OM SRI GURUBHYO NAMAH
Pushkara, word derived from the element of Push (Pushti) meaning nourishment and Kara means one who does it. Pushkara is the energy that nourishes. With reference to the sacred rivers, Pushkara means the one who energize the rivers and provide spiritual purification. In Tirumala Kshethra the water tank near Sri Varaha Swamy temple is known as Swamy Pushkarini.
In Astrology also we find Pushkara Navamsa that nourishes the quality of the planet placed within it. In Electional ( Muhurta) Astrology especially for a marriage muhurtha we find preference being given for Pushkara Navamsa for a given Lagna that brings strength to the muhurtha chart.
(It is unfortunate , that now a days, least importance is given to pushkaramsha muhurta for marriage which lasts for about 12- 14 minutes twice in a particular zodiac sign}
Pushkara also indicates the 12 years time factor in Vedic terms. Pushkara is a festival of a particular river celebrated once in twelve years based on the transit of Jupiter (Brihaspathi) in the zodiac.
Ganga pushkara begins with the day of entry of Jupiter to Aries and lasts for 12 days. This period is called Adi Pushkara. ( April 22, to May 5 2023) There are texts which identifies Antya Pushkara also for the lat 12 days of transit of Jupiter in Aries. ( 12 days before the Narmada pushkara. That is April 20 2024 to May 1 2024) Some alamanacs say Narmada Pushkara begins from 22 April 24, which may not be correct because Jupiter enters Taurus only on May 1 2024
Why 12 days ?
Normally Jupiter takes 12 days to transit one pada of Ashvini Star and that is the period Jupiter is also in Aries in Navamsha ( D 9 chart) which is Vargottama Navamasha and hence GANGA PUSHKARA is considered very very auspicious than all other Pushkaras. We know that Aries zodiac sign is the Head of Kalapurusha. This is also one of the reasons to consider GANGA PUSHKARA as more auspicios one.
Pushkara Schedule & Blessed Rivers
It has become a custom and tradition since time immemorial to celebrate the transit of Jupiter in a particular house in the zodiac as the Pushkara festival of a particular river.Pushkara schedule starts with Ganga River when Jupiter enters into Mesha Raasi which is the first sign in the zodiac.
Astrologically Jupiter (Brihaspathi) the Devaguru is the most benevolent planet symbolizing the wealth, fortune, learning, knowledge, divinity, progeny, domestic peace, auspiciousness and above all the karaka for occurrence of Pushkaram. Pushkara the Theertharaja always resides in the Kamandalu of Lord Brahma in the sanctified waters that has emerged out from the foot of Lord Sri ManNarayana. Entry of Pushkara into a particular river signifies the Pushkara festival when, all the Brahmaadi Devathas, all the Sages, all the Pithru Devathas, all the Theerthas in this Bhoomandala including Ganga (Ganges) enters into that particular river along with Brihaspathi and Pushkara. This time of their entry into a particular river is considered as highly sacred and celestial that has the power to diminish the ghastly and dreadful sins committed. Having darshan, taking bath, touching Pushkara waters, drinking the sacred waters of Pushkara is considered to be highly meritorious and soul cleansing. It is considered as the most sacred time to perform rites to forefathers on the banks of Pushkara River that will help them to attain salvation.
Pushkara Vidhi ( RITUALS)
Our ancient seers have prescribed certain austerities to be observed during Pushkara time known as Pushkara Vidhi. Most important are Pushkara Snana (taking bath), Pushkara Vaasa (staying), Pushkara Darshana, Siro Mundana (tonsuring of head), Fasting, Pushkara Pithru Karma, and Pushkara Dana (charity).
In Hindu philosophy lot of significance has been given for taking bath which is Nithya karma and that too in a flowing river is considered as the paramount. Exclusive Snana Vidhi has been prescribed by our elders Taking bath in a sacred river during Parvakala is still more auspicious and when it is the days of Pushkara the merits are manifold. It is said that during Pushkara all the Brahmaadi Devathas, Sages and Pithru Devathas will be residing in that Theertha (River) along with Brihaspathi and Pushkara. During Pushkara all the theerthas in the Universe will be entering into that particular river and will be flowing as Antarvahini.
Taking bath in a Pushkara river will help to cleanse the inner selves, wash out the evil tendencies and open up a path for a righteous living. This bath should be taken early in the morning before Sunrise during Brahmi Muhurtham which is highly meritorious time. It is believed that Pushkara Snana also has curative properties from chronic ill health. After Pushkara Snana one has to pray and give Arghya to the concerned Pushkara Theertha (River), Theertha Raja (Pushkara), Brihaspathi, Lord Vishnu who is eternally present in all the Theerthas, Brahmaadi Devathas, Vasishtaadi Sages, Gangaadi Rivers and the Sun God (Sri Surya Narayana).
IMPORTANT NOTE TO THOSE WHO ARE INTO MANTRA SADHANA:
Do Mantra Japa standing in the river keeping water upto waist or above which is 100 times beneficial during pushkara, that too specifically Ganga Pushkara. Japa should be done all the 12 days of pushkara. After japa offer one tenth of Arghya with the mantra. That is chanting 10000 Mantras will give the benefit of 10 Lakh Japas and hence Mantra siddhi is ensured with the blessings of GURU.
Ganga pushkara Pitru Karma
Pithru Yagna like performing Pithru Shraaddha, Tharpana have been prescribed to get discharged from Pithru Runa. This has been in vogue since time immemorial and even Avathara Purushas like Sri Ramachandra (Lord Sri Rama), Lord Parashurama have performed Pithru karma. We, the human beings are no exception to this dictum. Performing Pithru Karma during Pushkara days also forms part of the Pithru Yagna which is considered as highly sacred and meritorious. Only those who have lost their parents are eligible to perform the sacred rites to their fore-fathers. Pithru karma during Pushkara days has to be performed for all the deceased (Sarva Pithru). It has to be performed on the banks of Ganga River like a Theertha Shraaddha.
Since time immemorial we consider rivers as Divine and river worship in the form of Pushkaram is performed to make the mankind realize the significance of water the life sustaining force. It is our ardent duty to respect and follow the traditions and culture pioneered by our elders with a great foresight and Pushkaram is one such sacred sampradaya that has descended from Sages which is highly auspicious and meritorious as it fufils all our material needs and supports our spiritual pursuit
I shall write in the next article, the beneficial aspect of this Ganga Pushkara on selective Zodiac signs.
GURUMANDALA SAMPOORNA ANUGRAHA PRAPTIRASTU