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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Significance of Magha maasam



Magha maasam :-

Magha maasam is the 11th month of Hindu lunar calendar. Makha nakshtram (star) falls on the pournami day of this month. This month is considered auspicious to perform all the major occasions like marriage, upanayanam (thread ceremony), house warming etc. One year on the earth is considered as one day in the higher abode and this month starts the dawn of the day to the Gods. Deepa daanam (lighting a lamp) is auspicious in Karthika maasam and magha snanam (holy dips in holy rivers) is the major ritual of magha maasam.There are many auspicious and religious events during the month. Some of them are given here.

In lunar calendars, Maagh may begin on either the new moon or the full moon around the same time of year, and is usually the eleventh month of the year. Its is named because in this month, The full moon is usually found nearby or within the star cluster called "Magha"
In solar calendars, Maagh begins with the Sun's entry into Capricorn, and is usually the tenth month of the year.

Religious Significance of Magha Maasam:-

It is believed that the Hindu Goddess of wisdom and learning - Goddess Saraswati, the Sun God or Surya Bhagawan  and Lord Shiva in the lingam form were born in this month.  On the fifth day in the brighter half of the moon, Basant Panchami or Saraswati Pooja is celebrated across the country. Hence the month is particularly dedicated to Lord Surya and people worship Sun god on the four Sundays of Maagha maasam. Reciting Aditya Hrudyam on the four Sundays of the month would be very effective.

Social significance of Maagha maasam:-

Maagha maasam in India marks the beginning of the most awaited spring season and the end of the  dry winter season.  As the nature starts blooming once again with the growth of fresh new leaves and flowers all around, this is the most favorite season of the people.

Magha snanam:-


While Kartheeka masam is given lot of significance for lighting of lamps, Maagha masam is given special significance for taking bath that is known as Maagha Snanam.  It generally starts from Pushya sukla Pournami and ends with Magha sukla Pournami or it can also be from Makara Sankramana to Kumbha Sankramana as per Solar/Luni-Solar calendar. For followers of lunar calendar it starts from Pushya Bahula Amaavaasya and ends with Maagha Bahula Amaavaasya.  During this period it is prescribed to take bath early in the morning before Sunrise preferably during Arunodaya kala. This sacred bath is preferred to be taken in any river, lake or theertha or at least at home. Apart from the daily routine (Nithya Karma) special arghya is to be given to Lord Madhava and Sun God after Maagha Snanam.

Advantages of Maagha Snanam in sea water:-

In the earlier months to Magha Masam, on account of cold and snow, the body becomes weak because of lack proper sunshine, etc. In Magha Masam the Sun rays provide more heat and they energize the Sea and River Waters destroying the bacteria in the waters. Common salt also acts as an antibiotic and necessary for our body to cleanse the skin. Taking these factors into consideration, our Sages prescribed that one should perform Samudra Snanam and spend in Sea waters for a period of one Ghadiya (48 minutes) in Magha Masam. By this the energy of sun rays embedded in the water spreads into our body. Taking a bath in sea waters for about 48 minutes refreshes us by cleansing our external body opening the roma coupams and a lot of significance has been added from spiritual point of view in the daily routine of an Individual. The benefits are multiple when sea bath is taken in Magha Masam.

Festivals in Magha maasam:-

Vasantha Panchami:-


Vasantha Panchami also known as Sri Panchami. Goddess Saraswathi, the presiding deity of Akshara Gyana, the female Divine energy of Learning, Knowledge and Wisdom is said to have born on this auspicious day of Sri Panchami. Dedicated to Vaakk Devi (Goddess Saraswathi) this day is considered to be highly auspicious day especially for Aksharabhyasa (inducting a child into education).  Goddess Saraswathi is to be worshipped on this day to get rid of our sluggishness, lethargy and ignorance.

Bhishma Ekadasi:-


The popular belief is that the Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram (thousand names dedicated to Lord Vishnu) was revealed to the Pandavas on this day by Bhisma, the great grand father in the Mahabharata. Bhishma was lying in a bed of arrows after the Great War in Mahabharat when he revealed the thousand names of Bhishma.

The Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram was revealed to Pandavas by Bhishma in the presence of Lord Krishna, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that listening to Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram leads to Moksha.
This particular period (January to February) in a traditional Hindu calendar has numerous auspicious dates dedicated to Bhishma in various regions in India. Some of the important days are Bhishma Ashtami, Bhisma Dwadasi and Bhishma Ekadasi. It is believed that Bhishma chose this period to leave his body and merge with Brahman.

Ratha Sapthami:-


Ratha means chariot. Sapthami is a thithi in a lunar month falling on the 7th day of both sukla and Krishna paksha. At the time of division of constellations each day or thithi is attributed to one deity/God. In the process Sapthami thithi was allotted to Sun God and hence it is his favourite day.

On this day of Ratha Sapthami, Northern movement of the Sun God is supposed to take definite effect after he commenced his journey towards Northern hemisphere entering Makara Raasi on Makara Sankramana Day. Traditionally it is regarded as the day on which the chariot of the Sun God is diverted towards the north by his charioteer called Aruna. On this day it is believed that Sun God ride on his chariot drawn by seven horses and move toward north east direction bringing the entry of spring season.

It is also believed and said that the chariot of Sun has only one wheel that represents kalachakra and the seven horses represent seven colours of light (VIBGYOR). It is also believed that the seven horses represent seven days in the week starting from Sunday the day dedicated to Sun God. The entire kala-chakra, or wheel of time, is established on the wheel of the sun-god's chariot. This wheel is known as Samvatsara. He is the lord of Leo in the Zodiac. He stays one month in each Raasi and takes 365 days or 12 months to complete a round of 12 Rasis.

Bath with Arka Leaves:-

 It is an age old custom and tradition that people on this day take special bath with seven Arka leaves by keeping one on the head, two on the shoulders, two on the knees and two on the feet. Arka is commonly called as Jilledu in Telugu, Ekka in Kannada, Erukku in Tamil, and Calotrope (bowstring hemp) in English.

Bhishmaastami:-

It is associated with Bhishma Pitamaha, the most revered and grandiose character of the great Epic, Mahabharata. It was on this day Bhishma had his last breath and this day is commemorated as the day of his Niryana. Bhishmaastami occurs on the 8th day (Ashtami) of the bright fortnight (Sukla Paksha) in Magha Masam, the day after Ratha Sapthami.

 Sri Madhwa Navami:-


It will falling on the 9th day of Lunar month of Magha Masam during the bright fortnight is associated with Sri Madhwacharya one of the greatest Hindu Saints and Philosophers who was the founder and exponent of Dvaita Philosophy. It is said that it was on this day in the year 1317 AD, Sri Madhvacharya while teaching his disciples at Udupi Sri Anantheshwara Temple, suddenly a heap of flowers were showered on him and he disappeared from that heap of flowers not to be seen later. It is considered as the day He entered the Badarikasrama.

Maagha Purnima:-

The full moon day in Maagha masam is celebrated as Maha Maaghi. This day marks the end of Maagha Snana vratham. It is said and believed that any Divine worship, prayer, charity or rites performed on this day are highly meritorious that gives significant results. Thilapaathra Danam is prescribed to be given to a Brahmin on this day of Mahamaaghi. Taking bath in a sea on this day is considered as highly meritorious.

 Maha Shivarathri:-


It is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva occurs on the 13th /14th day of dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) in Magha Masam coinciding with Chaturdasi thithi. Worshipping Lord Shiva on this day of Maha Shivarathri is considered as highly meritorious and sin remover. Special celebrations are held on the eve of Maha Shivarathri at all the holy Shiva Kshetras where lakhs of people gather to offer their obeisance and salutations to Lord Shiva the great destroyer of sins and the most benevolent God.

Sunday associated with Amaavaasya + Sravana Nakshatra + Vyatheepatha Yoga + in the lunar month of Pushya or Maagha is referred to as Ardhodhaya which is considered to be a very sacred day, a parvakala that occurs very rarely that is more meritorious than an eclipse. Maagha Bahula Amaavasya associated with Satabhisha star is considered as highly sacred and meritorious. According to Dharmasindhu by performing Pithru Shraaddha on this day, Pithrus (ancestors) gets pleased for ten thousand years.


Brahma in Hindu Mythology:-

According to Hindu Mythology Lord Brahma is the creator of this universe and he was born from a Lotus emerging from the naval of Lord Vishnu. According to another account, the self-existent Lord Brahma created waters and deposited a seed that became a Golden Egg from which He was born and He divided the Golden Egg into two parts consisting of Heaven and Earth and later created Prajapatis who created the mankind. As per Valmiki Ramayanam, Lord Brahma separated himself into male and female after dividing the Golden Egg and from them sprang the Sages Kasyapa, Marichi, Manu, etc., and Brahma Manasaputras who created the rest of the mankind.

Mythology describes that Brahma had originally five heads and one of them was cut down by Lord Shiva in his anger. Later Brahma had four heads facing the four sides representing the four Vedas, the four Yugas and the four Varnas. Lord Brahma is visualised as sitting on a Swan (Hamsa) and the Swan stands for wisdom and discrimination. He is also shown riding a chariot drawn by seven Swans, representing seven worlds. The temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in Ajmere and the icons here and there in other temples show his viswakarma aspect with four heads, the four arms holding rosary, the book, the kush and a kamandal and riding on a Swan.

No worship of lord Brahma:-

Inspite of the fact that Lord Brahma is one of the Trimurtis and creator of Mankind, there are no temples dedicated to Lord Brahma and there is no daily worship, except the temple at Pushkar in Rajasthan. According to Puranas, Lord Brahma lied to Lord Shiva that he had seen the top portion of the Jwala jyothirlingam and for this spoken untruth Lord Shiva cursed that Lord Brahma is unfit to be worshipped in Bhoolokam and since then worship of Brahma ceased to exist. It is believed that Brahma cult existed in prevedic Sanathana Dharma period and later the Shiva-Vishnu-Sakti cult spread making the Brahma cult redundant.

Our Puranas describe that Sages, Devotees, Devathas and Rakshasas are worshipping first Lord Brahma and performing penace to obtain boons from him. It is believed that pleasing Lord Brahma with penace is easier and he blesses quickly. Most of the Demon Kings worshipped Lord Brahma and obtained very Great Boons and became stronger than Devathas and other demigods. It is unfortunate that the worship of such easily pleased God of Lord Brahma was prohibited in Bhoolokam.

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