May 7, 2008
The gold prices may be zooming like a Formula 1 car, but come Akshaya Tritiya, one will find gold showrooms brimming with customers. It is that time of the year when people across the country go shopping, invest for long term gains, launch new ventures or inaugurate their new houses.
One of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar, Akshaya Tritiya falls on Wednesday May 7 this year. 'Akshaya' means 'eternal' or 'everlasting' and therefore anything done or bought on this day is believed to last forever. It is a day when people do not need to see the 'muhurat' for a new venture or wedding, as the entire day is believed to bring good luck to any new beginning. You will probably have a busy day attending functions and weddings as many reserve this day to make their ventures specially rewarding and everlasting.
In the Hindu calendar, Akshaya Tritiya is the third day in the bright half of the month of Vishaka and marks the beginning of the Treta Yuga. The sun and the moon are said to be at their brightest on this day. The day is known as Akha Teej in north India and is associated with various rituals.
Traditionally, it is the birthday of Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu. Other than that, it also signifies the day when lord Ganesha started scripting the Mahabharata.
Though buying gold, starting new ventures or tying the nuptial knot may be ways of celebrating this day, not every one can afford to do so. Farmers, according to tradition, plant seeds of grain to mark this day. Donations are made, alms and guru dakshina given in the form of money or grain. The devotees perform Mahalaxmi Anushtaan, visit Mahalaxmi temple and throw four coins in the four directions to attract wealth.
Some perform 'shatru shanti anushtaan' to seek god's protection against enemies while some others do 'anang mantra jaap' to pray for health. Many visit Shiva temple with neem leaves, as it is believed that when these leaves are placed below a sick person's pillow, he/she is cured.
Gold bought on this day is a symbol of wealth and prosperity and is believed to bring good fortune. But it is not just gold - good deeds are amply rewarded too. Hence people make donations, help the needy, feed cows, resolve to give up bad habits or simply be good to all sundry.
No feature on Akshaya Tritiya can be complete without the mention of how companies and corporates cash in on this opportunity. Knowing that people's purse strings are loosened on this day, business houses do not stop at anything to pull those strings. From silly SMS quizzes on your mobile phone to 'unbelievable' (but actually very much believable) offers in jewellery shops, you have the entire corporate world tugging at you. Gift vouchers, discounts, exchange offers, 'free' gifts (I have always wondered if there's any gift which is not free), hampers... you will soon have your shopping bag full and so also your heart full of excitement for having won some 'free' gift.
Exclusive Daijiworld caricature by Harini
So enjoy the day shopping to your heart's content. It is a day when your husband or father will actually be happy seeing the credit card bill!
Spread the cheer of goodness and joy - not just by shopping but renewing friendships, forgiving enemies and starting a fresh, new, better chapter in your life.
Anisa Fathima - from 'Exclusive Archives'