Significance of Akshaya Navami

Akshaya Navami is an auspicious day, celebrated in many parts of India. It is the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartik. Read the below article to know why it is also called the Amla Navami..
Observed on Shukla Navami day in the Kartik month as per Hindu calendar, Akshaya Navami is an important festival celebrated across Northern India. It is celebrated with great pomp and rituals two days prior to Dev Uthani Ekadashi. This year it falls on 1st November, 2014, i.e. the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) in Kartik month.
According to legend, it is believed that the Satya Yug began on this very day, i.e. Akshaya Navami. Therefore, it is also known by the name of Satya Yugadi and deemed auspicious for daan-punya activities. The very name Akshaya means that the reward of carrying out a good deed or charity on this day will lead to unending punyas, benefitting the individuals for many a lifetimes to come.
Many people compare the Akshaya Navami to Akshaya Tritiya. They are not wrong as both days are very auspicious. Akshaya Navami marks the beginning of Satya Yuga while Akshaya Tritiya is also known as Treta Yugadi or when the Treta Yuga of the four Yugas began.
It is said that on the day of Akshaya Navami, a parikrama of the twin cities of Mathura-Vrindavan is considered very important and holy. On this day, lakhs of devotees flock to the twin cities to participate in this activity so that they can earn maximum punyas.
The Akshaya Navami is also known as the Amla Navami. As per traditions, the Amla tree is also worshipped on Akshaya Navami. In West Bengal, this day is also known as Jagaddhatri Puja. On this day they worship Maa Jagaddhatri – Goddess of Satta.
Amla Navami according to Padma Purana
Known to be a very nutritious fruit, Amla has much religious significance attached to it as it is a fruit known to be very dear to lord Vishnu. It is used on the auspicious day of Ekadashi to welcome virtues unto one. Additionally, eating Amla on a daily basis ensures a healthy long life.
The legend behind Amla Navami
One day a Chandala went hunting in the forest. While he hunted for birds and deers, he fell hungry. Seeing an Amla tree, he climbed onto it and ate the sweet Amla fruits. Unfortunately, as he began to climb down, he fell and died. When Yam raj’s attendants to take away his soul, they could not do so. This baffled the Yam raj to a great extent and he seeked help from sages. They enlightened him by saying that they couldn’t approach the Chandala’s body as he had consumed Amla just before he died.
Rituals for Akshaya Navami
Devotees take a bath in the Ganga while women then perform day long fasts. The Puja itself is carried on at the bank of the river Ganga.  As per the rituals, 30 squares are drawn with turmeric which is known as Kotha. Each of these squares is then filled with pulses, grains and food. This ritual is followed to ensure good harvest.
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Akshay Navmi

Akshyay means inexhaustible or something that does not decay, does not perish, or in more simple words you do not suffer any loss on account of it. We have a festival in the name of Akshyay Tritiya celebrated on vaishakh shukla tritiya and another festival in a similar name of Akshyay Navami almost after six months of the earlier that is celebrated on Kartik Shukla Navami ie on ninth day of second (bright) fortnight of the month Kartik. According to the Puranas, Treta Yuga began from this day. Also on this day Sun God worshipped Durga and was in return awarded with unlimited gifts possibly in the form of solar properties which are now so beneficial to mankind. The main characteristics which lends the epithet `Akshyay’ or Indestructible to this day is that gifts bestowed on this particular day continue to bear blessings for ever. The day is spent by devout Hindus in meditation and prayer to acquire the inexhaustible knowledge of God and thereby attain eternal bliss and peace.

 

This is the day on which devotees undertake parikrama (circumambulate) of the twin city of Mathura and Vrindavan. They come out of their homes early in the morning before sunrise, barefoot, walk down to Yamuna, take a holy dip, worship Yamuna, smear a little of Braj Raj on their foreheads and then start the Parikrama. Wearing the braj raj on the forehead is said to be assuring salvation to salvation itself. As some enlightened saint of yesteryears mentions:

 

Vrindavan ki gail mein mukti pade bilkhaye,

Mukti kahe Gopal son, meri mukti bataein |

Padie raho ya gail mein panthi awat jayein,

Brij-raj ud mastak lage, mukti mukt hai jai ||

 

Meaning goes as: The goddess Salvation (Mukti), lying in the lanes of Vrindavan, is crying. The Goddess is urging Gopal( a lovely name of Lord Krishna, meaning the protector of cows, the cowherd boy) to tell her  the way that she herself can be salvaged. The Lord tells her to patiently keep on lying in these lanes of Vrindavan. As the people will walk up and down the lane the dust of Vrindavan (Braj-raj) will raise off the ground by their footfalls and as it touches your forehead you will attain salvation. Such is the divine power of Braj-raj.

 

So, the devotees wearing braj-raj on their foreheads go around the holy cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. As they start from Vrindavan, walking along the holy river Yamuna,   on their way they offer their respects at various temples- Shri Banke Bihari Mandir, Kaliya Dah, Cheer Ghat, Nidhivan, Keshi Ghat, Gopeshwar Mahadev, Jagannath Ghat and finally Godess Durga in Vrindavan. Then they walk towards Mathura, along Yamuna taking the same rout as taken by Lord Krishna when He left Vrindavan on invitation of His maternal uncle Kamsa, and offer pooja at Akroor Ghat temple on their way. On entering Mathura they worship Yamuna again at Vishram Ghat, offer pooja at Dwarkadhesh Temple, Rangeshwar Mahadev, Bhuteshwar Mahadev and Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple. Then they walk back to Vrindavan through the forests and grasslands where Lord Krishna used to graze cows in his childhood ages ago. The land is considered pious as it bears imprints of Lotus feet of Lord and his friends. By the time they reach back to Vrindavan from head to toe they are laden with pious Braj-raj. Though the ritual is tiring and highly demanding on physical strength of the devotee, it is seen that even seemingly fragile and weak devotees are also able to successfully undertake the parikrama. As we know this is the divine intervention in our lives in the form of enhanced energy and strength that is granted to us for fulfilling such pious ambitions.

 

On this occasion if you are not able to physically undertake the parikrama we advise you to undertake at least mansik parikrama of the holy land. You can meditate on the image of Brij mandal and mentally walk around Vrindavan and Mathura. Believe in the power of deep meditation and be assured that mansik parikrama will do you as good spiritually as the actual physical parikrama.

Festival Significance : Vrindavan Mathura Yugal Parikrama
Festival Date (Hindu Calender) : Kartik Shukla Navmi
Festival Date (English Calender) : Fri, 20 November 2015

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