If you are anyone like Nergish, you would probably not know what Akshay Tritiya is. In fact, a few years ago when we were talking about this very hot day, Nergish the oldest resident of our building who was sometimes hard of hearing actually said: “OOOOh so TODAY is Akshay Chutiya?”
Unfortunately, the poor lady had not the foggiest about how mispronouncing the word completely changed the meaning of the day!
While we laughed it off, I can’t help recalling her remark every Akshay Tritiya.
I can never forget that day so many years ago when Nergish asked me what Akshay Chutiya was. Now anyone who has any idea of profanities in Indian languages would know that chutiya is not a word used in genteel society much less uttered by an 80+ year old dignified Parsi lady.
Akshay Tritiya is one of the 3 1/2 very auspicious days in the Hindu Lunar Calendar. The third day ( tritiya) of the second month ( Vaishakh) it is the day when the earth is closest to the sun. Hence it is the hottest day of the year!
But this is not the only reason it is an auspicious day. It is a great day to start new things, establish relationships and purchase things of great value.
The significance of Akshay Tritiya
On this very hot day many things happened :
1) Ganesha began writing the Mahabharat. The Mahabharat is one of the epics that resonates even today. Apart from the story, it is a philosophical treatise that guides many souls through their daily life.
2) Parshuram ( from whom my community claims descent) was born. Parashurama was an anomaly among the Brahmins. He actually wielded the bow and arrow.
3) The River Ganges came down to Earth. The Ganges is India’s lifeline and is one of the holiest rivers. Every Hindu aspires to bathe at least once in the Ganga so as to wash away his sins.
4) Sudama gave his friend Lord Krishna a bowl of puffed rice when he went to visit him as King. Unfortunately, Sudama couldn’t afford anything grander than a humble bowl of puffed rice to his friend Krishna. But Krishna being his friend, accepted it with love.
5) Kubera the lord of wealth prayed to Laxmi. Even though Kubera is the richest amongst the Gods, he still prayed to Laxmi, the goddess of wealth
This is one of those days where a good Hindu does not need to consult the almanac to decide on a propitious moment to start a venture, get married, perform any religious function as a thread ceremony or commence building a house. It is also the day when many people buy a bit of gold, a new car or even a new household item such as a new cooking pot or a television!
On a personal note, my father once planted some Bottle Gourd seeds in his garden on this day and that year, the bottle gourds we got were around 4 feet tall!
I’m off now to have my summer cooler…..
p.s. Akshay means eternal or without end.