Akshaya Tritya-The day of Giving

Note: This was originally composed and posted on 24th April 2012. Republished for brevity and updated with recent pictures.

Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated on the 3rd day of Hindu Month Vaishaka during the waxing phase of the moon (Shukla Paksha Tritiya of Vaishakha). It has always been considered an auspicious time for new beginnings

Gandhalepana of Brundavana in Mantralayam

Ahalyā draupadi sita tārā mandodari tathā
pañcakanyā smarenityaṃ mahapātaka nāśanaṃ

Remembering five maidens -Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari
Destroys the greatest of sins

The Legend

Akshaya Tritiya is the day when one of the Panchakanyas, Mandodari, wife of Ravana was created out of Sandal paste from Bhagwan Vishnu’s body. Legend has it that Ravana a staunch devotee of Bhagwan Shiva was enamoured when he saw Maa Parvati and sought her from Shiva. Every compassionate Bhakta Priya Shiva consents to this. The entire universe would be out of balance and in jeopardy when Maa Shakti is Separated for Shuddh Chaitanya Shiva. The Devas approach Bhagwan Vishnu for a solution and he immediately removes Sandal paste from his body and creates an exact look-alike of Maa Parvati. She is then handed over as Maa Parvati to Ravana who marries her subsequently. It is important to know that Mandodari, a Panchakanya was a pious and righteous lady, though married to Ravana. It was despite her repeated advise and pleas that Ravana conducted himself in Adharmic way. Some scriptures also refers to her as Mother of Maa Sita.

This is one of the reasons why Vigrahas of most temples Gandhalepana (Covering or Sandal Paste) on Akshaya Tritiya day.

Day of Giving

Other Significant happenings associated with Akshaya Tritiya

Lord Ganesha and Ved Vyasa strated writing the epic Mahabharata on this day. This day is also celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It was on Akshaya Tritiya that Goddess Annapurna was born and the day when Lord Krishna bestowed wealth and monetary gains on his poor friend Sudama who had come to him seeking help.

Krishna & Sudhama
Pic Courtesy: Amar Chitra Katha

According to the Mahabharata, on this day Lord Krishna presented the ‘akshaya patra’ to Draupadi who accompanied Pandavas while on their exile. He blessed them with this bowl that would continue to produce unlimited amount of food that would never leave them hungry.

On this day, the River Ganges descended from the heaven on earth and also the day when Kubera worshipped Goddess Lakshmi and thus was assigned the job of being the treasurer of Gods.

Our scriptures bring out that Akshaya Tritiya is the day on which Treta Yuga (Lord Rama’s period) is supposed to have started

Sudhama, Vishwamitra and other great souls performed the Lakshmi Vrat on Akshaya Tritiya and never found any lack in their home/ashram

In Jainism, this day is celebrated to commemorate Lord Adinatha, their first God.

Akshaya Tritiya: Akshaya means that which is infinite or inexhaustible. Obtain this by performing vrath not by buying material wealth. Performing Chants and Penances, Charity, Havana and Homa on Akshaya Tritiya brings inexhaustible wealth to the practitioner.

How is it Celebrated

Worship your Ishta Devata deity on this day by anointing the Vigraha with Sandal paste and observe Upavasa (fast). Tulsi water is sprinkled all around as a symbol of Lord Vishnu. Generally offering Akshata (Vermillioned Rice) to Lord Vishnu during Puja is not allowed. But on Akshaya Tritiya this can be offered.

Donate to the poor, distributing rice, salt, ghee, vegetables, fruits and clothes. Akhaya Tritiya daana, with each of them beneficial to the donor – Jaladaan (with Tamboola), Shayana daana (Mattress), Vastradaana (Clothes), Kumkum (Vermilion), Chandan (Sandal), Narikela(Coconut), Curd, Udakumbha (Water Pot), Padaraksha (footwear), Chatra (Umbrella)

In some parts of the country (especially in the East India), Akshaya Tritiya is the day they begin the Ceremonial Ploughing for the next harvest season. They also perform “halkhata”, opening of new Financial Accounts book.

Chanting Kanakadhara Stotram, composition of Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya without fail on Akshaya Tritiya. brings tremendous benefits

Those who perform Charity on Akshaya Tritiya day can rest assured that they will always have in abundance to perform it forever

Akshaya Tritiya is very good day for starting any “meaningful” activity. Indulging in charity ensures we always are in position to do it

Elders says till these branded Jewellers and some banks started crass commercialization, while Akshaya Tritiya was actually all about piety and charity

Wishing everyone infinite happiness on this auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiyya. The day is all about Charity (Daan) and buying Gold 🙂

Link for Kanakadhara Stotram Lyrics. This site has almost all works of Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya

Kanaka Dhara Stotra – Works of Sankaracharya, Advaita Vedanta and Hindu Sacred Scriptures

Kanakadhara Stotram Vocal Rendition : A Lovely rendition from MSS amma

Legend of Symantaka Mani & Ganesh Chaturthi Connection

Muni Narada on his rounds around the Universe arrived in Dwaraka to meet Bhagwan Krishna and sang His Glory. It was Ganesha Chaturthi and Narada tells Krishna about significance of the day and why no one should see the moon on that day.

Narada visits Krishna
Pic Source: http://bhagavatham.blogspot.com/2012/12/65-bhagavatha-narada-visits-krishna.html

Curse of the Moon & Mithya Dosha

It was late night and Ganesha was returning to Kailasa after a sumptuous feast hosted by Kubera, the God of Riches and considered the richest among all Gods.

Kubera – God of Wealth
Pic Source and for more details : https://www.templepurohit.com/hindu-gods-and-deities/lord-kubera-hindu-gods-and-deities/

Ganesha had eaten a lot of his favourite sweet, the Modakas and was returning on his Vahana (mount), Mooshika (Mouse). It was a Pournami (Full moon night) and the moon shone in the night in his resplendest best – in spotless white. Ganesha and his mouse were trudging along and suddenly a snake appeared in their path. Since mouse is considered prey of snakes, it was frightened and rushed aside for safety. Ganesha falls down on to the Ground and his stomach broke open, and all the modakas he had eaten rolled out. Ganesha stuffed all the Modakas back, picked the snakes and tied it around the stomach to pack it in. Embarrassingly He looked for his vahana, mouse and saw Moon laughing at His predicament. The moon, having witnessed the entire episode could not control his laughter which made Ganesha seethe in anger. He broke one of His tusks and flung it at the moon creating a crater on it and curses that he would never be a complete sphere any more and keeps getting disfigured. Thus we find the moon has a crater which we can see even from the Earth and it waxes and wanes every fortnight. He also curses that anyone who sees the Moon will attract Mithya Dosha (defamation by false accusations) Moon becomes repentant and pleads with Ganesh to redeem him from the curse. Ganesha says, the curse once delivered cannot be retrieved but reduce the effects. He then says no one should see the moon on on Ganesh Chaturthi.

Bhagwan Krishna, the dutiful King that He was, immediately makes a proclamation to this effect and lets all His subjects know the ill-effects of seeing the moon. Narada Muni then leaves the place and goes back to Vaikunta. Unfortunately for Krishna, while milking Gomata, He sees reflection of the moon in the Milk bowl. No one is spared of the curse and has to undergo the consequences, even if it were Bhagwan Krishna.

The Legend of Symantaka ManiMarriage of Krishna & Satyabhama

Prasenjit, nobleman of of Yadava Kula (same as Bhagwan Krishna) and Satrajit were brothers. Prasenjit also was uncle of Satyabhama, wife of Bhagwan Krishna. Satrajit was a devotee of Surya (Sun God). Pleased with his unwavering Devotion, Surya gifted Satrajit a ruby jewel called Syamantak Mani. It belonged originally to Surya, who wore it around his neck. It was said that whichever land possessed this jewel would never encounter any calamities such as droughts, floods, earthquakes or famines, and would always be full of prosperity and plenitude. Wherever the jewel remained, it would produce for the keeper eight bhāras (an ancient measure of weight and translating about ~77 kgs) of gold daily. It was also the source of the brilliant appearance of Surya.

Satrajit was walking along the sea shore, praying ardently, when Surya appeared before him. Seeing Him fiery form, Satrajit asked him to appear in a less blinding form, so that he could see him clearly. Surya took Syamantaka mani off his neck, and Satrajit saw him an ordinary looking dwarf form of Surya When Surya offered him a boon, and he asked for the jewel which Surya promptly gifts him as a boon.

Surya gifting Syamantaka Mani to Satrajit
Pic Source: https://www.sunosunati.com/story/syamantak-mani-ki-katha

Satrajit threaded Syamanta Mani and wearing it around his neck returned to Dvaraka. He was dazzling in such splendour that subjects there mistook him for Surya. Krishna requested him to present the jewel to Ugrasena, the supreme leader of the Yadavas and rightfully and more entitled as a King, but Satrajit refuses to do so and presents it to Prasenjit instead.

Once, Prasenjit went to the jungle for hunting wearing the jewel and a lion killed Prasenjit and took away the jewel. This lion in turn was confronted by Jambavan (Devotee of Shri Rama and King of bears). Jambavan finally wins the fight with the lion and takes away the Syamantaka Mani.

When Prasenjit did not return from the jungle his brother Satrajit was worried and there was a grapevine among people that Shri Krishna was eyeing the Symantaka Mani and accused Krishna of killing Prasenjit for stealing the jewel. To prove his innocence, Shri Krishna went to the jungle. Krishna traces the trail and finds Prasenjit’s body with tell tale signs of being killed by Lion and then follows the trail of Lion and finds another spot where Lion lies dead. He further follows the trail and comes at the door of Jambavan’s cave. He peeps into find children of Jambavan playing with the Symantaka Mani. Jambvan confronts Krishna and both fight for 28 days after which Jambvan was defeated. He then realised that Krishna was his Ishta Bhagwan Shri Rama’s form and penitently gives Krishna the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage.

Jambavan returning the Syamantaka Mani and Offering Satyabhama as Krishna’s wife
Picture Source: http://sarayutoayodhya.blogspot.com/2014/03/syamantaka-mani.html

Krishna returns to Dwaraka and hands the jewel over to Satrajit, who also regrets making false accusation. He offers Krishna the Symantaka Mani and also his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as His wife but did not accept the jewel. Krishna washed the stain off His reputation.

Symantaka Mani (Believed to be Kohinoor now – first looted by Allaudin Khilji & then stolen by British)

This story goes on to prove that irrespective of who you are, you have to bear consequences of actions that you perform. Even if you are Shri Krishna who was falsely accused of Murder and theft.

Sighting of Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi – Remedy

If you accidentally (or deliberately) see the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi, chant the following mantra

Simhah Prasenamavadhitsimho Jambavata Hatah।
Sukumaraka Marodistava Hyesha Syamantakah॥

Then read/listen to the Symantaka Mani Story (as elucidated above) and worship Shri Ganesha sincerely. He will bless you and ensure that you do not become of victim of Mithya Dosha

Note: The Story is compiled from various sources (both online and offline). All credits to original authors for the content and also for the pictures used in this article.

One of the critical source was this Kannada song – a legendary song sung by Shri PB Srinivas and a a must play in Karnataka and Kannadiga homes and Pandals on Ganesh Chaturthi. Listening to this song is a remedy from Mithya Dosha due to sighting of moon on Ganesh Chaturthi

Jai Ganesha

All about 14 – Ananta Chaturdashi Vrata

Ananthanatha Devesha Anantha Phaladayaka; 
Ananthamurthy Vishwathman Ananthaya Namo Namah

Padmanabha Swamy Temple - Karkala

Padmanabha Swamy Temple – Karkala

Anantha Chaturdashi is observed on the 14th day of the Waxing Phase of moon (Shukla Paksha), in the month of Bhadrapada of the Chandramana Calendar (Lunar Calendar) in honor of Lord Vishnu in the lying posture (Ananta Shayana) on the bed formed by Anantashesha (Adishesha – the serpent with 1000 hoods). The Vrata performed on this day is thus called Ananta Padmanabha Vrata.

“Ananta” : indicates that which is endless. Shesha means that which remains after everything ends. Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (10:29) “anantahcha asmi naaaaaam” (Among Nagas I am the Ananta). Ananta’s 1000 heads symbolizes Jnana (Knowledge) and heightened state of Awareness. Lord Vishnu reclining on the bed formed by coiling of Ananta, indicates Ananta as a Perfect Yogic posture, uniting opposing forces of Stira (Rigidity) and Sukha (Comfort) Ref: Patanjali Yoga sutra : “Stiram Sukham Asanam“.

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Beautiful Full Moon Lit Bangalore Skies – Ananta Chatrudashi Moon

Background : When Yudhistra asks of  Lord Krishna for solutions for easing of their suffering and regaining their kingdom and wealth, Lord Krishna advises performing Anantha Padmanabha Vrata every year for 14 years on the 14th Day of Bhadrapada Month, as prescribed in the Bhavishyottara Purana. At the end of 14 years and the vrata has to be concluded with Udyapane.

Seven number of Darbha (Kusa) Grass is tied together to represent 7 hoods of Anantha.  Lord Vishnu is worshipped with 14 types of pushpam (flowers), 14 types of patram (leaves), 14 types of Phalam (fruits). 28 numbers of Atirasa/Kajjaya forms the Naivedyam (Sweet made of Jaggery and Wheat/Rice Flour) of which 14 is given away as daana (charity to Brahmin).

Another important requirement of Naivedya (and all Prasada) is that it has to be soft (maybe it is practice limited to some) – there are no hard sweets or eatables prepared on this day.

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14 types of Flowers, 14 types of Leaves and 14 types of Fruits

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Lord Anantha Padmanabha – decked in all Splendor

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The Puja Set-up

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Archana to the Murthi

Anantha Gantu (Knot)
Anantha Gantu (Knot) The Rangoli in front of the Peetha

Another important aspect of this vrata is the Dora Granthi darane (also called Ananta Daara). Puja is performed with Turmeric, Kumkum, Akshate and other rituals to this sacred thread made of 14 strands with 14 knots which is then tied on the right hand  which acts as a Raksha to the wearer and this is worn until replaced the next year. (In some families unmarried children wear the earlier year’s daara worn by the parents which is replaced by new ones). Generally it is worn on the right wrists by both men and the women (our practice). But there is a practice of women wearing it on their left wrists while the men wear it on the right wrist.

Thora Granthi (Men) - Anantha Dhara
Dora Granthi (for Men) – Anantha Daara

Thora Granthi (for Women) - Anantha Daara
Dora Granthi (for Women) – Anantha Daara

The puja culminates by recital of Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotram, Purusha Sooktam, Sri Vishnu Sooktam & Mahamangalarati.

Here is me enjoying the prasada with my children 🙂 after the puja.

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The Prasada

Perdoor Ananta Padmanabha Swamy Temple - Udupi
Perdoor Ananta Padmanabha Swamy Temple – Udupi

Shaantaakaaram Bhujaga-Shayanam Padmanaabham Suresham
Vishvaadhaaram Gagana-Sadrisham Meghavarnam Shubha-angam
Lakshmi-Kaantam Kamala-Nayanam Yogibhir-dhyana-gamyam
Vande Vishnum Bhava-Bhaya-Haram Sarva-Lokaika-Natham

May Lord Vishnu Bestow Happiness to all!

All the pictures above clicked after puja performed by Sindhu -ji’s family. She is an ardent follower and Faculty of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of Living. Admirable fact is that this joint family despite leading a life in a city like Bangalore celebrate all festivals in a traditional manner.