Akshay Tritiya

Akshay Tritiya,also called 'Akha Teej' or 'Navanna Parvam',is a very auspicious day for the Hindus and Jains.The word "Akshaya" means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and the day is believed to bring good luck and success.According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Treta Yuga began,when Veda Vyas began the composition of Mahabharat.

The river Ganges, the most holy and sacred river of India, descended to the earth from the heaven.As per Hindus,this day is ruled by god Vishnu,the preserver-god in the Hindu Trinity.This day is also celebrated as the birth anniversary of the Sage Parashurama,the sixth avatar (incarnation) of the god Vishnu

. As per the astrology(Muhurta),three Lunar days (Tithis) are considered as the most auspicious,which are called Sade-Teen Muhurats.These muhuratas are - 1st Tithi of Bright Half of Chaitra(starting of new year,Padwa),10th Tithi of Bright Half of Ashwin (Dsassera), 3rd Tithi of Bright Half of Vaishakha(Akshay Tritiya) & 1st Tithi of Bright Half of Kartik are called 'Sade - Teen (3 + 1/2) Muhurt'.

Akshaya Tritiya falling on a monday is considered more auspicious and this day is very good time to begin any new venture,job, marriages,purchasing gold and bhumi poojan etc.The legend says that any venture initiated on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya continues to grow and bring more and more prosperity.

It is further believed that,the charity done on this day,is blessed and receives blessings in many ways.In the Mahabharata,when the Pandavas were in exile,Shri Krishna gave them an Akshaya Patra(a bowl) which provided them with unlimited amount of food. |

Rituals

In the morning.a sacred bath is taken and the Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped with Tulsi leaves and flowers.Tulsi water is sprinkled in the nearby are of the idol while performing 'Arti'.Lakshmi pujan is also performed by some people,on this day.

A dip in the river Ganges on this day is considered to be very auspicious.Fasts are observed the whole day and pujas are performed.After this the new venture is commenced.The day is generally observed by fasting and worship Lord Vasudeva with rice grains.

In Goa and Konkan regions,which are referred to as Parusurama Kshetra,Akshaya Tritiya, is considered as one of the most sacred days of the year. In Orissa on Akshay Tritiya day,farmers start ploughing their land and installations of chariots for Rath Yatra begins at Puri.In Bengal, on the day of the Akshay Tritiiya, 'HalKhata',a ritual to start a new audit book is performed, with the worship of Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi.

Bengalis perform many rites and rituals on this day.In the 'Jat' farming community,early morning, a male member,goes to field with Shovel .All the animals and birds encountered on the way to the field indicates omen and predictions for rains and crops.

It is believed that god Kubera.the treasurer of the gods, is the richest deity. Lakshmi Tantram says that even Kubera will pray to goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu, on this day. On this day, a day-long 'Kubera Lakshmi Pooja', is performed in which an image of Lakshmi is worshipped along with Sudarshana Kubera Yantra, symbolising Kubera.

The religious merit that is acquired by giving gifts on this day is considered endless.'Lakshmi-inscribed' gold coins, diamond jewellery and golden dollars with the pictures of Lord Vishnu,Goddess Lakshmi are given as good-luck gifts.In charity- fan, rice, salt,ghee, sugar, vegetables,tamarind, fruit, clothes, are given.

As per the Jain Legend,Rishabhadeva alias, Adinath is the first Tirthankara of the Jain.Tirthankara Rishabhdeva was king of Ayodhya.He recieved enlightment and sacrificed all the earthly pleasures of life and opted for the life of an ascetic and became a Jain monk.

The Jain monks have nothing with them,not even a single grain of food.They do not even cook food for themselves.When they feel hungry or thirsty,they go to people and ask for food and water.Tirthankara Rshabhdeva also went to people and asked food.However,the people of those days did not know anything about the life of monks, as he was the first monk in this era.

People of Ayodhya loved their king so much that they offered gold, jewellery, gemstones, elephants, etc. and even their daughters to honour their king.However,Rishabhdeva was not thirsty of all these things but needed only 36 morsel of food which no body offered him.No body could think that their king was in need of the food.

Rishabhdeva,who was helpless,continued the fast for long time until his grand son Shreyansha kumar understood his need and offered him sugar cane juice,by which Rshabhdeva broke his fast after one year.The incident happened on the day of Akshaya Tritiya,which is considered by the Jains as one of the most auspicious day and sugarcane juice as the best offerings. Jains,as on today, observe long fast to commemorate their first Tirthankara, Rishabhadeva and break their fast on Akshaya Tritiya with sugar cane juice consumtion.