Sati, the consort of Shiva immolated herself at Daksha Yaga, which was later destroyed by Shiva. Shakti was reborn as Uma, or Parvati the daughter of the mountain king Himavaan (the Himalayas). Shiva withdrew himself from the universe and engaged himself in yogic meditation in the Himalayas. In the meanwhile, the demon Surapadman ravaged the earth and tormented its beings. It was realized by the gods that only the son born of Shiva and Parvati could lead the gods to victory over Tarakasuran, Surapadman and their demon companions. They plotted with Kaama, the lord of desire, to shoot a flower arrow at Shiva, as he sat in meditation, so as to make him fall in love with Parvati. When Kaama aimed his arrow at Shiva, he opened his third eye and burned him to ashes instantly. Upon hearing the pleas of Kama’s wife Rati, he brought back Kama to life, in flesh and blood for her sake, and in a formless state for others. The Devas manage to get Shiva married to Parvati (who was Dakshayani, reborn) by having Manmatha (also known as Kama), the god of love awaken him from his penance, incurring his wrath by opening his third eye of destruction, and being destroyed and resurrected. Shiva hands over his effulgence of the third eye used to destroy Manmatha to Agni, as he alone is capable of handling it till it becomes the desired offspring. But even Agni, tortured by its heat, hands it over to Ganga who in turn deposits it

Vaisakha Masa (Vaisakha Month)

Vaisakha Masa, Lord Vishnu’s favorite masa, is said to be the greatest, the most sacred of all months. According to sage Narada, Kartika (October-November or Tulam-Vrischikam), Magha (January-February or Makaram-Kumbham) and Vaisakha (April- May or Medam-Idavam) are the finest months for worshipping Lord Vishnu, but of these three, Vaisakha is supreme. Vaisakha has the capacity to remove the sins of past births and liberate the worshipper from worldly bondage. It is the best month for dharma, yagna, rituals and tapasya, as it is the most suitable season compared to other seasons. Vasant (some write basant) or spring is conducive for worship for the common man ( householder) and during this time, from Meena to Karkata ( Pisces to Cancer) i.e. from Chaitra Sankranti to Shravana Sankranti, Vishnu roams the celestial woods and gardens with Lakshmi. During Vaisakha, Vishnu tests his devotees, as those who sit idle during this month, without any puja or dana, suffer a fall in dharma. The four purusharthas, namely, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are attainable with Vaisakhadharma, i.e., worship and rituals during this month will yield nothing less than the fruits of these highest goals. At a more mundane level, it grants ayu (longevity), yash (fame) and pushti (sustenance) and the unending blessings of Vishnu.

Vaishakha is the first month of the Nepalese calendar (the Bikram Sambat) and the Bengali calendar (Boishakh). In the Indian national calendar Vaisakha is the second month of the year. In the Hindu solar calendar, Vaisakha begins in mid-April in Bengal, Nepal and Punjab. In the Hindu lunar calendar, Vaisakha begins with the new moon in April and represents the second month of the lunar year. The harvest festival of (Baisakhi) is celebrated in this month. Vaikasi, or Vaigasi, is the second month in traditional Tamil Calendar. The most auspicious day in the month is Vaikasi visakham – birth day of Lord Muruka. Vasantholsavam with special pujas and rituals are held in the month in the famous Srirangam Ranganathananda Temple in vaigasi.

Vaisakha is the month par excellence for doing dana (charity), yagna (fire sacrifice some write yajna), vrata (fasting ritual) and snan (bathing). Daana is an important aspect of Vaisakhadharma. This can comprise the giving of any item in charity, but the highest among these is the dana of water or jaladana. Those who do not give water to a thirsty passer-by or a guest or a visitor to one’s home, shall be re-born as the bird chataka, who had spent its life pining for water.

The devata for the month is Madhusudana and worshipping the deity after bathing with puja and arghya will absolve all sins and give endless pleasure to Vishnu.

Vaisakha Mahatmyam in Skanda Purna (30 chapters) and Vaisakha Mahatmya Prakaranam in Padma Purana describes the worshipping protocols and glory of Vaisakha. Mahabharata Santiparva says – the person, whether male or female, who passes the month of Vaisakha, confining himself or herself every day to one meal, and keeping his or her senses under control, succeeds in attaining to a position of eminence among kinsmen. According to Malsya Purana the month of Vaishakha is a good time to begin house constuction. The Brahma Purana which was originally recited by Brahma to the sage Marichi and has thirteen thousand shlokas should be donated on Vaisakha Poornima day and such a donation brings undying punya.

Bathing in the Brahma muhurta i.e., before sunrise, during Vaisakha followed by worship of Vishnu is considered to be equal to visiting all the pilgrim centers. Chant the following mantra given in Padmapurana while you bath.

Mesha samkramanam thottu vaishakam kazhivolavum
Pratha snanam kazhikkunnen prasadikka janardhanan 1
Madhuvil bhaskaranan medam Pukku nilkke pularchayil
Snanam cheyyumenikkeesa Nalka chonna bhalam hare 2
Priyamallo madhudweshin Madhu masam thava prabho
Athil prabhatha snanal me Papam neekki bhalam tharoo 3
(Translation by Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon)

Goddess Ganga will be present in every river and pond from brahma muhurtha to Suryodaya. So bathing in the morning will give Gangasnanabhala. Visit Vishnu temples, Chant Vishnu Sahasranama and other stotras, mantras like om namo narayanaya, om namo bhagavathe vasudevaya……Read the Bhagavatha Purana and Vaisakha Mahatmyam Kilippattu.

Special Days in Vaisakha Month

Akshaya Tritiya is the most important day in Vaisakha month. Other important days of this month are Sree Shankara Jayanthi, Buddha Jayanthi (Vaisaka poornima), Subrahmanya Jayanti (Vaikasi Visakham), Narasimha Jayanti and Dattatreya Jayanti. The Vaisaka Festival of Kottiyoor Perumal Temple in Kannur district(Kerala) also begins in this month.

Akshaya Tritiya

Akshaye Tritiya, falling on the third day of the bright half of the lunar month of Vaisakha of the traditional Hindu calendar, is one of the four most auspicious days of the year for Hindus.

The word Akshaya, a Sanskrit word, literally means one that never diminishes, and the day is believed to bring good luck and success. It is widely celebrated in all parts of India by different sections of the society irrespective of their religious faith and social grouping. The day is particularly considered auspicious for buying long term assets like gold and silver, including ornaments made of the same; diamond and other precious stones; and the real estate. The legend states that any venture initiated on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya shall continue to grow and bring prosperity. Hence, it is normal to see many of the new ventures, like starting a business, ground breaking for construction etc on the Akshaya Tritiya Day. According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Krita yuga began.

It is believed that by doing a good deed on this day one can earn Punya for life. Every minute of this day is considered sacred. It is considered to be one of the most auspicious days of the Vedic Calendar. Every moment on the Akshaya Tritiya day is auspicious and there is no need to look for a muhurat on the day.Hindus, Buddhists and Jains celebrate this day. It is believed that Satya Yuga (Krita yuga) and Treta Yuga started on this day. On this day the Sun and Moon are at their peak of brightness. Veda Vyaasa dictated and Lord Ganesha started to write the Mahabharata on this day.

New beginnings like weddings, business ventures, new deals, new audit books, business trips are considered to bring luck. Valuables bought on this day, such as gold is deemed auspicious. It is believed that gold multiplies if bought on this day. Akshaya Tritya is an occasion known for bringing communities together. The day is considered auspicious by Hindus and Jains for the purchase of gold, an expression that in some ways is indicative of wealth, beauty and joy. In Rajasthan, the day is called Aakha Teej and is considered very auspicious for weddings as well. With the mass media and marketing, this day has been taken over by marketers to promote sales and bookings for Gold jewellery, houses, consumer electronics.

Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright-half of the lunar month of Vaisakha is considered as one of the most sacred days of the year. The word, “Akshaya” means one that never diminishes. Hence, starting a new activity or buying valuables on this day is considered to certainly bring luck and success. The religious merit that is acquired by giving gifts on this day becomes inexhaustible. Many buy new gold jewelry on this day. Most Jewel stores stock in new jewelry models for this occasion. “Lakshmi-inscribed” gold coins, diamond jewellery and golden dollars with the pictures of many gods and goddesses. The day is generally observed by fasting and worship Lord Vasudeva with rice grains. The day gains more importance when it falls on a Monday or under Rohini Star. A dip in the Ganges on this day is considered to be very auspicious. Akshaya Tritiya is also called Navanna Parvam. Akshaya Tritiya falling on a Rohini star day is considered more auspicious. Lord Kubera, considered to be the richest, is one amongst the Astadikpalakas. Lakshmi Tantram says that this Lord will himself pray to Goddess Lakshmi on this day.

The pujas we have to perform on Akshaya Tritiya include Kubera Lakshmi Puja. This puja has to be performed on this day only. The puja should commence in the morning and end in the evening. From the next day onwards, one has to perform the puja regularly for 108 times by reciting the moola mantra. A photo of Goddess Lakshmi Devi along with Sudarsana Kubera Yantra could be used for the puja. Light with pure ghee should be used. Also light dhoop sticks with Kumkum and turmeric can be used.

The day is generally observed by fasting and worship Lard Vasudeva with rice grains. The day gains more importance when it falls on a Monday or under Rohini Star. A dip in the Ganges on this day is considered to be very auspicious. Akshaya Tritiya is also called Navanna Parvam. This day also happens to be Balarama Jayanti. Akshaya Tritiya falling on a Rohini star day is considered more auspicious. Lord Kubera, considered to be the richest, is one amongst the Astadikpalakas. Lakshmi Tantram says that this Lord will himself pray to Goddess Lakshmi on this day. Most of us are already aware of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Out of these, Artha plays an important role. Artha here means money. Even decades passes by, the importance of Artha remains the same. Without Artha, nothing can be achieved. Here Artha merely does not only mean money but also includes honour, happiness etc. ” A child can survive without his mother but he cannot survive without Lakshmi” says Shri Devi Bhagavatha Maha Puranam.

Lord Surya gave Yudhishtira a bowl called Akshaya Patram (meaning inexhaustible vessel) on Akshaya Tritiya day. It was a wonderful vessel, which held a never-failing supply of food to the Pandavas every day. When the Pandavas began their exile in the forest, Yudhishtra was despondent at his inability to feed the holy sages and others who accompanied him. At this, Dhaumya, the priest of the Pandavas, counselled him to pray to Lord Surya. Pleased with Yudhishtira’s prayers, Lord Surya blessed him with the Akshaya Patra, a vessel that would give unlimited food every day till Draupadi finished eating.Lord Krishna also once partakes food from the Akshaya Patra, when sage Durvasa arrived at the Pandavas’ place with his disciples. When Durvasa arrived, there was no food left to serve him, since Draupadi had already finished eating. The Pandavas became anxious as to what they would feed such a venerable sage. While Durvasa and his disciples were away at the banks of the river bathing, Draupadi prayed to Lord Krishna for help. As always, they were once again saved by Him, who partook of a single grain of rice from the Akshaya Patra and announced that He was satisfied by the meal. This satiated the hunger of Durvasa and all his disciples too, as the satisfaction of Lord Krishna meant the satiation of the hunger of the whole Universe. Akshayapatra, in current usage, refers to any store that is inexhaustible. On Akshaya Tritiya the Pandavas unearthed weapons, which helped the latter to gain victory over the Gandharvas to save the Kauravas in Kamyaka Vana.

The Ganga river, the most holy and sacred river of India, descended to the earth from the heaven on Akshaya Trithiya day. There are several Hindu beliefs that give various versions of the birth of Ganga. According to one version, the sacred water in Brahma’s Kamandalu (water-vessel) became personified as a maiden, Ganga. According to another (Vaishnavite) legend, Brahma had reverently washed the feet of Vishnu and collected this water in his Kamandalu. According to yet a third version, Ganga was the daughter of Himavan, king of the mountains, and his consort Mena; she was thus a sister of the goddess Parvati. Every version declares that she was raised in the heavens, under the tutelage of Brahma. Several years later, a king named Sagara magically acquired sixty thousand sons. One day, King Sagar performed a ritual of worship for the good of the kingdom]. One of the integral parts of the ritual was a horse, which was stolen by the jealous Indra. Sagara sent all his sons all over the earth to search for the horse. They found it in the nether-world (or Underworld) next to a meditating sage Kapila. Believing that the sage had stolen the horse, they hurled insults at him and caused his penance to be disturbed. The sage opened his eyes for the first time in several years, and looked at the sons of Sagara. With this glance, all sixty thousand were burnt to death. The souls of the sons of Sagara wandered as ghosts since their final rites had not been performed. When Bhagiratha, one of the descendants of Sagara, son of Dilip, learnt of this fate, he vowed to bring Ganga down to Earth so that her waters could cleanse their souls and release them to heaven. Bhagiratha prayed to Brahma that Ganga come down to Earth. Brahma agreed, and he ordered Ganga to go down to the Earth and then on to the nether regions so that the souls of Bhagiratha’s ancestors would be able to go to heaven. Ganga felt that this was insulting and decided to sweep the whole earth away as she fell from the heavens. Alarmed, Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva that he break up Ganga’s descent. Ganga arrogantly fell on Shiva’s head. But Shiva calmly trapped her in his hair and let her out in small streams. The touch of Shiva further sanctified Ganga. As Ganga travelled to the nether-worlds, she created a different stream to remain on Earth to help purify unfortunate souls there. She is the only river to follow from all the three worlds – Swarga (heaven), Prithvi (earth) and, Patala (neitherworld or hell). Thus is called “Tripathagā” ( one who travels the three worlds) in Sanskrit language. Because of Bhagiratha’s efforts Ganga descended on to earth and hence the river is also known as Bhagirathi, and the term “Bhagirath prayatna” is used to describe valiant efforts or difficult achievements.

Akshaya Trithiya is the wedding day of Goddess Madhura Meenakshi and Lord Sri Sundareswara. In order to answer the prayers of the second Pandya king Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai, Goddess Parvati appeared out of the Holy Fire of the Putra Kameshti Yagna performed by the king. According to another legend, the goddess herself had given a boon to Kanchanamalai in one of her previous births that she will have the privilege of mothering the goddess. This girl, who came out of the holy fire had three breasts, to the king’s shock. A voice from the heavens told him not to worry and added that the third breast would vanish as soon as the girl meets her future husband. The happy king named the girl as ‘Tadaatagai’ and brought her up. The girl did not have any realization of her birth and she grew up as a normal human girl. Being the heir to the throne after Malayadwaja, Tadaatagai was trained carefully in all the 64 sastras (fields of sciences), which includes warfare, too. As the time came when Tadaatagai should be coronated, according to the customs, she had to wage war on the three worlds across eight directions (Digvijayam). After conquering Satyaloka (Lord Brahma’s Abode), Vaikuntha (Lord Vishnu’s Abode) and Amaravati (the Divine Abode of the Devas), she advanced to Kailasha (Lord Siva’s Abode). She very easily defeated the Bhoota ganas and Nandoi (the celestial bull of Lord Siva) and headed to attack and conquer Siva. No sooner than she looked at Lord Siva, she was unable to fight and bowed her head down due to shyness; the third breast vanished immediately. Tadaatagai realized the reason and understood that Lord Siva is her destined husband. She also realized that she was the incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Both Lord Siva and Tadaathagai return to Madurai and the king arranged the coronation ceremony of his daughter, followed by her marriage with Lord Siva, the next day. The marriage was supposed to be the biggest event on earth, with the whole earth gathering near Madurai. Vishnu, the brother of Meenakshi presided over the marriage function and did the Kanya Dana.

Jagad Guru Sankaracarya during his Brahmacari Bhikshatana one day visited the house of a poor Brahmin lady, whose husband also went to the village for Bhiksha and nothing was available in the house to offer. She was very much upset and worried that she could not offer any thing to such a great person who came to her house. She earnestly searched for some thing to be given in her house. At last she found an Amla fruit (Nellikka – Emblic myrobalan). She was feeling very shy to offer but she gave it with all humility and respect in the bowl of Sankaracarya. Sri Sankaracarya was very much moved at the sight of the poverty, stricken woman and immediately in an extempore way started imploring Goddess Lakshmi to be merciful towards this poor Brahmin lady to drive away her poverty. He recited twenty two slokas in praise of Goddess Lakshmi Who was very much pleased and appeared (Satkshathkara) before Sankaracarya and asked for his cause and all of prayer. Sankaracarya pleaded her to grant riches to the Brahmin lady. Goddess Lakshmi said that this Brahmin lady did not qualify to get any riches in this life as she did not to do any charities in her previous life and carry consideration and she deserves sufferance and justified her stand of not confering any wealth on her. Sankaracarya while accepting her sand replied that in this life she gave him Amla fruit with very great reverence inspiteof not having any thing due toher extreme poverty and this act ofher alone will justify to shower riches on her. Hearing upon this Goddess Lakshmi was greatly moved and immensely pleased with the advocacy of the argument of Sri Sankaracarya and showered instantly golden rain of Amla fruits (Emblic myrobalan). Thus the stotra of Sankaracarya towards Goddess Lakshmi was sacred, famous and popular known as Kanakadhara Stotra. Bhagavatpada Sankaracarya’s Kanakadhara Stotra also called by him as Surarnadhara Stotra studded with Anugraha Bijakshar as aiming at Sri Lakshmi. This event happened on an Akshaya Trithiya Day and the home of that brahmin lady is now famous as Swarnathu Mana. Remembering this incident, Akshaya Tritiya Kanakadhara Yajnam is performed on this day at Kalady Sree Krishna Temple, the family temple of Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya.

Akshaya Tritiya: Revealing the Importance of Daana Mahima

Akshaya Tritiya, commences on the third day of the bright half of the lunar month of Vaisakha of the traditional Hindu calendar. This day is considered as one among the four most auspicious days of the year for Hindus. Akshaya Tritiya is gaining much reputation during the past decade. It is alleged that gold multiplies if bought on this day. Highlighting this belief, the jewelries attract customers with vivid discount features and presents. Most of the people have only limited knowledge about this day, as they consider Akshaya Tritiya, the day for buying gold so that prosperity will come to them. The name implies that whatever endeavor we do in this day will become auspicious and perpetual.

The Sathyayuga( Kirtha yuga) begins on Akshaya Tritiya .The incarnation of Vishnu, Balarama, brother of SriKrishna incarnated on this day. MadhuraMeenakshi Devi and Sundaraswara Siva got married in the presence of Lord Vishnu in this day.During Akshaya Tritiya, Saint Bhageeratha , meditated to bring Ganga Devi to earth ,for attaining Mokhsa to the souls of Sagaraputhras, who were cursed by Kapila Maharshi.It is believed that in this day, Aadi Shankara ,recited Kanakadhaara Sthothram to create golden showers of Gooseberry for a poor Brahmin mother who gave Shankara a small berry fruit as Bhiksha. In North India , during this day any virtuous activities can be done without noting Muhoortha. Hence marriages and house warming ceremonies are celebrated more on Akshya Tritiya.

The Matsya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishya Purana describes the importance of Akshya Tritiya emphasizing the Daana Mahima and Vishnu Pooja ,that to be done on this occasion.

In Matsya Purana chapter 65, Lord Mahadeva describes the importance of Akshaya Tritiya and Akshaya Tritheeya Vratha Vidhi. Lord Says – “Oh Narada, I will explain all the rules and procedures of Tritiya day so as to flourish all the noble wishes. You have to do Dana, Havana, and Japa so as to get immense and uncountable prosperity and whoever do Vratha and fasting, will be blessed with good results. Akshaya Tritiya with Karthika Nakshathra is considered to be a divine day. The Homa-Havana-Japa rituals done on this day is stated as Akshaya (eternal). Akshaya Santhana ( virtuous children) and Punya will be showered on to those who undergo Vratha on this day. In this day one should worship lord Vishnu with Akshatham (dry rice and Paddy grains). Hence the name Akshaya Tritiya orginates. The Padmapurana prohibits using Akshatham for Vishnu Woirship(nakshathairarchayeth vishnum – Padmapurana 6:16:20). Akshya Tritiya is the only day in which Akhsatham can be used for Vishnu Pooja. Rest of the days white gigelly must be used. On this day take bath in Akshatha mixed water, worship Vishnu idol using Akshatha, and with Akshatha, do Dana Karma for knowledgeable Bhrahmins. After that eat the Nivedya. Oh! Maharshi Narada, who ever human, following this rituals will be blessed with eternal providence. Whoever done this vratha once in a year gets equal benefits of doing all the Tritiya Vrathas all over the year. Whoever human worship Janardhana Swamy Vishnu during this day following all the rules and regulations of Akshaya Tritiya, will get the prosperity of Raajasooya Yaga and finally attain abode of Lord Vishnu.

The Uthara Parva chapters 30 to 33 of Bhavishya Maha Purana says the significance of Akshya Tritiya. Lord Sri Krishna describes the importance of Akshya Tritiya to King Yudhishtira. Sri Krishna says, “ Oh King Yudhishtira, listen to the story of Shukla paksha Tritiya of Vaishakha Month. Any Karma, Snana, Japa, Homa, Swadhyaya done on this day will become eternal. Sathya yuga has begun in this day. Hence this Thithi is also named as Kritha Yugaadi Tritiya. This day washes all the Papas and brings in endless peace and prosperity. You please hear a famous story about Akshaya Thritheeya.

In Shaakala city, there lived a merchant named Dharman, who was very truthful, righteous, and respectful towards Bhrahmanas, whom he worshipped too. He came to know about the importance of Akshaya Tritiya commencing along with Rohini Nakshathra and Wednesday; that whatever Dana made in this day will become eternal and prosperous. On that day, he bathed in Ganga River and paid homages to his forefathers. After that he offered Dana in the form of food, cloth, water, gold etc to Brahmins very piously. He completely believed in the significance of this date. After some years Dharman died and reborn as King of Kushavathi. Due to the Punya made in previous birth, the King received no scarcity for wealth and affluence, which was immensely showering on him. The King made many Danas, but his wealth didn’t decline and increased countless.

Oh King Yudhishtira , understand the result of Akshaya Tritiya as interminable. Now hear the Vratha Vidhi during this day. Offer Dana to those who deserve, in the form of food( with all the “rasa”), Jala Kumbha, various fruits, cows, land, clothes and gold. All these should be beloved to you also. Whatever Karma (deed) done in this day will not become terminated. That’s why Saints consider this day as “Akshaya Tritiya”

In the 23rd chapter of Skandapurana; Vaishnava khandam; Vaishakha mahaathmyam, Shruthadeva explains the importance of Akshaya Thritheeya.Whoever undergo Snaana (bath) during sun rise; worship Lord Vishnu and hear Bhagavan’s stories in this day will attain Moksha. And whoever does Dana karama on this occasion, will receive eternal prosperity for his deeds, under the supreme command of Lord Vishnu.

All these references from Puranas on Akshaya Tritiya portray the implication of Dana Karma. The Puranas advices not to buy your favorite items during this day, but to donate them so as to perceive eternal prosperity and peace.

Balarama Jayanti

The Vaisakha Shuklapaksha Tritiya or Akshay Tritiya is also traditionally celebrated as the birth day of, Lord Balarama or Sankharshana the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. He is also known as Halayudha and Balabhadra. Balarama is described as being physically very strong, in fact ‘bala’ in Sanskrit refers to ‘strength’. Balarama is the elder brother of Lord Krishna. Also he is acknowledged as a manifestation of Anantha or Adishesha, the divine serpent on whom Vishnu rests. Balarama Jayanti is celebrated in many Balarama Temples in Kerala like Aluva Srikrishna Balarama Temple, Mazhoor Balarama Temple, Nenmini Balarama Temple and Balarama Shrine in Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Chant Balarama Sahasranama Stotra on this day.

Sree Sankara Jayanti

Vaisakha Shukla Paksha Panchami is the birth day of Jagadguru Adishankaracharya. Shankracharya was one of India’s foremost philosophers. Shankara was born on Vaisakha Shukla Paksha Panchami in a Nampoothiri Brahmin family in 788 AD in a village named Kaladi on the banks of the river Poorna (now Periyar) in Eranakulam district of Kerala. His parents, Shivaguru and Aryamba, had been childless for a long time and the birth of Shankara was a joyous and blessed occasion for the couple. Legend has it that Aryamba had a vision of Lord Shiva and promised her that he would incarnate in the form of her first-born child on Vaisakha Shukla Paksha Panchami. Shankara Jayanti is celebrated with utmost fervor in Shankara Maths all over India. Shringeri Sharada Peetham in Karnataka, Shankar Math in Hyderabad, Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha in Kanchipuram are some places where the celebrations attract a large number of devotees. In Kerala Shankra Jayanti is celebrated at Vadakkunnatha Temple, Brahmaswom Madams, Kalady Sree Shankara Janmasthanam etc.

Narasimha Jayanti

Lord Narasimha (“man-lion”) is the fourth incarnation (Avatara) of Lord Vishnu. He is worshipped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups throughout India (especially in the South) and is primariliy known as the ‘Great Protector’, being a form of Vishnu who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need. The most famous story regarding Narashima is described in the Bhagavata Purana : In his previous avatar (incvarnation) of (Varaha), Vishnu killed a rakshasa known as Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha’s brother Hiranyakashipu, greatly angered by this, started to abhor Lord Vishnu and His followers. Further, he decides to put an end to Vishnu by gaining mystical powers through performance of a great penance for Brahma, the chief among the demigods (devas). Brahma, pleased with his austere penance, then appeared before Hiranyakashipu and granted him a boon. Hiranyakashipu asked for the following:That he would not die on Earth or in Space, nor in fire or water, neither during the day or at night, neither inside a building nor outside, not by a weapon of holding (i.e a sword) or throwing (i.e an arrow), nor by anyone created by Brahma. Thus being granted this boon, Hiranyakashipu then believed himself to be immortal and decided it was now time to avenge the death of his brother Hiranyaksha.

Meanwhile, while Hiranyakashipu had been performing his penance, the divine sage (rishi) called Narada protected Hiranyakashipu’s wife Kayadhu after her home had been overtaken by a war party. While under the guidance of Narada, her unborn child (Hiranyakashipu’s son) Prahlada, was affected by his transcendental instructions even at such a young stage of development (through the sound vibrations). Thus, Prahlada when born was gradually recognised as being a very devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father’s disappointment.As Prahlada grows in age, his father Hiranyakashipu becomes upset at his devotion to Vishnu, who he sees as his mortal enemy. Eventually his anger leads him to attempt to kill the boy Prahlada in many ways, but each time Prahlada is protected by Vishnu’s mystical power. When asked, Prahlada refuses to acknowledge his father as the supreme lord of the universe and claims that Vishnu is omnipresent.

Finally in disgust Hiranyakashipu points to a particular pillar and asks if his Vishnu is in it? Prahlada answers, He was, He is and He will be. In an alternate version of the story, Prahlada answers He is in pillars, and he is in the least twig. Hiranyakashipu, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, and then following a tumultuous sound, Vishnu in the form of Narasimha appears from it and in defence of Prahlada moves to attack his father. In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha was chosen. Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by human, deva or animal, Narasimha is neither one of these, as he is a form of Vishnu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his lap (neither earth nor space). Using his nails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon. This day (Vaisakha Shukla Paksha Chathurdasi) is celebrated as Narasimha Jayanti.

Vaikasi Visakham – Subrahmanya Jayanti

Vaisakha Pournami (full moon day in Vaisakha month) is also famous as Vaikasi Vishakam or Vaigasi Vishakham. It is the birth day of Lord Subrahmnaya or Muruka. Vaikasi Visakam is a major festival observed in Lord Muruga temples. The asterism Visakam is the birth star of Lord Muruka. So Muruka is called Visaka.

Periyalvar’s Jayanti

Vaiksakha or vaikasi Pournima is also Periyalvar’s jayanti. Periyalvar was one among the 12 Alvars. The Alvars (alvar means “one immersed in God”) were twelve Vaishnava saints, who during the early medieval period of Tamil history (between the seventh and the tenth centuries CE) helped to revive devotional Hinduism (bhakti) through their hymns of worship to Vishnu and his incarnations. Periyalvar was born into a Brahmin family in Srivilliputhur, near Madurai in the 6th or 9th century(conflicting reports) and was named Vishnuchittar meaning “one who has Vishnu in his mind”. Legend says he rejected the vedic philosophical debates of his upbringing to focus on Bhakti, especially on doing simple tasks for God. He would make garlands of flowers for the deity of the temple. One day the Pallava king of the land had a competition between scholars to find one who would explain philosophical principles. Vishnuchittar won the competition by explaining that the path to moksha is by service to God. Legend goes that the king honored Vishnuchittar and God himself came down to earth to see this. Vishnuchittar composed a couplet called “pallandu”(also called Thirup-Palandu out of respect) translating to “Long live for many years, Long live for many years for Hundreds of thousands of years!” to God. This is a very important prayer in Srivaishnava liturgy today. Vishnuchittar composed some pasurams in the 4000 Divya Prabhandham called Perialvar Tirumozhi where he explores a devotee’s love for God through the metaphor of Yashoda’s motherly love for Krishna. He was the adopted father of Kodhai or Andal, the only woman alvar.

Dattatreya Jayanti

Dattatreya or Datta is the son of Sage Athri and Anasooya Devi. The name Dattatreya can be divided into two words – “Datta” (meaning given) and “Atreya” referring to the sage Atri, his physical father). Various Hindu sects worship him differently. In the Nath tradition, Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas. Although Dattatreya was at first a “Lord of Yoga” exhibiting distinctly Tantric traits, he was adapted and assimilated into the more devotional Vaishnavite cults; while still worshiped by millions of Hindus, he is approached more as a benevolent god than as a teacher of the highest essence of Indian thought. Dattatreya is credited as the author of the Tripura Rahasya given to Parasurama, a treatise on Advaita Vedanta. Dattatreya was born on Vaisakha Krishna Paksha Dasami day and is celebrated as Dattatreya Jayanti.

The sun is a natural giver, giving freely to one and all. Those born in Vaisakha are natural social reformers since they have an integral part of the sun within them. They stand out brilliantly in life, easily overshadowing others. Basaveshwara,Ramanujacharya, Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Chinmayananda and Gautam Buddha were born in this month . Thus, between Akshay Tritiya and Buddha Poornima, there is a celestial gathering and many Mahatmas are born. Almost all social reformers are born during this period and they believed in one thing, Change yourself. The world outside will change dramatically when you change yourself.

Vaisakha Month 2016
Date Day Speciality
May 7 Friday Vaisakha Masa (month) begins
May 8 Saturday Chattambi Swami Samadhi Dinam
May 9

May 10

Monday Akshaya Tritiya (Vaisakha Shukla Paksha Tritiya)
Balarama Jayanti
Dhumavati Poojadinam
May 12 Wednesday Sree Sankara Jayanti
Edavam 1
May 13 Thursday Shashti Vrata
May 18 Tuesday Mohini Ekadasi Vrata
May 19 Wednesday Vaisakha Shukla Dwadasi
Pradosha Vrata
May 21 Friday Narasimha Jayanti
Vaikasi Visakham (Subrahmanya Jayanti)
May 22 Saturday Vaisakha Poornima (Buddha Poornima)
Periyalvar’s Jayanti
May 31 Monday Dattatreya Jayanti
June 1 Tuesday Varuthini Ekadasi Vrata
June 2 Wednesday Pradosha Vrata
June 5 Saturday Amavasi, Vaisakha Vavu
Vaisakha Month ends
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