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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Akshaya Tritiya

Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej is a holy day for Hindu and Jain. It falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of the pan-Indian month of Vaishakha and one of the four most important days for Hindus.[1] It is an auspicious day of the birthday of Lord Parasurama who is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On this day Veda Vyas and Lord Ganesha began to write Mahabharata. The meaning of the word Akshaya is infinite that which never recede.

In Jain and Hindu calendars, some days of the month are absent in counting and some days ( tithi as its known in lunar calendar) come extra, but Akshay tritiya is one day which is never "absent" from the lunar Calendar.

The word "Akshaya" means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and the day is believed to bring good luck and success. It is believed that if you do charity on this day you will be blessed. On 'Akshay Tritiya' 'Mrutika' also worshipped. Nowadays jewellers have turned the purity into a marketing gimmick. The day is considered auspicious for starting new ventures. The legend is that any venture initiated on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya continues to grow and bring prosperity. Hence, new ventures, like starting a business, construction etc. is initiated on Akshaya Tritiya.

Astrological significance
As per Hindu electional astrology (Muhurta) three Lunar days (Tithis) are auspicious. These are called Sade-Teen Muhurtas also. These Tithis are : 1st Tithi of Bright Half of Chaitra (starting of new year), 10th Tithi of Bright Half of Ashvina (Vijay Dashmi), 3rd Tithi of Bright Half of Vaishakha (Akshay Tritiya- Parshu Jyanti) & 1st Tithi of Bright Half of Karttika are called “Sade-Teen (3 ½) Muhurt”. The first three Tithis are counted as full & the last one as half Tithi, and constitute Sade - Teen Muhurt. Sun and Moon are astrologically believed to be at their most exalted equal brightness on this day.
Akshaya Tritiya is also called Navanna Parvam. Akshaya Tritiya falling on a Rohini star Monday is considered more auspicious.
Religious significance
According to Hinduism, Akshay Tritiiya was the day when Ganesha, the god of wisdom and obstacle removal, started writing the epic Mahabharata to Ved Vyas's dictation. As per Hindus, this day is ruled by god Vishnu, the preserver-god in the Hindu Trinity. It is also traditionally celebrated as the birthday of the Hindu sage Parashurama, the sixth Avatar (incarnation) of the god Vishnu. According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Treta Yuga began and the river Ganges, the most sacred river of India, descended to the earth from the heaven.
It was also on this day that Goddess Annapoorna devi was born.
Kubera received his wealth and position as custodian of wealth and property along with Goddess Lakshmi on this day, by praying to Lord Shiva at Shivapuram.

It is also traditionally observed as the birthday of Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of god Vishnu. The Puranic scriptures speak about how he reclaimed the land from the sea.

In Mahabharata, Yudhishtira receives the Akshaya patra, which he uses to serve food for all the needy in his Kingdom.

It is on this day that poor Sudama, the best friend of Krishna visits Him (Lord Krishna) to greet him after He became the King. With nothing to offer due to his poverty, Sudama takes with him Poha (puffed rice) and offers it to his friend and never discusses his poverty though he intends to. But on his return he finds his hut changed to a Palace.

It is also on this day that Dushasana, Duryodhana's brother unveils Draupadi at the Royal Court where Krishna protects her providing the 'unending' veil...

In most recent history, Adi Shankara recited the Kanaka Dhara Stotr on this day for the sake of the poor couple at whose house he stopped for Bhiksha on the day and was offered the only available gooseberry in the house.
Goa and Konkan regions, even today, are referred to as Parushurama Kshetra. Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright-half of the lunar month of Vaisakha is considered as one of the most sacred days of the year.

In Orissa on Akshay Tritiya farmers start ploughing their land and construction of chariots for Rath Yatra begins at Puri.

The day is generally observed by fasting and worship Lord Vasudeva with rice grains. A dip in the river Ganges on this day is considered to be very auspicious.
The Vedic scriptures say that knowledge gained or charity done on this day is very fruitful. It is considered to be very lucky day to start new business or venture. Many people buy gold or property on this day.

Fasts are kept on this day and pujas are performed. In charity, fan, rice, salt, ghee, sugar, vegetables, tamarind, fruit, clothes, are given. Vishnu is worshipped on this day. Tulsi water is sprinkled in the nearby are of the idol while performing aarti.
In Bengal, on the day of the Akshay Tritiiya, "HalKhata" - a ceremony to start the new audit book is performed - with the worship of Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi. Bengalis perform many rites and rituals on this day.

This day is also most auspicious day for the Jat farming community. Early morning, a male member of Jat family goes to field with shovel. All the animals and birds encountered on the way to the field indicates omen and predictions for rains and crops. Akshay Tritiiya is also an occasion for weddings, which are conducted in mass marriage ceremonies. It is considered an unboojha muhurat.

It is believed that god Kubera, the treasurer of the gods, is the richest deity. Lakshmi Tantram says that even Kubera will pray to goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu, on this day. On this day, a day-long Kubera Lakshmi Puja is performed in which an image of Lakshmi is worshipped along with Sudarsana Kubera Yantra, symbolising Kubera.

Importance of worshipping the picture of ‘Vaibhav-Lakshmi’ with Sree Vishnu, on the day of ‘Akshay Trutiya : On the day of ‘Akshay Trutiya’, a king or those who have the responsibility of taking care of the subjects, should perform ‘puja’, with gratitude and devotion, of the picture of ‘Vaibhav-Lakshmi’ with Sree Vishnu as it helps to make the subjects happy and prosperous. We are not graced by ‘Goddess Lakshmi’ as she is the divine energy (shakti) of Sree Vishnu. How can His ‘divine energy’ come here and bless us if Sree Vishnu is not invited? Therefore, before worshipping Sree Lakshmi in any of her forms, first invite Sree Vishnu and then invite Sree Lakshmi as the worshipper gets maximum benefit of Lakshmi-tattva (Principle)
In Jainism.

Followers of the Jain religion consider Akshaya Tritiiya to be a holy and supremely auspicious day. It is associated with Lord Adinatha, also known as Rishabhadeva, first of the twenty-four Tīrthankaras. On this day people who observe the year-long alternative day fasting known as Varshi-tap finish their Tapasya by doing parana by drinking sugar cane juice.

The Day of Akshaya Tritiya is worshipped and said to be auspicious in Jainism because it is said to have established the very first "ahara charya" a methodology to prepare and serve food to Jain monks. Lord Rishabhadeva denounced the worldly pleasures after dividing his vast kingdom amongst his 101 sons, prominent of whom are Gommateshvara Bahubali (whose world's tallest monolithic staure stands at Shravanbelgola and Chakravarti Bharata, by whose name it is known today as "Bharat".

Lord Rishabhadeva meditated without any food and water for six months and after that set out to accept food (ahara). He was the first monk of this era. Jain monks do not own anything. They do not even cook food for themselves. When hungry or thirsty, (maximum once in a day), they set out to accept ahara. They do not even ask for it and accept where it is offered. Tirthankara Rishabhadeva also went to people to accept food. However, the people of that time did not know anything about the lives and disciplines of monks, as he was the first monk of this era. The people of Ayodhya offered him gold, jewellery, gemstones, elephants, horses, expensive garments and even their daughters to honour their beloved king.
But Rishabhadeva was not in search of these things. He sought only a morsel of food, but nobody offered it to him. Nobody understood that their king was looking for to receive food to ensure that the monks that would come after him get food and water in the purest form needed to lead an ascetic life.

As there was no choice, he had to fast for a long time of one year until King Shreyansa understood his need due to his "purva-bhava-smarana". Finally, Shreyansa Kumar offered him sugar cane juice and thus Rishabhadeva ended his fast after a year. This was on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. Hence, sugar cane juice is considered by Jains to be one of the best offerings.

It is further believed that religious gifts bestowed on Akshaya Tritiya become inexhaustible. Jains even today, observe a fast to commemorate their first Tirthankara Rishabhadeva on Akshaya Tritiya and end their fast with sugar cane juice.

In Hastinapur, there is a fair held on Akshaya Tritiya. Jains reach there from all over India in large numbers to end their fasts. The ritual ending of a fast by Jains is called parana (पारणा).

Works recommended and prohibited during Akshay Tritiya

Being Yugadi Tithi, it is most beneficial for performing meritorious (Punya Karma) deeds such as recitations (Japa), penance (Tapa), donations (Dana) ritual bathing (Snaana), sacrifices (Havan), burnt oblations to fire (Hooma). But initiation / conducting of activities like wearing sacred thread (Upnayana), ending of fast, house construction & entering thereof, traveling and plantation is prohibited in certain communities, while most look forward to start/restart relationships, purchases and commitments on this auspicious day. To some,it is beneficial for spiritual activities and not the worldly activities.

Worldly activities can also be initiated during currency of this Tithi however, aspirants must ensure that the said duration is not sullied by concurrence of malefic times observed according to the Hindu electional principles, and the moments are favourable to the doer by transits of the planets and the like. Aspirants are cautioned against using this Tithi blindly for initiating and conducting all types of life-activities. Auspiciousness of the Tithis for specific activity depends upon simultaneous presence of Panchangam Shuddhi, Muhurt Yogas and host of other elements of Hindu electional astrology.

Starting a new activity or buying valuables on this day is considered to bring luck and success. The religious merit that is acquired by giving gifts on this day is considered inexhaustible. Many buy new gold jewelry on this day. Most jewelry stores stock in new jewelry models for this occasion with "Lakshmi-inscribed" gold coins, diamond jewellery and golden dollars with the pictures of many gods and goddesses.
There are lots of vigorous campaign conducted by banks, jewellery shops and financial institutions, thus Akshay Tritiya has gained prominence. Although modern retailers are exploiting the materialistic urge in people, there is today a very high awareness regarding Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej.

On Akshaya Tritiya Big Yatra at Shirwal ( Tal - Khandal, Dist - Satara) Yatra ( Fair) Start from Before 1 day from Shivjayanti.
From Wikipedia

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