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.
Ahalyā draupadi sita tārā mandodari tathā
pañcakanyā smarenityaṃ mahapātaka nāśanaṃ
Remembering five maidens -Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari
Destroys the greatest of sins
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.
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.
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