Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Spiritual Calendar July, 2012

1st July 2012: Pradosh Vrata on a Sunday

Lord Shiva Pradosh
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.

 Generally people observe Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening.

Worship of Shiva throughout the night, bathing the Shivalinga with panchamrta (milk, curd, ghee, sugar and honey), homa, japa or chanting of the mulamantra (Aum Nama Shivaya) and praying for forgiveness are the other religious observances. At the end of the vrata one must do parana (break the fast by partaking the offerings).Pradosh timing is 4:20 to 6 o' clock in the evening.
Pradosh Ashtakam is an auspicious prayer chanted during Pradosh Shiv Pujan.

3rd July,2012: Guru Purnima Vrata

Shiva as Adi Dakshinamurty
The highest form of a Guru is Lord Shiva Himself (Adi Dakshinamurthy) or ultimate knowledge, and a Guru is the manifestation of that knowledge. It is such an important annual festival that most Indians visit the ashrams of their respective gurus or spiritual preceptors in Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mathura and Vrindavan.

 4th July, 2012: The Month of Shravan Begins

Worshipping Shiva in Shravan
The first Monday of Shravan is dear to all the gods, especially Shiva. On every Monday of this month, devotees throng to Shiva temples throughout India to worship the sacred Shivalingam.

Kadwarias in the month of Shravan: Soon after many devotees of Lord Shiva shall carry kadwarias to Haridwar/ Gopeshwar in the sacred Lord Shiva's month of Shravan (name of the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar). A kadwar is a decorative bamboo pole carried on the shoulder with covered pots of water balanced at both ends.

Lord Shiva's devotees are known as kadwarias in the local dialect because they carry these earthen pots. Dressed in saffron coloured garments these pilgrims carry water collected from the Ganges in Haridwar and Gangotri from where the river originates in Uttaranchah and return to their home towns. Here they consecrate the lingams or phallic symbols of Lord Shiva as a mark of thanksgiving to him.

6th July, 2012: Sri Ganesh Chaturti Vrata

Lord Ganesha
Devotees of Lord Ganesha, who intend to observe a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi, wake up early in the morning and take a bath. After wearing laundered clothes, they head towards the nearest temple or perform a small puja at their home, to offer prayers to the deity.

They either opt for the nirjal vrat (a stringent, waterless fast) or phalahar vrat (a diet). In order to concentrate, the devotees chant mantras invoking Lord Ganesha and sing bhajans in his praise. It is believed that if one observes a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi with sincerity, he is blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.

8th July, 2012: Naag Panchami

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

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

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

15th July Kamika Ekadashi Vrata

Lord Vishnu
The story of Kamika Ekadashi from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana is as follows: The saintly king Yudhishthira requested Lord Krishna to narrate glories of the ekadashi which occurs during the dark fortnight of the Shravan Month (July-August).Krishna said that once Narada Muni asked Lord Brahma the name of this ekadashi,the deity who was to be worshipped, the process to be followed and its merits.Lord Brahma happily agreed because just hearing about the Kamika Ekadashi is equivalent to performing a horse sacrifice.

One who worships Lord Vishnu attains greater merit than bathing in the Ganges,having darshan of Lord Kedarnath in the Himalayas,bathing at Kurukshetra during a solar eclipse, donating earth in charity, taking a dip in the Kali Gandaki River or Godavari River on full moon. Observing Kamika Ekadashi bestows the same merit as donating a milk-cow and her calf along with their fodder. Oh Narada, Lord Krishna himself confirmed that the one who fasts on Kamidka Ekadashi is more blessed than a person studying the spiritual texts and does not have to suffer future births.

Lord Krishna affirmed that this sacred day nullifies the sin of killing a brahman or an unborn child in the womb and transports one to Viakuntha, where Lord Vishnu forever dwells.

16th July 2012: Pradosh Vrata

Lord Shiva & Parvati on  Nandi
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.

16th July, 2012: Karka Sankranti

The Sun Enters Karka Rashi
On this day the sun enters Karka Rashi (Cancer). It is also known as Dakshinayanam which marks the end of the *Uttarayan Punya kaal (daytime for gods) and the begining of Dakshinayana punya kaal (nightime for gods.) In Hinduism it is believed that the gods go to sleep during the period of Dakshinayanam. During Karka Sankranti performing pitru tarpan or the rituals which pay respect to our pitrus or ancestors is considered highly meritorious. Worshipping Lord Vishnu, chanting the Vishnu Sahasranam and worshipping Varaha (the third incarnation of Vishnu) is a must on Karka Sankranti.

*One day of the gods is equivalent to one year of human life.

19thJuly, 2012: Hariyali Amvasya

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

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

22nd July, 2012: Hariyali Teej

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

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

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

22nd July, 2012: The Monthly Sri Hari Kirtan

Lord Krishna
Begun by revered Manohar Baba is being held at Alok's home. In the Shrimad Bhagwat (11/14/24)Lord Krishna says, “ Vaag Gadgada...Punaati ” which means,” Those who take my name purify not only themselves but the whole world!" Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, “Geetava tu Arjun” or “Oh Arjuna! Those who dance on taking my name, in fact, do really exchange me for good!”

All are requested to attend the kirtan along with their Thakurji or Yugal-sarkar so that it becomes a grand Jhulna Utsav. In the holy town of Vrindavana, the festival of Jhulan Utsava lasts for 13 days. It starts on the third day (tritiya) of the bright fortnight of Shravan (July-Aug) and lasts until the full moon night of the month. During this festival the deities of Radha-Krishna in temples are gently swayed on a swing.

Sri Radharaman Thakur on a Jhulan in Vrindavan
 This is one of the biggest festivals of the year and Vrindavana is packed with thousands of devotees from all over the world. At some temples, the swings are made of gold and silver. Some of the prominent temples where this festival is celebrated are the Banke Bihari Temple, the Radha-Ramana Temple in Vrindavana and the Dwarkadish temple in Mathura.

24th July, 2012: Kalki Jayanti

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

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

25th July, 2012: Goswami Tulsidas Jayanti

 Gosain Tulsidas ji
Gosain ji was a dedicated devotee of Lord Rama and the writer of 'Shri Ramcharitmanas,' a great Hindu epic. He was born on Shravan Shukla Saptami of 1498 AD in Rajpur, Chitrakoot district and was a Sarayuparina Brahmin by birth.
Tulsidas ji intensely loved his wife Buddhimati and she enlightened him by saying that if he loved Lord Rama half as much as her he would attain eternal bliss. Thereafter Tulsidas became an ascetic. He got a vision of Lord Rama through Hanumanji and began composing the Shri Ramcharitmanas. On Tulsidas Jayanti one must read or hear the Ramcharitmanas, visit shrines of Lord Rama plus Hanumanji, and feed Brahmins.
29th July, 2012: Pavitra Ekadashi

 Lord Vishnu Being 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.

30th July,2012: Shiva Pradhosh Vrata

Lord Shiva, Parvati & Ganesh
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.

30th July, 2011: Appearance day of Boboji or Saint Ushaji of

 Revered Usha Bahenji, a Great Saint of Vrindavan
Let us bow to Ushaji whose ishtdev or favoured deities are Shri Radha-Krishna while Lord Shiva is her guru or spiritual preceptor.. Hence it seems but natural that she was born in Shravan, the month of worshipping Shiva.

If possible:
1. Keep a fast on every Monday from 18th July till Rakhi which is on 13th August.
2. Daily offer water, milk and belpatras on Shivlingams, idols of Lord Ganesha and Ma Parvati at home or in any temple.
3. Also chant daily at least three beads of Om Namah Shivah and seven beads on a Monday which is traditionally regarded as Shivji's day. In fact Shivji (incarnating as Hanumanji during Shri Ram avatar) is paramguru of all Vaishnavas (Rameshwaram, Gopeshwar. ) NRIs may chant Shri Shiv Stuti daily which is available on internet as well.

The Twelver Jyoti-Lingams
4. Do visit the sites of Lord Shiva like Rishikesh and the 12 Jyotir-Lingams during this month of Shravan.
5. In Shravan Braj,Vrindavan (Mathura) also has a special practice of swings being put up.The jhoolas of Lord Bihariji and Radha-Krishna are very famed. Shri Krishna Kripakataksha Stotram 8th Verse.

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