Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami

Hare Krishna, 

Vasant Panchami is a spring season festival as per the English calendar, celebrated throughout India. Therefore, worshipping mother Saraswati, the goddess of education, creativity, and music, is of great significance. It is also quoted that on the day of Vasant Panchami, Brahma created the goddess Saraswati. That’s why worshipping mother Saraswati on this particular day is unique.  

As per Vedic literature, Lord Krishna blessed goddess Saraswati that on Vasant Panchami, she would be worshipped everywhere. Even today, we can see that people offer their obeisance and worship goddess Saraswati on every Vasant Panchami. In Rigveda, mother Saraswati has been glorified as below –

“Prano Devi Saraswathi, Vajhebhir vajinavathi, Dhinam avithri avathu”

It means – Supreme consciousness in the form of goddess Saraswati protects our intelligence, mind, and psychology. Whatever character and intellect we got are because of mother Saraswati who has unique opulence in terms of prosperity and form. Here supreme consciousness means the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, the original cause of all causes. 

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord says – 

mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya 
mayi sarvam idam protam sutre mani-gana iva

“O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.”

The supreme personality of Godhead has given different services to His devotees to govern the material world. For example, Brahma Ji is responsible for the creation, Lord Shiva for annihilation, goddess Laxmi for wealth, and goddess Durga for protecting this material world compared to a prison. Similarly, goddess Saraswati is given a department of knowledge, creativity, and music which she is governing very skillfully. Goddess Saraswati bestows these qualities upon those who worship her and please her with their rituals. However, goddess Saraswati never forgets that the supreme personality of Godhead is her master and all demigods-demigoddess are being engaged in His service. This can be illustrated by the below example – 

As per Ramayana, when Kumbhakaran, brother of Ravana, performed severe austerities to please Brahma, all demigods-demigoddesses became afraid of him. Thus they approached goddess Saraswati and requested her to sit on the tongue of Kumbhakaran when he asked for benedictions from Brahma. Goddess Saraswati assured the demigods and agreed to sit on the tongue of Kumbhakaran. Kumbhakaran wanted Indraasan, the kingdom of Indra, as a benediction, but under the influence of goddess Saraswati, he ended up asking for Nindraasan, oversleeping. In that way, goddess Saraswati assisted demigods to protect the Lord’s creation. 

One more illustration can be seen from Sripad Ramanujacharya’s life. Sripad Ramanujacharya’s spiritual master instructed him to write a Vaishnav-style commentary on Srila Vyasdeva’s Vedanta Sutra. He went to Kashmir-based Sharda peetha to get the original text. When residents of Sharda peetha denied him the original texts, goddess Saraswati personally came and provided him with the original texts. When Sripad Ramanujacharya finished the commentary, mother Saraswati became very much pleased. She presented to Sripad Ramanujacharya her personal deity of `Hayagriva`, a plenary expansion of Lord Shri Hari, and awarded him the title “scholar”.

We can see one more incident where goddess Saraswati showed her allegiance and devotion to the supreme personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. This particular example is from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life who Himself is non-different from Krishna. Keshav Kashmiri, a great scholar and a great devotee of mother Saraswati, came to Navdwip for debate based on scriptures. He had already visited all the learning centers of India and was unconquered in all of them. 

Once Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was popularly known as Nimai pandit at that time was on the bank of river Ganga. There He met Keshav Kashmiri and asked him to create a verse to praise the river Ganga. Keshav Kashmiri, being a learned scholar, created 100 verses in a few minutes. Keshav proudly spoke all 100 verses to Nimai. Nimai not only learned all the 100 verses instantly but also quoted various grammatical errors in the 64th verse. Nimai also quoted errors in a few more verses. Keshav Kashmiri was amazed and stunned at that. 

Keshav Kashmiri was puzzled at how a small boy of Sanskrit grammar school was finding errors in his compositions. At last, goddess Saraswati came in his dreams, as he was a great devotee of goddess Saraswati. She ordered Keshav Kashmiri to take shelter at the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. She also informed him that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is no other than Lord Shri Krishna. In this way, Keshav Kashmiri became a devotee of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. 

All the above incidences show that goddess Saraswati is a unique devotee of Lord Shri Krishna. She is using her post and designation to assist devotees of the Lord. Let us pray to mother Saraswati on this auspicious occasion of Vasant Panchami that we all dedicatedly devote ourselves to the selfless service of the Lord and his devotees; that we should develop a service attitude and make this human form of life worthy.

Your Smallest act of Charity can make a difference and bring smiles to Needy Faces.

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti

If we try to understand Makar Sankranti in word form, the word Makar has been taken from Makar Rashi. Sankranti means entering. According to our ancient texts and Vedic calculations, time calculation is of two types.

The “Moon month Count” and “Solar Month Count” are based on the solar calendar. Sankranti means entering, the transition of the Sun, and the entry of the Sun, that is, the zodiac in which the Sun enters. It is called Makar Sankranti.

Types of the Solar Solstice

By the way, if seen, there are 12 types of Surya Sankranti, out of which four Mesh, Kark, Tula and Makar are prominent. The special significance of Makar Sankranti increases because the Sun God is Uttarayan on this day, that is, the journey of Lord Sun in the north direction. Before Sankranti, the Sun God is Dakshinayan. From the day of Sankranti, it travels in the north order, and this period is fixed for six months.

Lord Shri Krishna has told about Uttarayan in the Bhagavad Gita that people leave their bodies for six months from the day of Makar Sankranti, and they go to the higher planets. And those who leave their body in Dakshinayana go to the lower planets. It is said that there is an exception to every rule, something like this here too. Whoever is a devotee of the Supreme Lord, he leaves his body. Then after leaving the body in the time of Uttarayan and Dakshinayana, he reaches the abode of the Supreme Lord only. Supreme Lord Sri Krishna has told in the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 5 :

anta-kāle cha mām eva smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ yāti nāstyatra sanśhayaḥ 

In this, the Supreme Lord has told that whoever remembers me the last time, that person attains my abode only. The rule of Uttarayana and Dakshinayana is there only till the person does not completely surrender to Supreme Lord.

How does Makar Sankranti occur? 

makar sankranti

When the Earth revolves around the Sun in one full year, it is called the Solar System. If we talk about the calculation of demigods, then this one year of ours is equal to 1 day. That is, the demigods in 1 day do this circumambulation. There are 12 hours in the day and 12 hours in the night in 1 day of the demigods. That is why from the day of Makar Sankranti, the day of the demigods starts for the coming six months. From the day of Makar Sankranti, the demigods take baths early in the morning.

For this reason, on the day of Makar Sankranti, the importance of bathing, meditation and charity have been told. The day of Makar Sankranti is extraordinary, and all good work starts from the day of Makar Sankranti. Various dishes are prepared for this festival throughout India, and people also donate in large numbers. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the day of Makar Sankranti is also known as the Khichdi festival.

Makar Sankranti Significance and Celebration

The sun god is also worshipped on this day, and everyone donates rice dal khichdi to charity. After that, the khichdi is cooked and eaten. In Gujarat, in Rajasthan, kites are flown at the festival of Makar Sankranti. The celebration of Makar Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh lasts for three days. In Tamil Nadu, this festival is known as Pongal because, in Tamil Nadu, people celebrate this family for ten days when the new crop is harvested, and here dal rice khichdi is cooked in ghee.

In Maharashtra, make laddus of sesame and jaggery, give each other, and provide good wishes. In Assam, this festival is known as Megh Bihu, and in Punjab, this festival is celebrated one day before as Lohri. In West Bengal, the Ganga Sagar fair is held on the banks of the Hooghly River. The Maha Kumbh bath is also held because on this day, Ganga Maiya descended on Earth on the day of Makar Sankranti to save her ancestors behind Bhagirath. That is why bathing in Ganga Sagar is of great importance on the day of Makar Sankranti.

As you all know that from the heart of Makar Sankranti, the time of change of season, the transition of time, and shift in crop starts. The Sun has a direct effect on all new crops from the heart of Makar Sankranti. That is why the auspicious Uttarayan begins by performing ablutions on the day of Makar Sankranti, which is similar in the world, like Jyoti, Deep Light, Sun, worship of all the demigods and all the good works that start from the day of Makar Sankranti. To please the Sun, people worldwide worship the Sun God according to their beliefs and celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti.

Who is the Sun God?

The most important fact here is that who this Sun God is. The answer to this has been told in our main book Brahma Samhita. The creator of the universe, Lord Brahma, suggests that the Lord of all the planets is the Sun God. Sun is like one eye of the Supreme Lord. 

The cycle of time moves according to the orders of the Sun God. Therefore, accept my obeisances to that Lord Shri Govind. That is, the Sun God does his work only according to the demands of the Supreme Lord Shri Govind.

Have you ever seen such a time from your birth till the present that even for one day, the Sun God has not appeared to anyone? Lord Suryadev (Sun) has always done this work in his fixed time to set on time and rise on time. Surya Dev is always performing his duty and responsibility in the right way by illuminating this entire universe like a Karma Yogi. 

Surya is the disciple of Lord Shri Krishna to get his inner light and divine knowledge. For this, Lord Shri Krishna has also told Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Text 1.

imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt
 

First of all, I had given this knowledge of Bhagavad Gita to the Sun God Vivasvan, in this way, on the day of Makar Sankranti, the right way to please the Sun God would be that we should also worship him, take refuge in them, whose shelter by the Sun God illuminates himself, that is Lord Sri Krishna Himself and the most accessible means of his lair in this Kaliyuga, is the Hare Krishna Mahamantra:-

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

So all of you also chant this Maha-mantra to this holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and understand the true meaning of every festival and celebrate it and be happy always.

Your Smallest act of Charity can make a difference and bring smiles to Needy Faces.