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.

Shraavan Maas – 21st Jul 2020 – 19th Aug 2020

Shravana is the holiest month of the year for Devotees. All devout followers of Sanatana Dharma around the world observe austerities in this month with great reverence and devotion. Each day of the month has its own significant value.

Somvaara – Monday – known as Shravan Somvar, is a special day for Lord Shiva.
Managalavaara – Tuesday – Gauri (Paravati) is worshipped in every home, especially by newly married women.
Buddhavaara – Wednesday – are dedicated to Lord Buddha (Buddhvara)
Guruvaara – Thursday – days for worshipping Spiritual Masters (Gurus)
Shukravaara – Friday – every home worships Lakshmi and Tulsi
Shanivaara – Saturday – are for Hanuman and Balaji
Ravivaara – Sunday – Sun God is worshipped

 

In the Shikshapatri Slokha 76, Lord Shree Swaminarayan states:-

All my disciples shall perform additional religious duties during the four months of monsoon (Chaturmaasa).  Those who are incapable shall perform them during the month of Shraavana

 

The four holy months of Chaturmaasa are special auspicious times for pleasing God by offering extra devotion.

It is known that any religious activity performed during these months is more fruitful than any other time. People observe various austerities (Niyams or Vratas) as per Shikshapatri Shloka 77 – 78.

However, out of these four months it is stated that the month of Shravana is most auspicious. Various divine festivities such as Hindola, Rakshabandhan and Janamashtmi are celebrated in this month.

Hindola Utsav 7th Jul 2020 – 5th Aug 2020

The Hindola utsav is celebrated from Ashadh Vad 2 to Shravan Vadh 2. The origins of the divinity of Hindola go back to Vrindavan, 5000 years ago where the Gopis swayed Lord Krishna on a decorated swing. The Hindola utsav has a special status in the Hindu dharma due to this event because of the divine joy of rocking the almighty Lord for His pleasure. The back and forth motion is expressive of bliss, a flight away from the mundane worries of the world. The swinging motion creates elation and identification with spirituality. One experiences a tranquil state of mind because of the immersion into His lustrous murti swaying back and forth. The act of seating the idol upon the Hindola is in itself one of veneration.

During Swaminarayan Bhagwan’s time, once whilst in Vadtal, a decorative Hindolo was tied to a couple of mango trees and the devotees rocked the Bhagwan back and forth. Bhagwan became so pleased that He blessed the devotees by showing his twelve divine forms for this whole month.

During this month the Chal (mobile) murti of Bhagwan is seated upon the Hindola (decorated swing) and swayed back and forth to commemorate the event. Devotees sing hindola bhajans, and the whole mandir is charged with the extra vibrancy and energy of the extra special bhakti that surrounds this utsav. The Hindola is decorated differently everyday with great grandeur and splendour, using a variety of colours, shapes, form and material. Satsangis perform daily aarti of these richly decorated Hindolas for the blessing and merit of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan also often sat on a swing tied between two tamarind trees in Laxmivadi in Gadhada.

If you would like to donate for the Hindola Utsav, you can do that through our online option. Please click on the button below to donate.