Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spiritual Calendar, April 2012

1st April 2012: Sri Ram Navami

The Birth of 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’s father Raja Dashrath was the king of Ayodhya. He had three wives: Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra – all the three Queens could not bear any children to succeed the beloved King. King Dashratha performed the Atiraatri Yagya to get sons.

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,Gao mata (holy cow) and Saints.

Lord Vishnu incarnated 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 Devotee of Shri Hanuman
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.

2nd April, 2012: Celebration of Dharam Bahenji's Birthday

Dharam Bahenji
Dharam Bahenji ( 2nd April , 1927 till 25th May, 2001)was a famed saint of Vrindavan who was born on 2nd April, 1927 and left for Golok (the abode of Lord Krishna) on 25th May, 2001.

Right from the age of six she used to fluently chant the Bhagavad Gita and at the tender age of eleven wrote the renowned play 'Giridhar Ki Meera,' a beautiful composition on Meera, the bhakti poet-saint of Rajasthan.
She was a teacher in Delhi ( BA , Prabhakar ) but after meeting Saint Ushaji in 1950, she shifted to Ambala. This was pre-destined because from 1954 onwards, the arrival of Sakha ji (a siddha from Golok) had become a regular practice.

Saint Usha ji & Sushila Bahenji
Hence the trio of Ushaji-Susheelaji-Dharamji used to relish the lilas or playfull dalliances of Lord Krishna, as friends.
Only when Usha ji renounced the world for settling in Vrindavan on 17th November, 1959, Dharam ji joined her job in Delhi. In fact, her divine experiences with Thakurji reveal that a sort of Vallabhacharya -Tulsidas- Surdas Bhakti-Yuga was re-enacted in Bobo's era as well. When great devotees of Krishna are born they generally come together as a parikar or divine group so that the time on earth is not wasted in worldly affairs but spent in singing the glories of the Lord. For example we had Bhai Poddarji-Radha Baba-Sethji of Gorakhpur.

3rd April, 2012:- Kamda Ekadashi Vrata

The Vrata of Kamada Ekadashi
Expiates all the 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.

3rd April, 2012: Phool Bangla Utsav Of Shri Bankey Bihari Ji Maharaj Begins

The Phool Bangla of Thakur Radha Raman ji in Vrindavan
The Phool Bangla Utsav in Vrindavan is a festival celebrated for many days, starting from Chaitra Shukla Ekadasi up to Haryali Amavasya (Shravan Amavasya). During this festival of flowers, Lord Shri Banke Bihariji is adorned with leaves and flowers of summer. The leaves of Vatvriksha (Banyan) are strung as garlands and ornaments for Bihariji. Phool Bangla is the decorated home to seat Lord Bihariji and every devotee longs to view this ethereal scene.

4th April, 2012: Bengali New Year

Pohela Boishakh Ushers in the Bengali New Year
The Bengali calendar is closely tied with the Hindu Vedic solar calendar, based on the Surya Siddhanta. The Bengali calendar commences in mid-April of the Gregorian year. In Kolkata, Pohela Boishakh (and indeed the entire month of Boishakh) is considered to be an auspicious time for marriages. These days people wear new clothes and are socialising. Choitro, the last month of the previous year, is the month of activities and frantic purchases.
Pohela Boishakh is the day for cultural programmes. Prayers are offered for the well-being and prosperity of the family. Young ladies clad in white saris with red borders, and men clad in dhuti and kurta take part in the Probhat Pheri processions early in the morning to welcome the first day of the year.

This day being auspicious, new businesses and ventures are begun. The Bengali Hindu traders purchase new accounting book. Long queues of devotees are seen in front of the Kalighat temple from late night to receive the blessings of the Almighty.

On Pohela Boishakh various fairs are held in West Bengal.

4th April, 2012: Shiva Pradosh Vrata

Lord Shiva
Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept for propitiating Lord Shiva. With his blessings one's desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment. Generally people observe the Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening. Please offer plain water and bel patra to Lord Shiva. The bel patra or leaf of the wood-apple tree represents the three eyes of lord Shiva and the three gunas.,

4th April, 2012: Lord 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.

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.

6th April, 2012: Chaitra Purnima

Chaitra Purnima
Is sacred for taking dip in holy rivers and doing charity,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.

6th April, 2012: Shri Hanuman ji Jayanti

Birth of Hanumana, a Great Devotee of Lord Rama
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.

6th April, 2012: Lord Rama Chhathi at Ayodhya

Chhati or Sixth Day of Lord Rama's Birth
A ritual takes place on the sixth day after birth, when the new mother and baby emerge from the room where the birth has taken place and where they have been secluded. This is a personal ceremony performed by the family elders. The baby is dressed in new clothes. a swastik sign is made on a white cloth and also on the wall. An earthen diya , called akhand diya, is lighted for 24 hours, at this altar. A piece of paper and pen are kept nearby in the belief that the goddess of destiny (bhagya vidhata) will write the destiny of the newborn.

9th April, 2012: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

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

The Legend of Ganesh Damnak Chaturthi Fast
A tale recounts how the Gods decided to choose their leader between the brothers-Kartikeya and Ganesh. Whoever took three rounds of the earth first, would be acclaimed with the position. Kartikeya seated on a peacock, his vehicle, soon enough set out for the mission. Ganesh was given a mooshak or rat, which moved swiftly. He made obeisance to his parents and circumambulating them three times, completed the test before Kartikeya. He reasoned, "My parents pervade the entire universe and going around them, is more valuable than going round the earth." All present were amazed at Ganesha's logic and he was renowned as Ganadhipati or leader, now famed as Ganapati.

17th April, 2012: Varuthini Ekadashi

Lord Krishna Talks of the Varuthini Ekadashi to Yudhistira
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 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.

To get the merits of Varudhini Ekadasi, on Dashami, devotees avoid consuming onions, spinach and some more foods on Dashami, the day before Ekadashi,. On Dwadasi, the day after Ekadasi, devotees avoid the eatables as they did on the Dashami day. Devotees spend time reciting Holy Scriptures such as the Bhagavada Puraram and do jagaran or keep awake during the night. During Ekadashi people avoid cutting their hair, shaving and taking an oil bath.

17th April, 2012: Sri 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 Shuddhadvaita and founded the Pushtimarg, a sect of the Hindi religion around 1500 AD. Shri Vallabh with his unopposed arguments proved that God is purely non-dualistic or Shuddhadvait.

Lord Krishna appeared as Shrinathji 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.Shrinathji 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.

18th April, 2012: Shiva Pradosh Vrata

Lord Shiva
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.

20th April, 2012: Amavasya for Pind Daan

Pind Daan Amavasya
It is a Hindu belief that after the death of a human being, the soul still remains in this mundane world. Just because of losing one's body(by dying) one can not detach oneself from this material world. Love and affection for his family prevent him from ultimate departure. Consequently, that man being in a bodiless state is in pain. He wants to do many things but can't and he does not want to free himself from this materialistic world. Pind Daan gives him relief and paves the way for departing to the ultimate world of peace.

21st April, 2012:Bhowmati Amavasya

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

21st April, 2012: Shri Shukdev Jayanti

Sri Sukhdev ji Narrjating the Shrimad Bhagwad to Raja Parikshit
When Sri Sukhdev ji's yagnopavith had not been done, nor had the time for other worldly responsibilities come, he decided to take sanyas.
Once during Srimad Bhagvad Katha, Muni Shonak ji said: Soot ji, you remove ignorance. How do Vaisnavas get rid of maya and worldly desires and what will help us attain Sri Krishna. Soot ji said:
Shonak ji, In this Kaliyug Sri Sukhdev ji has preached the Srimad Bhagvad katha to get rid of this yuga's torments.Nothing is better than this narrative for the purification of mind. When a human's good deeds from previous births accumulate, one gets to know this scripture.

23rd April, 2012: Bhagwan Parashurama Jayanti

Bhagwan Parashurama
Parashurama 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. Parashurama is said to be the first warrior saint. A temple of Parashurama is situated at Akhnoor, 18 km away from Jammu. Every year, in May, an enormous fete in the form of a parade, with hundreds of tableaux, throngs through the main city of Jammu to celebrated Parshuram Jayanti.

24th April, 2012: Akshay Teej

Thakur Banke Bihari ji in Vrindavan
The only occasion when Lord Bankey Bihariji gives His charan-darshan and millions of people throng the temple.It is the sole occasion when Lord Bankey Bihariji gives His charan-darshan once in a year, with millions of people thronging the temple.

25th April, 2012: Sri Ganesh Chaturthi Fast

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

25th April, 2012: Jayanti of Shri Manohar Baba Jayanti

Baba Manohar Das ji
Revered Baba Manohar Das ji had truly religious qualities like 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 Maharj ji, a truly virtuous guru.

By Maharaj ji'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, monthly kirtan is being done for the past so many years in Gurgaon. Everyone is requested to attend the group singing of devotional songs for Sri Hari.

26th April, 2012:- Sri Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti

Sri Adi Shankaracharya
Adi Shankara 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 Shankracharya ji. 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 'Bhagavad Gita', 'Srimad Bhagawatam and many stotras praising Lord Krishna and goddess Yamuna.

26Th April, 2012: Shri Soordas Jayanti

Sri Surdas & Thakur Nath ji
He wrote about the most beautiful childhood lilas or playfull dalliances of Lord Krishna. Sri Surdas 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 (devotional hymns) 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.

27th April, 2012: Sri Ramanujacharya Jayanti

Sri Ramanujacharya
He is one of the 4 main Acharyas known as Ramanujacharya. Seen by Vaishnavas as the third and most important teacher of their tradition (after Nathamuni and Yamunacharya). Ramanujacharya is regarded by Hindus  as the leading expounder of Vishishtadvaita

His philosophy combines advaita (oneness of God) with Vishesha (attributes). In Ramanuja’s system of philosophy, the Lord (Narayana) has two inseparable prakaras or modes, the world and the souls. These are related to Him as the body is related to the soul and have no existence apart from Him. Matter and souls constitute the body of the Lord whereas He is their in dweller and controlling Reality.They are termed Viseshanas or attributes while God is the Viseshya or that which is qualified.

28th April, 2012: Maa Ganga Saptami

Ma Gange
Vaishakh Shukla Saptami is known as Ganga Saptami. People come to take a holy dip in the Ganges and relieve themselves from their sins and agony. Mother Ganga cleanses them and absolves their sins. The river covers a distance of 1500 miles and keeps the adjoining areas green and fertile. Ganga Saptami is celebrated to make people know her significance on the spiritual plane.

30th April, 2012: Sri Sitanaumi

Ma Sita is the Shakti of Prabhu Rama
The day is observed as the birth of Sri Sita or Janaki Devi, the wife of Lord Ram. Sri Sita is considered an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi just as Lord Ram is Lord Vishnu Incarnate.

In the Ramayana, Sri Sita Devi is best remembered for her penance to find a perfect marriage partner. It was her father, King Janak's condition that whoever could lift the divine bow and arrow gifted by Lord Shiva would marry his daughter. And as per destiny, Sita ji's choice was made after years of austere penance to Devi Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva.

Sri Sita Naumi is not celebrated with as much fanfare as Sri Ram Naumi is in the month of Chaitra. However without Sita, worshipping Lord Ram's would be incomplete because she is Shri Ram's divine feminine energy or shakti.Sri Sita Devi is also remembered in the Ramayana as setting a role model for Hindu society, particularly in her devotion to Lord Ram during the 14-year exile.

King Janaka Unearths Baby Sita who is Born of the Earth Goddess
Sri Sita was born as Janaki or daughter of King Janak but later renamed as Sri Sita Devi by Maharishi Naradh Muni.She was actually given to King Janak by the Earth Goddess or Bhuma Devi whilst he was ploughing a piece of land during a prolonged period of drought in the Treta Yuga He unearthed a golden casket in which he found a beautiful baby girl. Overjoyed, he named her Sita because land ploughed by a yoke is called sita.

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