The holy town of Vrindavan is famous for its beautiful festivals and unique traditions. While Vrindavan’s holi is famous all over the world, did you know that Akshay Tritiya too is celebrated in a special way in Vrindavan? Let us read more about it but before that, let’s find out more about the significance of this auspicious day.
What is Akshay Tritiya?
Akshay Tritiya is an important day for both the Hindus and the Jains. It falls during the Shukla Pakshya Tritiya in the Baisakh month. ‘Akshay’ means ‘that which does not diminish.’ It is believed that whatever good deeds one performs on Akshay Tritiya multiples manifold. Many choose to invest in gold, begin an investment, and start a new venture on Akshay Tritiya. It is also a wonderful day for marriage. Each moment of this day is considered to be ‘shubh’ and fit for any auspicious beginning.
What happened on Akshay Tritiya?
Performing an Akshay Tritiya pooja is very popular among Hindu households. However, the significance of this day dates back to centuries. This is one day when history seems to blend with mythology and sometimes form a mystifying blur.
Here are a few things that are believed to have happened on Akshay Tritiya:
Beginning of the Treta Yuga: The yuga that followed the Satya Yuga is believed to have begun on this day.
Scripting of the Mahabharata began: It is believed that Ved Vyas and Lord Ganesha started writing the great epic on this day.
The Ganges descended on the earth: The holy river Ganga descended to the earth on this day.
Goddess Annapurna was born: Goddess Annapurna, the goddess of food, was also born on this day. It was also on Akshay Tritiya that Annapurna fed Shiva disguised as a beggar.
Lord Parashuram was born: The sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu was born on this day.
Yudhishthira received the Akshay Patram: Pleased by Yudhishthira’s prayers, Surya or Sun God blessed him with the Akshay Patram that would supply them with an inexhaustible supply of food for the next 12 years.
Sri Krishna and Akshay Tritiya
Draupadi: Legend has it that once when Sri Krishna visited the Pandavas along with His retinue, the exiled Pandav brothers received Him with all ceremony. However, Draupadi did not come out of her kitchen. Sensing that something was amiss, Sri Krishna entered the kitchen. Inside, a teary-eyed Draupadi showed Him an empty bowl and said that it was all that she had in her kitchen. Sri Krishna, on the other hand, asked His sister, if the bowl was truly empty because there was a single grain of rice stuck to it. Sri Krishna had this single grain and as soon as He did so, the hunger of the entire universe was satiated. This miraculous episode happened on Akshay Tritiya.
Sudama: Krishna and Sudama were the best of friends during their childhood days. However, with time, the two friends parted ways. Sudama pursued the Vedas and Sri Krishna became the king of Dwarka. One day, when Sudama, then a poor Brahman, saw a peacock feather in his son’s hand, he was reminded of his friend Krishna. His wife suggested that he should visit Dwarka to meet his friend and to ask for financial help. Although reluctant at first, Sudama agreed to his wife’s proposal and started his journey to meet his long-lost friend. He carried with him flattened rice or poha since Krishna loved it as a child. When Krishna met Sudama, He was overjoyed. He extended warm hospitality towards His friend and asked Sudama what he had brought for Him. The poor Brahman was embarrassed to give the king of Dwarka the little poha that he was carrying. However, Krishna liked His friend’s thoughtful gift very much. Sudama could not ask for any monetary help and left for his home. However, Sri Krishna understood and blessed Sudama with riches. When Sudama reached home, he found that his humble hut had been replaced by a palatial building overnight! This happened on Akshay Tritiya.
Celebration of Akshay Tritiya in Vrindavan
On Akshay Tritiya, the idols in Vrindavan temples are smeared with sandalwood from head to toe. This is known as Chandan Yatra. Sandalwood is applied to offer the gods some relief from the rising temperature.
Darshan of Bihariji’s feet
It is on Akshay Tritiya that devotees get a darshan of Bihariji’s feet. This is the only time during the whole year when that is possible. Devotees flock to Vrindavan on Akshay Tritiya for this auspicious sight.
Krishna Bhumi is just 10 minutes away from the Banke Bihari temple. When you become a member of Krishna Bhumi Holydays, you can stay in your home in Krishna Bhumi and immerse yourself in the glory of this holy land.
A beautiful little kid mischievously stealing butter from a pot, and later on, a stunning youth mesmerising everyone with His magnetic flute. That is how most of us would visualise Shri Krishna. Even if for a moment, we forget all about His miracles and Leelas, the one thing that set Him apart from anyone else was His blue colour.
Why is Sri Krishna blue? Let us seek the answer in various explanations and interpretations.
Drinking Putana’s milk
Krishna’s evil uncle Kamsa sends the demoness Putana to kill infant Krishna. Putana, disguised as a beautiful woman, comes to Gokul and requests Yashoda to allow her to breastfeed her little one. In those days, it was a common practice. Like the other people of Gokul, Yashoda too was mesmerised by her beauty and permitted her to breastfeed Krishna. However, Putana had smeared her breasts with a mandana or intoxicant with the intention of killing Krishna. According to the later versions of this story, Putana smeared her breasts with a poison. Other stories even say that her milk itself was poison.
Sri Krishna not only drank her poisonous milk but also sucked out her life. It is believed that the poison, however, entered His body and gave Him the blue colour.
Kaliya, a poisonous snake, came to live in the Yamuna. It is believed that the four leagues of water around him boiled with poison. One day, when Krishna was playing with His friends, their ball fell inside the Yamuna. Krishna jumped into the river to get His ball and thus encountered the venomous Kaliya. At the bottom of the river, Kaliya wrapped himself around Sri Krishna’s body but He, in turn, assumed such a huge shape that the serpent had to release Him. Later, Sri Krishna danced on Kaliya’s hoods, beating Him with his feet. Kaliya’s wives begged Sri Krishna for mercy. Kaliya too realised the greatness of the ‘little kid’ he was trying to kill and surrendered. Sri Krishna did not kill Kaliya but asked him to leave the Yamuna and go to Ramanaka Dwipa (modern Fiji).
According to one school of thought, the poison from Kaliya entered Sri Krishna’s body while fighting the serpent and turned Him blue.
Birth from Lord Vishnu’s Hair
It is believed that Lord Vishnu planted a white hair and a black hair in Devaki’s womb. From the white hair was born Balaram and from the black was born Sri Krishna. This gave Him the blue or ‘blackish’ complexion.
Sri Krishna has a blue aura
Science tells us that the entire existence is energy in one form or the other. It is also believed that every being emits an aura, a field of energy that surrounds the body, of a certain colour. It is possible that Sri Krishna was not literally blue, but He reflected the blue aura. According to the colour spectrum, blue is a calm hue and produces a relaxing effect. It is, in fact, the coolest colour. Anyone with a blue aura reflects intelligence and self-awareness, and a collected personality. Such a person does not seek attention but impresses the others simply by his/ her presence.
It is also believed that the dominant aura is also connected to one of the seven chakras, the centre of spiritual power in the human body. The blue aura is associated with the fifth or throat chakra. Anyone with a deep blue aura exhibits oratory skills, honesty, and excellent self-expression.
It comes as no surprise that Sri Krishna manifested a blue aura. The epic Mahabharata is only an episode in Sri Krishna’s life that narrates His sense of dharma and adharma, His sense of duty, and justice. The Bhagavad Gita, which records the conversation between Sri Krishna and Arjun, is nothing short of an impressive and eloquent expression through which Sri Krishna convinces Arjun about the efficacy and significance of the battle of Kurukshetra.
Sri Krishna as the Supreme Godhead
In Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna tells Arjun,
sarganam adir antas ca
madhyam caivaham arjuna
vadah pravadatam aham
Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the Self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
Sri Krishna is the universe. He is all creation, and more. Within Him are the vastness of the sky and the depth of the ocean. His blue aura is a reflection of this vastness that remains beyond the ken of human cognisance.
The upcoming Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, the world’s tallest Krishna temple, is also conceived as blue. When you stay in your home in Krishna Bhumi or spend a few days in Vrindavan through a Krishna Bhumi Holydays membership, you will stay close to this awe-inspiring temple. Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir will mesmerise you with its imposing presence and make your Vrindavan experience even more beautiful.
What is the purpose of our life? What do we want to achieve? What is it that we crave for? It is happiness. We may be keen on performing certain actions and indulging in certain activities because those, we think, will make us happy. But, are we aware of the true meaning of happiness? Sri Krishna enlightens us about this elusive concept through his conversation with Arjun in Bhagavad Gita.
What is happiness?
We often associate happiness with a number of external factors. We often spend all our effort in the gratification of our senses. However, the happiness that is derived in this manner is only temporary happiness and becomes intertwined with cycles of sorrow. True happiness can only emanate from a peaceful mind that is not dependent on any external agents and remains unperturbed in every situation.
In Chapter II, Verse 70 of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna says,
samudram apah pravishanti yadvat
tadvat-kama yam pravishanti sarve
sa shantim-apnoti na kama-kaami”
“As the waters (of different rivers) enters the Great Ocean, which though full on all sides remains undisturbed, like wise a person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires – can alone achieve peace, and not the man who runs after these desires & strives to satisfy such desires.”
The three types of happiness
In Chapter 18, Verse 36 Sri Krishna says to Arjun,
“sukhaṁ tv idaniṁ tri-vidhaṁ shrinu me bharatarshabha
abhyasad ramate yatra duhkhantam cha nigachchhati”
“And now hear from me, O Arjun, of the three kinds of happiness in which the embodied soul rejoices, and can even reach the end of all suffering.”
- Satvik or Pure happiness: It is the happiness that arises from the elevation of the soul. However, attaining this is not easy. One pursuing satvik or pure happiness has to practice a lot of discipline. That is why, it feels like poison in the beginning but nectar in the end.
“yat tad agre viham iva pariname mitopamam
tat sukham sattvikam proktam atma-buddhi-prasada-jam”
“That which seems like poison at first, but tastes like nectar in the end, is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. It is generated by the pure intellect that is situated in self-knowledge.”
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 37
- Rajasik or result-oriented happiness: This is the materialistic pleasure that is derived when the senses come in contact with external objects that create a feeling of gratification. However, this kind of happiness is temporary.
“vishayendriya-sanyogad yat tad agre mritopamam
pariname visham iva tat sukham rajasam smritam”
“Happiness is said to be in the mode of passion when it is derived from the contact of the senses with their objects. Such happiness is like nectar at first but poison at the end.”
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 38
- Tamasic or slothful happiness: This is the lowest form of happiness and is derived from sleeping or being lazy. The soul is never nurtured through these practices yet since there is a tiny sense of pleasure associated with it, people wrongfully consider it to be a state of happiness.
“yad agre chanubandhe cha sukham mohanam atmanah
nidralasya-pramadottha tat tamasam udahritam”
“That happiness which covers the nature of the self from beginning to end, and which is derived from sleep, indolence, and negligence, is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 39.
One can derive true happiness only by achieving a peaceful state of mind. Why not come to Vrindavan and immerse yourself in the thoughts of Sri Krishna? There is no greater happiness than the happiness one gets from being at peace with oneself and being one with god.
Chaitra Navratri has already begun this year. It is the time when devotees offer prayer to the nine forms of Durga, one of which is Katyayani Devi or Yogamaya Devi, a form of Durga worshipped on the sixth day of Navaratri.
But who is Yogamaya Devi or, as she is also known, Katyayani Devi? What is her significance in the holy Braj and how is she related to Sri Krishna?
Who is Devi Katyayani?
It is believed that Yogamaya Devi is Lord Vishnu’s divine power that makes all creation possible. According to the Bhagavatam, it was Yogamaya who made all the guards of Kansa’s prison fall asleep when Sri Krishna was born to Devaki.
In Lord Vishnu’s scheme of things during His birth as Sri Krishna, Yogamaya played an important part. At first, she transferred the foetus of Devaki’s seventh unborn child to Rohini’s womb so that Adisesha could be born as Balaram, took birth as Yashoda and Nanda’s daughter, and made the swapping of Krishna and Yogamaya at birth possible.
Later, when Kansa tried to kill the little girl he found on Devaki’s bed, she slipped out of his hands and predicted Kansa’s death by someone growing up elsewhere. Yogamaya Devi took various forms, one of which is Katyayani.
Yogamaya as Devi Katyayani in Chir Ghat
It is believed that Sati’s hair fell on Vrindavan which makes it one of the 51 shaktipeethas. However, it was not until Swami Keshavananda came to Vrindavan about a hundred years ago that the actual temple that was built at the spot where Sati’s hair fell could be identified. According to the swami, it was the Katyayani temple at Chir Ghat near Rangji’s Bade Bagicha that stands at the holy place.
Katyayani Vrat and Sri Krishna
Legend has it that the gopis observed the Katyani Vrat and prayed to the goddess with the desire of getting Sri Krishna as their husband. A beautiful deity of the goddess stands at Chir Ghat even today.
One day, when the gopis, as part of their Vrat were taking a bath in the Yamuna, Sri Krishna mischievously stole all their clothes and took those to a nearby kadamba tree. However, it would be wrong to equate Sri Krishna’s act as a mundane affair. This holy episode of the Lord’s life signifies the importance of renouncing all materialistic attachments (symbolised by the clothes) for a devotee to completely surrender herself/ himself to the Supreme Godhead.
Sri Krishna and Yogamaya
Yogamaya was born to Yashoda on the same day Sri Krishna was born to Devaki, and then they were swapped. This makes Yogamaya Krishna’s foster sister. However, that’s not the only relationship they have.
Srila Prabhupada in the 4th chapter of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila says, “…Yogamāyā is the name of the internal potency that makes the Lord forget Himself and become an object of love for His pure devotee in different transcendental mellows. This yogamāyā potency creates a spiritual sentiment in the minds of the damsels of Vraja by which they think of Lord Kṛṣṇa as their paramour.”
Vrindavan is that holy place on earth where Sri Krishna spent his youth and performed many leelas. There is magic in its air, a magic that can only be experienced by coming here and surrendering yourself to Sri Krishna. Krishna Bhumi can make it happen
The ‘Kurukshetra War’ is described in the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ as a conflict, fought between two groups of cousins of an Indian Kingdom called Kauravas and Pandavas for the throne of Hastinapur.
Lord Krishna decided not to fight in the war and not to pick up his weapons. As a last attempt to bring peace in war Krishna asked Duryodhana to return Indraprastha to the Pandavas but Duryodhana said he would not give land to the Pandavas. Duryodhana publicly ordered his soldiers, even after the warnings from all the elders, to arrest Krishna. Krishna laughed and displayed his divine form, radiating intense light.
Krishna had a large force called the Narayani Sena and was himself a great warrior. Once Duryodhana and Arjuna thus both went to Krishna at Dwarka to ask for his help. Duryodhana arrived first and found Krishna asleep. When Krishna woke up, he saw Arjuna first and gave him the first right to make his request. Krishna told Arjuna and Duryodhana that he would give the Narayani Sena, to one side and himself as a non-combatant to the other. Arjuna on behalf of the Pandavas chose Krishna. Later Arjuna requested Krishna to be his charioteer and he agreed wholeheartedly.
When the war was declared and the two armies were facing each other, Arjuna was in a dilemma and he felt weak and sickened at the prospect of killing his entire family. Arjuna turned to Krishna for divine advice and teachings. Krishna advised him of his duty. This conversation forms the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most respected religious and philosophical texts in the Hindu religion. Krishna reminded him that this was a war between righteousness and unrighteousness and it was Arjuna’s duty to support the cause of sin.
In lieu of conclusion, it can be said that Lord Krishna played a vital role in the Kurukshetra war. His religious philosophy left a big impact on the thoughts and beliefs of Pandavas and Kauravas. From his initial days in Hastinapur to the end of this historical war he remained as a key political figure in a timeless harmony.
Life of lord Krishna is the perfect answer to this question.
He born in a prison and his parents were imprisoned by his own uncle Kansa. Even Lord Brahma and Indra created trouble for him. His own nephew, Sishupal was after his life. He brought up in a small village while he deserved to be a part of royal village. In spite of such plentiful adversities he lived his life like a festival.
He wanted to establish the kingdom of Dharma. After releasing his parents and King Ugrasen from the bondage of Kansa, he became the savior for the people of Mathura. Krishna diligently performed all his duties no matter how many difficulties came his way without the slightest neglect. He administered justice in the royal court and also offered the devotees solace, benediction and protection. Krishna maintained his equanimity in both the village and princely luxuries
He remained calm and composed during Kurukshetra war. It was his astuteness because of which Pandavas emerged victorious against a much large force of powerful Kouravas. He was so munificent that when Duryodhan ( who tried to arrest him) asked for his army to fight against Pandavas (and Krishna himself), he gave his whole army along with weapons to him.
He always lived the life of service. All that he did was for the benefit of others. From the Lord’s very birth, he showed constant hostility throughout the life. Despite all the tirade, Krishna was forever smiling and in perpetual bliss.