SVBF wishes all our fellow devotees a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2011.
May the grace of Sharadamba and the blessings of the Acharya be with you always.
With the Grace of Sri Shardamba and other Gods and Goddess and Blessings of our Jagadguru, Sri Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamigal, the Sankaracharya at Sringeri, SVBF wishes all the devotees and their families a peaceful, happy and healthy 2011.
The year starts out in a grand manner. January 1 is a Saturday and happens to be a Pradosha kala day. The special events of January are presented here with some brief notes.
Pradosha occurs twice a month. It falls on the 13 th day during the waxing moon fortnight and again on the 13 th day of the waning moon period. Pradosha puja is an event dedicated to Lord Shiva and the puja is done in the evening. This pooja will be performed at the Sri Sharada temple for Lord Chandramooleswar at 6:30 PM. The priest will chant the rudram while doing the abhishekam for Lord Shiva and Nandi. The Lord will be taken in the vahana around the temple with devotees following it with bhajans.
As per Shiva Purana one who undertakes fasting on Pradosha day and participates in the puja will be bestowed with all good things in life (wealth, children, happiness, good health) and free of sins. January 1 is a Saturday and thus we have a Sani Pradosham. It becomes a special day for both Lord Shiva and Sani Bhagwan.
Another important event during the month is the arrival of Uttarayana Punya Kalam on January 14 and start of the pongal festivals. The Sun moves from Makara Raasi (Capricon sign) to Karkataka Raasi (Cancer sign). As per the Vedas, this is a holy period when our elders who left this earthly world return to earth to bless their siblings and return to punya loka at the beginning of the Dakshinayana (July 15). The great Bheesma left his life in the Uttarayana period while he waited on a bed made of arrows. This is a good period to do various punya karyams like annadhanam, vastra dhanam, general donation to good causes. It is also the start of the marriage season when parents finalize marriages for their children. The Pongal celebrations start from January 13.
In Tamil Nadu and other southern states Pongal is celebrated on a grand scale running in to several days or more. It is basically a harvest festival and people offer thanks to nature. Though SVBF does not conduct this event in the same manner as in Tamil Nadu, it is appropriate to point out some major element for general information.
January 13 is celebrated as Bhogi in honor of Lord Indra, the supreme ruler of the cloud that gives good rains and rich harvest. It brings forth abudance of harvest and prosperity.
January 14 is pongal day, Devotees perform the puja at home with rice boiled in milk in a pot allowing it to overflow and is then symbolically offered to the sun-god along with other oblations. All people wear traditional dress and nice clothes.
January 15 is known as Mattu Pongal day. This is pongal day for the cows. The cows are decorated with beads and tinkling bells and then worshipped and fed with Pongal.
Then finally Kanu is celebrated. The ladies wash a banana leaf and place it on the ground. The left- overs of the sweet pongal and other rice items are placed on the leaf with betel leaves and nuts. The women perform this ritual before bath and ask for blessings for their families and brothers for good life. Arati is performed for the brothers and the water is sprinkled on the rangagoli placed at the front door of the house.