In the earlier Chapter, common Tithi Nirnayaas were outlined but specific details of Maasa-Tithi Nirnayaas were not described in detail. It is possible that there might have been some repetition but the following pages provide explanations in details and highlight certain facts more comprehensively.
Chaitra Shukla Pratipaada heralds the New Year. In Mesha Sankranti, the first and previous ten ghadis are considered as Punyakaala. If the Samkramana starts before the previous midnight, then the Punyakaala is stated to commence on the previous night and otherwise then the Uttaraartha Punya kaala is considered as on the following day. In case the Sankramana is exactly on the midnight then both the days are deemed as of Punyakaala. Even if Chaitra Maasa happens to be an Adhika Maasa / Mala Maasa, then also the ‘Tailaabhyangana’ / oily head bath and other formal duties need to be performed and the New Year is declared as has begun. Each house-hold would then have a festive look and the Praatipada Morning should witness freshness with Nimba Patra Bhakshama with gud /jaggery and raw Mango pieces signifying equanimity of the mixed tastes of the New Year. That indeed announces the Vasanta Nava Rathris or the Devi Sharannava Raatris (Nine Nights). [ Parameswari is stated to assume NINE SWARUPAS OF DEVI viz. Brahmi / Devi Sharada as ‘Hamsavaahini’ / seated on a Swan with Kamandalu, Aksha Maala, Pustaka, Paasha and Chinmudra; Maheswari-Vrishabha Vaahini / seated in a bull, wearing a Crest Moon and Trishula /Trident; Koumaari as Mayura Vaahini / riding a Mayura or peacock with Shakti as her Aayudha / weapon; Vaishnavi as Garuda Vaahini with Shankha-Chakra-Gadaa ( conchshell, disc and mace); Indrani with Vajraayudha; Sharada with Veena bestowing knowledge; Mohini with Amrita Kalasha distributing Nectar to Devas and denying to Asuras; Raja Rajeswari / Kameshwari seated on a lotus with Paasha, Ankusha, Pushpa Baana and Chaapa bestowing wealth, food, happiness and contentment; Devi Chamundi the Simha Vaahini /seated on a lion and destroying the most potent Demons like Chanda-Mundas and protecting the virtuous and the wise from their torment and finally as Gajalakshmi seated on a lotus with elephants geeting her with their trunks aloft and providing happiness to her devotees. The Nava Swarupas of Jagan Maata signify the assurance to the Universe the truism: Ekaivaaham Jagatyaatraa dwiteeyaa kaa mamaaparaa/ (I am the eternal and unique Shakti and none else!) ]
Chaitra Shukla Paksha Vrata Pradaana: On Pratipa Tithi, Prapeya (Pousala or Water supplying rest houses) daana is observed to satisfy Pitru Devataas; if one is unable to do so every day in the Month pots of water are given as Daana to Brahmanas; the relevant Mantra is: Esha Dharma ghato datto Brahma Vishnu Shivaatmakah, Asya Pradaanaatsakalaa mama santhu manorathaah/ ( This dharma ghata or pot of Dharma representing Brahma-Vishnu- Maheshwara is being given as charity so that my ‘manoratha’ or menal desires be fulfilled). This type of Daana is not only done on Pratipada Tithi of Chaitra Maasa, but on Chaitra Shukla Panchami, Vaishakha Shukla Triteeya, Maagha Shuka Trayodashi, Kartika Saptami, Maargaseersha Navami and Phalguna Krishna Triteeya; these are the days when Pitru Shraadha is to be performed. Some persons believe that Matsya Jayanti is also observed on Chaitra Shukla Pratipaada. On Chaitra Shukla Patipaada, Gouri Vrata is also observed by performing ‘Dampati Puja’ or worship of respected couples signifying Gouri Puja and by avoiding Ksheera-Ghrita-Madhus or Milk-Curd-Honey. On the Chatra Shukla Dwiteeya Pradosha (Sun-set time), Chandra Vrata is observed by worshipping Bala Chandra. On Chaitra Shukla Triteeya, Andolini Vrata is executed after worshipping Shiva-Parvatis; if tritteya has commenced on the previous day itself, then too this Vrata has to be observed on the next day itself. On the Triteeya itself Shri Ramachandra ‘Dolotsava’should begin and the Puja should continue till the end of the entire Chaitra Maasa. On the Chaitra Shukla Triteeya itself the Manvaadis or the beginning of reign of Fourteen Manus; in fact the Manvaadis are celebrated on Chaitra Shukla Triteeya and Purnima, Jyeshtha Purnima, Ashadha Shukla Dashami and Purnima, Shraavana Krishnaashtami, Bhadrapada Shukla Triteeya, Ashvayuja Shukla Navami, Kartika Shukla Dwadashi and Pournamaasi, Pousha Shuklaikaadashi, Maagha Shukla Saptami and Phalguna Purnima and Amavaashya. Incidentally, the Fourteen Manus are: Swayambhu,Swarochisha, Aouttama,Tamasa, Raivata, Chakshusa, Vaiwasvanta, Savarni, Daksha Savarni, Brahma Savarni, Dharma Savarni, Rudra Savarni, Rouchya, and Indra Savarni. On all these Manvaadis, one is required to perform Pindarahita Shraaddhaas. In fact in each year there are ninety six Shraaddhas to be performed and these are: twelve Amavasyas, four yugaadis, fourteen Manvantaraas, Twelve Kranthis, Twelve Vaidhritis, twelve Vyatipaataas, Mahalayaas fifteen , Ashtaka-ashaadhas as five, Anvashtakas five , Purveddha shraaddhas five, totalling ‘Shannavati’ Shraaddhaas. Dashaavatara Jayantis: On Chaitra Shukla Triteeya there was the Origin of Matsya-Avatara; at the evening of Vaishakha Purnima was of the Kurmaavatara; Varahaavataara at the Aparaahna of Bhadrapada Shuklka Triteeya; Nrisimaavataara at the evening of Vaishakha Shuka Chaturdashi; Vaamanaavataara in the Madhyaahna of Chaitra Shukla Dwaadashi; Parashu Rama at the Madhyaahna on Vaishakha Shukla Triteeya ; Chaitra Shukla Madhyaahna Shri Rama; Shri Krishna at the midnight of Shravana Krishnaashtami; Buddhaavataara in the evening of Ashviyuja Shukla Dashami; and on Kalkyaavataara on Sharavana Shukala Shashthi on the evening.
Ganesha Damana Puja is performed all over Bharata Varsha on Chaitra Shukla Chaturthi for Vighna naasham Sarvakaamaapnuyaat or for overcoming all difficulties and fulfilling all kinds of desires. Any Puja or auspicious tasks should be initiated only after Ganesha Puja always. Panchami naaga Puja is observed in Chaitra Shukla Paksha by offering Ksheera- Ghrita to Naaga Devataas / Serpent Gods. Also this Panchami is the day of re-incarnation of Goddess of Wealth Lakshmi Devi pursuant to the ‘Ksheera Mathana’ or the churning of the Ocean of Milk by Deva-Daityas as also of the emergence of ‘Ucchaaishravaas’ or the Divine Horses and thus Lakshmi worship and Haya Vrata are observed on the same day. Chaitra Shukla Shasthi is the Skanda Shashthi and worship of Shiva Kumara Skanda. Chaitra Shukla Ashtami is the day of Bhavani Devi’s Puja. On the same day, if Punarvasu Nakshatra coincides too that auspicious day is to observed as of the worship of Ashvatha (Peepal) Tree by consuming eight tender buds of the flowers of the tree for fulfillment of human desires. Again, Punarvasu Budhopetaa Chaitrey Maasi sitaashami, Praatastu Vidhivatsnaatvaa Vaajapeya phalam labhet/ ( If formal bathing is done on the early morning of Wednesday coinciding with Punarvasu Nakshatra of Chaitra Shukla Ashtami followed by the worship of ‘Ishta Devata’, then that auspicious act would bestow the fruit of executing Vaajapeya Yagna!)
Shri Rama Vrata on Chaitra Shukla Navami: Lord Shri Rama assumed the incarnation of Bhagavan Vishnu on Chaitra Shukla Navami’s Madhyaahna, during the Punarvasu Nakshatra in the Karkataka Lagna when Surya Deva was in Mesha Raasi as five Grahas / Planets were in ascendencyor predominance. As such, persons dedicated to Shri Rama Vrata should initiate their Upavaasa’s morning on the presumption of Navami extending upto the afternoon but if Navami arrived on the previous day and extends on the next afternoon, then the Sankalpa of Upavasa should be on the previous day itself and the Upavasa would be for two days. The Vrata Sankalpa commences with Shri Rama Pratimaa Daana to the Acharya, by reciting the Shloka: Shri Rama Pratimaa Daanam -kareshyam Dwijottama, Tatraachaaryo Bhava preeta sshreemaarosi twamevamey/ ( I pray to Shri Rama and offer the Shri Rama Pratima presuming th Acharya is Shri Rama himself); the Karta should further take a vow: Navamyaa anga bhutena eka bhuktena Raghavaa! Ikshwaaku Vamsha Tilaka preetobhava bhavapriya/ (As part of the Navami Vrata, I do resolve hereby that I will fast till the end of the Vrata; Shri Ragava! The jewel of the Ikshwaku Vamsha! Shiva Priya!). There after, Puja Vedika / Platform is made, take the vow to keep fast for eight yaamas, and recite : Shri Rama Navami Vrataangabhuta Shodashopachaara Pujaam karishye/ and intiate the Puja comprising sixteen services like Aavahana- Shuddhodaka Snaana-Vastra- Gandha-Pushpa-Phala-Naivedyaadis. Then invoke Devi Kousalya with the Mantra: Raamasya jananichaasi Raamatmakamidam Jagat/ Then worship Dasharatha saying Om Namo Dasharadhaaya./ This would be followed by Shanka Puja with the recital: Dashaanana Vadhaarthaaya Dharma Samshaapanaaya cha, Daanavaanaam Vinaashaaya Daityaanaam nithanaaya cha/ Paritraanaaya Saadhunaam jaato Raamasswayam harih, Grihaanaarghyam mayaa duttam bhraatrubhissahitonagha/ (Shri Rama! You are indeed the incarnation of Shri Hari who has descended to earth to destroy the powerful Ten-headed Ravana and other Daitya-Daanavaas and re-instate Dharma in the Universe; may offer this obeisance to you alng with your brothers). This Puja would by followed by night long ‘jaagarana’ and Punah Puja next morning along with Agni Homa and Mula Mantra Pathana hundred times. On conclusion, Patimaadi daanaas, Dakshina Pradaana and Prasaada Sweekaaarana Paarana / Brahmana Bhojana.
Shri Krishnaandolanotsava on Chaitra Shukla Ekaadashi ( Celebration of Baala Krishna in cradle): Dolaarudham prapashyanti Krishnam Kalimalaapaham, Aparaadha sahasraistu Muktaastey dhoonaney kritey/ Taavatthishthanti paapaani janmakotikritaanyapi kreedantey Vishnunaasaardham V aikunthey Deva Pujitaah/ (Mere vision of Bala Krishna playful in a cradle is enough to destroy the sins of Kali Yuga; if the cradle is swung, thousands of misdoings are forgiven and ‘Janmaantaraaparaadhaas’ or sins of previous births are desroyed at once and if the Pratima of Krishna is played with in full faith and devotion, Vishnu Saayujya is assured).
Damanotsava ( Festival of Damana Devata) on Chaitra Shukla Chaturdashi: Damana literally means self- restraint and conquering Evil Forces. Observing Upavasa and Nitya Puja on this occasion, the Karta of Festival enters the Damana Sthaana, cleans it up with ‘Pancha Gavyas’ (Five products of Cow viz. milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine), decorates it with Chandana-Pushpa-Phalaas, initiates puja with the invocation of Shri Krishna Pujaartham twaam nesheye, meditate Sarva Devatas and performs Puja to Kama Devata with the Mantra: Namostu Pushpa baanaaya Jagadaahlaadakaariney, Manmathaaya Jagannetrey Rati preeti priyaayatey/ (I greet Manmatha Deva-the carrier of Flowery Arrows to bestow happiness of the entire Universe, the Saviour of all Beings in the Lord’s Creation and the beloved of Rati Devi ). Then at the Damana Sthaana, instal a ‘Kalasha’/ vessel in the center of a Square over a white cloth and propitiate Damana Devata with the Prayer: Pujaartham Deva Devasya Vishnorlakshmi patey Prabho, Damanatwamihaagaccha saannidhyam kurutey namah/ (May I greet Lakshmi Pati Vishnu before I invoke Damana Devata from the ‘Ashta Diks’ or the Eight Directions) with the Mantras: Kleem Kama Devaaya Namah, Hreem Ratyai Namah, Kleem Bhasma Shareeraaya Namah, Hreem Ratyai Namah, Kleem Anangaaya Namah, Hreem Ratyai Namah, Kleem Manmadhaaya Namah, Kleem Vasanta Sukhaaya Namah, Kleem Smaraaya Namah, Kleem Ikshu chaapaaya Namah, Kleem Pushpa Baanaaya Nama etc.and Gayatri Damana Mantra viz. Tatpurushaaya Vidmahey, Kaama Devaaya dheemahi, Tannanangah prachodayaat. Subsequently, the Karta greets Bhagavan Vishnu as follows: Ksheerodadhi Maha Naaga shayyaavasthita Vigraha, Praatastwaam pujayishyaami sannidhou bhavatey namah/ ( Parameswara who is resting on the ‘Sesha Talpa’! May I offer my Morning Puja; do provide my nearness to you!) and observes ‘Ekaadasha Jaagarana’ or Night Vigil all through the Ekaadashi. Next Morning after performing Nitya Puja , execute worship to Damana Devata and after reciting ‘Mula Mantra’, pray to Paramatma with the Stanza: Deva Deva Jagannatha vaanchitaartha pradaayaka, Hruthpaan purayamey Vishno kaamaan Kameshwari Priya/ Idam damanakam Deva grihana madanugrahaat, Imaam Saam vatsaram Pujaam Bhagavan Paripuraya/ (Deva Deva Jagannaatha! Parameswara! As you always fulfill every body’s desires, do grant my wishes too and accept my Damana Puja over the Year) .
Nrisimha Dolotsava again on Chaitra Shukla Chaturdashi is a Damana Puja to Parama Shiva, Ekaveera Devi and Bhairava. This Chaturdashi has to extend upto the noon if commenced on the previous day itself. If not, it should be considered as Chaitra Purnima in which case, Damana Puja has to be performed to all Devas. If Chaitra Purnima coincides with Chitra Nakshatra, Chitra Vastra Daana would bestow excellent prosperity. If that day falls on Sunday-Thursday- Saturday then Praatahsnaana-Shraaddaas would grant the Punya of performing Ashwamedha yagna.
Vaishakha Snaanaas are scheduled during Chaitra Shukla Ekaadashi to Purnima with the arrival Mesha Samkraanti: Vaishaakham sakalam maasam Mesha sankraman Raveh, Praatassnnimaya-ssnaassy preeyataam Madhu Sudanah/ Madhu hantuh prasaadena Brahmanaamanugrakaat, nirvighnamastu mey Punyam Vaishaakha snaanamanvaham, Maadhavey Meshagebhaanow Muraarey Madhusudana/ Praatassnaanena mey Naatha Phalado Bhava Paapahan/ (During the entire Vaishaakha Maasa when Mesha Sankraanti occurs, I resolve that I shall take formal baths by which Madhusudana would be pleased; give my devotion to Him and th blessings of Brahmanas, may the series of th Snaanaas be completed without hindrance and break; in the exception of a break if need be, at least three Snaanas be performed from Tayosashi onward. As stated earlier, Manvaadis are on Purnimas; in case, Chaitra KrishnaTrayodashi coincideswith Shatabhisha that day is reckoned as a ‘Vaaruni’ and is worthy of Snaanaas on the days of ‘Grahana’. If there is Shubha Yoga or auspicious coincidence of a Saturday and Shatabhisha Nakshatra, then that day is called Maha Vaaruni. F urther, there is a belief that Snaanas in Ganga on Chaitra Krishna Chaturdashi on a Tuesday in the presence of a Shiva Temple could even get rid of a person from Pishaachatwa! In Vaishakha Maasa’s Vrishabha Sankranti time ie. sixteen Ghadiyas before the First day, Tila Tarpana and Ghata Daana are stated to be significance. Vasanta Puja to Brahmanas with Sandalwood paste( Gandha)-Jaggery water and Plantain fruits is also of great value. In Vaishakha Maasa (as also in Jyeshtha) when summer gets intense, then after Nitya Puja keep a full vessel of Sandalwood water and Tulasi leaves with ‘Panchopachaaraas’to Vishnu and perform ‘Maarjana’ or sprinkle drops to purify ‘Griha Dwaaraas’ and on retaining the same Tirtha pour around an Ashwatta (Pipal) Tree by doing Pradakshinas on the next morning then several Pitru Devataas are stated to redeem their souls; also the skin-itches of cows are believed to be cured. In the Vaishakha Maasa, voluntary ‘Nakta Bhojanas’ are stated to fulfill longstanding desires of the persons conerned. Shiva Lingaarchana with cotinuous pourings of Sacred Water as Abhishkaas along with Namaka-Chamaka Mantras would bestow far reaching Punya. Similarly Chhatra-Paada raksha daanaas would yield Maha-Phala.
Observance of Akshaya Triteeya in Vaishakha Maasa: The fruits of vituous deeds on this day should yield far reaching ; Asyaam Yatkinchitjapahoma Pitrutarpana daanaadi kriyatey tatsarvamakshayam, Iyam Rohini Budha Yogey Mahaa Punyaa/ Asyaam Japahomaadi krityepi Vakshyamaana yugaadivan –nirnayah, Iyam kritaugasyaadih/ (On this Akshaya Triteeya, whatever little is performed by way of Japa-Homa- Pitru Tarpana-Daanaadi Dharma karyaas would never be wasted; especially when these Karyaas are done on Wednesdays coinciding Rohini Nakshatra would bestow ‘Mahaa phala’. Such Japa-Homa and such acts are as good as those performed at the Yugaadis. Yugaadi Shraaddha should be Pinda rahita or without resorting to offer of Pindaas. If Shraaddha is not possible on these lines , tila tarpana would suffice. However, Kumbha daana is stated to be essential; a Kumbha (pot) has to be covered with a cloth and filled up with ‘Gandhodaka’before giving away as a kumbha daana by reciting: Esha Dharma Ghato dutto Brahma Vishnu Shiaamakah, Asya pradaanaatrupyantu Pitarassapitaamahah/ Gandhodakatilairyuktam snaanam kumbham phalaanvitah Pitrubhyas- sampradaasyaami Akshayyamupatishthatu/ (I am giving away this ‘Kalasha’ filled with tila-phala-Gandhotakas through you Brahmanas in favour of my Pitru Devataas; may this daana bestow to me endless benefits. At the Yugaadis like this Akshaya Triteeya, ‘Samudra Snaana’ and ‘Upavasa’ are stated to be immense ‘Punya’. On this Triteeya, Parashu Rama Jayanti is also observed; on this day’s ‘Pradosha’ Time, Parashu Rama puja is performed by offering ‘Arghya’or Sacred Water to Parashu Rama with the Mantra: Jaamadagnya Mahaa Vira Kshatriyaantakara Prabho, Grihaanaarghyam mayaa duttam kripayaa Parameswara!( Parmeswara Parashu Rama who uprooted the entire Kshatriya Vamsha! Do accept the offer of the Arghya from me and safeguard me always!) In the Vaishakha Maasa Saptami, Ganga Devi was brought down from Heavens by Bhagiradha to purify the ashes of his great grand parents and Ganga Puja had been observed eversince. On Vaishakha Shukla Dwadashi Madhusudana Puja bestows Agnishtoma Yagna Phala.
Nrisimha Jayanti on the Chaturdashi, especially if coincides with Swati Nakshatra and a Saturday would be of great consequence. The Narasimha Vrata should actually commence on the preceding Trayodashi itself as ‘Eka Bhukta’ or on a single meal and after the Nitya Karmaas on the morning of Chaturdashi and on its afternoon the Karta should take bath with Tilaas and the dried powder of Amla (goosebury) fruit. In the Evening, instal a Golden Pratima of Nrisimha Deva on a ‘Purna Kumbha Paatra’ or a Vessel filled up with Sacred Water and offer ‘Arghya’ along with ‘Shodashopachaaraas’ to Nrisimha Deva reciting : Paritraanaaya saadhunaam jaato Vishnurnrukesari,Grihaanaartghyam maya duttam sa Lakshmirruharey swayam/ (Lakshmi yuta Vishnu’s Avataara Nrisimha Deva! You assumed the Incarnation of Vishnu to save Sadhus and punish the Evil Forces; do kindly accept the Sacred Water and the Sixteen Services of Abhisheka, Vastra, Yagnopaveeta, Gandha, Pushpa, Phala, Deepa, Dhupa- Naivedyaadi). Affter the offerings, the Devotee should pray to say: Mad Vamshey ye Naraa jaataa ye janishyanti chaaparey, Taan Samuddhara Devesha dusshaad bhava Saagaraat/ Paatakaarnava magnasya vyaadhi duhkhaambu Vaaridheyh, Neechaischa paribhutasya Mahaa Duhkhagatasyamey/ Karaavakambanam dehi Sesha shaayin agatpatey, Shri Nrisimha Ramaakaanta bhaktaanaam bhaya naashana, Ksheeraambudhi nivaasastwam Chakrapaaney Janaardana Vratenaanena Devesha Bhukti Muktiprado bhava! (Sesha shaayi! Jagannatha! Shri Nrisimha! Lakshi Priya! and the Resident of the Ocean of Milk ! Do please save and protect those who were born or would be born in future in my Vamsha from the tortures of Samsara- Samudra from their sins, diseases, and banes as they are often subjected with insults and annoyances; do always lend them with your helping hand, accept my Vrata and bestow to me fruits of Bhoga-Mokshaas). The following steps in the Nrisimha Vrata include Paarana/ brahmana Bhojana and daanas of Kumbha- Go- Suvarna- Krishnajina and Bhu Daana ; Madhu- Tila Taila and Ghee etc. Also TilaSnaana, Tila Homa; Tilataila Deepa Daana, Tila Pitru Tarpana, Tila-Madhu Daana and so on are executed to secure Maha Phala.
Vaishakha ‘Snaanaas’ (popularly called AKAAMAVAI SNAANAS viz. the Snaanaas of Ashwiyuja-Kaartika- Maagha-Vaishakha) are concluded on Vaishakha Purnami or even earlier on the previous Shukla Dwadashi itself. On the occasion of the ‘Snaana Udyaapanas’, Go- Paduka- Chharta- Vyajana Daanaas are commended.
Jyeshtha Maasa Karyaas
Mithuna Sankranti Punya kaala is stated to arrive sixteen ghadiyas after the Jyeshta Shukla Pratipada. In case the Punya Kaala commences on that night, Brahma Deva’s Pratima is made of Wheat flour and worshipped with Vastra-Pushpaas to reap Suryaloka Prapti.In this Jyeshtha Maasa, Jala Dhenu daana is prescribed. On this Pratipada Tithi, Karaveera Vrata is scheduled. On Jyeshta Shukla Triteeya, Rambha Vrata is an important Vrata which is observed only those men and women performing Panchaagni Tapas are qualified; they make a Swarna Pratima of Devi Parvati and execute formal worship by way of Homaas and offer the Pratima finally donate it to a virtuous Brahmana couple to whom a self-contained house is to be given away as Daana. Jyeshtha Shukla Chaturdashi happens to be the birth day of Uma Devi and hence her worship is significant on that Tithi. On that Ashtami Shukla Devi is to be worshipped and on the following Navami Upavaasa is prescribed and repeat puja is to be performed on Dashami.
Gangaavataarana and worship on Dwaadashi: The most auspicious time that the most Sacred River Ganga was born was stated to possess ten Yogaas: Jyeshtha Maasi Sita Pakshey Dwadashyaam Budhahaspatayoh Vyateepaatey garaanandey Kanyaachandrey Vrusho Ravou! These yogaas are Jyeshtha-Shukla Paksha- Dashama Tithi- Budha Vaara-Hastaa Nakshatra-Vyateepaata-Gara Karana-Ananda Yoga- Kaanyaa’s Chandra-and Vrisha’s Surya. Even if this happens to be an Adhika Maasa, there is no objection to observe the ‘Gangaa Vrata’. Those who are fortunate to reach Ganga on this day, especially in Varanaasi make the Sankalpa after stating the Desha Kaala and recite as follows : Mamaitatjjanma janmaantara sumudbhuta trividhakaayika Chaturvidha vaachika trividha maanasika swarupa Skaandokta dasha vidha paapaniraasatraya strimshacchata Pitruddhaara Brahma lokaavyaaptaadi phala Praaptyhardham Jyeshthamaa Shukla Paksha Dashami Budhavaasara Hastaanakshatra Gara karana Vyatipaataananda yoga Kanyaastha Chandra Vrishastha Suryeti Dasha Yoga Parvanyasyaam Mahaa Nadyaam Snaanam Tirtha Pujanam pratiyaamaam Jahnavi pujaam Tilaadi daanam Mula Mantra Japamaajya homam cha Yathaa shakti Karishye! ( I have the great satisfaction to bathe in the Holy River of Ganga and seek to wash off the cumulative sins of this and previous birth on account of three kinds of Physical ailments, four kinds of vocal problems and three kinds of mental agonies as described in Skanda Purana. The ‘Snaana’ is also to redeem three thousand thirty three Pitru Devataas besides attaining Brahma loka. This type of Sacred Snaana is ideal in Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha-Dashami Tithi- Wednesday-Hasta Nakshatra- Gara Karana-Vyatipaata and Ananda Yoga as also in Chandra in Kanya Raashi, and Surya in Vrisha Raashi- all totalling ten Yogaas when Ganga was materialised. It is in such Most Illutrious and Highly Sacrosanct River that Snaana- Tirtha Pujana-Tila and other Daanas, Mula Mantra Japa and Homaas would be performed by me as per my capacity!) After making this Sankalpa or Determination, the devotees concerned should dip in Ganga ten times, render Stotraas, wear dry clothing, perform Nitya Karma, Tirtha Puja, Pitru/ Tila Tarpana by taking ten handfuls of Ghee and jaggery mixed Pindas in favour of Pitru devataas and finally invoke Ganga stating: Namo Bhagavatyai Dasha Paapa haraayai Gangaayai Naraayanyai Revathai Shivaayai Dakshaayai Amritaayai Vishwa Rupinyai nandinyai tey Namo Namah/ After the invocation as above, render ‘Aavaahana’ Mantra viz. Om Namasshivaayai Narayanyai Dasha Paapa haraayai Gangaayai swaaha, thus inviting Narayana, Rudra, Brahma, Surya, Himavan, Bhagiratha and execute ‘Shodashopachaaraas’. ‘Pujaanantara Stotra’ addressing Ganga as given in Skanda Purana after the Puja is as follows: Namasshivayai Gangaayai Shivadaayai Namo Namah, Namastey Rudra Rupinyai Shaankaryetey Namo Namah/ Sarva Deva Swarupinyai Namo Bheshaja Murtaye, Sarvaswa Sarva Vyaadheenam Bhishak Shreshthyai Namo namah/ Sthaanu jangama sambhutaVisha hantrai namonamah, Bhogopabhoga daayinyai Bhogha Vatyai namonamah/ --- ( Devi Ganga! You are the auspicious Form of Rudra, Vishwa Swarupa, Brahma Murti and Sarva Deva Swarupa, the Curer of all kinds of ailments and diseases; the destroyer of pousons of animate and inanimate beings; the bestower of all kinds of happiness; Bhogavati! Mandakini! ‘Swarna Daata’ or the giver of gold and precious Stones; you are the Triloka Maata! Your unique presence at Gangaa Dwaara, Prayaga and Saagara Sangama grants immense joy to us; I greet you with several titles as Nanda, Loka Dhatri, Linga Dharini, Narayani, Vishwa Mukhya, Revati, Brihati, Tejovati, Vishwa Mitra, Prithvi, Shiva, Amrita, Suvrusha, Shanta, Varishtha,Varada, Usra, Sukhadrogi, Sanjeevani, Brahmishtha, Brahmada, Duritaghni, Pranataarti bhanjani, Jaganmata, and the extinguisher of all possible difficulties and Mangala! Devi Ganga! Kindly stay secure and firm always by my sides ahead and behind as my very existence in your waters is solely due to your courtesy; in fact, your presence in Srishti-Sthiti-Laya is a known realism as you are the Mula Prakriti, Narayana, Shiva, Paramatma. Those who recite your Stotra with faith and devotion by the means of hearing or pronouncing or by mental concentration should definitely extinguish all kinds of sins and fulfill any type of desires.) Among the tangible sins the ten prominent ones area: acceptance of other’s material without permission; commit acts of violence disapproved by Shastras and other Scriptures; and desire for other women : these are by way of Physical acts; Parusha Bhashana or Utterances of Unsavoury language, lies, gossip, etc. are of ‘Vaachaka’ or vocal-based; ‘Paradravyaabhilaasha’ or interest in other’s money-property-belongings; thinking of and doing acts that hurt others; and useless ego problems which are all mind-based. Devi Ganga! You have the unique distinction of redeeming the Souls of Three thousand thirty three Pitru Devaas! You are seated on a while Crocodile, hold a ‘Kalasha’ with a‘Kamala’by your hands, wear a white silk Vastra; and is a Brahma-Vishnu-Rudra-Rupini. You are the Sacred Water in Brahma’s Kamandulu uilised for ‘’Srishti’; the Water with which Bali Chakravarti washed the consecrated feet of Vamana Deva; and the hallowed water of Ganga retained in the ‘Jataajuta’or the curled and twisted coarse hairs of Parama Shiva a strain of which was released in response to the earnest prayers of Bhagiratha to redeem the Souls of the latter’s ancestry. Such indeed is the illustrious history of Ganga that even a ‘Smarana’ or thought of the River from hundreds of yojanas would suffice to wash off sins and Vishnu Loka Prapti!
‘Nirjala Vrata’ on Jyeshtha Shuklaikaadashi: This Vrata is observed by avoiding water except for the ‘Nityaachamaniya’ purposes or of formal sippings of water for Pujas. Such Nirjala Vrataas on twelve successvive Ekaadashis would indeed qualify for far reaching phala. After observing the Upavaasa and Vrata on the Ekaadashi there should be daana of ‘Sahiranya Sharkarodaka Kumbha or charity of Potful of sugar water with Gold Dakshina. In fact, Puja of Trivikrama Vaamana Deva on the following Dwadashi and a Gavaamaya Kratu are of immense benfits. ‘Tila Darpana’on Jyeshtha Purnima’’ is staed to yield Ashvamedha Phala. In the Jyeshtha Nakshatra, Chhatra-Paada Raksha Daanaas bestows superiority. ‘Bilva Raatri Traya Vrata’ / Vata Savitri Vrata from Trayodashi to Purnima Tithis -with atleast Trayodashi Nakta Bhojana- is observed in the Jyeshtha Shula Paksha. However women folk normally observe the Vrata without fasting; those women in menstrual circle might opt for Brahmanas to carry out the Vrata on their behalf although there is a strong opinion that the concerned women must not perform the Vrata in that state. On Jyeshtha Pourmami, if there is a conjunction of Brihaspati and Chandra with Jyeshtha Nakshatra or Surya with Rohini Nakshatra, that specific Tithi is called Mahaa Jyaishthi; that day is extremely appropriate for Snaana-Daanaas; as that Tithi is also significant as the ‘Manvaadi’ and Pinda Rahita Shraaddha is to be performed. In fact, the entire Jyeshta Maasa is of Trivikrama ‘Preeti’ or of great fondness of Vamana Deva and Daanas of ‘Chandananodaka Kumbha’ and such other Daanaas are stated to have far reaching consequence.
Ashaadha Maasa Vratas
Dakshinaayana / Karkataka Sankranti occurs in Ashaadha Maasa. Some thirty ghadiyas before that is reckoned as Punya kaala; that too those ghadiyas nearing the specific time is supposed to be the most auspicious Punya kaala. If Karkaataka Sankramana takes place at mid night or nearabout, then the Punya kaala is stated to have arrived as on the previous Tithi, but the Sankramana is after Sunrise within two ghadiyas then the Punya kaala is reckoned as on the same day and Daana-Upavaasaas are to be observed then. In case Surya is in Karkaataka Raashi, or Kanya, or Dhanush or Kumbha, then Chudaa karmaadi are prohibited. In the Ashadha Maasa, observance of ‘Eka Bhukta’ or single meal a day would yield generous money, grains and progeny. In this month, Vamana Deva is propitiated by daanaas of footwear, umbrelllas, salt and Amla fruit. On Ashaadha Shukla Dwiteeya, preferably in Pushya Nakshatra, Shri Rama Rathotsava is popular. Ekaadasahi is notable as ‘ Vishnu Shayanotsava’ or when Vishnu Pratima is placed in a swing resting on a soft bed and pillow as though on the high tide of Ksheera Sagara fully ornamented with his four hands wearing Shankha-Chakra- Saranga and Gada while Devi Lakshni pressing his feet; then elaborate puja is performed and a devotee’s prayer would be : Twayi Suptey Jagannatha Jagatsuptam bhavedimam, Vibuddhey twayi Buddheta tat sarvam sa charaacharam/ (Jagannatha! If you resort to sleep, then the Universe is put to sleep. As you are awake, the Universe is woken up too). On the Dwadashi day, Puja would continue followed by ‘Jaagarana’or night vigil well spent with songs, music and dances and on the early morning of Trayodashi again, Punah Puja is executed ; thus this ‘Utsava’ or celebration is a three- day long affair.
Chaaturmaasa Vrata: This Vrata is not to be initiated on Thursday and Fridays, preferably at the beginning of Ashaadha Shukla Dwadashi evening after ‘Paarana’’. This Vrata could be accomplished by Shaivaites also.This is intiated by Jaati-Pushpa Maha Puja with the ‘Sankalpa’ commencing with the same above Prayer viz. Twayi Suptey Jagannaadha------------ and as follows: Chaturo Vaarshikaan Maasaan Devasyothaapanaavadhi, Shraavaney varjyayecchaakam dadhi Bhaadrapadey tatha/ Dugdhamaaswayujey maasi Kartikey dwidalam thyajet, Imam Karishyeniyamam nirvighnam kurumechyuta/ Idam Vratam mayaadeva gruheetam puratastawa, Nirvighnam Siddhimaayaatu prasaadaatey Ramaa patey/ gruheetesmin Vratey Deva panchatwam yadimey bhavet,Tadaa bhavatu sampurnam prasaadaattye Janardana/ (Jagannadha! If you resort to sleep, the whole Universe falls in slumber and if you are out of your ‘yoga nidra’ the World is active too. Be kind to me! I resolve hereby to observe the regulation of ‘Chaturmaasya’as follows: Chaturo Vaarshikaan maasaan devasyotthaapanaavadhi, Shraavaney varjyaye shaakam dadhi Bhadrapadey tathaa/ Dugdhamaashwayuje maasi Kartikey dwidalam tathaa, Imam Karishye niyamam nirvighnam kurumeychyuta! (In the Year’s four months, I will not eat vegetables during Shravana Month, nor consume curds during Bhadrapada month, milk on Aswayuja, and ‘dwidalam’ (Pulses) during Karthika maasa; may I be blessed to observe the regulations as above and be ensured that no obstacles should stop me from being strictly adhered to). Bhagavan! in the event of my death during this Chaaturmaasya Vrata, then may I be considered as eligible to have succsessfully completed the Vrata; so saying the Karta would offer Shankhu Tirtha to Bhagavan. On the same lines as the Chaaturmasya Vrata, similar resolutions could be made in other Vrataas as well. For instance, resolves be made about ‘Gudaanna’dharana or Varjana and so on as applicablein relevant resolutions: Varjayashey gudam Deva Madhura swara siddhaye, Varjyayishye tailamaham sundaraangatwa siddhaye/ Yogaabhaasi Bhavishyaami praaptum Brahma padam param, Mounavrati bhavishyaami swaagnaapaalana siddhaye/Ekaantaropavaasi cha praaptum Brahmaputam param/----Iti sankalpah/ ( There might be similar Resolutions: Avoiding Jaggery eating would improve sweet voice; evading oil consumption would enhance phycical charm; Yogaabhyaasa will be observed to facilitate Brahma pada prapti; Mouna Vrata will be followed to enable me self control; fasting of alternate days should help secure Brahma pada and so on). There area also some nishiddha or avoidable materials and actions in th course of Chaaturmaasa Vrata: no material should be offered as Naivedya as water in leather sachets, the burnt ash of dead animals or flies collected from Agni, Yagna’s left over cooked rice, burnt food, Masura or Meat products, seedless or of too many seed vegetables, Mulaka or Mulis, Kushmanda / pumpkin , sugar cane, black gram, brinjal, snake gourd, tamarind , salt , honey etc. are strictly forbidden. Vrintaaka bilvodumbara kalinga bhissataastu Vaishnavaih sarvamaaseshu varjyayaah/ (Brinjal, bilwa, udumbara, Kalinga, bhissata are forbidden by Vaishnavaites always.) Milk and products of any animal excepting cows, buffalos or goats are not worthy of offering as Naivedya to Bhagavan. During the entire Chaaturmaasaas, those who consume Havishya bhojana are commended. Those who refrain from eating jaggery would have soft voices; avoiding oils would help develop attractive body parts; refrain from eating ‘taamboola’ would possess sweet voice; ghee consumption spoils skin; avoiding milkand curd leads to Vishnu loka; those who sleep on mats on ground become the beloved of Bhagavan. Eating by squatting on the ground would bestow royalty. Ridding of ‘Madhu Maamsa’ or honey and meat makes a person a Muni / hermit. Eating on alternate days paves the way to Brahmaloka. Growing hairs and nails yields Ganga Snaana phala. Silence is like giving instructions to others. Vishnu Vandana yields Go-daana phala. Vishnu paada sparsha is ‘kritartatwa or a life well spent in fulfillment . Cleaning ‘Devagriha’ provides kingship. Hundred ‘pradakshinaas’ or circumambulations of Bhagavan bestows ‘ Vishnu Sayujya’. ‘Ekabhuktaashana’ or a meal a day provides ‘Agnihotra karma phala’. Construction of wells or water bodies confers fame and ‘Punya’. Eating at the sixth part of days together as habit grants ‘Swargavaasa’. Eating on leaves gives Kurukshetra Vaasa phala. Bhojana squatted on rocks endows Prayaaga Snana. On these lines, if Chaturmaas Vrata is observed from Ashaadha Ekaadashi /Dwadashi to Shravana Maasa, a person is stated to have made a significant accomplishment!
Chaturmaasa Vrata is stated to have terminated on Shravana Purnima. For those Grihastis observing The Vrata as also to Yatis / Sanyasis, Vyasa Puja is scheduled on the Purnima’s Sunrise presuming that the Tithi is valid at least upto six ghadis thereafter. Vyasa Puja commences after the Kshura Karma or shaving the head-hair and beard. During these four months or atleast a mimum of two months, the Yati is required to stay at the same place. After the shaving of head, the Karta or Yati has to perform twelve ‘Mrittikaa Snaanaas’ followed by Vyasa Puja. The Sankalpa is : Chaaturmaasya Vaasam kartum Shri Krishna Vyasa bhaashyakaaraanaam saparivaaraanaam pujanam karishye/ In this Sankalpa, thePlacements of the ‘Saparivaaraas’ are: Shri Krishna in the Centre along with Vaasudeva- Sankarshana- Pradyumna- Aniruddha are invoked first; to the South of Krishna be Vyasa-Sumantu- Jaimini-Vyashampaayana-and Paila; to the left of Krishna and others be the Bhashyakaara Adi- Shankara and Padmapaada- Vishwarupa-Trotaka-and Hastaaala; to the sides of Shri Krishna would be Brama and Rudra; and on the four sides would be Sanaka-Sananaa- Sanaatana-Sanatkumaaraas; BrahmapVasishtha-Shakti-Paraashara-Vyaasa-Shuka-Goudapada-Govinndapaada and Shankaraachaarya; then Ganesha in Agneya, Kshetrapaala inIshana, Durga in Vaayavya, Sarasvati in Nirruti, and staring from the outer East the Ashtapaalakaas. After the Avaahana Puja, Narayanaashtaakshara Mantra and Omkaara Namasshabda mantras be recited. After Lakshmi-Narayana wosrship is performed, there must be prayers in favour of married Grihastis to mean that the Chaturmaasa Vrata should nowterminate successfully and there shoud not be mutual absence from each other. At the end of the Nakta Bhojana,the coulpe should perform the Krishna-Lakhmi ‘Shayya’ (bed) and Pratima daana and the Brahmanas should bless the couple observing the Vrata succssfully that the Vrata should bestow them ‘Akshya Daampathya Sukha’, ‘Putra-Dhana-Vidya yoga’ and ‘Sapta Janma Sukruta Phala’!
The Punya kaala in Shravana Maasa is stated to occur sixteen ghadiyas later than Simha Sankramana. In this Maasa the basic requirements are Eka Bhukta / Nakta Vrata and Abhishakaas of Vishnu and Shiva. In case, a cow gives birth when Surya is in Simha Sankramana, the owner of the cow is to perform thousand homaas and give it away as Daana to a Brahmana. If the cow cries in the night, there is a need to perform Mrityunjaya Homa and Shanti. Hence the saying: Maaghey Budhecha Mahishi Shraavaney badabaa Diva, Simhey Prasuyantey Swamino Mrithyu daayakaah! (If a buffalo gives birth on Budha Vaara of MaghaMaasa, a horse gives birth in Shraavana Maasa, or if a cow gives birth in Simha Sankranti, the concerned owner risks his/ her own life. The ‘Shaanti’ or the way of appeasement for the occurrence in Shravana Maasa is to execute Soma Vaara Vrata formally as per laid procedure and if unable to do so, atleast Nakta Bhojana must be observed. On Shravana MangalaVaaraas, Mangala Gauri Vrata is definitely prescribed especially by the newly married ‘Grihinis’. Shravana Shukla Panchami is popularly called Naaga Panchami and is observed upto six ghadiyas after Suryodaya when serpents are worshipped in Snake Pits or in Temples to Subrahmanya Kumara by offering milk and Pushpa-Gandha-Dhupa-Deepa-Phala Naivedyas. On Shravana Shukla Dwadashis,Shaakha Vrata is observed when ‘Shaakaas’ or vegetables are donated by the ‘Sankalpa’ saying Brahmanaaya Shaaka daanam karishye/ Then after worshipping Brahmana, recite the Mantra: Upaayanamidam Deva Vrata Sampurti hetavey, Shaakantu Dwija Varyaya sahiranyam dadaamyaham/ With this Mantra, cooked or raw vegetables in good stock be donated along with ‘dakshinaas’.
Pavitraaropana: On the Paarana day of Shravana Dwadashi or Trayodashi or Purnima, ‘Pavitraadhiropana’ or providing spun cotton Sacred Threads on Vishnu Idol is observed. Shiva Pavitraaropana is done in the Shravana Shukla Paksha on Chatudrashi, Ashtami or Pournamaasi. In respect of Devi Ganesha or Durgaadi Devatas, Pavitraaropana is accomplished on any of the Tithis viz.Charurdasi, Chaturthi,Triteeya or Navami as per one’s own ‘Kulaachaara’. If not, this is performed on Shravana Purnima. Cotton threads are in the clusters of nine with twenty four grandhis (knots) each and are called Nava Sutris ( or nine threads) representing hundred eight Devataas and this option is stated to be the best. The medium alternative has fifty four Nava Sutris with twenty four grandhisand these cover upto the thighs of Bhagavan’s idol. The minimum option is of twenty seven Nava Sutris with twelve grandhis covering upto the navel of the idol. In the case of Shiva Linga, the length and width of the Sutris are taken into account to cover the Linga. The Pavitras are all treated by Pancha Gavyaas and the Pranavaakshara OM. Then Kumkuma (Safron) is applied over the Grandhis of the Sacred Threads while reciting the Mula Mantras hundred eight times and cover up Vastras and pray to Bhagavan seeking pardon for lapses in the observance of the formal procedure: Kriyaalopa vidhaanaardham yatwayaa vihitam Prabho, Mayaitatkriyatey Deva tava thushtai pavitrakam/ Na vighno bhaveddeva kuru Naatha dayaammayi, Sarvatha Sarvadaa Vishno mamatwam paramaa gatih/
(Deva! May deficiencies in the Procedure be taken care of by the Pavitra as ordained for your pleasure; do very kindly ensure that there should be any obstacles in our worship as you are the Ultimate Refuge to us). After the Prayer , Sankalpa be made for sanctifying the Samvatsara Puja, invoke the Tri Sutri with Brahma-Vishnu-Maheswara and the Nava Sutri with Omkaara, Vahni, Brahma, Nagesha, Surya, Shiva and Vishwa Deva with the Mula Mantra, and perform ‘Panchopa –chaaraas’ to the Pavitraas and and thus accomplish Pavitraaropana to Vishnu or Shiva as the case may be.
Upaakarma Vidhi: Among the formal and initial ‘Veda Karmas’ is the Upaakarma . Bhavishya Purana stated: Sampraaptey Shravanasyaantey Pournimaasyaam Dinodaye, Snaanam kurvaanti Matimaan Smriti Shruti Vidhaanatah/ Upaakarmaadikam proktamrusheenaam chiva Tarpanam, Shudraanaam Mantra rahitam snaanam daanam cha shyaashyatey/ Upaakarmaani kartavyamrusheenam chaiva pujanam/ ( On the arrival of Shraavana Maasa Pournami’s Sun Rise, Wismen perform Upaakarmaadika Karmaas including Tarpanam as per the Intructions ofVeda Shastraas. After the Upakarma, the duty is to perform Puja).
To Rigvedis, ‘Upaakarma Kaala’ is determined on Shravana Shukla Paksha Purnima in Shravana Nakshatra and Panchami’s Hasta Nakshatra; rather the former option. Upaakarma is performed during the period when there is no Grahana or Samkranti and this principle is followed by both Rigvedis and Yajurvedis. Otherwise, during Hasta-Panchami Yoga or atleast Hasta or Panchami seperately is allowed. In case, Shravana Nakshatra is on two days of Pournami and the next, then the earlier day’s Suryodaya and upto the next day’s Suryodaya, there could be a carry forward of three muhurtas to allow the Upakarma on the Pournami ( broadly stated from sunrise to midday) . Even otherwise, ie. even if the Shravana Nakshatra is over on the day, the next Nakshatra of Dhanishtha is allowed. However, the ‘Sesha’ of the previous Nakshatra to Shravana viz. of Utraraashaadha is not suitable.
To Yajurvedis also, Upaakarma Kaala is suitable to Shravana Purnami’s Shravana Nakshatra. In case there is a Khanda Purnima ie. if Purnima entered after the Sunrise of the previous day and extends to the next day upto six muhurtas then all Yajurvedis would consider the suitable time for Upakarma as on the next day. However there are different opinions based on the number of Ghadis extended after Sunrise of the Khanda Purnima on the subsequent day; in case both the days happen to extend beyond Sunrise, then all the Yujurvedis agree that the Upaakarma Kaala is on the previous day. In case Purnima occurs on the previous day’s Muhurtha and extends to the next day by two or three muhurtaas but by less than six muhurtaas, then Taittireeyas consider that the Upaakarma Kaala would be on the next day’s Purnima; but Yajurvedis other than the Taittiriyas consider the Kaala in favour of the previous day’s Purnima. Hiranyakeshi Taittireeyas consider the ‘Aavaraniya (extended) Purnima as the Upaakarma Kaala.Other wise, they might consider Shraavana Maasa Hasta Nakshatra. , Apastambha Sutrasthaas no doubt prefer Shraavana Purnima but alternatively could consider Bhadrapada Purnima. Bodhayanaas too prefer Shravana Purnima or as an alternative Ashaadha Purnima be considered. Kanva/ Madhyam Dinaas or Katyaayanaas feel that either’ Shraavana sahita Purnima’ or Hastaayukta Panchami or since Shravana Maasa is full of controversies Bhadrapada Purnima or Panchami would be suitable. The short point however is that Shravana Pournami is the appropriate tithi for the Upaakarma, while taking into account the different permutations of muhurtas at or after the Sun Rise of the Khanda Pournami Tithi. If Shravana Pournami for any reason or interpretation is not fully satisfactory, then another alternative would be either Bhadrapada Pournima or Panchami.
As regards Saama Vedis, the decision is as follows: Saam Vedinaam Bhadrapada Shukley Hastaa Nakshatram Mukhyakaalah, Sankraantyaadi doshana tatraa sambhavey Shraavana aasey Hastograahya iti Nirnaya Sindhuh/ (To Saama Vedikaas, Bhadra pada Shukla Paksha Hastaa Nakshatra is the best option for performing Upaakarma; in case however there is a Sankraanti Dosha then, Shravana Shukla Hasta Nakshatra as stated by the Nirnaya Sindhu.) Another School of Thought is that while Upakarma is performed on Sharvana Pourami but should be activised till Bhadrapada Hasta! If there is a Hastaa Nakshatra Khanda carried forward to the nexrt day then the remainder Hasta must extend up to Aparaahna, since to Saama Vedis, Upakarma kaala is Apaarahna.
To Atharva Vedis, both the options of Shraavana Purnima and Bhaadrapada Purnima are equally acceptable. Purnima however has to be Udaya Vyapini or should span upto Sun Rise next.
[ In sum, Upaakarma by Rig Vedis prefer Shravana Nakshatra on Shraavana Purnima spanning atleast from Sunrise to mid day or Panchami’s Hasta Nakshatra. Sama Vedis prefer Shravana Purnima’s Hasta Nakshatra or Bhadrapada Shukla Hasta. Yajur Vedis basically approve of Shravana Purnima but for interpretations of Purnima’s extensions after Sun Rises on the next day as detailed above ]
Upaakarma Saamaanya Nirnaya: The normal practice of performing Upaakarma to ‘Sarva Shaakhaas’ is in Shravana- Bhadrapada Maasaas- Shukla Panchami or Pournamis as per their own Home-Rules, subject however to limitations such as Grahana-Sankranti, Ashuchi and such exigencies. But those in the North of Narmada give consideration to Panchami etc. of Surya in Simha Raashi in Shravana while those in Dakshina Desha pay attention to Surya in Karka Raashi in Shraavana on Panchami-Pournamis.
Prathama Upakarma to new Yagnopaveetis: The first Upaakarma to new Yagnopaviti Brahmacharis should not be performed on Guru-Shukraastaas, Mala Maasaas, and when Guru Graha is in Simha Raashi. First Upaakarma is to be observed with Swasti Vaachana and Nandi Shraadha. Those who are ‘Nutana Yagnopaveetis’ or newly inducted to the Sacred Thread and Gayatri Mantra should intiate Upaakarma in Shraavana Maasa on Panchami-Hasta /Shravana Kaala-Guru Shukraasta Samaya; if this is not possible then another alternative would be Bhadrapada Panchami- Shravana Nakshatra. The required paraphernalia are: Mounjeem Yagnopaveetam cha Navam dandamcha dhaarayet, Ajinam Katisutram cha navam Vastram tathaiva cha/ Iti Brahmachaarino visheshah Prativarsham dhyeyah/
(Mounjee or String of Darbha /Kusha grass, Yagnopaveetam or the Sacred Thread, Navam Dandam or Palasha Danda or New Stick; Mriga Charma or Deer-Skin, Ajinam Kati Sutram or waist-band and Navam Vastram or new clothing; these are the Annual Specialities of a Brahmachari). Learning of Vedas invariably begins in Shraavana Maasa with Upaakarma; the learning process is terminated temporarily in ‘Makara Raashi’with the Utsarjana Ritual but would be revived in Shraavana Maasa again. Both in the case of Upaakarma and Utsarjana , Brahmachaaris as also Grihasthis and Vanaprasthas are required to follow the procedure and Nirnaya Sindhu Grandha mentioned that there would be ‘Prayaschitta’ or atonement by way of ‘Praajaapatya Kruccha’or atleast Upavasa Prayaschitta. However the practice has been otherwise since both Upakarma and Utsarjana are performed at the same time; the relevant Sankalpa states: Adheetaanaam Chhandasaamaapyaayana dwaaraa Shri Parameshwara preetyarthamupaakarmaa diney adhyotyasarjanaakhyaam Karma karishye / (As per the Vedaas studied, I shall now perform on the Upaakarma day itself the Utsarjanaa Karma also). However, Dharma Sindhu states that the Karmaas are apparently observed as per one’s own family traditions.
Rakshaabandhana: The task of ‘Rakshaabandhana’ is observed on Shaavana Purnima from morning till Aparaahna or Pradosha provided Bhadra Nakshatras are not in predominence; otherwise if Purnima is short of three muhurtas on that day then Rakshabandhana be obeserved on the previous day upto Padoshakaala if Bhadra is not present. The Sankalpa of ‘Rakshaabandhana’ or tying of the Security Band on the Right Wrist is: Yena baddho Bali Raaja Daanavendro Maha Balah, Tenatwaamabhi badhnaami Rakshamaachalamaachala/ (Raksha Bandhana! I am tying this to you as was tied by King Bali of Vamana Avataara fame; be steady and firm)/.
Shraavana Krishna Ashtami: The Ashtami is of two kinds viz. Shudda and Viddha. When there is no Saptami Yoga then Ashtami is Shudda and it could occur during the day or night. But the Viddha is determined by the extent to which Ashtami Yoga is affected by the Saptami sesha. Again the permutations of Rohini Nakshatra and Krishna Ashtami are several and Dharma Sindhu offers hair- splitting juxtapositions of Saptami-Ashtami and Krittika-Rohini. Added to this is the interpretation by Koustubha Grandhas as per Madhwaacharya followers that Krishnaashtami by itself is the Janmaashtami and the one with Rohini Nakshatra is Krishna Jayanti. Other followers of Madhwacharya assert that Janmaashtami on Shukla Ashtami is significant for the Vrata and if there is no coincidence with Rohini, Jayanti need to be observed. Another interpration is that if need be both the Vratas be duplicated or observed twice. Vrata Vidhana: In any case, the Janmaashtami Vrata be performed on a day when Ashtami is predominant. In the morning of that main Ashtami after Nitya Karmaas, the Kartha should resolve: Shri Krishna preetyartham Janmaashtami Vratam karishye/ Alternativly the Sankalpa might be Janmaashtami Vratam/ Jayanti Vratam karishye/ Then sip spoonful water thrice from a Copper Vessel and state: Vaasu Devam samuddisya Sarva Paaoa prashantaye, Upavaasam karishyaami Janmaashtamyaam Nabhasyaham; in case of incompetence of observing fast, then one might imply Phalaani bhakshaishyaam/ Afterwards, perform ‘Aachamana’ and take the Vow: Aajanmamaranam yaavadyanmayaa dushkrutam kritam, Tatpranaashaaya Govinda praseeda Purushottama ( Purushottama! Do destroy the sins that got accumulated in the past from my birth and might be committed in my future till my death as I am now observing the Sacred Vrata on this most propitious day of your mortal bitrh and save me). Then after purifying with a bath at midnight, the Karta who pre-arranged - as per one’s own capacity and devotion, a Platform made of gold-silver-metal-or earthen with a large swing with Baby Krishna on bed cushions and design an appropriate background with Pratimas of Devaki-Vasudeva, Yashoda-Nanda Gopa , Balarama-Revati and groups of Gopa-Gopikas along with Lakshmi at Krishna’s feet. Then the Puja commeces reciting: Shri Krishna preetyartham saparivaara Shri Krishna pujaam karishye/ This wouldbe followed by the ‘’Nyaasaas’ by way of Anganyaasa and Karanyaasa, worship of Shankha- Chakra- Gadaa- Sarangaas and perform ‘Dhyaana’ as follows: Paryankasthaam Kinaaraadyairyutaam dhyaayettu Devakim, Shri Krishna baalakam dhyaayetparyankeystanapaayinam/ Shri Vatsa vaksha samshaantam neelotpala dalacchavim,Samvaahayanteem Devakyaah paadou dhyaayecchataam Shriyam/ (May I now meditate ‘Neelotpala Shyaama- Shri Vatsaanka- Shri Krishna Baalaka!’ as you are engaged in enjoying the breast-milk of Mother Devaki and experiencing the soft pressings of your tender feet by Devi Lakshmi!) Then the Puja is initiated with concentration by the Mula Mantra and ‘Purusha Sukta Ruks’ as follows: Shri Krishnaaya Namah, Devakyai Namah, Vasudevaayai Namah, Yashodaayai Namah, Nandaaya Namah,Shri Ramaaya Namah, Chandikaayai Namah and so on and Sakala -parivaara Devataabhyo Namah---Atraavaahita DevakyaadiParivaara Devataa sahita Shri Krishnaaya Namah/ There after Worship would continue by the offerings of Aasana- Paadya- Arghya- Aachamaniya- Abhyanga Snaana-Panchaamrita Snaana- Chandana lepana- Vasstra-Yagnopaveeta-Gandha-Pushpa-Dhoopa-Deepa along with the Mantraas viz. Visveshwaraaya Vishvaaya tathaa Vishvodbhavaaya cha, Vishyasya pataye tubhyam Govindaaya Namo namah/ The various Upachaaraas /Services performed, Naivedya is offe red to the Lord with the Mantra: Jagannaatha Namastubhyam Samsaara bhaya naashana, Jagadeeshvaraaya Devaaya Bhutaanaam Pataye Namah/ Then, Taabmbula-Pradakshna- Namasaaraa- Pushpaanjalis are proposed. Finally ‘Udyaapana’of the Vrata is accomplished with repeat Puja and Samasta Raajopachaara- Mantropachaara-Bhagavat Kathaa Pathana/ Shravana, Geeta -Nritthya and various Services along with Shadrasopeta Bhojana- Brahmana Puja-Dakshina and so on.
Kusha Sangrahana:Yet another Sacred Deed that is executed on ‘Shraavana Maasa Krishnaamavaasya’ is reaping and preserving Darbhaas for repeated usages for Yagnaas, Homaas, Vrataas, Pitru Karyaas and so on. Nabho maasasya darshey tu Shuchirbhaanupaaharet, Ayaatayaamaastey darbhaa viniyojyahah punah punah/ Some opine that the ‘Kusha Sangrahana’ is to be effected on Bhadrapada ‘Krishnaamavaashya’. Kushaas are ten varieties : Kushaah kaashaa yavaa durvaa Vusheeraascha sa kundakaah godhumaa vreehayoMunjaa Dasha Darbhaassabalajaah/
( The ten varieties of Darbhaas are Kusha, Khasha or a kind of dried grass flower used for mats and house-roofs, Yava truna, Durva, Vusheera or the grass providing relief from heat, Kundaka, Godhuma graas, Rice / dhanya grass, Munja grass and Ulapa truna). Virinchinaa sahotpanna Parameshthi nisargaja, Nuda sarvaani paapaani darbha swasti karobhava/ ( Darbha! You are the one born along with Brahma or Srishthi Prarambha thus imbibing the Sacred Nature of Brahma Himself; hence destroy all kinds of Sins and bestow propitiousness). Yevam mantram samucchaarya tatah purvottaraamukhah, Humphat kaarena mantrena sakrucchitwaa samuddaret/ ( With this Mantra one should face Ishana Disha and cut the darbhaas in one go ) and pronounce the Mantra again saying Hum Phat/ Such four darbhaas make a PAVITRA.