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

Bhargavapuri Shri Kodanda Rama Temple – Kalyana Kola Darshana

A long pending piece (~2 years to be precise) after me and Devaraja ji was blessed with a Darshan of deities in thi amazing devalaya. This temple is situated in Bhargavapuri, Hiremagaluru (of Hiremagaluru Kannan brothers fame) in Chickamagaluru District (about 250kms from Bengaluru). The place is named Bhargavapuri after Bhargava (another name of Parashurama) who is believed to have lived here. Thus the temple is named Bhargavapuri Shri Kodandarama Temple.
It is also believed that Nine Siddhas (Realised souls) meditated along the banks of the Temple pond, called Siddha Pushkarini. A dip here is considered curative and especially a cure and antidote for snake bites. An elderly gentleman has a record of people cured of snake bite effects after taking a dip here.

Whatever I am writing here is as discussed with temple Archakas and other elders from the village (and may not be historically accurate, but please email me at surnell@outlook.in for any corrections to be made for which due credit will be given). Hiremagaluru Kannan ji was travelling on the day we visited and missed his humourous but enlightening sound bytes. His brother Murali conducted the Pooje in Kannada for us. Pooje in Kannada is yet another speciality of this place.

Bhargavapuri Shri Kodandarama Temple is believed to have come into existence as per earliest records in 879 AD. The Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum) and Sukanasa (The ornamental designs above the doorway to Garbha Griha) are built in Hoysala Architectural style. The rest of the structures appears to be subsequent additions and in Dravidian Architectural Style.

The Moorthies of Sita, Shri Rama and Lakshmana

The above picture of the presiding deity is unique and we were told that it is probably the only temple where Sita maate is on the right of Bhagwan Shri Rama. Usually Lakshmana takes the right side and Sita is on the left. The sthalapurana (or the legend) explains the reason for this unique feature. This can be traced to 17th Chapter of Skanda Purana where a confrontaion between a haughty Parashurama and Shri Rama takes place, when the Divine family were returning from Mithila after the wedding. During this encounter, Shri Rama breaks Parashurama’s bow and dents his pride, thus awakening him from the illusionary undefeatable power that he assumed he had.

He also realises his folly since he missed the Divine Marriage only due to ego and thinking that an ordinary Kshatriya is getting married, he seeks forgiveness and pleads with Shri Rama to give him a Darshana in Kalyana Kola (Grandeur of a Wedding). Ever compassionate Shri Rama grants that wish and asks Sita to stand on His right (that is the Vedic Wedding way) and Lakshmana to His left and blesses him with a Kalyana Kola Darshan as seen in the picture above. Yet another unique feature is absence of Hanuman, understandably since Hanuman meets Shri Rama in Sundarakanda whereas Marriage happens in Balkanda of Ramayana. Since the popular belief is that pooje to this family is not complete with Hanuman included,

Deity on the Hanuman Peetha (Pedestal)

The Idols are amazingly beautiful and enchanting. Shri Rama’s moorti. In shilpashastra and as described exquisitely by Hiremagaluru Kannan – it is in Tribhangi (tri posture) – Face that reflects Shanti (Peace), Hips that reflect Karunya (Compassion) and Knees reflecting Gambheera (Imposing or Seriousness). As can be visualised in the pictures above, the shilpi (sculptor) has done an exceptionally great job carving Shri Rama’s pleasant face. His breadth of His forehead exactly same as length of the nose. It is so perfectly geometrically balanced that if you were to use a compass and draw a circle with tip of the nose as centre, you will get a perfect circle encompassing Shri Rama’s face.

The later century additions are the Navaranga (the rectangular corridor where Bhaktas converge before having Darshana of the Deity – divided into boxes of 3×3 rectangular grid) is believed to have been constructed in 14th Century. Navaranga subsequently is sub-divided into Sabhamantapa (largest part of Navaranga where all cultural activities associated to the temples are carried out and Mukhamantapa (part of the Navaranga earmarked for Public rituals). Both these seem to be an addition around 16th Century as explained by the local experts (brick and mortar construction).

In the prakara are enshrined vedantacharya, Ramanujacharya, Alvars, a lovely figure of Yoga Narasimha and a 4ft. high Madhava has a unique feature-the upper left hand hold a conchshell, with the tip in the hand, the right hand holds the ‘Chakra’ in an erect posture, unlike the usual horizontal position. On the outer walls of the Garbhagriha also ther are a number (about 30) of carvings, mainly Sri vishnu and His various forms, Lakshmi, Garuda and Hanuman,Ganapathi, etc. as seen in various pictures shared below

Having shared the legend broadly, here are some pictures that we clicked during our teerthayaatre here (will update as and when I get even more imputs during my next visit)

Parashurama seeking forgiveness and blessings of Shri Rama
Shri Rama blessing Parashurama (we can see the temple dwara in the background)
Shri Devaraj ji. My constant companion on Devalaya Yatra

All the above pictures clicked on 9th December 2019

Jai Shri Ram

Sharing more pictures below clicked on 23rd December 2013 (thanks to Smt Sindhu BR)