What is Akshaya Tritiya?
The mention of Akshaya Tritiya brings to mind many images — sparkling gold being sold at attractive prices, numerous couples tying the knot, launch of new businesses and holding of other events. The day, also known as Akha Teej, is considered highly favourable for such activities as it is believed to bring about the fulfilment of material desires of an individual.
While ‘Akshaya’ signifies immortality or an eternal life that is indestructible, ‘Tritiya' is the third lunar day as per the Hindu calendar. It is believed that any activity that begins or is performed on Akshaya Tritiya (Akha Teej) remains eternal and grows with time. This is the reason why new businesses are undertaken, marriages are held and investments in gold and property are made on this ‘lucky’ day.
When is Akshaya Tritiya?
According to the Hindu calendar, Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated on the third day of the month of Vaisakh during the Shukla Paksha. As per the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in the month of May or April.
Significance of Akshaya Tritiya
- The day is regarded as the first day of farming for the soon approaching harvest season.
- People from the Jain community observe a daylong fast and end the day by consuming sugarcane juice to commemorate the ending of Tirthankar Rishabdev’s year-long austerity.
- On this day, businessmen start their new year’s financial audit book.
- Buying of assets, starting new ventures and planning weddings and other auspicious events are performed on Akshaya Tritiya.
- Buying gold and silver jewelry is a key tradition of Akshaya Tritiya as it symbolizes abundance and good fortune.
- The day is also celebrated as Parshuram Jayanti, believed to be the day of birth of Lord Parshuram, who was the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Legends of Akshaya Tritiya
While the day is considered favourable by many, there are several legends and stories associated with Akshaya Tritiya that make it an auspicious occasion. Here are a few of the legends mentioned in Hindu Mythology:
Also See: Significance of Ganga Saptami
Story 1: The Akshaya Patra
In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas in exile were gifted a vessel by Lord Sun on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. A divine vessel, Akshaya Patra (inexhaustible vessel) offered a continuous supply of food. Another story mentions a sage visiting the Pandavas while they were in exile. Draupadi, who did not have any food to offer to the sage, told Lord Krishna of her helpless state, showing him an empty bowl that had held rice earlier. Finding a grain stuck on the vessel, Krishna consumed it and felt fully satisfied. This, in turn, also satiated all beings and the universe. The same vessel came to be known as Akshaya Patra and the day was called Akshaya Tritiya.
Story 2: Beginning of Treta Yug
As per the scriptures, a vicious long battle took place between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura culminating in the death of the asura at the hand of the goddess. As per the sacred Puranas, that day was marked as the end of Satya Yuga and start of the Treta Yuga, the second of four yugas. Since that day, Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated as the beginning of a new era.
Story 3: Krishna-Sudama reunion
The day is also known for the reunion of Lord Krishna and Sudama, who were childhood friends. On Akshaya Tritiya, Sudama visited Dwarka to meet Lord Krishna after being coerced by his wife to seek financial help from his childhood friend. When he looked at the wealth and opulence of Krishna, an embarrassed Sudama shied away from seeking any kind of aid, leaving without even handing him a packet of rice flakes that he had carried as gift for Lord Krishna. When Krishna found the rice flakes, he consumed it as a tribute to their divine bond of friendship. Upon his return, Sudama was surprised to find a grand palace had taken the place of his hut. He found all his family members in royal finery. Sudama immediately realized that Lord Krishna’s blessings had bestowed them with abundance. The same day is celebrated as Akshaya Tritiya, a day of prosperity.
Rituals of Akshaya Tritiya
- On the day, devotees offer prayers to Lord Vishnu, Goddess Vaibhav Lakshmi and Lord Krishna by observing a fast and performing other customs.
- Individuals also donate clothes, ghee, rice, fruits, salt, and vegetables to the needy.
- Tulsi water is sprinkled around the place of worship to evoke blessings of Lord Vishnu.
- Businessmen, who consider it a highly auspicious day, offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha to seek blessings for wealth and abundance.
- A ritual bath in sacred water and offering barley in the sacred fire are other important rituals of Akshaya Tritiya.
- Devotees also chant sacred mantras, perform meditation and spiritual activities to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu and attain good fortune.
Here’s wishing you all a prosperous and an auspicious Akshaya Tritiya!!
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