Category Archives: Devotional

Nag Panchami 2020 | Tithi | Significance of Naag Panchami

Nag Panchami 2020: It is one of the significant days in Sawan, the auspicious month in the Hindu calendar. It is also one of the oldest festivals celebrated across India.

  Nag Panchami 2020: As the name suggests, the day is dedicated to the Nag Devta or the Snake God. It is one of the significant days in Shravan, the auspicious month in the Hindu calendar. It is also one of the oldest festivals celebrated across India. Sawan or Shravan, in the peak rainy season, is dotted with worship and fastings. Sawan is dedicated to Lord Shiva and devotees observe 'Shrawan Somwar' every Monday of the month that corresponds to July-August of the Gregorian calendar. Nag Panchami is also known as Nag Chaturthi or Nagul Chavithi. It is celebrated on the Shukla Paksha, Panchami tithi of Shrawan Month. Nag Panchami Timings or Tithi Panchami Tithi begins at 2:34 pm on July 24 Panchami Tithi ends at 12:02 pm on July 25 Nag Panchami  Significance and mythology In Sanskrit, 'Nag' means snake and people worship the snake god to protect their families from evil. According to mythology, a deadly snake 'Kalia' had been poisoning the waters of the Yamuna, making it difficult for the brijwasis (residents of Brij in Uttar Pradesh), to drink the water. Lord Krishna (an avatar of Lord Vishnu) destroyed Kalia and the snake god was forced to take back the poison from the river. Krishna had blessed him and said, people who pray and offer milk to the snake god on Nag Panchami will always be protected from the evil. According to Acharya, On this day, devotees who worship Nag Devta should avoid digging the ground, after taking a meal on Chaturthi, the devotees will have fasting on Panchami, worship Nag Devta and then in the evening, they can eat. People also draw 5 headed Snake or Naag with Chandan, turmeric, or Pen. Devotees offer sweets, Kheer, Panchamitra, Incense Stick, Nawaidh to Naag Devta, and then devotees offer sweets to Brahmans.

Shravan Month 2020| Significance of Shravan Month| Rituals | Spiritual Significance

Shravan Month is considered very auspicious among Hindus all over the world. Devotees keep fast on Mondays for Mahadev or Lord Shiva. Shrawan Month will begin from 6th July of the year 2020 and will end on the 19th of August 2020.

Significance of Shrawan Month

It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on this day will help his devotees seek salvation. However, according to some legends, it is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on Shrawan month by unmarried women will help them get a suitable spouse. Therefore, unmarried women observe 16 Somvar Vrata on the first Monday of the Shravan month every year to find a suitable and deserving life partner.

Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati

Shravan is considered as one of the holiest auspicious months in the Hindu religion. The Shravan Maas is auspicious for worshipping Lord Shiva, who is also known as ‘Shambhu’, and his wife Goddess Parvati. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on this day will help people get salvation and therefore special prayers are organized in temples to please him. In the month of Shravan, various other festivals like Naga Panchami, Shravani Purnima, Vara Lakshmi Vrata, Govatsa, Raksha Bandhan, Kalkyavatara, Putradaikadashi and Rishi Panchami are celebrated.

What is the importance of worshipping Lord Shiva in this month?

Lord Shiva consuming Halahal (Poison) during Samudra Manthan

According to legends, Samudra Manthan – churning of the ocean by the devatas (Gods) and asura (Demons) – to get Amrit was started in this month.  the holy Shravan Month was the one during which the Gods and Demons decided to churn the ocean to decide who among them was the strongest. This Samudra Manthan has a beautiful divine story with the marriage of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Samudra Manthan was initiated by Lord Vishnu as a conspiracy. As a result Samudra Dev (Father of Goddess Lakshmi), will have to accept the marriage proposal of his daughter Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. And on Samudra Dev's denial, Samudra dev will have to release his precious treasures and resources present in Samudra. However, this Churning activity released both poison and Nectar. The Gods and demons had agreed to share the nectar equally among themselves but ‘Halahal’ or poison was also churned out which started destroying all kinds of life forms on earth. Snake Vasuki, who is depicted on Lord Shiva's neck and Sumeru Parvat was used for the Manthan. To stop this, the Gods and the demons prayed to Lord Shiva who then drank that poison and saved the world. Therefore, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the month of Shravan as a gesture of gratitude.

Rituals Followed in Shravan Month

In this Shravan month, each Somvar or Monday is called Shravan Somwaar and is considered highly auspicious. All Mondays in Shravan month are celebrated in Lord Shiva temples.

Devotee worshiping Shiv Linga

A Dharanatra is hung over the Shiva Lingam filled with Holy water and milk, to continuously bathe the lingam, throughout the day and night. Shiva devotees then offer Bilva leaves, holy water and milk and flowers, also known as Falam toyam and Pushpam patram to the Shiva Lingam during Sawan Month every Monday. Devotees fast until sunset and the Akhand Diya burns throughout this time of Shravan Month.This period is considered very auspicious to the devotees of Lord Shiva and almost every one of them will be fasting either for the whole Sawan Month or at least every Monday of the Shravan Maas.

Kanwariya's carrying Holy water to Shiv Temple
  1. Fasting on Mondays during this entire Shrawan Month. Devotees wake up early in the morning, bath in holy river Ganges, wear white or saffron clean clothes, carry water from the Ganges river (or another nearby river that wind up in the Ganges) the pilgrims, known as kanwariya or Shiv Bhaktas (disciples of Shiva), are mandated to travel barefooted with their Kanwar (walking sticks used to hang the urns of water) for 105 km by various routes and usually in groups made of family, friends and or neighbors, and return to their own local or other more prestigious and larger Shiva Temples to pour Gangajal on Lord Shiva (Shiva Linga). On the march pilgrims continuously sprinkle any and all talk with "Bol Bam" (speak the name of Bam) and sing bhajan (hymns) to praise his name.
  2. Those who cannot visit Shiv Dham ( located in Devghar) pray at their local temples or at home offering a mixture of milk, ghee, yogurt, Gangajal, and honey also known as Panchamrut along with Bilva leaves is a must, incense sticks, white and purple Dhatura flower, akshat, Sandalwood tika throughout Shravan Month. One can have milk and milk products, fruits and other fasting approved items during this time of Sawan Month.
  3. Offering flowers and sweets to Nandi, a cow who sits in front of shiv ling.
  4. Continuous chanting of Om Namah Shivai or shiva mantra or Maha Mrityunjai Jap is highly fruitful in pleasing Lord Shiva.
  5. If nothing comes handy, offer water, Bel Patra and chant Om Namah Shivaya will please Bholenath or Mahadev.

Each Day Spiritual Significance of Shravan Maas

Monday: is the day to worship Lord Shiva.
Tuesday: women worship Gauri for the better health of their family.
Wednesday: is dedicated to Lord Vithal, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu
Thursday: is the day to worship Buddha and Guru
Friday: For worshipping Goddess Laksmi and Goddess Tulsi
Saturday: are for Saturn (Shani Dev). These days are also known as Shravan Saturdays or Sampat Sanivara (wealth Saturdays) as one can pray for obtaining wealth.
Sunday: are for the Sun god. Sun worship was common practice in the Vedic period and it is followed even now. Especially in Shravan, every Sunday the Sun is worshipped.

Jagannath Rath Yatra 2020 | Rituals | Story | Significance of Lord Jagannath

Jagannath is a combination of two words, Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord). Therefore the word Jagannath means the Lord or Master of the Universe. Sri Jagannath Temple is a Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Jagannath. It is located in the coastal state of Odisha, Puri City. This temple is known as one of the 4 Hindu Dhams. This temple belongs to the Vaishnava and is dedicated to the incarnation of Lord Vishnu "Lord Jagannath".

The annual Rath Yatra is a famous festival of Puri Jagannath. On this day, Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balbhadra and his niece Subhadra embark on a journey, seated in different grand and well-decorated chariots to their aunt's place, Gundicha Temple. Gundicha Temple is occupied by images of the deities of Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and neice Subhadra for seven complete days (total 9 days including the start and concluding day of Ratha Yatra) every year during the annual rath yatra festival.

RathYatra Rituals

1. Hera Panchami
A major ceremony celebrated in the Gundicha Temple during the Rath Yatra is on the 5th day of the Ratha Yatra also known as Hera Panchami. While Jagannath visits Gundicha temple, his wife Laksmi is left behind in the main temple of Puri. On Hera Panchami, the furious goddess Lakshmi arrives, in the form of the image of Subarna Mahalakshmi, at the Gundicha Temple. She is formally carried in a palanquin with much fanfare and welcomed and worshipped by the priests of Gundicha Temple, who take her to the sanctum to meet Jagannath. The husband and wife seat face-to-face on the porch in the sanctum of the Gundicha Temple. Lakshmi requests him to return home and Jagannath gives his consent by offering her agyan mala (a garland of the consent), which the goddess accepts and takes with her while the return to the main temple in the evening. Before returning to the temple, to vent her anger at being left out of the vacation, Lakshmi orders one of her attendants to damage a part of Jagannath's chariot, the Nandighosha. This ritual is known as the Ratha Bhanga (the breaking of the chariot).

2. Dakshina Moda:
Dakshina Moda is a ceremony of facing south on Sasthi or the sixth day of Rath Yatra. The chariots of the deities are parked outside the temple, facing the main temple gate (western gate). In preparation for the return journey, the Bahuda Yatra, the chariots are turned to face towards the main temple in the southern direction and are parked near the Nakachana gate (eastern gate) of the Gundicha Temple through which the deities leave the temple. Devotees believe one can attain salvation by witnessing this ceremony.

3. Rasaleela
Rasa lila is described in Hindu texts like the Gita govinda, bhajans, bhagwat purana, as a night in Vrindavan when Krishna danced with his gopi-consort Radha and other gopis. The image of Jagannath is taken to the mandap (a temple hall) of the Gundicha Temple where hymns from the Gita Govinda are sung for the last 3 days of his stay in the temple. In the olden days, dev and devdasis sang the verses, which are now sung by the temple servitors.

4. Sandhya Darshan
As per tradition, during Jagannath's stay in Gundicha temple, the kitchens of the main temple stop preparing bhog or mahaprasad (food offered to the deity and it is given to a devotee as the deity's blessing). The Mahaprasad consists of rice, lentils, vegetables, etc. The kitchens of the Gundicha temple are repaired and food is cooked there to offer to Jagannath. The day of Sandhya Darshan, (evening prayers) the second last day of the festival is considered the most important day to have darshan of Jagannath. On this day, as thousands of devotees throng the temple to have darshan of Jagannath and partake of Mahaprasad.

5. Bahuda Yatra
The return journey of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra to the main temple, after spending seven days in the Gundicha temple, is known as the Bahuda Yatra. The deities are taken in the same chariots in which they arrive, pulled by devotees back to the main temple. It is considered auspicious to get a glimpse of the deities on their chariots.