Festival

Acharya Mrityunjay Mishra

Festival

।। श्री गणेशाय नमः ।।
Ram Navmi

Ram Navami is the day on which Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, incarnated in human form in the land of Ayodhya. He is the ardha ansh of Vishnu or has half the divinitive qualities of Lord Vishnu. The word “Rama” literally means one who is divinely blissful and who gives joy to others, and one in whom the sages rejoice.
Ram Navami falls on the ninth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Chaitra (April/May) (8 days after Yugādi) and coincides with Vasant Navratri or Chait Durga Puja. Therefore in some regions, the festival is spread over nine days. This day, marking the birthday of Lord Rama, is also observed as the marriage day of Rama and Sita and thus also referred to as Kalyanotsavam.
Bhagwan Rama exemplified the perfect person (maryada purushottam). He was the embodiment of compassion, gentleness, kindness, righteousness and integrity. Although he had all the power in the world, he still was peaceful and gentle.
His reign in Ayodha is referred to as Ramarajya, the epitome of perfect governance. Ayodhya was the capital founded by the king-rishi Manu. During the reign of King Dasharath, Ayodhya reached a period of great prosperity. But Dasharath had one problem--he had no children. Therefore he decided to perform the ashvamedh sacrifice. Elaborate and difficult rituals had to be observed. Rishi Rishyashring presided over the yagya. The performance of this sacrifice was a great event in Ayodhya. At the end, Rishyashring recited a Mantra and made an offering to the fire. Then the gods, gandharvas, siddhas, and rishis present around began to pray to Brahma. During that time Ravana, the king of Lanka, was terrorizing the people, and they were longing for liberation from his menace. Ravana had acquired great power because he had obtained from God Brahma the boon that he would never die at the hands of gods, or gandharvas, or yakshas (demigods) or demons. As he was not afraid of men, he did not care to include men in the list of his potential slayers. So Brahmadev declared that Ravana would die at the hands of a man. Then the gods went to Vishnu for help and requested him that since Dasharath was a glorious king, that He take birth in the wombs of his three queens in four different incarnations of His divinity. When Dasharath's sacrifice came to an end, a shining figure appeared over the sacrificial kund, and offered the king a divine beverage called "payasam", which was to be given to his queens Kausalya, Kaikayi, and Sumitra. In due time, Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikayi to Bharat and Sumitra to Laxman and Shatrugna.

Why do we celebrate?

The tale of Mahabharata has a lot to do with the life of Lord Krishna. During the Dharma Yuddha or righteous war between two Pandavas and Kauravas, Lord Krishna played the charioteer of Arjuna. He was counselling Arjuna on various segments of life like Dharma (righteous path), Karma (deeds), Theistic Devotion, Yogic ideals, salvation, knowledge, etc. because Arjuna was in emotional turmoil in killing his brothers and cousins. The verses mentioned in this book is often called a life guide or spiritual dictionary. Lord Krishna stated that whenever there will be prominence of evil deeds in this universe, he will reincarnate in various looks and attire to show the path of right and peace to people. The sole reason of celebrating this festival is bringing people together so that principles of unity strengthens
Dahi Handi is another important aspect of this festival that is observed in the second day of Janmashtami. As a kid Lord Krishna was named "Makhanchor" or the one who steals butter. He used to steal butter from every household of Gokul. Dahi Handi is an event where the same butter stealing activity of Lord Krishna is narrated. An earthen pot or handi is filled with butter, clarified butter or ghee, dry fruits, and milk is suspended at a considerable height with help of ropes. All the local young guys gather to make a human pyramid and climb on each other to reach the handi and break it. This is an activity that teaches the team work principles

Radhastami

Radhastami is celebrated by Krishna devotees as the appearance anniversary of Sri Radharani, who is Krishna's greatest devotee, the feminine aspect of the Absolute Truth, and Krishna's energy Personified. Radhastami is a very special day for all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, as by obtaining the mercy of Srimati Radharani one can easily achieve Krishna-prema. Radha is Krishna’s dearest servant, and is His pleasure potency.
Srimati Radharani’s glorious birth occured on the eighth day of the bright moon in the month of Bhadra. Although generally not full on that day, the moon appeared full to celebrate Radharani’s appearance in this world. Among all of Krishna’s consorts in Sri Vrindavana, Srimati Radharani is the greatest. In fact, She is the queen of Vrndavana. At Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, we are fortunate to also worship Her eight dearest friends Lalita, Tungavidya, Chitra, Champakalata, Vishakha, Indulekha, Rangadevi and Sudevi. As with Balarama-purnima and Janmashtami, an adhivasa ceremony to prepare the devotees is conducted on the eve of Radhashtami.
On Radhashtami day, a new outfit is offered to Srimati Radharani and the temple is lavishly decorated with flowers and garlands. Srimati Radharani’s glories are narrated in the morning Bhagavatam class. A maha-abhisheka is performed at noon with a variety of ingredients and many colorful flowers. Devotee men and women in the Deity kitchen an elaborate bhoga with more than 100 varieties along with many sweet dishes, pastries, and cakes. After the abhisheka, bhoga is offered and maha-arati is performed. Devotees fast till noon and enjoy a transcendental feast in the afternoon.
Cultural programs are presented in the evening to enchant the visitors and devotees.

Janamastami

Janmashtami, or more popularly known as Krishna Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna which is celebrated with great fervor and zeal in India during the monsoon month. If we go by the Hindu calendar, this important day falls on the Ashtami or eighth day of the Krishna Paksh or dark fortnight of Bhadon month. No one actually knows when this festival originated! May be a thousand years back this festival found its foothold in our culture. One would actually come across various legendary stories and myths encircling the birth of Janmashtami.
Among all of them, the most widely accepted view is that Lord Krishna is the eighth incarnate of Lord Vishnu. We all have known from Mahabharata that the birth of Lord Krishna happened to kill the demon Kansa who happens to be his maternal uncle. Whenever there is some imbalance in the universe regarding peace and prosperity, it is said that Lord Vishnu comes to save the humanity from the hands of demons and goons.
Historians and scholars say that Lord Krishna took birth in a cellular jail in Dwapar Yug biologically to Vasudeva and Devaki. But Vasudeva had to cross the Yamuna River in a stormy night to pass on his child to a friend so save the child from the evil hands of Kansa. So, technically, Maiya Yashodha and Nanda of Gokul region of Mathura were the foster parents of Lord Krishna.
Now this Lord Krishna was a wonder child and his skills were noticed since childhood only. People started believing that this small boy named Krishna is among the commoners to save them from all tumultuous situations. Slowly, people of Nandgaon started celebrating the birth of Krishna in a grand way as they believed this day to be a fortunate one.
We can say that this festival initially originated in Gokul and slowly engulfed the Mathura region and later on the whole Uttar Pradesh state. And now even after 1000 years, the whole country celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna as he is the epitome of love, faith, friendship, and peace.

Sita Navmi

वैशाख मास के शुक्ल पक्षक नवमी को सीता नवमी कहते हैं।धार्मिक ग्रंथो के अनुसार इसी दिन माता सीता का प्राकट्य हुआ था।
पुराणिक शास्त्रों के अनुसार वसाखखमाकाशकुकुपाककनवमीकोपुष्यनक्षत्रकेममान -चलामेजबमाराजाजुसौतसंतापतिकीकनासाइयज्ञकीभूमितैयारकरेलिएहलसेबामजीधरहेते, उसी समयईप्रीथविसाईएकबालिकाकाप्राकायहुआ। जोतिहुईभूमितथाहलकेनोककोही 'सीता' कहाजयाते, इसलिएबालिकाकानाम 'सीता' रखागयाथा। अतः: यह भी 'जानकीकारमी' भी कहता है। सामान्यतया उस व्यक्ति को इस दिन के रूप में विदित किया गया था, वह उसे 16 महाद्वीपों काफल, पृथ्वीनदानकाफलाथ और समस्तथीर्थोंकोदर्शनकाफल मिलाजलाएते।
सीता नवमी की पौराणिक कथा -
पुराणिक शास्त्रों के अनुसार वसाखखमाकाशकुकुपाककनवमीकोपुष्यनक्षत्रकेममान -चलामेजबमाराजाजुसौतसंतापतिकीकनासाइयज्ञकीभूमितैयारकरेलिएहलसेबामजीधरहेते, उसी समयईप्रीथविसाईएकबालिकाकाप्राकायहुआ। जोतिहुईभूमितथाहलकेनोककोही 'सीता' कहाजयाते, इसलिएबालिकाकानाम 'सीता' रखागयाथा। अतः: यह भी 'जानकीकारमी' भी कहता है। सामान्यतया उस व्यक्ति को इस दिन के रूप में विदित किया गया था, वह उसे 16 महाद्वीपों काफल, पृथ्वीनदानकाफलाथ और समस्तथीर्थोंकोदर्शनकाफल मिलाजलाएते।....
अबतोपूरेगांवमेंउसकेइसनिंदितकर्मकीचर्चाएंहोनेलगीं।परंतुउसदुष्टानेगांवहीजलवादिया।दुष्कर्मोंमेंरतरहनेवालीवहदुर्बुद्धिमरीतोउसकाअगलाजन्मचांडालकेघरमेंहुआ।पतिकात्यागकरनेसेवहचांडालिनीबनी, ग्रामजलानेसेउसेभीषणकुष्ठहोगयातथाव्यभिचार-कर्मकेकारणवहअंधीभीहोगई।अपनेकर्मकाफलउसेभोगनाहीथा।
इस प्रकार के अपने कर्मों के साथ दिनदिन दिनदारुदुक्कु प्राप्त होकर ईश्वर-अवतार में भक्तनाली। एकबारदैवयोगसेवहभक्तकतीहुइइकोऊसियालपुरीपहुंचगई। संयोगवसदिनवदिखमास, शुक्लपाक्षकीवमीतिथिथि, जोसमस्तपापोंकानाशकरनेमेंसमर्थहै। सीता (जानकी) नवमीकेपावनउत्सवपरभूख-प्याससेवाकुलवाहदुखियारीइप्रकारकार्रार्थनाकरनेगी- हेसजजनों! मैपरकृपाकरकुछभोजनसामुग्रीप्रदानकरो.मैंभूखसेमाररहीहुन- ऐसाकहतिहुइवहस्त्रीश्रीकनकभवनकसामनेबेनेएकरहजारपुष्पमंडितस्तंभोंसेगुजरतीहुइआसप्रविष्टहुइ.
उसनेपुनःपुकारलगाई- भैया! कुछोमेरीमिददकरो- कुछभोजनदेदो इतने में एकभक्तनेसेसेकहा- देवी!
आज भी सदैववममी है, भोजन में अनेदेनेवालेकोपापलगतै, इसलियेआजटोअन्नन नहीं मिला। कलपर्नाकरनेके सममय्यअना, थकुरजीकाप्रसादभरेपेटमिलेगा, किंतुवहनहमानी। अधिककहिनेपरभाक्तनेउसेतुलसीएवंजलप्रदानकिया.
वहपपिनीबुखसेमरगई.किंतुइसीबाबाआनजानेमेंससेतनवमीकाव्रतपूराहोगा। अबतोपरमकृपालिनीनेउसेसमस्तपापोंसेमुक्तकरदिया.इसव्रतकेप्रभावसेवहपापिनीनिर्मलहोकरस्वर्गमेंआनंदपूर्वक
अनंतवर्षोंतकरही.तत्पश्चात्वहकामरूपदेशकेमहाराजजयसिंहकीमहारानीकामकलाकेनामसेविख्यातहुई.
जातिस्मराउसमहानसाध्वीनेअपनेराज्यमेंअनेकदेवालयबनवाए, जिनमेंजानकी-रघुनाथकीप्रतिष्ठाकरवाई।
अत: सितावमीपर जोशद्धालुमाताजानकीकापुजन-अर्चनकरतेहै, उन्हें सभीप्रकारकेसुख-सौभाग्यप्राप्तहोतेहैं.इस दिनजानकीस्तोत्र, रामचेंत्रकम्, रामचरितमानसआदिकापाठकरनेसेमनुष्यकेसभिकष्टदूरहोजातेहैं।