Significance of Dhanurmas
“Are you aware of Dhanurmas !”
Dhanurmas is the pious period of one month mostly falls from 15/16 Dec to 14/15 Jan every year.
Dhanurmas is named due to the sun transits through the “धनु राश, to “मकर राश”. When the Sun enters Dhanu Rashi, Dhanurmas begins, which is called Dhanu Sankranti (the festival of kites).
Dhanurmas or Dhanur Masa is also known by the names Chapa Mas, Kodanda Mas, Karmuka Mas, etc. Chapa, Kodanda, Karmuka, etc., in Sanskrit, are synonyms of Dhanu; meaning a bow.
Dhanurmasa is also called Shoonya Masa(zero month) because it is generally advised not to conduct anything other than Godly and holy functions. Dhanurmas is a festival of thirty days, which is celebrated in detail in the southern part of India. This month starts from the middle path and ends in the middle of Paush. Thus, this year 2020 it will start on December 16th and end on January 14th.
This pious month ends on Makar Sankranti….
The importance of this Dhanurmas is mentioned in the Dhanurmasam Mahatmya of Pancharatragama, Agneya Purana and also in a work called Smruti Muktavali.
In Pancharatra Agama, the Mahatmya of Dhanurmasa is presented in Four chapters, as conversation between Hamasa form of Supreme Lord and four-faced Brahma. The dialogue between Hamasa and Brahma is narrated by Sage Suta in response to a query by Shaunaka.
In the first chapter, Sage Suta hails the greatness of the Month of Chapa (Dhanus) and gives the fruits one would be blessed with by following the prescribed austerities in this holy month.
In the second chapter, the Hamsa – Brahma Samvada is given where Brahma asks Lord Hamsa to tell him the importance and greatness of Dhanurmasa. The greatness of the Dhanurmasa is brought out by the story of the King Satyasandha.
In the third chapter, giving alms during this auspicious period is hailed. The devotee is instructed to do pious deeds as per his capacity. Otherwise, he is warned of dire consequences.
In the fourth and final chapter, different ways of feeding Brahmins are discussed. Arranging for the meals of a Brahmin who cooks for himself is lauded as the best way. The importance of this is brought out by a small anecdote of the Pandavas given below:
Once by Lord Krishna’s command, King Yudhisthir served food to a pure Brahmin, who usually cooked his own food. After the meal, Yudhisthir lifted the leaf dish. Underneath he discovered a second. Lifting this, there was a third. In this manner he lifted 1000 leaf dishes! To the astonished Yudhisthir, Lord Krishna revealed, “Yudhisthir, by serving a true Brahmin, you have obtained the fruit of serving a thousand Brahmins.”
Shree Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, says मासानां मागशीषहम – which means “in all the months, Margasira is the most auspicious”, is what Lord Krishna says about this month in Bhagavad-Gita..
This pious month is considered an inauspicious month to start any new ventures like weddings and house warming ceremonies, it is also an important month for all spiritual seekers as it is a very good period to worship God.
Hence, it is also known as the month of Bhakti.
In this month, new ventures like weddings and house warming ceremonies etc. are prohibited as per Hindu scriptures.So that the human mind is not distracted and they worship God with all their heart.
The last portion of the night i.e., the one-and-half hours before sunrise, has been given a very special status by our shastras. They decree that this is the best time for humans to wake up and start performing their prescribed religious activities like sandhyavandanam, chanting of mantras etc. The beginning of this period is called ‘brahma muhurta’.
Our shastras decree that during dhanurmasam, humans too should wake up at the brahma muhurta and perform puja to the Lord. People failing to do so will be cursed with leprosy and dire poverty for 07 lives while those following these injunctions will be specially blessed with health, wealth, happiness and the good fortune of being a pious Vaishnavite in all seven lives.
Feeding or giving alms to the deserving poor and Brahmins during this period is believed to confer great merit i.e. Punya
This one month worshiping to Bhagwan Vishnu with proper rituals & devotional heart is considered as worship of Thousand years.
“Speciality of Dhanurmas :”
The month favored to acquire the Knowledge and wisdom in various parts of India.
Dhanurmas is the month when Supreme Godhead Bhagwan Swaminarayan studied Vedas, eighteen Puranas and many other hindu scriptures from his father Dharmadev only in this Dhanurmas month.
Bhagwan Krishna along with Balramji had studied under the tutelage of Sandipani Rushi in Dhanurmas.
They studied in Sandipani’s Gurukul for 64 days and Bhagwan Krishna leart 64 vidyas in total.
Although being God themselves neither Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan nor Bhagwan Shree Krishna needed to study, but still they studied?
It’s only to teach us that how much ever great,intelligent like deities,God we become but we must never quit learning till our last breath.
The founder of this Gurukul Tradition in Swaminarayan Sect HDH Sadguru Shastriji Maharaj used to say that “The child within us should never die till the last breath”.
Which means the key role of a child is to keep on learning.
The Vedas and other scriptures stated that in the Dhanurmas festival Four Vedas, Eighteen-Puranas..spiritual books were offered to God but today in this modern era they are replaced by other books, texts, writing material,sports martial,arts material.. and other objects such as toys and musical instruments.
So, according to the modern era; All the temples of the Swaminarayan sect makes Child Ghanshyam Maharaj(Bhagwan Swaminarayan) ready for school. Where the saints and devotees decorate the royal throne of God with Books,musical instruments,sports materials and many such learning skills day by day till 30 days of this month.
And in the early morning a delicious breakfast is offered to God. so that God doesn’t feel much hunger during study time.
Saints and devotees take religious niyams(vows) of learning scriptures,different skills which to be used in the path of God. In this pious month many spiritual discourses take place everyday because God has given this month especially for devotional activities.
“What should we do in this pious Dhanurmas ?”
● During the entire month of Dhanurmas, special worship of the God should be conducted early in the morning during the auspicious time of Brahmi Muhurta (about 96 minutes before Sunrise while the stars are still twinkling.)
● Spen sharp focused concentration in religious activities.
● Every morning after a daily routine, Pooja and then prepare homemade delicious hot & pious food and offer it to Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
● Listen to spiritual discourses from true saints.
● Everyday go to the temple of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and have the darshan.
● Take some special vows which uplifts you even in this life and the life
*chanting 108,1008.. times the holy name of God.
*Reading scriptures like Vachnamrutam,Bhagwatam,veda etc..
*Learning any new skills.
● Observe fast on the Mokshada Ekadashi because this fasting on this day provides salvation than other ekadashis.
“Vaikuntha / Mokshada Ekadashi”
Ekadashi is the eleventh day of the fortnight of the waxing or waning moon and occurs twice in a month.
The Ekadashi that occurs in the month of Margashirsha (December – January) during the fortnight of waxing moon is of special significance and is glorified as Vaikuntha Ekadashi.
This Ekadashi fast holds an important place in Hinduism. This is the last Ekadashi of the year.
Ekadashi History :-
Once as a baby, Lord Vishnu lay sleeping on a banyan leaf. At that time Lord Brahma manifested from Vishnu’s navel and sang stotras and Vedic hymns. In this manner, overwhelmed with pride, he forgot the Lord. At that moment two demons appeared from Lord Vishnu’s ears and attacked Brahma. Frightened, he fervently prayed to Vishnu. The Lord stopped the demons and offered them to request a boon. However, the demon’s tongue-in-cheek, requested the Lord to ask for a boon instead! Vishnu laughed and said, “I had vanquished you long ago, yet you confront me again.”
This infuriated the demons and so they attacked the Lord. The ensuing battle lasted one and a half months. Finally, the Lord defeated the two, who then begged,” Prabhu! Deliver us to your dham (abode).”
On the sud Ekadashi of Dhanurmaas, the Lord opened the northern door and delivered them to Vaikunth, transcending Satyalok. This pleased the two, who requested for a boon, “Take those who offer bhakti to you and observe Ekadashi in this month, to your abode through the northern door.” The Lord agreed. Henceforth, a festival for Moksha is also celebrated on the Ekadashis in this month hence the name Mokshada Ekadashi.
There is no fast that gives more salvation than this fast.
You can fast and remain hungry on Ekadashi, even though there is no scarcity. If there is shortage and you have to be hungry, then that is poverty. When there is no shortage of anything and everything is in abundance, and you are fasting.
Benefits – It is believed that Vaikuntha Dwar or the gate of God’s inner sanctum is opened on this day and the devotees who observe fast on Vaikuntha Ekadashi attain salvation by going to Vaikuntha.
Five things you must do on Vaikuntha Ekadashi :-
1) Chant the Holy name “Swaminarayan”
2) Observe Fast (by drinking only liquid juice or water)
3) Read Bhagavad-Gita
4) Go to the temple of Bhagwan Swaminarayan & Lord Vishnu
5) Offer seva to God