Monday, December 31, 2012

Spiritual Calendar: January, 2013

A Very Happy New Year to you and your family members.

1st January, 2013: Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

Lord Ganesha

It's customary to bow at the holy feet of Lord Ganesha in the new year. Ganesha, the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon, is beheld as the most auspicious God of new beginnings and widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati

Soon after, we must propitiate Ganesha's parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Lord Shiva or 'The Auspicious One', works for our well being, is the refuge of loving tenderness, is splendidly generous, bestows religious devotion to Krishna and is maha yogeshwar. Shiva, the supreme Vaishnava, is often venerated as the adi guru who resides in spiritual mentors of this mundane world. Easily pleased, Lord Shankar manifested for our Bobo in Vrindavan and made this spectral revelation that He was her spiritual preceptor for Krishna's madhurya or sweet love.

5th January, 2013: Kal Bhairav Ashtami Vrata

 Kala Bhairava, a Manifestation of Lord Shiva

Kalashtami is an auspicious vrata dedicated to Lord Shiva observed on the ashtami after purnima in the Hindu calendar. Pitru daan and pitru darpan are performed to please the dead souls. It is a fast kept mostly in Maharashtra and other western parts of india.

Mahakal Bhairav Jayanti (Mahalkal Bhairav Ashtami) is the most auspicious Kalashtami because it is the jayanti of Kalbhairav. It is observed in the month of Kartik according to the Maharashtra calendar

8th January, 2013: Safala Ekadashi Vrata

Safala Ekadashi

Safala Ekadashi also spelt as Saphala Ekadasi, is observed on Paush Krishna Paksha Ekadasi day as per North Indian calendars. Saphala Ekadashi vrat 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.

9th January, 2013: Shiva Pradosham

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 the Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi, (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening. The bel patra or leaf of the wood-apple tree represents the three eyes of lord Shiva and the three gunas.

11Th January, 2013: Amavasya


The last day of the waning phase of the moon is called as Amavasya. Amavasya is the end of the Krishna paksha of the Hindu month. A few festivals like Diwali celebrated on this day. Amavasya is considered sacred for ancestor rituals.

According to Amavasyant calenders it is called Margashirsha Amavasya. As per purnimant calenders it is called as  Paush Amavasya.

12th January, 2013: Swami Vivekananda Jayanti

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863–July 4, 1902),was the chief disciple of the 19th century Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and founded the Ramakrishna Mission. He introduced the Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America, and brought Hinduism to the status of a world religion by end of the 19th century. Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta in 1863. While searching for someone who could directly demonstrate the reality of God, he came to Ramakrishna and became his disciple. Ramakrishna taught him the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta or non-dualism and that service to man was the most effective worship of God.

13th January, 2013: Lohri

Punjabis, irrespective of their 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 the Spring season.

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 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 express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.

14th January, 2013: 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.

Bathing in the Ganges on Makar Sankranti

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 Ram ji and the very first disciple of Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavat Gita and will be worshipped with joyous abandon.

Shri Radha Vallabha Thakurs in Vrindavan

Today a bhoga of khichdi will be offered to Sri Yugal Sarkar or Thakurji particularly at the Radha Vallabh ji 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.

15th January, 2013: Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

Lord Ganesha

When people fast on Ganesh Chaturthi, they either opt for the nirjal vrat (a stringent, waterless fast) or phalahar vrat (a diet). Devotees are allowed to have sweets including til ke ladoo , gajak and rewari along with tea and coffee. 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.

16th January, 2013: Shri Radha Baba Birth Centenary Celebrations

Sri Sri Radha Baba

 In 2012-2013, the birth centenary of Sri Sri Radha Baba (16th January 1913-13th October 1992) is being celebrated at His birthplace, Gorakhpur, Kolkatta and Delhi to spread the message of love. In quest of the divine, He 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, the parikar 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.

18th January, 2013: Guru Govind Singh Jayanti

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

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

Guru Gobind 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 Gobind 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 protect the people from being oppressed that led Guru Gobind 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.

22nd January, 2013: Putrada Ekadashi
is celebrated on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha in the Poush Month.

Lord Vishnu

Rituals: On this day Lord Vishnu is worshipped and one keeps a fast for children. Devotees wake up early in the morning and bathing soon after, worship Lord with due respect. Their children have long lives and childless couples are blessed with a child.

24th January, 2013: Shiva Pradosh Fast

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 the Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening. Thus please offer plain water and bel patra to Lord Shiva to herald the New Year of 2011 with an auspicious note. The bel patra or leaf of the wood-apple tree represents the three eyes of lord Shiva and the three gunas.

27th January, 2013: Paush Purnima, Magh Snana Begins

Paush Purnima Snan

The day occurs when the moon is full in the Hindu month of Paush. This is the last full moon of winter. By this time, the sadhu and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Kumbh Mela.
Paush Purnima Punya Snan is an importance event in Magh Mela. Every year, Thousands of devotees perform ritual baths in Prayag. In 2013 it is considered more auspicious because of Purna Kumbh mela. Heavy rush is witnessed in Hindu temples across India on this day.

30th January, 2013: Sankashti Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata

Lord Ganesha

The most favourite day of the month for Lord Ganesh is the Chaviti or the fourth day of the month. The chaviti or the fourth day of the month of the Krishna Paksha or waning pahse of the moon is known as Sankashti Cahturthi. Sankashti Chaturthi is also known as Sankata Hara Chaturthi or Sankata Vimochana Cahturthi. 

Devotees of Lord Ganesha treat Sankashti Chaturthi observe the Sankashti Chaturthi Vrat. It is believed that by doing so one is freed from all his difficulties also known as Sankat.

Devotees observe a day long fast on Sankashti Chaturthi. In the night after seeing the Moon, devotees worship Lord Ganesha. After praying to Lord Ganesha, devotees eat the offering that is made to Lord Ganesha.Devotees would also take care that they visit any Ganesha Temple on Sankashti Chaturthi Day.

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