Indians are largely a spiritual population who takes their prayers very seriously. And they don’t necessarily follow any one particular God or Goddesses, especially the Hindus, but are more likely to associate themselves with more than one God. In fact, Hinduism is the only religion that accommodates so many Gods. One particular parallel among these Gods is that they all represent some aspects of Brahman which, according to Hindu philosophy, reflects the ‘reality’ that remains constant within and beyond the world and can’t be defined exactly. Akshaya Tritiya is an important event in the Hindu and also the Jain faith and is a fine example of Indian plurality when it comes to Gods.
What is Akshaya Tritiya?
An important and auspicious day for the Hindus and the Jains, Akshaya Tritiya is observed to celebrate the birthday of Lord Parasurama, who is believed to be the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Amongst the four most important days in Hindu religion, it falls on the third Tithi (lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) in Vaishakha, a month in the Hindu calendar. There is also the belief that on this day Veda Vyas and Lord Ganesha started writing the epic Mahabharata. Akshaya signifies infiniteness and something that never loses its potency.
The importance of Akshaya Tritiya
Apart from the associated festivity, it is the religious and astrological angle to Akshaya Tritiya that make it so important. According to astrology, on this day the sun and the moon have the same most exalted brightness. Again on this day, the god of wisdom and obstacle remover, Lord Ganesha along with Ved Vyas started work on the Mahabharata, an epic and one of the major religious scriptures on which the Hindu religion is based. Talking of the Mahabharata, on this day Dushsana, brother of Duryodhana, tried to forcefully disrobe Draupadi, wife of the Pandava brothers, and it was left to Lord Krishna to save her blushes. This incident from the Mahabharata, where Draupadi is seen praying to Lord Krishna to come to her rescue finds resonance in today’s context where we pray to the Gods in the belief that our prayers will be similarly answered. Hindu mythology also says that on this very day, the Treta Yuga started and the Ganga river, which is witness to so many events in human history, descended from the heaven on earth. The importance of Akshaya Tritiya also stems from the fact that it is associated with good luck and there is an increasing belief that any venture started on this day will only grow in size. This is the very reason why many people today prefers to start a new venture, be it a business, construction or movie on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya.
There is still another reason why Akshaya Tritiya is considered to be of such religious significance, for on this day the Badrinath and Kedarnath temples, which are part of the Char Dham Yatra, are opened for the pilgrims. Located in the picturesque land of the Himalayas, Badrinath and Kedarnath are important destinations in the Indian pilgrimage circuit and are frequented by lakhs of devotees every year.
What to do on Akshaya Tritiya
Akshaya Tritiya symbolizes the good and is therefore celebrated with a lot of fervor. During the festival you can buy gold, silver, and diamond ornaments having inscriptions of various Gods and Goddesses. The women of the house can take an active role in deciding what ornaments to buy and from where as it involves a significant investment. Moreover, every year there is a new design or a fad that dominates over the other, and by buying such a trendy ornament you can make a fashion statement while keeping the religious decorum in mind. It is also that time of the year when devotees find spiritual solace and peace of mind by paying homage to Vasudeva by keeping day long fasts. People also pay homage to the God of Wealth, Lord Kubera. Another thing to do during Akshaya Tritiya is to donate money to the needy –according to Lord Krishna, when you donate money, you become liberated and rise above petty matters and interests. You become a better individual who exudes compassion and strength. In addition, on this auspicious day you can also offer barley in a holy fire, another popular ritual among devotees, to get benediction.
How to celebrate Akshaya Tritiya
The best way to celebrate Akshaya Tritiya is by lighting diyas with pure ghee. Also, to get into the festivity and the holy spirit, you must put a Tilak on your forehead –Kumkum and turmeric are the components that are normally used for making the Tilak. Organizing Pujas at home is a common way of celebrating the festival and it may start in the morning and go on till late in the evening. Reading mantras are an integral part of the Puja and it is mandatory to continuously chant them for 108 times. While doing the Puja and reciting of the mantras, it also a ritual to put the images of Godess Lakshmi and Sudarshan Kubera Yantra in front. The Gods and Goddesses offer their benediction only to those souls who know how to do Akshaya Tritiya pooja correctly. So, make it a point to learn the nuances of the festival and how to offer your prayers to get the blessings of the Gods and Goddesses.
Akshaya Tritiya 2014 Dates
The dates for Akshaya Tritiya 2014 has been announced and it will be celebrated on the 2nd of May. The Puja Mahurat will be for a duration of 6 hours and 19 mins starting at 5:43 in the morning and ending at 12:03 in the afternoon.
The benefits of doing Puja, Jap, Yagya, Pitra-Tarpan and Dan-Punya during the Akshaya Tritiya are considered to have long-lasting benefits, as the word Akshaya implies, and therefore it is no surprise that this time also there is a lot of expectation among followers.