Archive | January, 2012


31 Jan

Mahashivaratri Festival

Lord Shiva

Mahashivaratri Festival or the ‘The Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. This year, Shivaratri falls on the moonless 14th night of the waning moon in the Hindu month of Magha, which corresponds to the month of February in English Calendar. Celebrating the festival of Shivaratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Lingam to appease Lord Shiva.

Legends of Mahashivaratri
There are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivaratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Mahashivaratri – the grand night of Shiva.

Traditions and Customs of Shivaratri
Various traditions and customs related to Shivaratri Festival are dutifully followed by the worshippers of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe strict fast in honor of Shiva, though many go on a diet of fruits and milk some do not consume even a drop of water. Devotees strongly believe that sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri absolves a person of sins and liberates him from the cycle of birth and death. Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious for women. While married women pray for the well being of their husbands, unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband.
To mark the Shivaratri festival, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in the river. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva temple and the Shiva lingam is bathed with the five sacred offerings of a cow, called the ‘Panchagavya’ – milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Thereafter the five foods of immortality, namely, milk, ghee, curd, honey and sugar are placed before the Shiva lingam. Dhatura and Jati, though poisonous fruits, are believed to be sacred to Shiva and thus offered at his temple.
 On Shivaratri, worship of Lord Shiva continues all through the day and night. Every three hours priests perform ritual Pooja of Shiva lingam by bathing it with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water amidst the chanting of “Om Namah Shivaya’ and ringing of temple bells. Nightlong vigil or ‘Jaagaran’ is also observed in Shiva temples where large number of devotees spends the night singing hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva. It is only on the following morning that devotee break their fast by partaking Prasad offered to the deity.
This year in 2013, Mahashivaratri is celebrated on Sunday, 10 March 2013

February Panchanga

30 Jan

February 2012 – Monthly Panchanga

                                              Khara Samvatsara – Uttarayana
                                         Shishir Ritu – Magha / Phalguna Masa
Important events for the month of February are appended below for information and guidance.
03 Feb 2012
  • Venus enters Pisces. Venus is good in all places except 6 &10 from natal Moon.
05 Feb 2012
  • Pradhosha
07 Feb 2012
  • Full Moon
  • Satyanarayana Pooja
08 Feb 2012
  • Saturn turns Retrograde
10 Feb 2012
  • Mercury enters Aquarius. Mercury is good in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 11 from natal Moon
11 Feb 2012
  • Sankasta Chaturthi
13 Feb 2012
  • Sun enters Aquarius. Sun is good in 3,6,10 & 11 from natal Moon.
  • Kumbha Sankramana
  • Haripada Punyakala
19 Feb 2012
  • Pradhosha
20 Feb 2012
21 Feb 2012
  • New Moon
27 Feb 2012
  • Mercury enters Pisces. Mercury is good in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 11 from natal Moon
29 Feb 2012
  • Venus enters Aries. Venus is good in all places except 6 &10 from natal Moon.
Note:  Mars continue to be Retrograde throughout this month.
Disclaimer: This Almanac is published as an advisory only. Individuals are requested to use their Free will / discretion and consequently  the author  is not responsible for any damage / loss suffered by them.

Makar Sankranthi /Pongal /Boghi

15 Jan

Makara Sankranti (मकरसंक्रान्ति, ಮಕರ ಸಂಕ್ರಾಂತಿ)

Sankranti is the Sanskrit word in Indian Astrology which refers to the transmigration of the Sun from one Rashi (sign of the zodiac) to another. However, the Sankranti festival usually refers to Makara Sankranti or the transition of the Sun from Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius) to Makara Rashi (Capricorn). The festival therefore takes place around 21 days after the winter solstice (between December 20 and 23) that marks the starting of the phenomenon of ‘northward apparent migration of the sun’ or Uttarayana, literally meaning northward journey of Sun.
Makara Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Pausha in mid-January, it commemorates the beginning of the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India. The movement of the Sun from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac known as Makara in Hindi, this occasion is named as Makara Sankranti in the Indian context. It is one of the few Hindu Indian festivals which are celebrated on a fixed date i.e. 14 January every year.
Makara Sankranti, apart from a harvest festival is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian culture. It is said as the ‘holy phase of transition’. It marks the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December. It is believed that any auspicious and sacred ritual can be sanctified in any Hindu family, this day onwards. Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights. In other words, Sankranti marks the termination of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season.
All over the country, Makara Sankranti is observed with great fanfare. However, it is celebrated with distinct names and rituals in different parts of the country. In the states of northern and western India, the festival is celebrated as the Sankranti day with special zeal and fervor. The importance of this day has been signified in the ancient epics like Mahabharata also. So, apart from socio-geographical importance, this day also holds a historical and religious significance. As it is the festival of Sun God and he is regarded as the symbol divinity and wisdom, the festival also holds an eternal meaning to it.

Happy Makara Sankranthi

On this auspicious day when the Sun starts his northern journey, I wish all viewer a happy Makar Sankranthi / Pongal /Boghi and pray Almighty bestow good health and prosperity for all people in the years ahead.


11 Jan
This year Rathasapthami falls on Magha Masa Shukla Paksha Sapthami, Thursday,the 6th February 2014.
Ratha Sapthami or Rathasapthami (Sanskrit: रथसप्तमी, Kannada: ರಥಸಪ್ಥಮಿ) or Magha Sapthami is a Hindu festival that falls on the seventh day (Sapthami) in the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu month Maagha. It marks the seventh day following the Sun’s northerly movement (Uttarayana) of vernal equinox starting from Capricorn (Makara). It is symbolically represented in the form of the Sun God Surya turning his Ratha (Chariot) drawn by seven horses (representing seven colours) towards the northern hemisphere, in a north-easterly direction. It also marks the birth of Surya and hence celebrated as Surya Jayanthi (the Sun-god’s birthday).
Rathasapthami is symbolic of the change of season to spring and the start of the harvesting season. For most Indian farmers, it is an auspicious beginning of the New Year. The festival is observed by all Hindus in their houses and in innumerable temples dedicated to Surya, across India.
                                                Religious significance
Rathasapthami marks the seventh day following the Sun’s northerly movement (Uttarayana) of vernal equinox starting from Capricorn (Makara). It is symbolically represented in the form of the Sun God Surya turning his Ratha (Chariot) drawn by seven horses, with Aruna as the charioteer, towards the northern hemisphere, in a north-easterly direction. The symbolic significance of the Ratha and the seven horses reigned to it is that it represents the seven colours of the rainbow. The seven horses are also said to represent the seven days of a week starting with Sunday, the day of Sun god Surya. The Rathasapthami festival seeks the benevolent cosmic spread of energy and light from the Sun God.
Rathasapthami also marks the gradual increase in temperature across South India and awaits the arrival of spring, which is later heralded by the festival of Ugadi or the Hindu lunar New Year day in the month of Chaitra.
Religious observances
God Vishnu in his form as Surya (the Sun-God) is usually worshipped on this day. Usually, Rathasapthami begins in households with a purification bath (bathing is also done in a river or sea) by holding several Ekka (Calotropis Gigantea) leaves on their head while bathing and chanting a verse which is supposed to invoke the benevolence of the Lord in all that one indulges in during the rest of the year. Its use during the ritualistic ceremonious bath involves placement of seven leaves – one on the head, two on the shoulders, two on the knees and two on the feet.
The following mantra on Sun god is chanted while taking the bath.
“Saptha Saptha Maha Saptha|
Saptha Dweepa Vasundara|
Sapth Arka Parna Madaya|
Sapthamyam Snana Machareth||”
By following this simple ritual people believe that the Lord will bless them with success for all their endeavors in the coming year.
Argyam or (Tharpanam) (water held in the palms) is offered to the Sun God on this day while chanting hymns are performed to the Sun God. It also involves doing a Pooja with the ritual Naivedhya (food offering to God), and offering of flowers and fruits. Important prayers offered to the Sun god on this occasion are the Adityahridayam, Gayathri, Suryashtakam, Surya Sahasram namam. The preferred time for the pooja is within one hour after sunrise. In places like Mysore and Melkote, ceremonial processions carry the Surya Mandala – the icon of Surya.
The food grain associated with Surya/Sun god is the wholesome Wheat, so on this day Godi/Wheat Payasa or Avalakki/Beaten Rice Payasa/Pudding is prepared and the Payasa is allowed to overflow the pan in which it is being cooked. Perform Pooja and offer fruits and payasa to the god.

January 2012 Panchanga

3 Jan

          January 2012 – Monthly Panchanga

                                  Khara Samvatsara – Dakshinayana/Uttarayana
                                                   Hemantha Ritu –Pushya Masa
Important events for the month of January is appended below for information and guidance
04 Jan 2012
  • Mercury enters Sagittarius. Mercury is good in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 11 from natal Moon
05 Jan 2012
  • Vaikunta Ekadashi
06 Jan 2012
  • Mukkoti Dwadhashi
  • Maha Pradhosha
08 Jan 2012
  • Satyanarayana Pooja
09 Jan 2012
  • Full Moon
  • Venus enters Aquarius. Venus is good in all places except 6 &10 from natal Moon.
  • Banashankari Pooja
12 Jan 2012
  • Sankasta Chaturthi
13 Jan 2012
  • Thyagaraja Aradhana
14 Jan 2012
  • Sun enters Capricorn. Sun is good in 3,6,10 & 11 from natal Moon.
  • Makara Sankramana
  • End of Dhanurmasa Pooja
  • Bhogi Habba
15 Jan 2012
20 Jan 2012
  • Maha Pradhosha
23 Jan 2012
  • New Moon
  • Mars turns Retrograde
24 Jan 2012
  • Mercury enters Capricorn. Mercury is good in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 11 from natal Moon
29 Jan 2012
  • Kumara Shasti
30 Jan 2012
Disclaimer: This Almanac is published as an advisory only. Individuals are requested to use their Free will / discretion and consequently  the author is not responsible for any damage / loss suffered by them.