Akshaya Thrithiya is the festival occurring on the Shukla Paksha Thrithiya of Chaitra month. For the year 2021, it falls on Friday, 14th May 2021. The exact duration of the Thrithiya Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
Akshaya Thrithiya is considered as the day of abundance, good luck, prosperity and auspiciousness. Akshaya Thrithiya is also called as Akti or Akha Teej. It is celebrated by Hindus and Jains.
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Chandra and Surya
Surya, the Sun provides energy to the earth for its rotation and for the growth and life of all the living beings on earth. Sun is the source of sustenance and substance.
Chandra, the moon is the source of coolness and peace of mind. Peace of mind is important for a person’s growth.
Surya provides for physical growth and Chandra takes care of internal peace. Both are essential for earth and for life.
The effects of rays from Surya on Amavasya day and from Chandra on Pournami day can be witnessed in the upsurge of the oceans on those days.
As per the legend, on Akshaya Thrithiya day, the rays of both Surya and Chandra fall on earth with equal intensity. Hence this day is considered to be very auspicious.
Akshaya Thrithiya – Legends
The word “Akshaya” means “growth, development, upliftment, fulfillment and abundance of goodness”. As per beliefs, the word “Akshayam” was pronounced by various manifestations of the God on the Akshaya Thrithiya day on various occasions. As the word was uttered by the Almighty, the festival is more significant.
There are several legends attached to the celebration of this festival. A few of them are narrated here.
As per the legend, for every Tithi, a Deity is ascribed. For the Shukla Paksha Thrithiya, the Deity is called as Sri Nithyaklinna. She did penance on Sri Parvathi Devi. Sri Parvathi was pleased with the penance and asked her as to what boon she had desired.
Sri Nithyaklinna said that atleast for one Shukla Paksha Thrithiya, whoever worships Sri Ambika should be bestowed with the aspired wealth. Sri Ambika granted that Chaitra Shukla Paksha Thritiya would be one such day. That day is the Akshaya Thrithiya day.
Origin of the universe
As per the legend, Akshaya Thrithiya is the day of origination of universe in Krita Yuga, the first of the four Yugas. At the end of the Kalpa, there was deluge everywhere. Nothing was in existence.
The Almighty, in the form of Sri Parameshwara had shown His pointing finger at the deluge and uttered “Akshayam”. Sri Parameshwari was beside Him.
Soon on the utterance of the word, the universe was born in Krita Yuga. Krita Yuga is also known as Satya Yuga.
When Devas sought the blessings of Sri Maha Vishnu for eternity and for living better than Asuras, He had asked them to churn the cosmic ocean and get the nectar. At the same time, Asuras also desired the nectar.
As per arrangements, with Asuras on one side and the Devas on the other side, the cosmic ocean was churned with the snake Vasuki with the Meru mountain serving as the catalyst.
After the emergence of halahala poison which was consumed by Lord Shiva, lot of auspicious persons / things have emerged. Notable among them are Iravatha (the white elephant), Uchaisravas (the holy horse), Kamadhenu (the holy cow), Parijatha (the holy tree), Dhanvantri (the celestial physician), Chandra (the moon) and Sri Maha Lakshmi.
Chandra emerged only as the crescent moon.
As soon as Sri Mahalakshmi had appeared and cast Her eyes on Chandra, he had become a full moon.
As Chandra was very bright and beautiful, he was appreciated by all. This all-round adulation went to his head. He started to throw his weight around by insulting others.
Slowly he was getting disliked by all. The dislike changed to rage and everyone cursed him for his beauty.
The curses did show the effect. He was afflicted with the skin decease and was losing his sheen and brightness. He was also shrinking in size. He had become a crescent moon (third day growing moon) just as he was born.
Chandra was somehow confident that he would get his form back. As days passed by, he was losing hope. He had come to a stage where he was sure that he would diminish completely.
Then he thought that unless he got divine intervention, no one could save him. He rushed to Kailash and fell at the feet of Sri Shiva and Sri Parvathi. He sincerely apologized for his wayward behavior.
Lord Shiva then pardoned him and kept the crescent moon form from Chandra on the left side of his head. Chandra was relieved that he was kept alive. Then, he also felt forlorn that he would remain as crescent only.
Uma Devi sensed the anguish of Chandra. She took another crescent moon form from Chandra and kept it on the right side of her head.
Then Lord Shiva uttered “Akshayam”. On the utterance, the crescent on the left side of the head of Lord Shiva got united with the crescent on the right side of the head of Parvathi Devi got united.
The full moon Chandra was re-born. The day of the union of the crescents happened on Akshaya Thrithiya day.
However, as ordained, Chandra had to continually undergo the cycle of growing and diminishing every month.
Soon on emerging from the cosmic ocean, Sri Mahalakshmi had married Sri Maha Vishnu.
However, She also wanted to have to a permanent place in His heart. Hence, She did penance on Him sincerely. Sri Maha Vishnu was very much pleased with Her penance and gave a place to Her in His heart on the Akshaya Thrithiya day.
Since then, wherever, whenever and for whoever Sri Vishnu utters Akshayam, She bestows wealth. There are several such occasions when She had showered blessings as directed by Sri Vishnu.
The first such instance was related to Sudhama.
Sudhama was the close friend of Sri Krishna when they were the disciples of the Sage Sandhipani at Mathura.
Soon after completing the education at Gurukul, Sudhama had married Susheela. Though their well wishers blessed them to have all types of wealth, they were blessed only with progeny and nothing else. He was blessed with twenty-seven kids with no food or sustenance to support them. As he was afflicted with poverty, he was called as Kuchela.
Susheela came to know about Sudhama’s friendship with Sri Krishna. She asked her husband to approach Sri Krishna for help. Sri Krishna was the King of Dwaraka by then.
Sudhama was very reluctant. Susheela was insistent. She told him, “You don’t have to ask for anything. Just by seeing you, your friend will understand your predicament. Just give it a try”.
Sudhama left for Dwaraka by foot. Susheela had given him a small pack of pounded rice to give to Sri Krishna.
On the way, there were trees on both the sides of the road. However, he thought that some insects and ants might take rest under the shadow of the trees and that he would tread on them if he walked in shadows. Sudhama walked only in the middle of the road in the scorching sun. He was such a kind hearted person.
He reached Sri Krishna’s palace. On seeing his attire, the guard refused to allow him in. At that time, Sri Krishna himself had spotted his friend.
He told the guard to let the guest in. The friends were very happy to see each other.
Sri Krishna had realized that His dear friend had walked in the scorching sun. He was overwhelmed at His friend’s kindness.
He made Sudhama sit on a cushion seat and started massaging the feet of Sudhama. Sri Krishna had also asked His wife Sri Rukmini to fan for Sudhama. She obliged. Sudhama was speechless at the services rendered by the Divine Royal Couple.
Then Sri Krishna asked, “Why are you not giving me the item you brought for me?”. Saying so, he took the cloth bundle and opened the pounded rice parcel.
Sri Krishna then said, “Akshayam” and partook of a handful of the pounded rice. He took the second mouthful also in the same process. When he tried to take the third morsel, Sri Rukmini stopped Him.
Then the royal couple invited Sudhama for lunch, he refused. He thought that it would be unfair to have a sumptuous meal when his family was starving. He was also upset that Sri Rukmini Devi had stopped Sri Krishna from taking the third morsel.
He left the palace and reached his place. He was surprised that his hut had transformed into a huge mansion and his wife was adorning rich garments and jewels.
He then realized that with partaking of every morsel of pounded rice, Sri Krishna had made Sudhama rich. Sri Rukmini Devi, being the incarnation of Sri Mahalakshmi had stopped Sri Krishna lest She Herself would be forced to leave Dwaraka if Sudhama was made richer.
Akshaya Thrithiya was the day when Sudhama met Sri Krishna and became rich. Hence it is considered auspicious to buy gold or silver on this day.
When Pandavas had lost to Sakuni in the game of dice, without thinking, they had pawned Dhraupathi, their wife. Dhraupathi was dragged to the Kauravas’ court and was being de-robed by Dhuchasan, the brother of Dhuryodhan.
Dhraupathi was helpless and realized that only Sri Krishna could save her. She cried “Krishna”. Then Sri Krishna had uttered the word “Akshayam” and yards and yards of the saree kept covering the body of Dhraupathi even when Dhuchasan was dragging her saree.
The day when Sri Krishna protected the chastity of Dhraupathi occurred on Akshaya Thrithiya day. Hence it is considered auspicious to buy new garments on this day.
As per the legend, once, Lord Shiva was afflicted with hunger. No amount of food could reduce His hunger. He was roaming around the worlds.
Sri Parvathi Devi took the form of Sri Annapurni and had a golden vessel in Her hand. From the vessel, with the golden ladle, She gave food to Lord Shiva. His hunger subsided.
He then ordained that Sri Annapurni should provide food to all living beings and that Her vessel would be called as ‘’Akshaya Pathra”.
The day when Sri Annapurni fed Lord Shiva to alleviate His hunger occurred on Akshaya Thrithiya day. Hence it is considered auspicious to buy food stuff on this day.
This is about another Akshaya Pathra.
When Pandavas and Dhraupathi were in van-vas exile in the forest, lots of sages visited them. As Pandavas were impoverished at that time, they could not provide food to the visitors.
With the guidance of a sage, Yudhishtra had prayed to Lord Surya for help. Lord Surya had given a vessel to Yudhishtra and told him that the Pandavas could feed as many people as they wish from this vessel.
The day Lord Surya gave Akshaya Pathra to Yudhishtra was the Akshaya Thrithiya day.
The specialty of the vessel was that the vessel should be cleaned only after everyone was fed for the day. If it was cleaned, it could be functional only the next day.
Once, the Pandavas had already had partaken of food for the day and they did not expect any visitor on that day. Dhraupathi had already cleaned the vessel.
On that day, Sage Dhurvasa and his team visited Pandavas unexpectedly. Dhurvasa said that he and his team would take bath in the river and come for dinner.
Dhraupathi was helpless. The Akshaya Pathra would work only on the next day. She sincerely prayed to Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna came there and asked her to bring the vessel. She brought it to Him. There was a small remnant of a green salad in the vessel. Sri Krishna took it in His hand, said “Akshayam” and ate it.
At that time, Sage Dhurvasa and his team were returning from the river and they felt very full. They did not have even an iota of hunger.
Dhurvasa took leave of Pandavas happily.
The day when Sri Krishna said “Akshayam” to relieve Dhraupathi of her distress was the Akshaya Thrithiya day. Hence it is auspicious to donate food on this day.
Kubera was Ravan’s half-brother. He was ruling Sri Lanka. Ravan had plotted to capture Sri Lanka from Kubera. He had usurped the Kingdom from him and overthrown Kubera.
Kubera did penance on Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased with his penance. He made Kubera as the authority for the north side. He also gave him lots of wealth and made him the protector of wealth represented by Sangha Nidhi and Padhuma Nidhi.
The day when Lord Shiva bestowed wealth on Kubera occurred on the Akshaya Thrithiya day.
Lord Maha Vishnu had incarnated as Sri Venkateshwara at Thirupathi. He intended to marry Sri Padhmavathi (incarnation of Bhuma Devi). Sri Mahalakshmi was peeved at His decision and had left Him.
As Sri Mahalakshmi had left, Sri Maha Vishnu had lost His wealth and He had to borrow from Kubera for conducting His marriage with Sri Padhmavathi.
After sometime, Sri Mahalakshmi came to know the purpose of the incarnation of Sri Venkateshwara. She also had understood the necessity for the marriage with Sri Padhmavathi.
After Her anger had subsided, She returned to Sri Venkateshwara. As She remained with Him since then, He is also known as Sri Nivasa.
The day of Sri Mahalakshmi’s return to Sri Maha Vishnu had occurred on the Akshaya Thrithiya day.
The following events also are said to have happended on Akshaya Thrithiya day.
Sri Vinayaka had started writing the epic Sri Maha Bharath on this day.
King Bhageerath had brought the river Ganges to the earth on this day.
The birth of Sri Parashu Ram, the sixth incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu had happened on this day.
On this day, Sri Adi Sankaracharya had composed and sung Sri Kanaka Dhara Sthothram to help the poor woman who could give only a gooseberry to him.
On this day, the work pertaining to the building of the chariots for Rath Yathra at Puri commences.
At Vrindhavan temples, Chandan Yathra is celebrated for twenty one days beginning on Akshaya Thrithiya. All the Deities are smeared with sandal paste. Similarly, at Puri, Chandan Yathra is conducted. Lord Jagannath is smeared with sandal paste.
Akshaya Thrithiya is also considered as the day of origination of barley.
Akshaya Thrithiya – Beliefs
There are several beliefs connected with this day with respect to activities, worship, donations etc.,
It is considered beneficial and auspicious to commence the following activities on Akshaya Thrithiya day.
-Going around the banyan tree in the morning
-Ploughing the agricultural land
-Commencing of education for kids
-Starting of pilgrimage
-Conducting marriage and other auspicious events
-Worshipping elephant and cow
It is considered good to worship Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi, Sri Maha Vishnu, Sri Mahalakshmi, Sri Hanuman, Sri Kubera and Sri Guru Baghvan on Akshaya Thrithiya day.
It is considered beneficial and auspicious to give away the following as donation on Akshaya Thrithiya day.
-Dresses and clothes to the poor and downtrodden
-Food to the people afflicted with poverty and hunger
-Donation of buttermilk, panakam, curd rice and hand fans to quell the effect of heat.
-Donation of money / books / stationery to the poor students
It is considered auspicious to buy any one of the following on the Akshaya Thrithiya day.
-Grains and Food stuff
The following activities are also to be done.
-Giving tharpan to the departed souls.
-Getting the blessings of the elders in the family.
Akshaya Thrithiya – Rituals
-Going to the temples and doing archana to the preferred Deity is normally done.
-At some homes, Kalash is kept in the puja place and pujas are done as per family practice.
-Slokams are sincerely read and recited.
-The story of Sudhama is read and recited.
In effect, Akshaya Thrithiya is the festival spreading positivity by making donations to the needy. Buying of new articles helps the economy to grow. Doing sincere prayers brings in peace and well-being.