Akashay Tritiya And The Excellence Of Charity

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Koushik Roy Choudhury

Akshay Tritiya, means ‘the third day of unending prosperity’, falls on the third lunar day of Bright Half of Vaishak (the first month of bengali new year). It is very popular festival among the Hindus and Jains celebrated in late April or early May.

The Hindu community considers the day as the bearer of eternal prosperity and luck. Therefore they hope that any initiative or venture on this day such as starting a business or company or new investment or construction of a building or entering a new home to live with or purchasing land and jewellery will bring good luck. So throughout India many are seen worshiping Gods in temples, taking holy bath in the Ganga. People gather in the temples and Mathas on this occassion. As it is considered the most pious day many shopkeepers do not open their new account book (Haal Khata) on bengali new year day i.e. 1st Vaishak and they wait for this ‘tithi’ for its glory.

According to our Mythology if a person conducts a virtuous deed or a holy work on this day, the result of his deed will be perpetual and he will get endless bless from God that will lead him many many miles ahead on his spiritual journey. On the contrary, if he commits a crime or performs an evil work on the day he will possess an equal quantity of eternal vice. Therefore we should remain very conscious about our each and every speeches, thoughts and works and should concentrate on good work only such as prayers, charity, giving drinking water to thirsty passersby as best as we can on this day. As every action done on this day marked as eternal and one should set one’s each step cautiously. Though everyone should follow these every moment.

The great ascetic Vagiratha’s spiritual hardship and strong devotion made ‘the rescuer of the fallen’, Mother Ganga to descend to our earth. She appeared on this day and has been flowing continuously and consistently since then. So it is called that ‘Akshay Tritiya’ is the birthday of mother Ganga in earth.

Hearing from Veda Vyas, Lord Ganesha started to compose the famous Hindu epic Mahabharata on ‘Akshaytritiya’. Lord Parshurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born on this auspicious day. Every year the construction of new chariots of Lord Jagannath, Baloram and Subhadra Devi at Puri Dham (Orissa) begins on this day. It is the day from when ‘Satya Yuga’, started, the highest spiritual age among the four ages of ‘Satya’, ‘Treta’, ‘Dwapar’ and ‘Kali’.

Long time after their childhood days, poor Sudhama was able to meet his intimate friend Shri Krishna. Krishna eradicated his friend’s poverty on this auspicious day. The ideal of our India is renunciation and service. It seems that the day Akshay Tritiya remind us this ideal every year. It inspires us again and again to understand the excellence of selfless service and donation. This magnitude of service and renunciation is scattered everywhere in our country from Ancient age to Modern age. We are proud of saying that our country is the paradigm of renunciation. We are well aware of the truthfulness and munificence of Raja Harishchandra. The self-sacrifice of Dadhichi Muni; the donation of three step land to Baman avatar (one of the ten incarnation of Lord Vishnu) by the king Baly; the story of Karna in Mahabharata, the act of giving away his only amulet to disguised Indra; the story of Rishi Rantidev – all these leave a deep impression in our minds. In modern age the life of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagara and Yugavatar Ramakrishna, the generosity of former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam, the charity of Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sebashram stimulate us to do the same.

One’s good thoughts and works are the outcome of one’s honest intention, honest company and blessings of God. These three together inspire man to donate and to serve others. That is why it is seen from aeons that all the noblemen, noble kings and honest householders donated many things to the needy at their level best.

Our scriptures also suggest not to lay by everything that we earn honestly or dishonestly because it increases guilty of our mind. Our bodies are attacked by different types of diseases. As a consequence, we have to run through severe mental pressure and physical pain. The days like Akshay Tritiya, Mahalaya, Ratha Yatra, Vijaya Dashami etc are the best opportunities to reduce the sin stored up by our past deed.

Let us go back to discuss the excellence of Akshay Tritiya again. We have known that one can possess undecaying virtues by giving drinking water to any thirsty person. According to the modern researchers, there prevails scorching heat all around in the summer and to escape from this heat striking weather we need first of all drinking water. Hailing rainy season, the observance of Akshay Tritiya gives us a great chance to distribute cold water among the thirsty. Therefore many clubs and organizations take initiative to open temporary ‘jalasatra’ (a place or shed where drinking water and other refreshments are given to the passersby in hot season) and thus give voluntary service.

In Bhabishya Purana we get a fomous and interesting story relating to the glory of Akshay Tritiya. Once a king went out for hunting. After chasing a deer for long time he became very tired and hungry. Being utterly exhausted he began to search a drop of drinking water to quench his thirst. After a thorough search he came across a cottage at the end of the jungle. There lived a cruel Brahmin devoid of all sorts of spiritual activity and his kind hearted wife Sushila. Now when he begged the Brahmin for some water, the uncultured Brahmin flared up like a volcano and told the trespasser to get out at once. When the trespasser was about to go back with gloomy face, suddenly a sweet voice, mixed with deep affection, entered his ear,”Stop dear son! Don’t go. I shall give you water and food.” She was none but the Brahmin’s wife, a pious lady who without paying heed to her husband offered the strange a delicious dish and cold water. The day belonged to this Akshay Tritiya tithi. The story has not finished yet. A few years later when the self-centered Brahmin died, the messengers of Yama (Yamdyut) came and took his soul away to Yamaloka. His sinful soul was feeling very much thirsty. The palate of his mouth became almost dry. He pleaded them for a drop of water but instead of giving him water, they began to insult him for his past deed. But when he was taken to the court of Yama, the god of death set him free by virtue of his wife’s religious merit and religious deed done on that Akshay Tritiya. After that, Akshay Tritiya has become famous and has been observed with great respect.

Rearranged and rewritten by Saswati Sarkar

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Post Author: Koushik Roy Chowdhury

Koushik Roy Choudhury
Teacher by profession and field researcher of Bengali folk culture and ancient history.

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