Intro to Satsang - Dates and Festivals

  • HINDU DATES AND FESTIVALS
  • UNDERSTANDING THE HINDU CALENDAR
  • GUNATIT SAMAJ'S MAJOR CELEBRATIONS

  • HINDU DATES AND FESTIVALS

    EVENT TITHI TAARIK
    Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti
    Sankranti is the movement of the sun from one raashi (zodiac sign) to another. The movement of the sun into the Makar raashi (corresponding to Capricorn) is considered very auspicious.
    In the Mahabharat, Bhismapita waited until this day to separate his soul from his body and attain svarga (heaven).
    Traditionally, devotees fly kites and prepare sweets such as talasaakadi.
    As a day of alms giving, Swaminarayan saints symbolically recite the joli mantra, "Narayan Hare Satchidanand Prabho."
    In North India, the day is celebrated as Lohri, where rice and sweets are offered in a holi (bonfire). In South India, Pongal is a grand four day celebration.
      ~ January 14
    Poshi Poornima
    Gunatitanand Swami receives dikshaa (initiated into sainthood) by Lord Swaminarayan in Dabhan.
    Posh sud 15 January 20 (1810)
    Vasantpanchami
    The entering of the sun into the Meen raashi (corresponding to Pisces) signals vasanta (spring).
    During Lord Swaminarayan's time, devotees placed a kumbha (urn) of colored water before Him. Maharaj performed poojan of the urn, which represented spring. Maharaj then sprinkled the sanctified water from the urn on everyone, and distributed coconut, dates, and saakara as prasaad.
    Lord Swaminarayan writes the Shikshapatri from Vadtal in 1826.
    Birthday of Nishkulanand Swami in 1766.
    Birthday of Brahmanand Swami in 1772.
    Shastriji Maharaj's Birthday in Mahelav in 1865.
    Popularly celebrated in Bengal, the day is also known as Vageshwari Jayanti. Vageshwari is another name for Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, speech, art, and music.
    Maha sud 5 February 12 (1826)
    Gopalanand Swami's birthday in Todla, Gujarat Maha sud 8 February 2 (1781)
    Kakaji's Sakshatkardin
    By Yogi Bapa's grace, Kakaji experiences a 3-day samaadhi at the Gondal temple in front of the moorti of Ghanshyam Maharaj (Lord Swaminarayan).
      February 3 (1952)
    Maha Shivaratri
    Lord Shiva marries Parvati/Uma (who was Sati/Shakti in her previous life).
    Lord Shiva manifests as Shivalinga (a symbol of Lord Shiva) and 12 jyotrlingas across India.
    Traditionally, devotees perform abhishek to the Shivalinga with milk and offer bili leaves.
    Also, devotees fast and observe jaagran or stay awake at night to offer prayers (see Shikshapatri verses 79 and 149).
    Maha vad 14  
    Holi or Hutashani Parva
    The Sanskrti word for roasted grain is holaakaa. Since Vedic times, with the arrival of spring, devotees offer newly harvested grain to God (ritually to agni or fire).
    Prahlad's aunt, Holika, attempted to kill Prahlad by setting him on fire. Due to Prahlad's devotion, Holika dies instead.
    The demon Putna is killed by baby Lord Krishna, and burnt by the cowherds.
    Thus, devotees create a bonfire.
    Traditionally, a fast is observed in prayer for Prahlad.
    Birthday of Manu, the progenitor of mankind.
    Lord Nara-Narayan's birthday.
    Bhagatji Maharaj's birthday in Mahuva in 1829.
    Lord Swaminarayan takes many forms and plays raas with the paramhansas at Panchala in 1823.
    In Marwad (Rajasthan), the day is grandly celebrated like Diwali is in Gujarat.
    Fagun sud 15  
    Dhuleti or Fuldol or Pushpadolotsav
    Lord Krishna and Arjun are swung on a decorative hindolo at Raivatachal (Mt. Girnar) by the Yadavs.
    Traditionally, people celebrate by hurling colored powder/water on each other; and eat fagavaa (popped corn, roasted chickpeas, and dates - which helps remove seasonal phlegm).
    Lord Swaminarayan places His stick on Gunatitanand Swami and extols Swami's glory as "Sadguru" and Himself as Purushottam Narayan at Sarangpur in 1812.
    Women devotees take fagavaa as a symbolic asking to Lord Swaminarayan (given in Bhaktachintamani, chapter 64) at Sarangpur in 1812.
    Nishkulanand Swami makes a special "12-door" hindolo for Lord Swaminarayan at Gnanbag, Vadtal in 1816.
    Fagun vad 1  
    Ramanavmi and Shree Hari Jayanti
    Lord Rama's birthday in Ayodhya at 12 noon and Lord Swaminarayan's birthday in Chhapaiya at 10.10 pm.
    Traditionally, a fast is observed.
    The offering on Ramanavami and Janmasthami is panchajiri/panjri.
    Chaitra sud 9 April 2 (1781)
    Lord Mahavir's birthday
    24th tirthankar of the Jain faith born in today's Bihar, India.
    Chaitra sud 13 April 6 (599 BCE)
    Hanuman's birthday
    Lord Swaminarayan appoints Gunatitanand Swami as mahant of Junagadh temple in 1827.
    Traditionally, Hanuman is offered poojan with oil, orange (sindur) powder, and white (ankada) flowers.
    Chaitra sud 15  
    Akha Trij or Akshay Trutiya
    Lord Parshuram's birthday
    Traditionally, moortis are anointed with sandalwood paste for 1 month (upto Jeth sud 3). Archanam is one of the nine devotions.
    Vaishakh sud 3  
    Lord Nrusinh's birthday
    Lord Vishnu's half-man, half-lion incarnation.
    Vaishakh sud 14  
    Lord Kurma and Lord Buddha's birthday
    Lord Kurma was Lord Vishnu's turtle incarnation during the Samudra Manthan.
    Lord Buddha was born in today's Nepal.
    Vaishakh sud 15 563 BCE
    Naradji's birthday Vaishakh vad 1  
    Rath Yatra
    The moortis of Lord Krishna, his brother Balarama, and sister Subhadra (of the Jagannath Puri temple) is paraded on chariots.
    Ashadh sud 2  
    Devpodhi Ekadashi and Chaturmaas begins
    Lord Vishnu stays at King Bali's doorstep.
    The four months that special niyams are observed (through Shravan, Bhadarvo, Aso, and upto Kartik sud 11). The month of Shravan is especially sacred (see Shikshapatri verse 76).
    Traditionally, a waterless fast is observed.
    Ashadh sud 11  
    Gurupoornima
    Vyasji's birthday.
    Traditionally, guru poojan is performed.
    Ashadh sud 15  
    Hindola Parva begins
    Devotees place Lord Swaminarayan in decorative swings for 1 month (upto Shravan vad 2).
    Ashadh vad 2  
    Rakshabandhan
    Also known as Shraavani, Baleva, and Nariyali Purnima.
    Lakshmiji ties a raakhadi on King Bali's hand and asks that Lord Vishnu (whose dwarf incarnation is known as Lord Vaman), return to his abode. Brahma and Shiva agree to stay 4 months each to fulfill Lord Vishnu's promise - Lord Vishnu stays during chaturmaas.
    Traditionally, sisters tie a raakhadi or, in Hindi, a raakhi (decorative string) on their brother's hand. The guru ties a raakhadi or naadachadi for the disciple's protection.
    Birthday of Lord Hayagriv (horse incarnation of Lord Vishnu).
    A new yagnopavit/janoi is adorned by Yajurvedi and Rgvedi Brahmins.
    Shravan sud 15  
    Janmashthami
    Lord Krishna's birthday in Mathura at 12 midnight.
    Traditionally, a fast is observed.
    Shravan vad 8  
    Lord Varah's birthday (Lord Vishnu's boar incarnation).
    A new yagnopavit/janoi is adorned by Samvedi Brahmins and saints.
    Bhadarvo sud 3  
    Ganeshchaturthi
    Ganesh's birthday (see Shikshapatri verse 127).
    Bhadarvo sud 4  
    Jal Zilani Ekadashi
    Lord Krishna takes the Gopis boating on Yamuna River
    Clay moorti of Ganesh is taken to river bank, offered poojan, and immersed in water (visarjan).
    Water is also poured on Thakorji (abhishek).
    Traditionally, a waterless fast is observed.
    Bhadarvo sud 11  
    Lord Vaman's birthday Bhadarvo sud 12  
    Shraadh begins
    Ancestors are remembered for 15 days (upto Bhadarvo vad 15) per the tithi that they have passed away (otherwise done on amaas).
    Bhadarvo vad 1  
    Navratri or Norta begins
    Mahishasur (the bull demon) fights Lord Shiva's consort, Shakti (also known as Mataji, goddess Durga, Amba, Ambika, Bhavani, and Chamunda) for 9 days (upto Aso sud 9). She is victorious on the 10th day.
    Traditional dances (such as garba and dandia-raas) last 9 nights. Women also observe special fasting.
    Aso sud 1  
    Dushera or Vijaydashmi
    Lord Rama is victorious against the demon Ravan. Thus all times of the day are considered auspicious.
    Traditionally, devotees enjoy jalebi and faafdaa with chutney.
    Aso sud 10  
    Sharad Poornima
    Lakshmiji (goddess of wealth) moves around the beautiful night sky asking "ko jagarti," searching for people who are awake.
    Lord Krishna plays mahaaraas with the Gopis in Vrundavan.
    Gunatitanand Swami's birthday in Bhadra, Gujarat.
    Traditionally, devotees eat doodhpauvaa (parched rice in milk).
    Aso sud 15 October 17 (1785)
    Vaaghbaaras
    "Vaagh" is repaying one's financial debts - account books are thus cleared.
    The cow, also a symbol of mother earth, is offered poojan.
    Aso vad 12  
    Dhanteras
    "Dhan" is wealth - devotees pray that they may use money positively.
    Also known as Lakshmi-poojan, the goddess of wealth is worshipped.
    Aso vad 13  
    Kaalichaudash
    Hanuman is offerred poojan (see Shikshapatri verse 127).
    Lord Krishna vanquishes the demon Narkasur.
    Aso vad 14  
    Diwali
    On the "festival of lights," Lakshmiji emerges from the samudra manthan; Lord Rama returns to Ayodhya; and the Pandavs return from exile.
    Traditionally, festivities include fireworks, lighting of divas (lamps), and rangoli decorations.
    Also, Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, is worshipped by doing poojan to books (Sharda Poojan or Chopda Poojan).
    Aso vad 15  
    Nutan Varsh
    On the Hindu New Year day, devotees resolve to live a divine life, as previous ill feelings toward anyone are forgiven.
    Lord Vaman asks King Bali for 3 steps.
    Lord Krishna teaches pratyaksh poojan of Govardhan Mountain.
    Traditionally, annakut is setup at temples and varieties of foods are offered to God (sweets are placed nearest God, followed by vegetables, etc. with a mountain of cooked rice in the center).
    Kartik sud 1  
    Bhaibeej
    Yamunaji (the manifest form of Yamuna River) invites her brother Yamaraaj (demigod of death) to her home.
    Traditionally, opposite of Rakshabandhan, brothers visit their sister's home.
    Kartik sud 2  
    Labhpancham
    "Labh" means benefit - shops reopen for the New Year.
    Kartik sud 5  
    Devuthi Ekadashi and Tulsi Vivah begins
    End of Chaturmaas. Lord Vishnu returns to Vaikunth from King Bali's doorstep.
    Traditionally, a waterless fast is observed.
    Devotees offer poojan to the Shaligram (stone representation of Lord Krishna) with tulsi/vrunda leaves.
    Birthday of Dharmadev, Lord Swaminarayan's father in Samavat 1796.
    Neelkanth Varni/Sarjudas initiated as Sahajanand Swami/Narayan Muni by Ramanand Swami at Piplana in 1800, then appointed at Jetpur in 1801.
    Kartik sud 11  
    Shakotsav
    Devotees offer a haatadi (annakut of fresh, raw vegetables in cane baskets) to Lord Swaminarayan in temples.
    Lord Swaminarayan cooks vegetables for everyone at Sura Khachar's place in Loya in 1820.
    Kartik sud 12  
    Dev Diwali
    Lord Matsya's birthday (Lord Vishnu's fish incarnation).
    After having left King Bali on Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu rejoins the devas.
    Marriage of Rukmuni with Lord Krishna.
    Also known as Tripurari Poornima - per the Shrimad Bhagavat, Lord Shiva destroys the three aerial cities constructed by the demon Tarkasur for his three sons.
    Birthday of Bhaktimata, Lord Swaminarayan's mother in Samavat 1798.
    Kartik sud 15  
    Dhanurmas begins
    When the Sun is in the Dhanur raashi (corresponding to Sagittarius) - upto ~ January 14. The Vedas and other scriptures are recited/placed by God.
    ~ Maghshar vad 1  

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    UNDERSTANDING THE HINDU CALENDAR

    The Hindu or Indian calendar is based on a lunar cycle (the waxing and waning of the moon, or the moon's orbiting), while the Gregorian Christian or American calendar is based on a solar cycle (the earth's rotation around the sun). In order to match the lunar and solar cycles, about every 2 1/2 years an extra or intercalary month (adhik-maas or purushottam-maas) is added to the Hindu calendar. This addition repositions the months so that they come around the same season (thus called the LuniSolar calendar).

    Each lunar month consists of the bright phase (shukla or sud) where the moon waxes or grows, and the dark phase (krishna or vad) where the moon wanes or gets smaller. The 11th day of each half-month is designated as ekaadashee (or upavaas or agyaaras, when fasting is done). The 12th day is called baaras or dvaadashi. The 15th day of the bright phase is called poonam or poornimaa ("full moon"), and the 15th day of the dark phase is called amaas (when the moon is not visible or "new moon").

    The zero or starting point of the Hindu calendar is 56 to 57 BCE, dating the year of the coronation of king Vikram of Ujjain. The first day of the year begins with the month of Chaitra (General Indian calendar), or Ashadh (Saurashtra calendar, used in the Vachanamrut - ref. Gadhada First 77 and 78), or Kartik (Gujarat calendar, used in Swami Ni Vato - ref. 6/255).

    All three of these calendars are called Amanta Lunisolar calendars because they run from new moon to new moon. Alternatively, when the lunar month runs from full moon to full moon, it is called a Purimanta calendar.

    Comparative Table of Indian and American Months and Seasons



    Hindi Names of Indian Months:
    Posh = Paush
    Maha = Magh
    Fagun = Falgun
    Chaitra
    Vaishakh = Vaisakh
    Jeth = Jyaisth
    Ashadh
    Shravan = Sravan
    Bhadarvo = Bhadrapad
    Aso = Asvin
    Kartik
    Maghshar = Margasirsh

    Adhik and Kshay Months in the LuniSolar Calendar

    The addition of an intercalary month is done as follows: When two new moons occur within one solar month, then two lunar months occur with the same name. The first lunar month of the two is prefixed with the title adhik or mal and is considered as the intercalary month. The second one starting from the next new moon is prefixed suddh and this latter month is considered to be the true or normal month.

    The months of Maghshar, Posh, and Maha are shorter in the solar calendar - so it may happen that one of these months will not have a new moon. Hence, that month is removed from the LuniSolar calendar. This is called a kshay (or missing) month. When a kshay month occurs there will always be two adhik months, one before and one after the kshay month.

    Tithi and Taarik

    Tithi is generally used to refer to the day of the LuniSolar month. It is defined as the time required for the longitude of the moon to increase by 12 degrees over the longitude of the sun. Thus there are 30 tithis in one month (15 in the bright phase and 15 in the dark phase).

    As the motion of the moon is not steady, the duration of the tithi may vary from about 19.48 to 26.78 hours. Because of this, a tithi period may cover two successive sunrises or may not cover a sunrise at all. When this happens, there is a break in the counting of the tithis: a tithi is omitted (kshay day) or extended over two days (adhik day). Because the time of sunrise is determined by the time zone, the particular time zone may omit or add the tithi.

    Taarik refers to the corresponding American day.

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    GUNATIT SAMAJ'S MAJOR CELEBRATIONS

    DateCelebration and Place
    June 1978Kakaji's 60th (Hirak Mahotsav) in Mumbai
    May 1980Hariprasad Swamiji's 50th (Golden Jubilee) in Kandari
    January 1981Swaminarayan Bhagwan's Bicentenary (Dvishatabdi) in Sokhada
    January 1986Gunatitanand Swami's Bicentenary (Dvishatabdi) in Sokhada
    March 1989Jashbhai Saheb's 50th (Golden Jubilee) in London
    June 1990Yogi Bapa's Centenary (Shatabdi) in NJ, USA
    September 1991Papaji's 75th (Amrut Parva Mahotsav) in Vidyanagar
    April 1992Yogi Bapa's Centenary (Shatabdi) in Sokhada
    June 1993Kakaji's 75th (Amrut Parva Mahotsav) in Chicago
    October 1993Anoopam Mission Moorti Pratishtha in Pocono, PA
    December 1993Kakaji's 75th (Amrut Parva Mahotsav) in Powai
    February 1994Delhi Moorti Pratishtha
    December 1994Hariprasad Swamiji's 60th (Atmiya Mahotsav) in Sokhada
    September 1996Haridham Moorti Pratishtha in Parsippany, NJ
    January 1997Kantikaka's 75th (Bandu-Maitri Mahotsav) in Powai
    March 1997Guruji's 60th (Hirak Mahotsav) in Delhi
    June 1998Kakaji's 80th (Divya Ekata Mahotsav) in Chicago
    March 2000Saheb's 60th (Hirak Mahotsav) in Mogri
    November 2001Papaji's 85th (Aradhana Parva Mahotsav) in Vidyanagar
    December 2001Kakaji's 50th Sakshatkardin in Sokhada
    December 2001Swaminarayan Mahamantra Bicentenary (Dvishatabdi) in Sokhada
    February 2002Kakaji's 50th Sakshatkardin in Chicago
    March 2002Kakaji's 50th Sakshatkardin in Delhi
    June 2002Kakaji's 50th Sakshatkardin in Manavadar
    February 2003ISRC Moorti Pratishthaa in Powai
    March 2003Kakaji Stamp released in Delhi
    July 2003SSSCC Moorti Pratishtha in Allentown, PA
    November 2003Hariprasad Swamiji's Guru-Bhakti Moorti Pratishtha in Sokhada
    January 2004ISRC Kalash-Vidhi in Powai
    September 2004Dinkar Uncle's 60th (Samanvay Mahotsav) in Chicago
    November 2004Ben's 90th (Prabhuta Parva Mahotsav) in Vidyanagar
    December 2005Chaturvidh Mahotsav in Powai: AksharPurushottam Upasana Centenary, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogi Bapa Golden Moortis Moorti Pratishtha, Sonaba's Centenary, and Samanvay Mahotsav
    February 2006AksharPurushottam Upasana Centenary in Sokhada
    March 2007Guruji's 70th and Papaji Moorti Pratishtha in Delhi
    December 2007GuruSabha Golden Jubilee in Mogri
    September 2008Kakaji's 90th (Maitri Milan Mahotsav) in Chicago
    January 2009Hariprasad Swamiji's 75th (Atmiya Amrut Mahotsav) in Vadodara
    March 2009Guru Bhakti Darshan Mahotsav (Saheb's 70th Birthday and 20th Patotsav) in London
    January 2010Kakaji's 90th (Maitri Milan Mahotsav) in Powai
    November 2011Papaji's 95th (Parabhakti Mahotsav) in Mogri (Papaji Farm)
    January 2012Kakaji Moorti Pratishtha at Nadiad Birthplace
    February 2-5, 2010Guruji's 75th Birthday and Kakaji's 60th Sakshatkardin (Hirak Anand Mahotsav) in Delhi

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