Happy New Year
January 1, 2013 falls on a very auspicious day – Angarki Chaturthi. It is a sacred day, which culminates in a puja done by the light of the Moon. The following story, is one version of the story of Angarki Chaturthi.
|Sage Bharadwaj (Bharadvaja) giving instruction|
The great sage Bharadwaj, was married to the goddess Prithvi (Earth.) One day, the sage Bharadwaj kissed his wife goodbye, and left her his blessings as he went to perform rigorous austerities in the forest.
|Goddess Prithvi —Mother Earth|
Soon after, his wife Prithvi, gave birth to a young boy named Bhaum (made of earth). The child glowed with the hue of flaming red flowers. After seven years, Sage Bharadwaj came back from his austerities. He was very happy to see his wife, as well as his new son. The Sage, hugged his wife, and welcomed his new son. He gave the boy a warm affectionate hug, baptized him, and began to instruct him in the Vedas.
After many years of acquiring knowledge from his father, the young prodigy requested to learn the worship of Ganesh. This brought a gentle smile to the face of Sage Bharadwaj, for he himself had long been a devout follower of Ganapati. He taught the auspicious prayers to Bhaum, and with a fatherly hug and a sacred pranam, he allowed his son Bhaum to journey to the banks of the Ganga, to perform austerities to the great elephant headed god.
For a thousand years, Bhaum devoutly, and meticulously performed his rites to Ganesh. Then, one night, after the Moon had risen, the gentle breeze brought the soft smell of sandal, jasmine and lotus flowers on the wind. On this night, the fourth night of the dark moon (chaturthi,) in the month of Magh, appeared the glowing form of Ganesh.
Impressed by the sacred space Bhaum had created, Ganesh revealed one of his most auspicious universal forms to Bhaum. Bhaum was humbled and awe-struck. In shock, with tears of bhakti flowing from his heart, he began a healthy amount of bowing, and prayers directly to Ganesh.
Ganesh, was so impressed by this young lads sincere tapas and devotion, that he offered to fulfill any boon the young yogi wished. Bhaum, thought deeply of his father, the great sage Bharadwaj, and his mother, the goddess Earth – he wished to make his parents happy. He bowed his head in a humble pranam and asked, “oh great Ganapati, I wish to drink the sacred Amrit, I wish to be known in the three lokas, I wish to be as auspicious as you, and evoke the same auspiciousness that you do, oh great Ganapati.”
Ganesh sorted through a billion years of thoughts in one instance and proclaimed "I will call you Mangal(auspicious) and Angaraka(glowing embers, Mars,) I will place you in the heavens, and all will be able to see you".
In the sanctified light of the chaturthi moon, Ganapati allowed Bhaum to drink the sacred nectar (Amrit;) revealed secret prayers, and bestowed upon him, the status of a planet. On this night, Bhaum became the planet Mars (Mangala).
|Mother and Son|
And so, January 1, 2013, is a very sacred Tuesday that honors the day Mars was installed in the heavens, and the glories of Ganapati’s blessings and wisdom. It is the most opportune day, to plan where the best place for you to put your energy will be for the coming year (Ganesh.) It is also a key day to align the proper drive, energy, and spirit to manifest what you envision (Mars).
Mother Earth —Prithvi
Om Bhur Bhuvah Suvaha,
Bharadvaja Sagotra Bhauma Ihagacca Iha Tistha,
Om Bhaumaya Namah,
Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha
Moonrise – January 1, 2013
9:10 PM NYC
9:18 PM L.A.
9:33 PM San Francisco
This day requires fasting all day. After the Moon rises one is supposed to bathe, do Ganesha pooja, and then one can take food.
Obviously this is a simplified explanantion, there are numerous rites that can be performed for Angarki Chaturthi, including Moon rites, Mars rites, and many types of Ganapati puja. Ganesha Artharvashirsha is an overall beneficial stotram to perform on Ganesh Chaturthi.
There are four basic forms of Chaturthi dates: Vinayaka Chaturthi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Sankashti Chaturthi, and Angarki Chaturthi
It is quite common knowledge that one is not to look at the Moon during Ganesha Chaturthi. This is derived from important stories, but it is curious that Angarki Chaturthi is supposed to be done in the darshan(light) of the Moon. Some argue that the sight of the Moon is necessary for Angarki Chaturthi, while others argue that one should abstain from a direct look at the Moon, but still be in it’s light. I cannot determine if this comes from a misunderstanding of the text, or simply, if different sects have their own secrets as to the execution of the ritual on this night.
Some sects, go to a plan B if no Moon is observed on this night. It involves continuing fast till next day (panchami), with rites continuing into the next day as well.
In North America, Chaturthi begins around 11:00 AM Monday morning, so if you follow the vrata, you must take this into consideration.