Sharad Purnima holds a very special place in my heart. During my childhood days, in our old building, we used to celebrate Sharad Purnima at our building terrace. This was a day, when we had our society’s yearly get-together. Masala milk with some snacks items would be served during the program. There were no fancy music sytems or Hallogen Light. Just arrange for one focus light from somewhere. We brough mats from our homes and all sat on the terrace. It was not mandatory, yet everyone came upstairs because it was time to enjoy. We would all wait for this day and perform the same dance, skit, or one act play, which we had performed during the Ganpati Festival a few days ago.
During those days, when there were no summer camps. Our favourite time pass in the summer vacations would be to choreograph on 3-4 songs, which would be performed by different groups for Ganapati Festival, Kojagiri Festival and everybody’s birthday party. We had limited song options and literally no music system, yet we had the best time of our lives. There would be dance, music and some random games, dinner or snacks and then we all went home. Dance was my life then. For a few times, Sharad Poornima and my birthday co-incided and therefore, it was a double bonanza for me.
Since last, 6 years, this day has been even more special for me. Because not only in the year 2014, Sharad Purnima and my birthday co-incided but my son was also born on the same day. This was just all about me. But there are some other stories on the importance and relevance of this day. All I remember about this day is it is the longest Full Moon Night apart from Guru Purnima. It is also believed that on the night of Sharad Purnima Chakor (a mythical bird) drinks water after seeing the moon.
The moon and its Kalas
Sharad Purnima is the only night when the moon shows up all its 16 Kalas.It is believed that, each human quality is associated with certain Kala that creates a distinct human personality. As per the scriptures, Lord Krishna was born with sixteen Kalas while Lord Ram was born with only 12 Kalas.
Sharad Purnima is also known as Kojagiri Purnima, Kaumadi Purnima, Kumara Purnima, Navanna Purnima in several parts of the country. As per astrology, On this night, the moon is the closest to the Earth, therefore the Moon rays possess the nourishing elements and healing properties that nourish our body and soul.
Indian mythology suggests that the moon is the only planets capable of all 16 forms that are possessed by none of the others, not even sun. This night is special because only on this night the moon possesses all its 16 vital forms, which are as under.
Here is list of all 16 art forms of moon: vichar (thought), saundarya (beauty) , swasthata (health), ichchapurti (fulfilment of wish), vidhya (education), tej (inner shine), shanti (peace), kirti (glory), prakash (light), dhan (wealth), prem (love), sthayitwa (stability), karmashilta (ability to work), sukh (happiness).
It is also believed that pure moonlight can cure a lot of diseases.
Sharad Purnima is celebrated in the Ashwin month of the lunar calender. It marks the begining of the Harvest Season and officially the end of Monsoon Season. . Sharad Purnima is also known as Kojagori Purnima, Kojagara or Kojagiri Purnima and Kumar Purnima. In Gujarat, Sharad Purnima is popularly known as Sharad Poonam. In many parts of the country, Sharad Purnima is also celebrated as the harvest festival by the farmers.
It is also believed to be the Birthday of Goddess Lakshmi and therefore she is worshipped for prosperity and abundance. As per some scriptures, she takes a round of Earth on this night to check the actions of Human Beings. That is the reason, why people fast for the entire day by only consuming liquid throughout the day.
Kojagiri Poornima is the ending puja of Kojagari vrat kept for goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. Devotees worship goddess Lakshmi while observing fast in the daylight and break the fast at the end of the day by eating kheer, which is offered to moon-god first. Some people keep the kheer in moonlight for the entire night and then distribute, the same kheer as prasad to family and friends.
At the night of Sharad Purnima, devotees get together to celebrate the night with devotional songs, playing games and dancing under the moonlight.
According to a legend, goddess Lakshmi pays a visit to homes and showers blessing on those she finds awake. The word Kojagiri means the one who is awake. There is another popular story behind observing night vigil. The story goes like this- once a king was in a great financial crisis. The queen, to help her husband, observed fast, worshipped goddess Lakshmi and stayed awake the whole night. As a result, goddess Lakshmi blessed them and they prospered again.
In Orissa, the ritual is a bit different. On the next day, unmarried girls perform a puja known as ‘Janhi Osa’ before the sunrise and keep a fast throughout the day.
As the Prasad of dedication and faith, each devotee gets to eat a bowl of kheer which turns to be actually very delicious.
Lord Krishna and Gopis.
It is believed that on the night of Sharad Poornima, when Krishna was playing the flute, Gopi’s ccame out of their homes and danced through the night performing Maha Raas. Krishna replicated himself to dance with each one of them. On this night Krishna showered bhakti raas on Radha and the gopis. The day is also celebrated by lovers. Couples express their love for each other on this night of full moon.Hence, in some regions, Sharad Purnima is celebrated as Raas Purnima in the regions of Vrindavan and Braj.
If we can celebrate Halloween today, there is no harm in knowing a bit about Sharad Poornima.
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