2013 Upcoming Festivals

 

 

Sri Panchami (Vasantha Panchami) - February 14

 

Sri Panchami is a Hindu festival dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. It is celebrated on the fifth day (Panchami) of Sukla Paksha in the Lunar Month of Magha Masam that generally occurs during the months of January-February. In our Hindu religion and culture, child going to a school generally begins with a ritual called Aksharabhyasa (learning of alphabets), the foundation for education. Akshara means the one that will not perish. Abhyasa means practice. Anything that we acquire in this life may perish but, the knowledge acquired through Akshara Gnana will never perish and will be an eternal asset. Goddess Saraswati, the presiding deity of such Akshara Gyana, the female Divine energy of Learning, Knowledge and Wisdom is said to have born on this auspicious day known as Sri Panchami. 

We find reference to Goddess Saraswati, the divine consort of Lord Brahma, one of the Trinity Lords in many Puranic scripts like Padma Purana, Brahma Vaivartha Purana etc. It is said that many great Sages like Sri Veda Vyasa, Brihaspathi, Yajnavalkya, Vasista, Parasara, and Bharadwaja had worshiped Goddess Saraswathi in their spiritual pursuits. Saraswathi worship is essential for spiritual enlightenment. 

She is referred to as Vaakk Devi, the Goddess of Speech. For any student, poet, writer, analyst, journalist, astrologer, musician, singer, preacher, philosopher, etc. to become proficient and to excel in their field, Divine blessings and Grace of Vaakk Devi is very much essential. She is also known by other names like Vaani, Sarada, Bharathi, and Braahmi to name a few. 

This day is also known as Vasantha Panchami that marks the beginning of a new season called Vasantha Ruthu the onset of Spring Season. Lord Sri Krishna mentioned in his Bhagavad Gita that He is the Vasantha Ruthu among the seasons. Though this festival Sri Panchami is not very popular in South India, it is a very important festival that is widely celebrated with great fervor in the North, West Bengal and Maharashtra. In North Eastern States of India it is celebrated as the beginning of a New Year.

While Goddess Saraswati worship performed throughout the year, certain special occasions are prescribed for an exclusive worship. One such occasion is on this auspicious day of Vasantha Panchami (Sri Panchami) and the other is during the Navarathri (Dussera) festival in the Lunar month of Aaswayuja on the 7th day (Sapthami) coinciding with Moola constellation. It is highly meritorious to worship Goddess Saraswathi on these days and to seek Her Grace to become learned, knowledgeable and wise.

On Sri Panchami, a special homa and puja will be performed at Amma's Penisula Ashram in India. Please click here for sponsorship details.


 

Magha Purnima (Maghi Purnima)- February 24

Magha Purnima or Maghi Purnima, also known as Maha Maghi, is one of the auspicious Purnima days according to the Hindu calendar. This is the full moon day in the month of Magh (mid-January to Mid-February of the Gregorian calendar). Full moons (Purnimas) and new moons (Amavasyas) have special significance in Hindu religion. The month of Magh is considered to be sacred because at the commencement of this month the sun sets on its northern path. Magh Purnima also marks the conclusion of Magha month in North India. So the day of the full-moon falling in this month is highly revered by devotees.

This day is venerated in different ways across India. It is a very auspicious bathing day and is of the same significance as that of karthik purnima. Many people observe fast and perform charity work on this day. Libations are offered to ancestors on this day after taking a dip in the rivers. Brahmans are fed and given “Daan- Dakshina”. Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of Satyanarayana Vratham. In some places Goddess Parvati Devi and Brihaspati (Guru) are also worshipped on this auspicious day.

It is believed a holy dip in the sacred river Ganges is highly meritorious on this day. Bathing in this holy river frees oneself from sins and thus paves the way towards salvation. Thousands of pilgrims visit Prayag (Allahabad) to take a dip at the holy Triveni Sangam - the confluence of the sacred rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the legendary river Saraswati. Every year Magh mela is organized at Sangam in Allahabad during this time.

Grand festivals take place at along the banks of the holy rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Sarayu, Narmada, Tapti, Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari etc. Taking a holy dip on this day in Kumbakonam, Kannyakumari and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Pushkar Lake in Rajasthan is also considered to be very meritorious.

This day also has special significance for the Buddhists. It is on this day that Gautama Buddha announced his impending death. Many religious ceremonies are held at the viharas, where prayers are said to the Buddha.

This purnima day is also important for Sri Lalita Devi puja, who is thought to shower divine rays on her devotees. The word 'purna' means fulfilment or complete. Hence the pujas done on this day will fulfil one's desire and gives contentment to the devotee. It is said in the Paramanandha Tantra (ancient Srividya text) that, Lalita Devi will be pleased and contented by offerings, austerities, sadhanas done by devotees on this day and showers them with her grace in abundance. The devotee will be blessed with all the merits in this world and finally reach Sri Puram (Lalita Devi's abode) at the end of his wordly life.

 

On Magha Purnima, a special puja and abhishekam with red sandalwood powder will be performed at Amma's Penisula Ashram in India. Please click here for sponsorship details.


 

Maha Shivratri - March 10

Maha Shivaratri is the one night of the year when the full grace of Lord Shiva showers down on the Earth. On this day, it is extremely auspicious to engage in spiritual practices, and the very powerful Sri Rudra Homa and Abhishekam will be performed at Amma's Penisula Ashram. These two ceremonies are uniquely auspicious. They will be performed in Amma's divine presence, which will make their effects even more powerful.

The Rudra Homa is a very powerful fire ceremony that has the power to burn all negativity, including negative karma, unfavorable astrological influences, diseases and mental disturbances. When it is done on Maha Shivaratri, Lord Siva's blessings and compassion flow abundantly toward the entire world.

The Ekadasavara Rudra Abhishekam is a special abhishekam in which eleven different ingredients are used to bathe a sacred Narmada Shiva Lingam. These ingredients include milk, yogurt, clarified butter (ghee), coconut water, sugar cane juice, holy ash, Ganges water, pieces of fruits, sandal paste, sugar, and honey. During each offering, special Shiva mantras are chanted in a specific way by the Vedic priests. As a result, the offerings become tremendously charged with spiritual energy, and when the sacred ash is distributed as prasadam, those who receive it receive the direct blessings of Lord Shiva's compassionate love. Amma herself performs the abhishekam of the Narmada Siva Lingam, adding her own divine energy to the prasad.

Amma has stated that those who sponsor these ceremonies immediately receive the grace of Lord Shiva, as well as true wealth, wisdom, peace, inner prosperity, virtue and valor. In addition, all types of mental and physical health problems can be relieved.

Included in this year's Maha Shivaratri celebration will be the performance of the Sri Ganesha Homa, Navagraha Shanti Homa, Sri Mrutyunjaya Homa, Guru Graha Shanti Homa, Sri Lalita Trisati Homa and Ekadasavara Rudra Homa. These special homas shield and protect the participant from any adverse influences.

Please click here for sponsorship details.

 

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May All Beings Be Happy

Om Shantih Shantih Shantihi
May All Be in Peace

 


 

 

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