrespective of religion, continue to practice their Punjabi Folk Religion. Respect to the seasons and the natural elements of fire, wind, water and the earth is very important. Lohri is a festival dedicated to the end of the Winter season whereas Teej (known as Teeyan in Punjabi) is dedicated to the rain/Monsoon season and Basant is dedicated to Spring .

Over time, people have associated Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti. The central character of most Lohri songs, Dulla Bhatti was a Muslim highway robber who had converted from Sikhism. He lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Regarded as a hero in Punjab, he robbed the rich and rescued Sikh and Hindu girls being forcibly taken to be sold in the slave market of the Middle East. He arranged their marriages to Sikh and Hindu boys with the proper rituals and provided them with dowries. So every other Lohri song expresses gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.

14th January, 2017:  Makar Sankranti


Worshipping the Sun God

 Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn Zodiac it is known as Makar in Hindi.

Makar Sankranti is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase and any sacred ritual can be sanctified in a Hindu family from this day onwards. Sankranti marks the termination of the winter season and the onset of spring.

At Vrindavan, Rishikesh and Allahabad, millions of devotees will take a dip in the holy River Yamuna or the Ganges on this pious day. Invariably they will give charity to the needy.

Bhagwan Surya-Narayan is considered the ancestor of Lord Ramji and the very first disciple of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavat Gita, and He will be worshipped with joyous abandon.


Shri Radha Vallabha Thakurs in Vrindavan

Today a bhoga of khichdi will be offered to Sri Yugal Sarkar particularly at the Radha Vallabhji Temple at the holy dham of Vrindavan. We must also offer khichdi bhoga to our ishtdev or family deity and liberally donate it to brahmins and the needy.

15thJanuary,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.


16th January, 2017: Birth Anniversary of Shri Radha Baba


Shri Radha Baba

 In 2012-2013, the birth centenary of Sri Sri Radha Baba (16th January 1913-13th October 1992) was  celebrated at His birthplace, Gorakhpur, Kolkatta and Delhi to spread the message of love. In quest of the divine, Shri Shri Radha Baba came in contact with Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar through Jai Dayal Ji Goenka, a spiritual personality and the founder of Gitapress.

In 1987, highly revered Bobo sent the aunties of Vrindavan, her inner circle of devotees and me for his darshan.Today we feel truly blessed because we had stayed at Gita Vatika for full one week, in the year 1987.

19th January, 2017: Swami Vivekananda Jayanti 


Swami Vivekananda 

Swami Vivekananda (January 12,1863-July4,1902) was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He founded the Ramakrishna Missiona and introduced Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America,. bringing Hinduism the status of a world religion by end of the 19th century.Born in an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta in 1863, he came to Ramakrishna and became his disciple while searching for someone who could directly demonstrate the reality of God.Ramakrishna taught him the philosphy of Advaita Vedanta or non-dualism which endorses that service to man is the most effective worship of God.


23rd January, 2017 : Shattila Ekadashi


Lord Vishnu

This ekadashi falls on the eleventh day of Krishnapaksh in the month of Paush.Til means sesame seeds and shat stands for six. The entire offering of six types of sesame seeds on Shat Tila Ekadasi is considered highly meritorious. Reciting the Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotram (the thousand names of Vishnu) and worshipping Lord Vishnu is a must for devotees.

Please offer til-ladoos to Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, your family deity, the child form of Krishna or Lord Rama at home. As til is considered beneficial for the cold winter months, kindly give sesame seeds to needy students and the poor, this season.

25th January, 2017: 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.

Worship of Shiva throughout the night, bathing the Shivalinga with panchamrta (milk, curd, ghee, sugar and honey), homa, chanting 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).

26th January, 2017: Happy Republic Day


People throughout India celebrate the nation's Republic Day, which is a gazetted holiday on January 26 each year. It is a day to remember when India's constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, completing the country's transition toward becoming an independent republic.

27th January, 2017: Mauni Amavasya


 
Devotees Bathing at the Sangam in Prayag

We have the famed holy dip in Prayag during the Magh Mela. Mauni Amavasya is the no moon day in Magh(January to February) as per the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India. Several Hindus keep a vow of absolute silence on this day. According to Hinduism, mauna or silence is an integral part of spiritual discipline. Derived from the word muni, mauna ideally symbolizes a state of oneness with the Self. Silence has also been described by Adi Shankaracharya as one of the three essential attributes of a sanyasi. In recent times Ramana Maharshi popularized silence as a medium of spiritual instruction.


27th January, 2017 :Paush Amavasya
The first new moon day of the New Year attracts a large number of devotees from all over the world.



 
Devotees Take a Dip on Paush Amavasya

Considered auspicious for Hindus, many devotees visit sacred rivers and take a dip early in the morning and offer oblations (tarpan) to their departed ancestors. Hindus offer Pinda and Shraddh karma to dead ancestors.


 Shri Banke Bihariji in Vrindavan

One can hear the Shri Banke Bihari Aarti and the Shri Banke Bihari Ashtak at the www.bihariji.org. The Ashtak is a compilation of eight verses in Sanskrit dedicated to the praise of Shri Banke Bihari Maharaj and composed by Shri Jagdish Goswami when the present temple was being constructed in the 1860’s. Recitation of the ashtak or octet relieves the devotee of worldly worries and above all ensures sharanagati which means he finds lasting peace in the lotus feet of Shri Bankey Bihari.


Swami Shri Haridas

The devotional compositions of Swami Haridas compiled under the heading of Kelimal can be chanted. The word Kelimal means garland (Mal or Mala) of plays (Keli). This volume consists of 110 compositions in Indian classical music and is dedicated to the romantic dalliance of Shyama-Shyam in the nikunja or Nikunj Keli.

Siddhant Ke Ashtadash Pad (eighteen poems of principles): Swami Haridas came to Vrindavan in the sixteenth century AD. when the country had already seen foreign aggressions. The knowledge of Sanskrit and ancient philosophy had become extinct but these times were relatively peaceful as Akbar pursued a path of reconciliation.

During that period Swami Haridas composed these eighteen quadruplets containing the extract of philosophy in Braj bhasha, the language of common man. The complex relationship between the world, soul, creator and maya who runs the world has been explained in simple words. The true nature of the soul and salvation by total surrender to His desire (as expounded in Shrimad Bhagvat Gita and other epics) is also dwelt upon.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Spiritual Calendar: December, 2016

3rd December,2016: Vinayak Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata



 Lord Ganesha
Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha according to Hindu scriptures. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon and during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Purnimasi or full moon and during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.
The most significant Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in the month of Bhadrapada and is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
4th December: Vihar Panchami

 Shri Banke Bihariji
 Vihar Panchami also known as Bihar Panchami, is the day when Shri Bankebihari (Lord Krishna) manifested in Vrindavan for Swami Shri Haridas. The incident is 523 years old when Akbar reigned and Tansen was his darbari. Millions of devotees throng the Biharji Temple to revel in the festivities. This auspicious event is said to have taken place on the fifth day of the moon's waxing phase in the Margashirsh Month.
 
 Swami Shri Hari Das
 Popularly known as Bankey Bihari Prakat Mahotsav, the entire premises of Nidhivan as well as the Bankey Bihari Temple are beautifully decked with flowers, flags, buntings and lights on this occasion. Special pujas and rituals are performed and another great attraction is the colorful processions taken out on this day.
 
4th December, 2016: Vivah Panchami
 

Shri Ram & Sita Vivah Utsav
Observed on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha in the Margashirsha month. The day is observed as the Vivah Utsav of Sita and Rama in temples and sacred places associated with Sri Rama in Mithilanchal region and North India.

 
 Shri Anand Das Baba
 At Anand Das Baba's Ashram, a grand bhandara is usually organised. Saint Ushaji opined that he was Rambhakt Hanuman Himself. She used to tell us how He would spend entire days and night at the sandy beaches of Sri Yamuna without food for days at a stretch and ardently longed for the divine love of Ramji. An amazing trait of His religious devotion was Baba's constant love for Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna forever dwells, even though he was a great bhakta of Lord Rama.
 
10th December, 2016: Janamotsav of Shri Balkrishan Das ji Maharaj

 Shri Balkrishan Das ji Maharaj
 Maharaj Bal Krishan Dasji was a great saint of Vrindavan, who had experienced the highest ideal of religious rapture by relishing the lilas or divine play of Shri Radha-Krishna.
 
 Gita Jayanti
 The janamotsav of Shri Bal Krishan Dasji Maharaj Of Venu Vinod Kunj, Vrindavan and Shri Bhagavad Gita Jayanti happen to fall on the same day. Maharajji was born on the day when Lord Krishna revealed the nature of time and duty to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, about 5225 years ago. Gita Jayanti is observed on the eleventh day of the bright half moon (Shukla paksha) of the Margashirsha month (November – December). Devotees from all over India converge at Shri Dham Vrindavan to celebrate this occasion. 
 
10th December, 2016: Mokshada Ekadashi

 Mokshada Ekadashi
 This legend as taken from the Brahmanda Purana is as follows:
Yudhishthira Maharaj said, "What is the name of the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Margashirsha (November-December) and removes all sins? "
Lord Sri Krishna replied, "This Ekadasi is famous as Mokshada because it purifies the faithful devotee of all sinful reactions and bestows liberation upon him. The worshippable Deity of this auspicious day is Lord Damodara.
" There once was a beautiful city named Champaka-nagar and the best of saintly kings Maharaj Vaikhaanasa, ruled over his subjects as if they were his very own sons and daughters. The king had a dream one night in which his father was seen to be suffering torture in one of the hellish planets ruled by Yamaraj.
" ' O brahmanas,' the king addressed them, 'In a dream last night I saw my father suffering on a hellish planet. Now I have no peace in my mind, and even this beautiful kingdom has become unbearable to me.'
" The twice born brahmans replied, 'O king, in the mountainous forest not far from here is the ashram where a great saint Parvata Muni resides. Please go to him, for he knows the past, the present, and the future and can surely help you in attaining relief from your misery.'
"Upon the advise of brahmans, the distressed king immediately set out for the ashram of sage Parvata Muni.
"Then, Parvata Muni, the best of all sages, closed his eyes and meditated on the king and said, 'Your father is suffering the consequences of committing a great sin. In his previous life he quarrelled with his wife and forcibly enjoyed her sexually.'
"Parvata Muni said, 'During the light fortnight of the month of Margashirsha there occurs an Ekadasi called Mokshada'.
"Hearing this, Maharaj Vaikhaanasa profusely thanked the great sage and returned to his palace to observe the vrata. Then he perfectly and with full faith observed the Ekadasi fast with his wife, children, and other relatives and dutifully gave the merit from this fast to his father.
Soon after, the king's father was escorted to the celestial region.'
Lord Krishna confirmed, "O son of Pandu there is no better fasting day than this Ekadasi and one goes back to Godhead, never to return to this material world."
11th December,2016: Pradosh Vrata

 Lord Shiva
Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept for propitiating Lord Shiva. With his blessings all desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment.Generally people observe Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas.) It begins at sunrise and ends during twilight in the evening.
13th December, 2016: Margashirsha Poornima

 Margashirsha Poornima
 Margashirsha Poornima or full moon day is the last day in a month in the calendar followed in North India and is known as Pournami in South India. Fasting from sunrise to sunset is observed by some Hindus on Purnima and this day is chosen by many Hindus for pujas like the Satyanarayan Puja and Dattatreya Jayanthi, and Annapurna Jayanti is also observed on this day.
 
13th December,2016: Dattatreya Jayanti

 Lord Dattatreya
Dattatreya Jayanti, is a Hindu holy day, commemorating the birthday celebration of the Hindu god Dattatreya (Datta), a combined form of the Hindu male divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Margashirsha (Agrahayana) month according to the Hindu Calendar (December/January) throughout the country, and particular in Maharashtra. 
 
17th December, 2016: Sankashti Ganesh 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 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.
24th December, 2016: Safala Ekadashi Vrata

 Safala Ekadashi
 Safala Ekadashi is observed on Paush Krishna Paksha Ekadasi day as per North Indian calendars. The vrata helps devotees to attain success in every sphere of life.
The spiritual importance of Safala Ekadashi is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana as the conversation between Lord Krishna and Yudhistira. The legend of Safala Ekadashi is associated with King Lumpaka who was sinful by nature but after keeping the Ekadasi Vrat he was blessed with a blissful life and attained salvation after death.
26th December, 2016: Som 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. The Pradosh which falls on a Monday is of special significance.


28th December, 2016: Shradh Amavasya

 Shradh Amavasya
 The last day of the waning phase of the moon is called Amavasya. Amavasya is the end of the Krishna paksha of the Hindu month.There are many Hindus who undertake a complete fast on Amavasi. Some Hindu communities take a single meal on this day which is considered apt for doing Tarpan and Shradh for dead parents and other relatives.