Akshaya Tritiya

8 min read
Posted on April 28, 2022

Akshaya Tritiya is also known as Akti or Akha Teej. In Jharkhand, it is well known by the name of Manda and falls on the third tithi of the bright half of Shukla paksha in the month of Vaishakha. It is mainly observed by Jains, Hindus and Jharkhand tribals of India. It is also a popular festival celebrated in Nepal. It falls in the month of April-May every year, as per the Gregorian calendar. The festival date varies according to the lunar position.

Akshaya Tritiya

In Sanskrit, the word ‘Akshaya’ means ‘never decreasing’, in the sense of affluence, pleasure, joy and triumph, and ‘Tritiya’ means the third phase of the moon. Thus, Akshay Tritiya or Akha teej, is the third thithi of Vaishakha or spring. It is one of the auspicious festivals of Hindu calendar. It is celebrated with great belief and fervour, by Hindus and Jain communities of the country. It marks the birth of great Parshuram (the sixth incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu), and the festival brings good luck and victory in one’s life.

ORIGIN AND SIGNIFICANCE:

Often referred as Akha Teej, the festival holds a rich history, and hence several legends are connected with its celebration:

  1. Bhagawan Parshuram’s birth: Akshaya Tritiya marks the birth of Parshuram (sixth form of Shri Hari). As per Vedic scriptures, it was Parshuram who regained the ownership of land from the ocean.
  2. Maa Annapurna’s birth: As per Hindu scriptures, Annapurna Devi (devi of food) was born on this auspicious day. It is said that she is a form of Maa Parvati, and when Shivji went to her, begging for food, she turned herself to Maa Annapurna and fed Bhagawan Shiva by herself.
  3. Mahabharat: It is also said that, on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, Shri Ganesha wrote the epic Mahabharata as told by Ved Vyas. Dharmaraj Yudhishtir, the eldest of all the five Pandavas, was given a bowl by Shri Krishna on Akshay Tritiya, at Thirumandurai temple, and the bowl was called Akshaya Patram. The bowl was said to serve unlimited food and it was used to feed hungry and poor people, so that, no one coming to their house, could return empty stomach or dissatisfied.
  4. Kubera’s rendezvous: On the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya, Kuber, the banker of heaven, was given a fortune of wealth by the grace of Bhagwan Shiva. Also, Lakshmiji was given the same authority on the same day. Both Kuber and Lakshmiji were appointed as the guardians of wealth and prosperity, on this day.
  5. Legend about Krishna and Sudama: As per Bhagavata Purana, Shri Krishna met his childhood friend Sudama, on Akshay Tritiya. Sudama went to Shri Krishna with a handful of rice, to seek financial help. Vasudev’s quote ‘atithi devo bhava’ was totally justified here, as Sudama came in a very miserable condition but went back wealthy.
  6. According to Puranas, there was a very religious merchant, but he was too poor to manage a meal also. When his elders saw his faith towards Bhagwan, they advised him to follow Akshaya Tritiya vrat. He took a bath and went to donate food, milk and other articles, to the needy, on that day. Because of his genuine efforts, he was born as Kushapathy Vhakravati in the next birth.
  7. As per legends, the sacred Ganga river descended to earth, from heaven, on the holy day of Akshaya Tritiya.

Akha Teej has lot of significance in Indian vedic history:

  • Starting day of Treta yug after Satyug.
  • Is the birth tithi of Parshuramji.
  • Ved Vyas started orating the epic Mahabharat, on this day.
  • Annual Rath Yatra in Puri begins on this day.

The word Akshaya Tritiya means ‘Never ceasing’, and the one who follows this day, is blessed to have bountiful wealth and prosperity. It is also considered as an important day to start any new venture.

DEITIES ASSOCIATED WITH THE FESTIVAL:

Akshaya Tritiya is dedicated to the worship of Bhagawan Vishnu, the preserver and provider of life, who is believed to remove all sins and sorrows, from one’s life. The one who performs Maha Vishnu puja on this day, may also attend salvation. People also perform Tulsi puja on this day. Many other deities such as Ganesha, Lakshmi and Kubera, are also worshiped on this day, through pujas performed for various purposes.

CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS AND RITUALS:

Akshaya Tritiya is the most common occasion to observe vrat, not just by Hindus, but also by Jains. It is a tradition to observe fast on this day. Charity of food and other items of need, to needy and poor people, is of great importance on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. In south India, many people purchase gold on this day, as buying gold on this day is considered very auspicious and brings good luck and fortune in life. People also consider Akshay Tritiya as an auspicious day to start new ventures or do Pujas like kalash pujan and neev pujan on this day, laying the foundation of the house or any property.

  • People observe fast on this day.
  • Donation of clothes, food items, ghee, pulses, vegetables and fruits, is considered as an important ritual.
  • In Eastern parts of the country, ploughing for the upcoming harvest season begins on this day.
  • People also start their accounting books on this day, for the new financial year. They perform puja in reverence of Bhagwan Ganesha and Maa Lakshmi and open their new books of accounts. This is popularly called ‘Halkhata’.
  • Jains end their varshitap (yearlong penance), on this day, by drinking sugarcane juice.
  • Devotees worship Shri Krishna on this day, by applying sandalwood paste. It is believed that offering prayers to him in a proper way on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, brings infinite wealth and property.
  • Devotees also worship horses on this day. This puja is called ‘Ashwa Puja’. Horses represent command and energy and they bless devotees and their families with peace, vibrancy and positivity.
  • It is a tradition to buy items of gold or silver on this day, as an auspicious beginning of the financial year.

As described in South Indian scriptures, Maa Madhua got married to Bhagwan Sundara (Shivji) on this day. Thus, Akha Teej is considered as the most auspicious day for tieing the nuptial knot. In many states of the country, samuhik vivah or mass marriages are organized on this day, in a single mandap, to help the bride and the groom reduce the financial pressures and still perform all rituals of marriage traditionally.

On Akshaya Tritiya, people who observe vrat, prepare Akshate. Akshate is a mixture of full rice grains, haldi and kumkum, and is offered to Shri Hari, to bring luck to the family. Pitra Tarpan or paying respect to ancestors, also is an important ritual on this day.

Akshaya Tritiya Naivedyam: special delicacies are prepared and offered to Bhagwan. Food items may differ from state to state, but fruits, milk, curd and honey are common in all the states and communities. Dishes of rice and coconut are commonly prepared on this day. Different kinds of charities performed on this day, have different significances:

  • Jal Danam is done with betel nuts and dakshina to Brahmin.
  • Vastra Danam means charity of clothes to poor, old age homes and orphanages for financial growth.
  • Buttermilk Danam on this day helps in getting wisdom.
  • Kumkum Danam is blessed with high status and a long life as a husband.
  • Chandan Danam protects individuals from

PUJA VIDHI AND VRAT KATHA:

Vidhi:

  • Wake up early in the morning and take a sacred bath, mixing a few drops of holy water of Ganga.
  • Wear clean clothes.
  • Offer Arghya of water to Surya Devta.
  • Observe dhyana and take an oath or make an intention of performing puja and all the rituals in a whole heartedly manner.
  • Perform Abhishek of Vishnuji and Lakshmiji with panchamrit (milk, curd, honey, ghee and sugar).
  • Clean the chowki where worship has to be performed and cover it with a yellow cloth.
  • Place murtis of Bhagwan Vishnu, Ganpati ji, Lakshmi ji and Kuberji on the chowki. Lakshmiji should always be on the left of Shri Hari.
  • Sprinkle water using tulsi leaves on the Bhagwana
  • Offer Akshat
  • Apply sandalwood paste to Vishnu ji and Kumkum to Lakshmi ji
  • Light the lamp with ghee/mustard oil and also kapur.
  • Offer lotus flowers and incense.
  • Offer barley, wheat, sesame seeds, chana dal, fruits ,kheer and naivedya prepared at home.
  • Place the new gold or silver items purchased for this day in front of the Bhagwan and perform aarti.

Chanting is an integral part of the pooja of Akshaya Tritiya. While doing abhishek and other puja rituals, one should continuously chant the mantras.
Following are the mantras chanted during different rituals:
Ganga Mantra (while bathing):
Gange ca Yamua Caiva Godavari Sarasvati,Narmade sindhu KaveriJalesmin Sannidhim Kuru.

Bhagwan Ganesha mantra: Om Gan Ganpataye Namah and Vakratund Mahakaya Suryakoti samaprabhaNievighnam kurumedev sarva karyeshu sarvada.

Bhagwan Vishnu mantra: Om Namo Narayane and Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevay

Chanting Vishnu Shaastranaam is highly suggested.

Maa Lakshmi mantra: Om Hreem Shreem Lakshambiyo Namah, Om Shree maha Lakshmiyain Cha Vidmahe VishnuPatnyai Cha Dheemahi Tano Lakshhi Prachodyat.

Kubera Mantra:  Kubera Twam DanadesamGruha Te KamalaSitha Tam Devam Prehasayu Twam Mradguge te Namo namah.

Katha:
Akshaya Tritiya in Jainism-story of Rishabh Devta
:

On this day, Bhagwan Rishabh of Jain Community, broke his varshitap, a one year fast, by drinking sugarcane juice. He was the first Tirthankara (one who takes others to tirth after crossing the river of birth and death). According to Jainism, when King Rishabh ruled the earth, there was prosperity everywhere and there was no anxiety or fear, due to the presence of Kalpavriksha on earth. But gradually the efficacy of trees diminished and people started suffering. Thus, they visited King Rishabh and asked for help. The king, for their inner contentment, taught them six professions as:

Asi, for those who are devoted to protecting Kshatriyas.

Masi, for those who share knowledge, like poets or writers.

Krishi, who honoured bhumi, like farmers.

Vidya for those who enlighten others, like Brahmins.

Shilps, who construct and find beauty in nature, like craftsman, potters.

By engaging people in these activities, he realized that people gained a sense of fulfilment and lived in harmony with each other.

Once, Indra Dev organized a dance event in the assembly of Rishabh Dev. One of the dancers, Nilanjana, died while performing. On this, Rishabh Dev realized that nothing is permanent. Eventually, he left all the luxury and went on a journey to find his soul.

As mentioned in Bhavishya Puranas, once, there was a vaishya named Dharmadas, who was very virtuous, and had great faith in Brahmanism. He lived a restless life due to his responsibilities towards his large family. He heard of Akshaya Tritiya vrat, in Shukla Paksha of Vaishakha month, from some Brahman, and started observing this vrat with proper customs and rituals, donating grains, chana, jaggery, curd and other things on this day. His wife saw this and asked him to stop lest all his wealth be lost in charity. However, he did not stop and finished the vrat procedure. After some days, he died and it is said that in the next birth, he was born as king of Mati in Dwaraka, and it is believed that he got such rajyog as a reward for observing the Akshaya Tritiya vrat.

CELEBRATION OF FESTIVAL ACROSS THE COUNTRY:

Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated in different parts of the country, with different flavours and fervour.

  1. Celebration in Uttar Pradesh (Vrindavan): The day holds importance because this is the only day in Vrindavan temple, when Banke Bihari shows his feet. As this is the first day of creation, people around the world visit to seek his blessings. Sandalwood paste is applied to Bhagwan and Naivedyam made of sattu, Aamras and cucumber, is given.
  2. Celebration in Odisha: In Odisha, this day marks the beginning of ratha yatra, in Puri, and it is the most celebrated festival. Farmers also start sowing in paddy fields on this day. Lakshmi is worshipped for good harvest, and in some parts of Odisha, green leafy vegetables are forbidden on this day, to avoid bad luck.
  3. Celebration in Maharashtra: On Akshaya Tritiya, women of Maharashtra exchange Haldi, kumkum and pray for a good marital status and long lives of their respective husbands. Sweets and fruits are offered to Gauri Ji on this day.
  4. Celebration in West Bengal: People of this state, celebrate Akha Teej with great pomp and show. They purchase long term assets, gold, silver on this day, and offer prayers to Maa Lakshmi to please her and receive blessings of a prosperous life.

BENEFITS OF AKSHAYA TRITIYA PUJA:

Akshaya Tritiya puja is known to bless with longevity, health, fortune and charm in the life of the members of the family. Family is blessed with ceaseless resources and will be devoid of any obstacles. Akshaya Tritiya Puja is done in the workplace, to remove hurdles and distractions in the path of progress of business and expansion.

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