Essence Of
Dharma Sindhu

Punya Kaala at the occurrence of Meena Sankranti is sixteen ghadiyas past the arrival of Phalguna Maasa. From Phalguna Shukla Praatipada upto twelve days hence is the period of Payovrata  as prescibed in the Maha Bhagavata Purana. Holika Puja and Holika Mahotsava are to take place on Phalguna Pournami depending on Pournami-Bhadraa Nakshatra, provided the third phase or ‘triteeya paada’ does not cross Pournami. Having constructed a platform hallowed with ‘Go Maya’ (Cow dung) one should arrange a stack of sticks with Agni and perform Holika Puja with the ‘Sankalpa’ and ‘Aavaahana’ of Sakutumbasya mama Dhundhaa Rakshasi preetyartham tatpeedaa parihaa –raartham Holikaa pujanam karishye/ ---Asmaadbhirbhayasantrastaih krutaatwam Holikeyatah, Atastwaam Pujayishyaami bhutabhuti pradaabhava/ ( As were afraid of you Holika Devi! we seek your compassion and thus are resorting to shodashopachaaraas to you.  Do kindly show us fearlessness and prosperity!) The Mantras addressing Holika Devi state that the ten days fromPanchami and Purnima are quite propitious and during these days even stealing of ‘Indhana’ or fire-wood ignored to celebrate Holi Fire on the Purnima Day when throwing of water, smearing on other’s faces with colours and using of indecent  language etc. are ignored as gestures of friendship especially with neighbours and friendship circles ; there would be group singing, dances and exravaganza of merriment all through the day and night. This is how the Raakshasi would be satisfied. Next morning, a Chandaala is touched before taking bath and after carrying out  nitya karmaas, Holika Devi be greeted and take up one’s own duties so that the year ahead would be devoid of diseases, difficulties and mental problems.  The five days before the Holika Puja on Pournami are of ‘Kari Sangjna’ and thus Shubha Karyaas are not to be performed in that period. On the days of Holi, Grahana, Uttaraayanaa and Dakshinaayana, Auspicious Tasks are not perpormed due to the Kari Sangjna (Stigma of an Elephant) is attached to it.

Vasantotsava occurs on Phalguna Krishna Pratipada; the Tithi is to be considered as from the morning; in case the Tithi occurs on the previous and next day’s morning then the morning of the previous day is to be considered as the beginning of Vasantotsava. Then on the Dwiteeya, ‘Tailaa bhyangana’ or head bath with oil and  ‘Chuta Kusuma Bhakshana’ or eating Mango leafy flower with chandana are required to be performed while new white clothes are donned and enjoy wearing Tilaka on the face and ‘Neeraajana’ and recite : Chutamagryam Vasantasya maakanda kusumantava, Sa Chandanam pibaamyadya Sarva Kaamaartha siddhaye/ ( Vasanta Vriksha! I am consuming your tender leafy flower with Chandana on the First day of Vasanta Ritu; do fulfil my heart-felt desires!)


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