Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej, is a holy day for Hindus and Jains. It falls on the Third Tithi (lunar day) of bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the pan-Indian month of Vaishaka and one of the four most important days for Hindus. It is an auspicious day of the birthday of Lord Parasurama who is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The meaning of the Parasurama who Akshaya is infinite that which never recede.
In Jain and Hindu calendars, some days of the month are absent in counting and some days (tithi in lunar calendars) come extra, but Akshaya tritiya is one day which is never “absent” from the lunar calendar.
The word “Akshaya” means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and the day is believed to bring good luck and success. It is believed that if you do chanty on this day, you will be blessed.
Nowadays jewellers have turned the purity into a marketing gimmick. The day is considered auspicious for starting new ventures. The legend is that any venture initiated on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya starting a business, construction, etc. is performed on Akshaya Tritiya.
Astrological Significance of AKSHAYA TRITIYA
As per Hindu astrology (Muhurta) three lunar days (tithis) are auspicious. These are called Sade-Teen Muhurat also. These Tithis are first Tithi of Bright Half of Chaitra (starting of new year), tenth Tithi of Bright Half of Ashvin (vijay Dashmi), third Tithi of Bright half of Vaishakha (Akshay Tritiya- Parshurama Jayanti) and first Tithi of Bright Half of Karttika Are called “Sade-Teen (3 !4) Muhurat”. The first three tithis are counted as full and last one as half Tithi and constitute Sade- Teen Muhurt. Sun and moon are astrologically believed to be at their most Exalted equal brightness on this day.
Akshaya Tritiya is also called Navanna Parvam. Akshaya Tritiya falling on a Rohini star on Monday is considered more auspicious.
Akshaya Tritiya according to HINDUISM
In Hinduism, Akshay Tritiya was the day when Ganesha, the god of wisdom and obstacle removal, started writing the epic Mahabharata to Ved Vyasa’s dictation. This day is ruled by God Vishnu, the preserver-god in the Hindu Trinity. It is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of the Hindu Trinity. It is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of the Vishu. According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Treta Yuga began and the river Ganges, the most sacred river of India, descended to the earth from the heaven, on this day that Goddess Annapoorna devi was born.
Kubera received his wealth and position as custodian of wealth and property with Goddess Lakshmi on this day, by praying to Lord Shiva at Sivapuram.
In Mahabharata, Yudhisthira receives the Akshaya patra, which he uses to serve food for all the needy in his kingdom.
On this day that poor Sudama, the best friend of Krishna visits Him (Lord Krishna) to greet Him after he became the king. With nothing to offer, Sudama takes with him Poha (puffed rice) and offers it to his friend and never discusses his poverty though he intends to. On his return he finds that his hut changed to a palace.
In more recent history. Adi Shankara recited the Kanaka Dhara Stotra on this day for the sake of the poor couple at whose house he stopped for Bhiksha and he was offered their only available gooseberry. Goa and Konkan regions, even today, are referred to as Parashurama Kshetra.
In Odisha on Akshay Tritiya farmers start ploughing their land and construction of chariots for Rath Yatra begins at Puri.
The Vedic scriptures say that knowledge gained or charity done on Akshay Tritiya is very fruitful. It is considered to be a very lucky day to start new business or venture. Many people buy gold or property on this day.
Fasts are kept on this day and pujas are performed. In chanty, fan, rice, salt, ghee, vegetables, tamarind, fruits, clothes, are given. Vishnu is worshiped. Tulsi water is sprinkled in the nearby area of the idol while performing aarti.
In Bengal, on the day of the Akshay Tritiya, “HalKhata” -a ceremony to start the new audit book is performed. They observe this day worshipping Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi. Bengalis perform many rites and rituals on this day.
This day is most auspicious day for the Jat farming community. Early morning, a male member of a Jat family goes to the field with a shovel. All the animals and birds encountered on the way to the field are omens and predictions for rains and crops. Akshay Tritiya is an occasion for weddings, which are conducted in mass ceremonies. It is considered an un puja muhurat.
It is believed that god Kubera, the treasurer of the gos, is the richest deity. Lakshmi Tantram says that even Kubera will pray to goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu, on Akshya Tritiya. A day-long Kubera Lakshmi Puja is performed in which an image of Lakshmi is worshiped with Sudarsana Kubera Yantra, symbolising Kubera.
On Akshay Tritiya, who have the responsibility of taking care of the subjects, should perform ‘puja’, with gratitude and devotion, of the picture of Vaibhav-Lakshmi’ with Sree Vishnu as it helps to make the subjects happy and prosperous. Before worshipping Sree Lakshmi in any of her forms, first invite Sree Vishnu and then invite Sree Lakshmi as the worshipper gets maximum benefit of Lakshmi-tattva”(principle)
Akshaya Tritiya according to JAINISM
Followers of the Jain religion consider Akshaya Tritiya to be a holy and supremely auspicious day. It is associated with Lord Adinatha, also known as Rishabhadeva, first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras. On this day people who observe the year-long alternative day fasting known as Varshi-tap finish their Tapasya. In general they finish this by doing parana by drinking sugarcane juice.
The day of Akshaya Tritiya is worshiped and said to be auspicious in Jainism because it is said to have established the very first “ahar charya”: a methodology to prepare and serve food to Jain monks. Lord Rishabhadeva denounced the worldly pleasures after dividing his vast kingdom amongst his 101 sons, prominent of whom are Gomateshwara Bahubali.
Lord Rishabha Vera mediated without any food and water for six months and after set out to accept food (ahara). He was the first monk this era. Jain monks do not own anything. They do not even cook food for themselves. When hungry or thirsty, (once in a day), it is offered. Tirthankara Rishabhadeva went to people to accept food. However, the people of that time did not know anything about the lives and disciplines of monks, as he was the first monk of that era. The horses,expensive garments and even their daughters to honour their beloved king.
But Rishabhadeva was not in search for these things. He sought only a morsel of food, but nobody it to him. Nobody understood that their king was looking for food to ensure that the monts who would come after him get food and water in the purest form needed to lead an ascetic life. As there was no choice, he had to fast for one year until King Shreyans understood his need sugarcane juice is considered by Jains to be one of the best offerings.
It is further believed that religious gifts bestowed on Akshaya Tritiya become inexhaustible. Jains today observe a fast to commemorate their first Tirthankara Rishabhadeva on Akshaya Tritiya and end their fast with sugarcane juice.
In Hastinapur, there is a fair held on Akshaya Tritiya. Jains arrive from all over India in large numbers to end their fasts. The ritual ending of a fast by Jains is called parana.
Recommendations And Prohibitions During Akshaya Tritiya
Being Yugadi Tithi, it is most beneficial for performing meritorious (Punya Karma) deeds such as recitations (Japa), penance (Tapa), donations (Dana) ritual bathing (Snana) sacrifices (Havan), burnt oblations to fire (hooma). But initiation/conducting of activities like wearing sacred thread (Upanayana), ending of fast, house construction and entering thereof, travelling and plantation is prohibited in certain relationships, purchases and commitments on this auspicious day.
Worldly activities can be initiated during currency of this day Tithi. However, aspirants must ensure that duration is not sullied by concurrence of malefic times observed according to the Hindu principles. And the moments are favourable to the doer by transits of the planets and the like.
Starting a new activity or buying valuables on Akshaya Tritiya is considered to bring luck and success. The religious merit that is acquired by giving gifts on this day is considered inexhaustible.
Most jewelry stores stock in new models for this occasion with “Lakshmi-inscribed” gold coins, diamond jewelry and golden dollars. Although modern retailers are exploiting the materialistic urge in people, today there is awareness regarding Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej.