Akshaya Tritiya: The Day of GivingApril 29, 2011
By Dr. K.V. Seshadrinatha Sastri
Dharma Sastra recommends charity on Akshaya Tritiya that falls on May 6.
Shukla paksha Tritiya (third waxing phase of the Moon) in the month of Vaisagam is known as Akshaya Tritiya. This was the day when Kritha Yuga (cycle of time), the first among the four Yugas, started. The star Rohini and Wednesday, both auspicious for Lord Krishna, coincided on this day.
The reasoning ability of man was of the highest order during the Kritha Yuga. The power of dharma (truth and righteousness) was known to be 100 per cent during this period. Thereafter, it is said to have gradually declined by 25 per cent in every subsequent Yuga – Yuge Yuge Dharma Padaka. Therefore, a complete personality such as Lord Krishna is identified with the Kritha Yuga. This resulted in obeisance to Madhusudanan, a form of Lord Krishna, on this day.
On Akshaya Tritiya, one should worship the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi along with her consort Lord Vishnu. Akshaya here stands for the rice with which archana is performed.
The Gita has Krishna narrating this story to Arjuna. It is that of Mahodhayan, a merchant who knew the importance of Akshaya Tritiya. He worshipped Lord Madhusudanan and gave away a lot in charity. It yielded him fruitful results, as in his next life he was the king of Kusavathy and his treasury was always full.
Akshaya means fulfilment, as proclaimed in this sloka: Eshaha dharmakadaha dathaha, Brahma Vishnu Sivathmahaha, Baktithaha sampradhasyami akshayam upathistathi. This day is apt for giving gifts. The present practice of buying gold for cash has not been mentioned in Dharma Sastra (Vedic conduct). Dharma Sastra says anything that is grown naturally in this world can be donated. It also looks down upon the accumulation of wealth by a few persons. Therefore, the help that we render on this day can assist the poor and the needy. It is also auspicious to feed them, and donate towards the uplift of their lives.
Akshaya Tritiya falls during Vasantha Ruthu (spring), when human body tends to become hot. Therefore, on this day, it is advisable to take a holy dip in a river, chant divine names of the Almighty, perform homa (fire ritual), and recite Vedas. Ayurveda too prescribes changes in one’s activities and food habits according to the prevailing season. Thus Panagam (jaggery water), diluted buttermilk and curd rice would be apt for the summer days to eat and to distribute.
On this day, propitiating one’s ancestors is also of great significance. After a holy dip in a tank or river, one should offer Thila Tarpanam (sesame seeds) to the ancestors. It is believed that donating ‘Dharma Kadam’ (sanctified pot filled with water and items such as clove, cardamom, herbs) and grains such as wheat and barley to Vedic Pundits (purohits and priests) is considered sacred.
(The author, former principal of Sanskrit College, Madras, is an Ayurvedic doctor and serves as Member, Advisory Board, Astrology and Vedic Services, AstroVed.com.)
AstroVed is organizing grand celebrations of Akshaya Tritiya from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm on Friday, 6th May 2011 at Jaigopal Garodia Vivkeananda Vidyalaya, U-Block, Anna Nagar, Chennai.
To participate in the donation services on this auspicious day, please click here – .