August 3, 2014
When is Kalpataru Utsav in 2015 – Kalpataru Utsab 2015 Date happens to fall on Thursday, 1st January.
Kalpataru Utsab commemorates the day on which Thakur Ramakrishna Paramhansa Dev, the evergreen Bengali sage, blessed all his disciples with supreme cognizance. On this occasion Thakur Ramakrishna entered a state of trance and his followers who received his blessings during this phase were overwhelmed and spellbound with awe and reverence to the holy master.
Legend of Kalpataru Utsav
On 1st January, 1886, Thakur Ramakrishna went for a stroll at the garden adjacent to ‘Kashipur Udyanbati’ after recuperating from a spate of bad health. His disciples gathered downstairs to see him and as soon as he approached them, they stood up to pay him reverence. As he stepped towards the garden, disciples followed him with folded hands from a distance. His eyes lay on his favorite disciples, Ram, Girish and Atul. He asked Girish Chandra, “Girish you talk to so many people about my incarnation, what have you seen in me?” Girish Chandra innocently answered, “How can I comment on somebody who has been an enigma to the great sages like Viyas and Valmiki?” Overwhelmed with his devotion and respect, Thakur Ramakrishna replied, ” What more to tell you-I bless you all that you all gain cognizance”. Right after this, he entered the trance and stood still while his followers touched his feet respectfully. Some of his disciples, who were eminent personas of corresponding Bengali society, described Thakur as ‘Kalpataru’ on that particular day. It is also said that Ramakrishna took away the diseases of many people on that day through his divine touch.
Celebration of Kalpataru Utsav
Devotees of Ramakrishna Dev from all over the world celebrate this special day to pay homage to his divine spirit. His philosophies and teachings are churned over and over again as a token of love and devotion. Kalpataru Utsab is celebrated with striking pomp and show at the centers of Ramakrishna Mission. Special pujas are performed, devotional songs and bhajans are sung and Bhog (sacred vegetarian meals) is offered. In West Bengal, Kalpataru Utsab is celebrated with great reverence and veneration at Belur Math and Dakshineswar temple.
Significance of Festival
According to Hindu mythology, the Kalpataru is a tree that grants all wishes of human beings. On the day of Kalpataru Utsab, it is assumed that Lord Ramakrishna grants the desires of his followers. The festival is an essential facet of Bengali culture and social system.
August 2, 2014
In 2015 date for Anant Chaturdashi is on Sunday, 27th September. It is last day of Ganeshotsav when Idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in water.
Anant Chaturdashi is the last day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival which is celebrated with great fervor to pay reverence to Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom and success. It is celebrated on the 14th day of the bright lunar half of the month of Bhadra according to Hindu calendar which coincides with Mid August to Mid September in the Gregorian calendar. It is mainly celebrated in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Legend of Anant Chaturdashi
Once upon a time, there lived a young woman, Shushila who was married to Kaundinya. One day, on her way to take a bath in the river, she noticed a group of women observing the Anant Vow in honor of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of creation, so as to obtain wealth and divinity. She eventually decided to take the Anant Vow which was to be kept for 14 years. As a result of her penance, her family flourished. Kaundinya, the husband of Shushila arrogantly believed their prosperity was the result of his own abilities and hence he destroyed the Anant string which Shushila wore on her wrist. Soon after, they were reduced to extreme poverty and Kaundinya realizing his blunder became repentant for his actions. He decided to live a life austerity till he gained divine mercy. Finally after 14 years of penance, Vishnu took pity on him and restored wealth and happiness to his family.
Celebration of Anant Chaturdashi
On this day Lord Vishnu and Ganesha are worshipped at various places. Sweets are prepared at homes and distributed among people. The day is spent in singing, dancing and participating in processions. As it is the last day of the 10 day long Ganesha Chaturthi festival, the idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in rivers and sweets are eaten by devotees. They pray for the return of Ganesha next year and the festival ends amidst singing of hymns and dancing.
July 18, 2013
Balaram jayanti (बलराम) is appearance day of Lord Balaram. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan month, Shravan poornima. According to Gregorian calendar, the day generally falls in the months of August or September. Balaram jayanti is celebrated exactly eight days before Janamastami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna. In 2015 the date for Balaram jayanti is on 3rd September.
Who is Lord Balaram?
Lord Balaram is celebrated as the elder brother of Lord Krishna. He was the seventh child of Devaki and Vasudev. The demon king Kamsa confined the couple to a prison and killed six of their children. The seventh child was transferred from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s womb. Thus he was born as son of Rohini who stayed in house of Nanda Maharaj. Nanda and Yashoda became foster parents of Lord Krishna.
Balaram is known by several names. He is known as Sankarshana which refers to the transfer of the child from one womb to another. He is also known as an incarnation of Ananta, the divine snake on which Lord Vishnu sleeps. The child was named ‘Rama’ but seeing his extraordinary strength (bala), he was called Balarama. He is also known as Baladeva or Balabhadra. He is considered as the Lord of agriculture and hence called ‘Haldhari’.
Balaram spent his childhood with Lord Krishna and cowherd boys of Vrindaban. During his pastimes with Krishna He killed many demons like Dhenakasura and Mushtika. Philosophically, Lord Balaram symbolizes strength in devotion. He is the bestower of physical strength and a healthy life for His devotees.
Celebrations of Balarama Jayanti
Vaishnavas celebrate Balarama jayanti with great joy and happiness. On this day, devotees fast till noon. All temples dedicated to Lord Krishna are decorated with leaves and flowers. The deities of Krishna and Balarama are given holy bath with panchamrita. Discourses are given on Balaram’s appearance and activities. Devotees cook special dishes on this day and share them with great happiness. Devotees dance and sing the Holy names of Krishna and Balaram. Devotees feel a special strength in devotion upon celebrating Balarama jayanti.
July 14, 2013
Shindoor Khela(সিঁদুর খেলা) is a famous Bengali ritual observed during the last day of Dassera namely Doshomi.This article tries to cherish the spirit of Shindoor Khela. In 2015 date for Shidoor Khela is on Thursday, 22nd October.
It is mostly played by married Bengali women.However,the young,unmarried Bengali ladies also enjoy the game.The newly wed women are taught the rituals by their seniors.It starts with viewing the feet of Maa Durga in a bowl filled with water and a mirror.Sweets and Vermilion is offered to Maa Durga and her blessings are seeked.
Then the game is played which involves spilling of vermilion on each other.Women offer sweets to each other which is known as the Misti Mukh.They make a mark of vermilion on each other’s bangels called the Shakha Pola.The Shakha Pola are the famous indicators of a women being Bengali and married.The ritual of marking the Shakha Pola signifies well wishing the long life of each other’s spouses.There are exchange of gifts too.
The younger ones seek the permission of the elders to mark the Shakha Pola with vermilion.Then they bow down to the feet of the elders and seek blessings followed by mutual embracing with cheers.It is followed by social gathering filled fun,music and laughter called the Adda.
The atmosphere by this time is of mixed feelings because Shidoor Khela also marks the end of one of the most awaited event in a Bengali’s life,The Sharodiyo Durga Puja.
Balo Dugra Mai ki …. Jai….. Asche Bochor ……. Aabar hobe !!!
July 6, 2013
Kumar Shasti is the 6th day of the Shukla paksha of Ashada month (June-July). It is the festival dedicated to Lord Kumara, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. It was on this day Lord Kumara took birth to defeat the demons. In 2015, Kumara shasthi date is on 14th July.
The Legend of Lord Kumara
Lord Kumara is the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Paravti. He is known by many names: Kartikeya, Sanmukha, Shadanana, Skanda, Murugam, Guha and Subramanyam. In south India Kartikeya and Murugam. The deity of Kumara shows him to have 6 heads and riding on a peacock. There are many versions of his birth legend. One of the popular legend says Lord Kumara was born to destroy the demon Tarakasura.
Once the demon Taraksura was troubling demigods. Mother Parvati performed severe penances to get a son who would have extraordinary strength and skills. Kartikeya was born in a forest of arrows. He was fed by 6 mothers who were constellation of Krittika, thus was called Kartikeya. He had 6 faces and hence known as Shanmukha.
When Kartikeya grew up, he was stated as the head of the devas’s army and was called as their senapati. Under him the demons Banasura, Tarakasura and Pralambasura were defeated. He was cheif in protecting yagna performed by Narada. He is considered as eternal young and hence called Kumara.
Celebrations of Kumara Shasthi
Kumara shasthi is observed as a significant festival in South India and in some parts of Nepal. In Tamilnadu and other states in south India, the birth appearance is observed in May or June. There are so many temples dedicated to Lord Kumara throughout south India.
People observe this festival in utmost devotion. They go to temples and perform poojas and aarthis. Some fast this day as a mark of respect to Lord Kumara. They pray to Kumara to slay demonic qualities in them so that they remain healthy spiritually and mentally.