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Festival Indian Mythology

The festival of Kartik Poornima (Kartik Purnima)

The festival of Kartik Poornima (Purnima)

Though Kartik Poornima is not treated as a full-fledged festival, there are enough mythological stories which suggest that this is a very important day in hindu religion.
Both moon days of the month Kartik, (full moon and no moon) are auspicious. Many will not comprehend Kartik Amavasya, as it is better known as Diwali. Kartik Poornima has even more importance as it is called Dev Diwali ( the diwali of gods). This is the day when gods celebrate the victory of good over evil.
This festival underlines the importance of Lord Shiva. This festival is second only to Mahashivratri. Shiva relieved the earth by killing Tripurasuras.
Tripasura are the three sons of  TarakasuraVidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana. Due to a boon from Lord Brahma, they were virtually immortal. They were living comfortably in the city of Tripura. Gods pleaded Shiva to destroy them which Shiva denied. Then they pleaded Vishnu and he found a solution to their problem. Vishnu created a person to propagate an alternate form of religion. This religion was slowly accepted by the three sons of Tarakasura. They stopped following the teachings of Veda and worshipping Shiva. Lord Shiva then destroyed the city of Tripura with Pashupata astra. The chariot was created by Vishwakarma.

Shiva killing Tripusura

For this reason, Lord Shiva is also called Tripurari.

Kartik Poornina is also associated with following important occasions:
1. Birth of Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva.
2. Birth of Matasya (Matsya) avatar, an incarnation of Vishnu.
3. Birth of Vrinda, the personifield form of Tulsi.

The festival is more significant when this is in the Krittika nakshatra. It is then called Maha Kartik. If the nakshatra is Bharani, the results are stated to be special. In Rohini nakshatra, then the fruitful results are even much more.
A ritual bath at a tirtha (a sacred water body like a lake or river) at a pilgrimage centre is prescribed on Kartik Poornima. This holy bath is known as “Kartik snana”. An holy bath at Pushkar or in the Ganges river, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Kartik Poornima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi.

Devotees taking bath in Pushkar lake on Kartik Poornima (purnima)

This auspicious day is also celebrated in others religions – Sikh (Guru Nanak Jayanti) and Jain (Shri Shantrunjay Teerth Yatra).

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Indian Mythology

Guru Nanak Jayanti

 Guru Nanak Jayanti (Gurpurab)

Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurpurab, is the most auspicious festival of Sikh community in India. Nanakpanthi hindus and other followers of Guru Nanak’s philosophy also celebrate this festival.  This festival is celebrated on Kartik Poornima, which is a very auspicious day for hindus. In the year 2013, the date is 17 November.

Guru Nanak Dev

Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith, was born in the month of April,but his birthday is known celebrated on Kartik Poornima known as Guru Nanak Jayanti. He was born in 1469 A.D. at Talevandi some 30 miles from Lahore. His anniversaries of Sikh Guru’s are known as Gurpurabs (festivals) and are celebrated with devotion and dedication.

Guru Nanak – Gurpurab

Stories from his life give details of his divine awareness from a young age. At a very tender age, Nanak is said to have voiced interest in divine subjects. At age seven,  he started attending school. Some childhood accounts refer to strange and miraculous events about Nanak, once the sleeping child’s head was shaded from the harsh sunlight,  by the stationary shadow of a tree or by a poisonous cobra.

Cobra providing shadow to Nanak

Rai Bular, the local landlord and Nanak’s sister Bibi Nanaki were the first people who recognised spiritual qualities in the boy. They encouraged and supported him to study and travel. It is stated that at around 1499, at the age of 30, he had a vision. After he failed to return from his ablutions, his clothes were found on the bank of a local stream called the Kali Bein.

The people of the town assumed he had drowned in the river; Daulat Khan had the river dragged, but no body was found. Three days after disappearing, Nanak reappeared, staying silent.
The next day, Nanak said that he had been taken to God’s court. There, he was offered a cup filled with amrita (nectar).From this point onwards, Nanak is described in accounts as a Guru. This historical event also marks the birth of Sikhism.

Guru Nanak’s teachings can be found in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib, as a vast collection of revelatory verses recorded in Gurmukhi.

The celebration of Gurpurab

Prabhat Pheris are conducted at the festival. Prabhat Pheris are processions held in early morning. These start at the Gurudwaras and proceed around the localities singing religious songs. Before two days of festival, Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs) is held in the Gurudwaras.

A day prior to the birthday, a procession, referred to as Nagarkirtan, is organised. This procession is led by the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones). They head the procession carrying the Sikh flag, known as the Nishan Sahib and the Palki (Palanquin) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

On the day of the Gurpurab, the celebrations commence early in the morning at about 4 to 5 am. This time of the day is referred to as Amrit Vela. The day begins with the singing of Asa-di-Var (morning hymns). This is followed by any combination of Katha (discourse of the scriptures) and Kirtan (hymns from the Sikh scriptures), praising the Guru. Following that is the Langar, a special community lunch, which is arranged at the Gurudwaras by volunteers.

Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurpurab is celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world and is one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar. The celebrations are especially colourful in the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh.