Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bhadrapadam-the sixth month of the Hindu lunar calendar (August 30-September27)

Bhadrapada maasam is named after the poorvabhadra star falls on that pournami day. It is called shunya (null or void) maasam and people devote this time for prayers. This month is considered inauspicious to conduct any auspicious functions. The festival of Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated in the fourth day after no moon. The fortnight after the new moon is the reserved for the dead ancestors by paying homage to the ancestors, especially by food offerings. 
September 1
Vinayaka Chavitha or Ganesha Chaturthi is the festival of Lord Ganesha observed on chaturthi the fourth day of waxing moon in bhadrapada maasam. Lord Ganesha is the son of the divine couple of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. He is worshipped before initiating any puja or ritual. All energies are dedicated mainly to Vinayaka, HE is the one with full of wisdom.  Lord Ganesha is the one who can guide us to be successful by predicting the forthcoming obstacles and destroying the evil forces. The festival is widely celebrated in all Hindu communities around the world, an exuberant event in the state of Maharastra and southern India. The present kind of celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi came into fashion in 1893. Lokmanya Tilak, an Indian freedom fighter and social reformer reshaped the annual Ganesh festival from a private family celebration into a community event.  The festival is celebrated for nine or eleven days in the local communities along within the homes and temples. Later, on the eleventh day the idol is immersed in the water body with huge processions. Vinayaka brings auspiciousness, hope, success and happiness to all homes. During his brief stay HE removes all obstacles. While returning HE takes with him all problems and unhappiness.  If you are aware of the complete puja procedure you can as well do it, if not pray or chant the Lord’s name with devotion on this day. Early in the morning take head bath, wear new or washed clothes, light a lamp or incense stick, offer flowers and leaves (yes, leaves. Ganesha enjoys if puja performed with leaves, especially Durva grass), offer fruits or sweets to Ganesha. Pray, chant any slokas you know or at least the Lord’s name, with devotion; the least you can do, for Vinayaka to fulfill all your wishes with no obstacles on the way to your success.
May the Lord Vinayaka remove all obstacles and shower you with success in all your endeavors. Happy Vinayaka Chavithi!
September 2
Rushi Panchami is observed on the fifth day after the new moon in the Bhadrapada month that is the day after Ganesh Chaturthi. This is a vratha or puja to be performed by women. Women believe that by this pooja they get rid of the reactions of offenses committed during their menstrual period. On the Rushi Panchami day women dedicate the worship to the Sapta Rishis – the seven sages – Kashyapa, Atri, Bharadhwaja, Vishwamitra, Gauthama, Jamadagni and Vashishta. Last year, my aunt performed this vratha. This generation, we see few people observing this vratha in south India but more prevailing in northern India and Nepal.
September 9
Vamana Jayanthi is the day of the appearance of the fifth avatar and as the first total human incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This falls on the twelfth day after the new moon in the bhadrapada maasam. Lord Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin, appeared as the son of Aditi and the sage Kashyapa. The aim of the incarnation was to help Devas (Demi gods) who had lost their power to King Mahabali, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Vamana approached King Bali. King Mahabali generously offered to give three steps of land what Vamana asks for. Not knowing that Vamana was Lord Vishnu and came to take away his wealth and kingdom, Mahabali agrees to give three footsteps of land. Taking this opportunity Vamana expanded into gigantic form covered the cosmos with one step, earth with second step and the third step on Mahabali’s head and pushed him into netherworld (pathalaloka). The Onam festival (especially in Kerala), the day of Vamana Jayanthi, celebrates the annual visit of King Mahabali, a boon given by Lord Vishnu. This story of Vamana avatar from Srimad Bhagavatam is recited with great love and devotion during important ceremonies also.
September 14 - 27
During mahalaya paksham, rituals are performed by relatives for the departed souls of dead ancestors, parents and relatives. These are from the day after new moon(pournami) to the no moon day(amavasya). Mahalaya Amavasya (September 27) is most important day of performing shradha (food offerings) or tarpan(water offerings). Ancestors are said to descend on earth, with great expectations, to receive the food (pindam) and tilothakam (water and sesame seed mixture) offered by their family. Shradha is performed on the birth tidhi of the dead person during the mahalaya paksham.
The person who performs the Shradha should realize that for his birth, body, knowledge, wealth and sanskar he is indebted to the ancestors. All the assets, name and fame a person and his family have was given by the ancestors. So the ritual performed is a sort of thanksgiving to our ancestors.

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