Knox Holika Dahan & Hindu Food Festival 2020

This year we have incorporated two of our great events, the Holika Dahan Festival & the Hindu Food Festival. While practising the Hindu traditions of the Holika Dahan Poojan, the foodies will also have the opportunity to enjoy a variety authentic Pure Vegetarian Indian dishes.

This is a Free event, with activities, food and tradition.

When: 28th March 2021

Where: Shree Swaminarayan Temple Melbourne (69 Wadhurst Drive, Boronia – 3155)

Time: 4:00pm – 7:30pm

Book your tickets at: Purchase Tickets

 

***** NO REGISTRATION – NO ENTRY *****

You must carry your event ticket either in an electronic form on your phone or print them out and bring a physical copy to have it scanned at the entrance on the event day.

Note:

  • This event will be carried out in consideration with the COVID-Safe regulations.
  • Please do not attend the event If you are feeling unwell on the day of the event or the day prior to the event.
  • Please follow instructions and guidelines provided by the COVID marshal team on site.
  • Anyone over the age of 1 year must be registered for entry.
  • Ticketed entry only. Anyone without a ticket will be refused entry.
  • Kids and children under the age of 10 years must have adult supervision at all times.

Holika Dahan Significance

Holika Dahan also Kamudu pyre is celebrated by burning Holika, an asura. For many traditions in Hinduism, Holi celebrates the killing of Holika in order to save Prahlad, a devotee of God Vishnu and thus Holi gets its name. In olden days, people used to contribute a piece of wood or two for the Holika bonfire, and this represents Holika being consumed by the fire in which she tried to kill her nephew Prahlad.

Holika Dahan – 28th March 2021

Significance

Phalgun Sud Poonam marks the celebration of the Holi Festival. Various aspects of the festival of Holi make it significant to one’s life. It may not be so apparent but analysing it reveals the significance of Holi in more ways than it meets the eyes.

Festivals in Sanatan Dharma are to enjoy and be indulged in Devotion towards the Lord and get closer to Him. Ranging from religious to cultural significances, there is every reason why we must heartily enjoy this holy festival cherishing the reasons for its celebrations.

Religious Significance:

The Narad Puran and Bhavishya Puran entail the religious significance of this festival. According to these holy texts, Hiranyakshipu; a powerful demon considered himself as God out of his ego sought to be worshipped by all. To his great ire,

his son Prahalad was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakshyapu tried various methods to get him killed but he was always protected an unharmed. Having a boon to enter fire unscathed, aunty Holika assured her brother that she will

be successful in killing Prahalad in fire with Prahlad on her lap. Shed paid the price for her sinister intentions when she burnt to death while Prahalad remained unharmed. Hence this day is celebrated as ‘Holika dahan’.

 

Cultural Significance:

The religious significance associated with Holi reassures Devotees of the power of the truth and the ultimate victory of good over evil. It also enlightens us that the Lord always protects His Devotees that truly surrender unto Him.

Thus it helps us to be righteous and also believe in the virtue of being truthful. In today’s modern society people resort to evil practices for gains torturing honest ones, hence this festival helps remember the virtues of truthfulness,

righteousness and honesty to fight away evil. This festival is also celebrated during a time when people expect a good harvest due to the spring season giving them a chance to rejoice in thanking the Lord for His benedictions.

NarNarayan Dev Jayanti & Fuldol Utsav – 28th March 2021

This festival marks the birth of Lord Nar and Lord Narayan. They were born as sixteen year olds to father Dharmadev and mother Murtidevi at Narayan Ghat along the banks of the Sabarmati River. Nar Narayan took birth to defeat the evil demon Kunchi, who wanted immortality. By performing penance to please Lord Brahma, Kunchi requested Lord Brahma to grant him such a boon. Brahma who himself was mortal couldn’t do this so Kunchi asked for a Thousand body armours (protective shields). Each body armour would only be lost if one performed penance for a thousand years and then fought Kunchi for another thousand years. He became known as Shahastra Kunchi (a man with thousand shields) Shahastra Kunchi felt invincible and began to harass the world and demigods. In order to defeat him Bhagwan incarnated into Nar and Narayan.

Nar and Narayan immediately fought Kunchi, one performing penance for a thousand years, whilst the other battled for a thousand years and so on. They continued this rotation of penance and fighting, until Kunchi realising that he only had one shield left, retreated to Suryanarayan and begged for His protection. Lord Nar therefore could not defeat him so they both returned to Badrikashram.

Many years later, as illustrated in the Mahabharat, Kunchi reincarnated as the evil Karna. However he still had the protection of one last shield, which would have to be destroyed if Karna was to be defeated. Accordingly Lord Narayan incarnated as Lord Krishna and Lord Nar incarnated as Arjun. As it was his turn to fight, it was Arjun who eventually killed Karna.

This festival also marks the arrival of spring as well as the Anniversary of Narnarayan Dev. The story continues that from Vasant Panchmi. Lord Krishna and his companions were joyfully playing on Revataachal Mountain (Mount Girnar). The Yadavas made a swing from the trees and flowers and sat Lord Krishna and Arjun on the swing. They performed pooja of Lord Krishna and joyfully took in turns to push the swing. Arjun sat alongside Lord Krishna in this manner depicts the murti of Nar Narayan Dev. On this day, devas arrived at Dharmadev’s ashram and performed pooja of Nar Narayan Dev and pushed the swing to please him.

In our temples we celebrate this festival in a similar way to Vasant Panchmi, where coloured water is sprayed on devotees. A swing is made and decorated with flowers on which the Nar Narayan Dev murti is placed and devotees gently sway the swing. Poojan of Nar Narayan Dev is performed followed by an Aarti. Songs associated with the festival are sung accompanied by musical instruments. Similar to Vasant Panchmi prashad of popcorn is served. Narnarayandev Jayanti is the only birth of the Lord where fasting is not required.

In India Satsangi’s go to the temple wearing white clothes in order so that they can return home completely covered by the coloured water sprayed in the temple, thus accepting the showering of blessings from Bhagwan.

Tulsi Vivah 29/11/2020

This day marks the marriage of Lord Vishnu (Shaligram) with Tulsi Devi.

Vrinda, the daughter of Kushdhvaj, married the son of the Ocean Demi-God, Jaalandhar. Vrinda was very beautiful and chaste wife (Pativrata). This made Jaalandhar very powerful. He started harassing pious being all over the world with his atrocities.

Once he saw Devi Parvati and looked at her with lustful eyes. He challenged Lord Shiva to engage in a fight with him. Shiva was unable to gain victory over him due to Vrinda’s protective power over Jaalandhar. Parvati pleaded to Lord Vishnu to put an end to Jaalandhar and the only way to resolve this was to break Vrinda’s chastity.

Lord Vishnu took the form of Jaalandhar and stayed with her whilst the original was engaged in a fierce non-ending battle with Shiva. Thus, the vow of fidelity was unwittingly broken by Vrinda and Lord Shiva was able to annihilate the demon.

When Vrinda came to know about this, she cursed Lord Vishnu to become a black stone, which came to be known as Shaaligram. Lord Vishnu too cursed her to become a tree and hence Vrinda came to be known as Tulsi (Holy Basil).

Lord Vishnu gave Tulsi a boon that every year of Kartik Sud Poonam will be celebrated as their marriage ceremony which is known as Tulsi Vivah.

 

Vaman Jayanti – 30 Aug 2020

Vaman Jayanti is normally celebrated as a half day vrat upvas. This year Vaman Jayanti will be observed as a half day vrat upvas.

The festival of Vaaman Jayanti celebrates the birth of Lord Vaman on the 12th day of the bright half of the month of Bhadarvo.

In the 3rd Vachanamrut of Gadhda Pratham Prakran, Lord Shree Swaminarayan commands His Devotees to remember the pastimes of the Lord during His various incarnations and manifestations even if one is always conscious of Him.

 

Shreemad Bhagwat: Canto 8 – Chapters 15-23

King Parikshit was very much anxious to know the mystery of why Lord Vaman begged for three paces of land from like a poor man from King Bali yet being the proprietor of everything that exists.

Sage Shukdev elaborated that when King Bali; the grandson of Prahalad and the son of Virocana, lost all his opulence and died in the fight with the demigods, Sage Shukracharya, a descendant of Sage Bhrugu, brought him back to life. Due to this benediction, the King became a great disciple and began to serve him with great faith, offering everything he had.

The Bhramin descendants of Sage Bhrugu were very pleased with the King, who desired to conquer the kingdom of Indra (Swarg). Therefore, after performing the necessary principles they engaged him in performing a spiritual sacrifice called Vishvajeet thorough which he received various equipment for fighting.

King Bali was now extremely powerful due to the benedictions bestowed upon him by the Bhramins and thus embarked to conquer Swarg with his divine weapons. The demigods fled the kingdom at the advice of their spiritual master, Sage Bhruhaspti as they were no match for Bali’s strength and valour. He also advised waiting until the situation of the enemies is reversed and leave the heavenly planets (Swarg) and go elsewhere.

The Bhramin descendants of Bhrugu were very pleased with their disciple after his victory in conquer of the entire universe and engaged him in performing one hundred Ashwamedh sacrifices.

Throughout the three worlds, Bali gained great reputation in all directions shone in his position. Thus thinking himself very satisfied, very opulent and prosperous he began to enjoy the kingdom.

Aditi, the mother of the demigods lamented as if she had no protector and spoke to her husband Sage Kashyp. He advised her to perform an austerity by the name of Payovrat strictly following its regulative principles through which the Lord will be please and fulfil her desires.

Due to Aditi conquering her senses and performing this ritualistic ceremony, the Lord became extremely pleased and appeared before her. He agreed to become her son and protect the demigods and thus bestowed His benediction upon her.

On the day Shravan Dvadashi [12th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Badhrapad], during the auspicious moment of Abhijit, Lord Vaman appeared in this Universe.

He appeared in His original form, with ornaments and weapons in His hands and in the presence Kashyap and Aditi, assumed the form of a celibate Bhramin dwarf.

Sage Kashyap performed the necessary ritualistic ceremonies.

  1. Surya Dev (Sun-God) personally chanted the Gayatri Mantra.
  2. Sage Bhruhaspati offered the sacred thread (Yagnopavt).
  3. Father Sage Kashyap offered a straw belt (Kati mekhla).
  4. Mother Earth (Pruthvi) gave Him a deerskin.
  5. Chandra (Moon-God), gave the rod of a celibate (Bhrama-Dand)
  6. Mother Aditi, gave Him cloth for underwear.
  7. Presiding Deity over the heavenly kingdom offered an umbrella.
  8. Lord Bhrama offered a waterpot (Kamandal).
  9. The seven sages (Sapt-Rushis) offered Him Kush grass.
  10. Goddess Sarsavati gave Him a string of Rudraksha beads.
  11. King of the Yakshas, gave Him a pot for begging alms.
  12. Goddess Paravati gave Him His first alms.

Lord Vaman then performed a ritualistic ceremony to the sacrificial fire on the sacrificial field. He then proceeded to Bhrugukaccha located on the Northern bank of river Narmada where King Bali was performing the Ashwamedh ceremony.

He received Lord Vaman with a proper reception and respectful obeisances worshipping Him by washing His divine lotus feet and also performing other ritualistic welcoming ceremonies. After this he offered his respectful prayers and requested the Bhramin-dwarf to ask what whatever He desires.

Lord Vaman asked for a mere three paces of land and the King agreed to fulfil His wish. Sukhracharya came to know of this and immediately approached Bali informing him of the trueness of this Bhramin-dwarf. The king was steadfast on the promise that he made and disobeyed the commandment of his spiritual master hence he was cursed that he shall very soon be bereft of all his opulence. The king never deviated from his determination and according to custom offering water to the Lord gifted of land he had promised.

Thus the Lord began to increase in size and His whole body covered the three worlds. With one footstep He covered the surface of the Earth, the sky with His body and all directions with His arms. The heavenly planets were covered with the Lord’s second footstep and not even a spot then remained for the third one.

Due to Bali’s false pride of his possessions, he promised the Land to Lord Vaman but was unable to fulfil it. Hence the Lord ordered for him to live for a years in hellish life. However Bali wanted to correct his mistake and so he offered his head for Lord to take the third step on.

Due to his great tolerance, the Lord gave him a place unobtainable even by the demigods and also said that he will become King of the heavenly planets during the period of the Savarani Manu.

The Lord ordered Bali along with his relatives and friends to live on the planet Sutala made by Vishwakarma (Architect of the demigods) on Lord’s orders. It is specially protected by the Lord Himself and free from mental and bodily miseries such as fatigue, dizziness, defeat and all other disturbances.

Bali was be able to see the Lord and thus seeing His supreme prowess, the Kings materialistic ideas and anxieties arisen from demonic association were immediately vanquished. The demigods then regained the heavenly planets through grace of Lord Vaman.

This discourse is described in great detail in Shreemad Bhagwat and whosoever hears or recites it is certainly elevated in spirituality and delivered to higher planetary systems or to Akshardham.

The Hemadri Khand of Bhavishyottar Puran also entails this Avatar of the Lord. Furthermore it also contains how one should observe this day’s austerity and ritualistic ceremonies.

Ganesh Chaturthi – 22nd Aug 2020

Sadguru Shatanand Swami names Lord Swaminarayan as below within the Sarvamangala Namavali

સર્વમંગલ નામાવલીમંત્ર ૮૨૯

 લડ્ડુકાદીષ્ટગણપાય નમઃ

ભાદરવા શુદ  ના દિવસે ગોળના લાડું, દુર્વા, વગેરે પૂજન સામગ્રીથી ગણપતિની પૂજા કરનારા

 

Sarvamangala Namavali Mantra No. 829

Aum Laḍḍukādīṣhṭagaṇapāya namah
Bhādaravā shud 4 nā divase goḷanā lāḍun, durvā, vagere pūjan sāmagrīthī gaṇapatinī pūjā karanārā

I bow to the Lord who performed worship of Ganapati with Ladoo (made with jaggery), Durva (Cynodon Dactylon) etc on the fourth day of the bright half month of Bhadrapad/Bhadarvo – (Sud 4)

 

Lord Swaminarayan instructs His followers in the 84th verse of the Shikshapatri to offer obeisance to Vishnu, Shiva, Ganapati, Parvati and the Sun. Shatanand Swami honoured Him in the 77th mantra of the Janamangal Namavali (Aum Panchayatan-Sanmanaay Namah) which highlights the Shikshapatri verse.

In the 127th verse of the Shikshapatri, Lord Swaminarayan instructs the Acharyas (Spiritual heads of the Nar Narayan Dev and Laxmi Narayan Dev diocese) to perform worship of Ganapati on the fourth day of the bright half of the month of Bhadrapada and that of Hanuman on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Ashwin.

As per the Ganapati-Khanda of the Bhramavaivarta Purana, Ganapati/Ganesh has been established as first worshippable deity amongst the Gods.

 

Sadguru Shatanand Swami elaborates on the 127th verse of Shikshapatri in the Shikshapatri Arth Deepika (Bhashya)

The fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapada is famous as Siddhi Vinayak Chaturthi. On this day, the worship and prayer shall be offered to Ganapati – the destroyer God of troubles. An earthen idol of Ganapati shall be installed and worshipped with Sindur, sacred grass, and sweet – balls.

This worship and Poojan does not attract the fault of worshipping other God. Bhavishyottar Puran prescribes this day for worship and veneration of Ganapati : ‘An earthen or Gold-idol of Ganapati shall be worshipped by wise people on the fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapada month. The idol shall be given a bath of oil of white sesame seeds in the morning and in noon time, within personal capacity. Ganapatiji shall be worshipped with sacred grass and sweet-balls.

One who worships in such manner, becomes free from all the pains and never faces any hardship. He then attains desired fruits.’ Now says about determining such fourth day. Fourth day with the sight of the third day is better. If there are two days of the fourth in the fortnight, then such first fourth day shall be considered for veneration of Ganapatiji – or should be taken such fourth day which has Abhijit lunar mansion. If such fourth day belongs to next day, in such cases noon time shall be a preferred time. These are the observations from Vratotsava Vidhi.

 

In the 4th Prakran of Shreemad Satsangi Jeevan Lord Swaminarayan further elaborates on how to celebrate this day.

“O sons! Lord Krishna took birth as Ganapati, son of Shiva, on Sunday, Bhadarvo Sud Choth, when the moon was in Hasta Nakshatra and the Sun was in Virgo constellation.

 

Just as the Devtas celebrated Ganapati’s birth with joy, we should celebrate his birth anniversary similarly in our temples. Choth in Vedh with Trutiya should be given priority to decide the day of festival of Ganapati Choth. If there are two Choth on two consecutive days (whether both prevalent at midday or not), the first Choth in Vedh with Trutiya should be considered to celebrate the festival. However, if the first Choth (even if it is in Vedh with Trutiya) is not prevalent at midday and the second Choth is prevalent at noon, the festival should be celebrated on the second Choth.

 

The Pujari should prepare a Murti of Ganapati from clay depicting a head of an elephant with a long trunk and one tusk with four arms. The Pujari should worship Ganapati at midday with vermillion, blades of holy grass Durva, leaves of Shami (prosopis spicigera) and Bili (eagle marmaloss), flowers of Karan and Shirish and Tulsi (basil) leaves. Tulsi can be used in worship of Ganapati ONLY on this day.

 

Nobody should look at the moon on the night of Ganapati Choth. One has to face the prospect of false allegation against them if they look at the moon inadvertently.

 

To guard against such an eventuality, one should read or listen to the Katha from the Tenth canto of the Shreemad Bhagwat where Bhagwan Krishna was alleged to have stolen a diamond called ‘Syamantak’. If neither is possible (read or listen to), one should sincerely chant the hymn meaning ‘A lion killed King Prasen, Jambuvan (abear) killed the lion. O Sukumarak! Do not cry and despair. Smayantak diamond is yours only.’ One is protected by the curse of looking at the moon on this night by chanting this hymn ten times.”

Rushi Panchami – 23rd Aug 2020

Rakshabandhan – 3rd August 2020

“Raksha” means protection, “bandhan” means bound or binding.

Raksha Bandhan celebration, started tens of thousands of years ago. Bhavishya Puran cites a story that the devas once battled with the danavas (demons) for twelve years. However, the devas lost, including the mighty Indra. So they prepared to fight again. On this occasion, Indrani tied a raksha (protection) on her consort Indra, after extolling Raksha Bandhan’s glory. Indra then attained victory.

This celebration was first celebrated by the wife tying the Raksha Sutra on the husband for his protection. It was first tied by Indrani to Lord Indra. In ancient times a woman tied a ‘raksha’ on her husband’s wrist to protect him from evil. Gradually this changed; she tied a ‘raksha’ on her brother’s right wrist, to protect him from evil influence. She visits her home and performs his ‘pujan’ by applying kumkum and rice grains on his forehead. In return the brother gives her a gift and vows to protect her too. Today the ‘rakhadi’ itself ranges from a coloured cotton, diamonds, gold, string to exquisitely decorated balls of various sizes and materials. During the battle of Mahabharat, Queen Kunti tied a raksha on her grandson Abhimanyu to protect him in battle.

When the demon King Bali’s devotion won over Lord Narayan, he was compelled to leave his abode, Vaikunth, to stay in Bali’s kingdom in Sutal loka . When Lord Narayan failed to return, his distressed consort Lakshmi arrived in Sutal on Shravan Purnima. She accepted Bali as her brother by tying a raksha (a sacred cord tied around the wrist of the right hand ) which protectes from disease and evil. In return, Bali asked her to wish for a boon. She requested Narayan’s return. She grieved that despite having a consort she was experiencing premature widowhood in Narayan’s absence. However, the Lord had pledged to eternally protect Bali, by guarding his door. To resolve his dilemma, Brahma and Shiva agreed to guard Bali for four months each, while Vishnu (Narayan) would guard him for the auspicious four months – Chaturmaas – beginning from Ashadh Sud Ekadashi and terminating on Kartik Sud Ekadashi, usually from Mid- July to Mid-November. The festival of Raksha Bandhan commenced when Lakshmiji tied the ‘rakhadi’ on Bali Raja. Since Bali Raja offered devotion by sacrificing everything to the Lord, the day is also known as ‘Bali-eva’ or ‘Baleva’ for short.