Sri Aurobindo

Yoga Mandir

Sri Aurobindo

Yoga Mandir 

Festival and Celebrations

Holi- the Festival of Color

Holi(festival of color): Holi (holi:) is a popular ancient Hindu festival, originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is celebrated predominantly in Nepal but has also spread to other areas
of Asia and parts of the Western world through the diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.

Holi is popularly known as the Indian festival of spring, the festival of colors, or the “festival of love. The festival signifies the victory of good aver evil. It signifies the arrival of spring, the
end of winter, the blossoming of love, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. The festival also celebrates the beginning
of a good spring harvest It lasts for a night and a day, starting an the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Sambat Calendar, in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna,
which falls around middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. The first evening is known as Holika Dahan (burning of demon Holika) or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangoli
Holi, Phagu.

Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with nan- Hindus as well in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. In addition to
India and Nepal, the festival is celebrated by Indian subcontinent diaspora in countries such as Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Malaysia, the United Kingdom,
the United States, Canada, Mauritius, and Fiji. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors.

Indra Jatra

The eight-day long Indra Jatra festival falls in September and is one of the most exciting and revered festivals of the Newar community of the Kathmandu Valley. This also marks the beginning of a month-long festival season of autumn. It begins with the erection of a wooden pole made of pine at Basantapur Sqaure in front of the old Hanuman Dhoka Palace.

For the pole-raising ceremony, hundreds of spectators gather at the Palace Square and on the surrounding temples. The chariot of Kumari, the Living Goddess, is taken out in a procession through the main streets of Kathmandu.

Masked dancers known as Lakhay take to the streets almost every evening accompanied by loud drums. The festival commemorates the time when Indra came down from heaven in human form to look for an herb.

Each night of Indra Jatra the shrines and ancient palace buildings around Kathmandu Durbar Square are aglow with oil wicks. Each night on the platform in front of the temple of the Living Goddess, there is an enactment depicting the ten earthly incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The large image of Akash Bhairab’s head is put on display out in the open directly facing his temple at Indra Chowk.

In the afternoon of the day before full moon, ecstatic mobs gather near Hanuman Dhoka Palace for the long-awaited Living Goddess’ chariot procession to catch a glimpse of the revered little Newar girl who has been deified as Kumari representing Goddess Taleju.

The chariot of the Kumari followed by two other smaller chariots carrying a representative of Ganesh and Bhairav is taken to different parts of the old Kathmandu through the narrow alleys where people gather to watch and py homage. The festival of Indra Jatra ends with the lowering of the (lingam) pole bearing Indra’s flag amidst religious ceremonies.

 

Dashain

In the afternoon of the day before full moon, ecstatic mobs gather near Hanuman Dhoka Palace for the long-awaited Living Goddess’ chariot procession to catch a glimpse of the revered little Newar girl who has been deified as Kumari representing Goddess Taleju.

The chariot of the Kumari followed by two other smaller chariots carrying a representative of Ganesh and Bhairav is taken to different parts of the old Kathmandu through the narrow alleys where people gather to watch and py homage. The festival of Indra Jatra ends with the lowering of the (lingam) pole bearing Indra’s flag amidst religious ceremonies.

Dashain is the most auspicious festival in Nepal. This festival is pronounced as Dasai or Badadasai and is generally known as Vijaya Dashami which is mainly celebrated by Hindus of Nepal and ethnic people from Sikkim, Assam, and Darjeeling. Dashain is usually celebrated in the month of September and October for 15 days. Each day has its own significance and meaning. Many Hindu people return to their homes on this auspicious festival that brings happiness and delivers the message of unity among people.

The Main Occasion of these Festivals:

Ghatasthapana: 1st day

The day is the beginning of the Dashain. On this day, we worship a Kalash which means a small pot made of metal or copper with holy water which is mixed with cow dung, maize seed, and barley seed. Then the Kalash is provided to the priest for the blessing of goddess Durga. After that, Kalash is taken to a place where sand and soil are seeded with the grains in the pious corner of their house for growing seedlings called Jamara.

Phulpati: 7th day

On this day, it’s a tradition in Nepal to bring nine types of Phulpati into the room where Goddess Durga and the pile of sand were worshipped. Myth reveals- Phulpati brings all the nine goddesses to your home and nine plants represent the goddess it is believed that welcoming Phulpati to the home signifies entering health, wealth, and prosperity in your home. Therefore, the seventh day of Vijaya Dashami is called Phulpati in Nepal.

On this day, there is a major event that is celebrated at the center of Kathmandu, Tundikhel where a canon is fired for celebration. The Brahmins carry royal Kalash, holy Jamara, banana stalks, and sugar cane tied with red cloth from Gorkha to Kathmandu for sightseeing in those places.

Maha Ashtami: 8th day

On this day Goddess Durga manifests to the bloodthirsty kali and is appeased through the sacrifice of buffaloes, goats, ducks, and hens in temples throughout the nation. Blood symbolic of its fertility is offered to the goddesses. The night of this day is called Kal Ratri (Black Night). Appropriately enough, several animals are to be sacrificed their life in the country- yard of all the land revenue offices in the country on this day.

Maha Navami: 9th day

According to myth, this was the day when all the demons are slaughtered by Durga and the ceremonies and rituals reach their peak on the 9th day of Dashain. On this day, God Vishvakarma( God of creation) with the belief of making the things we used happy and prosperous. Most of the tools are worshipped by sacrificing and offering animals. Thousands of devotees go and pay respect to the goddess in the “Taleju” Temple gates which are opened to the public on this day of the year.

Vijaya Dashami: 10th day

On this auspicious day, seniors put ‘Tika’ and ‘Jamara’ giving blessings to their young ones. In preparation for Dashain, every Home is cleansed and attractively decorated, as an invitation to goddess Durga so that she may visit and bless the home with good fortune! This day is celebrated like a family reunion where everyone enjoys with variety of delicious food, plays cards, and flies kites and also gives the working people time to relax and celebrate this festival.

If you want to witness the celebrating vibes of Nepali culture and people, want to explore the happy faces of Nepali culture and taste the amazingly delicious food with the most exciting and unique Nepali culture. Then, you can join the Luxury Holidays Nepal for an amazing trip to Nepal at this special festival.

Tihar- Deewali (Festival of Light)

Tihar is the five days celebration in Yama Panchak.
 
Tihar is the most celebrated festival after Dashain in Nepal. It is a five-day festival celebrated in late autumn. It has its unique ways of celebration. 
 

The Five days of Tihar

 

Kaag Tihar – Crow Pooja
 
Kukur Tihar  – Dog Pooja
 
Gai Tihar or Laxmi Pooja –  Cow or Goddess of Wealth Pooja
 
Goru Tihar, Govardhan Pooja, Maha Puja, (Aatma pooja) –  Ox Pooja
 
Bhai Tika, Bhai Dooj – Bother and Sister Pooja
 

Story behind Tihar

There are various stories about the celebration of Tihar. One of the famous stories behind the celebration of tihar is related to Yama the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Yama had been staying away from his sister for a long time. His sister wanted to meet him so she asked various sources to visit him and ask him to give her a visit. She sent crow, dog, and cow and at the end she went herself to see her brother. She worshipped him with tika and flowers, she put him five colored tika. Yamuna made a circle with mustard oil, Dubo Grass (Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe Amaranth) and asked Yamaraj not to go till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flower gets dry. Therefore, every sister worships her brother keeping him in the circle of mustard oil, putting mala (garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass.

 

How is Tihar Celebrated

Kag Tihar
 

First day – Kag Tihar (Crow Puja)

 

On the first day of Tihar, crows are worshiped and fed early in the morning. People leave different food items outside for crows to eat. Crow is considered to be the messenger of death. People believe the crow gets the messages to the house in the morning. People worship it to bring good luck themselves. 
 
Second day – Kukur Tihar
 
Kukur Tihar
The second day of tihar is dedicated to the most loyal friend of mankind. Kukur, the dog, Puja  is done by putting a red tika on dog’s forehead and flower garland around the neck offering him foods and sel roti. Generally male dogs are worshiped. It is said dog can see endangers and the death coming. 
 
 
 
 
Third day – Gai (cow) Puja and Laxmi Puja
Gai Tihar
 
On the third day of tihar Cows are worshipped in the morning. Cows are worshipped with sesame oil light, garland of flower and red color (abir). Wheat flour, sel roti, rice and dal are feed to cows.  Disciples try to pass in-between four legs of the cow. Cow is regarded as mother in Hindu religion, as we grow up drinking her milk. Some look cow as Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
In the afternoon we clean our houses, paint floors with Red Mud (Rato Mato) and cow dung (gobar). Small circle are made in front of the main gate and decorated with colorful designs. Some people call it rangoli.
Small designs of footsteps are painted from the main entrance to the puja kotha. These footsteps are believed to be the footsteps of goddess Lakshmi. Candles or pala are lit all over the house making it bright and beautiful. 
 
There is a long tradition of going housed in the evening singing songs to ask for money and foods. Generally girls and kids go out to neighbors sing traditional songs called Bhailo songs. The tradition is called “Bhailo” and songs are called Bhailini songs. 
 
The song starts with “Bhailini aain agana gunyo cholo magna, hey ausi ko din gai tiharo bhailo”. Badali kudali rakheko, laxmi pooja gareko, hey ajako dina gaitiharo bhailo…” Meaning Bahilini are at your door to ask for a gunyo cholo (Nepali traditional dress), today is no moon day and Cow pooja and Bhailo day, the house is clean and you have done Lakshmi puja, today is cow pooja day and Bhailo”
 
Fire crackers are blown in this day.  People play cards in Laxmi puja to welcome goddess Laxmi in the night. People believe, laxmi comes to the house which is clean and bright. 
In the evening the goddess of wealth Lakshmi is worshiped by lighting numerous lights and lightening works. It is believed that by worshiping Laxmi and pleasing her in return she gives us wealth. People worship wealth and food store this day.
 
Fourth day – Goru Tihar (Govardhan parbat ko puja) and Mah (aatma or self) Puja
Mah Pooja
On Govardhan puja Goru Tihar, three different Kinds of puja are performed. We perform Goru Puja, or worship Oxen. We also perform Govardhan Puja, which is done by making a hill of govardhan parbat using Cow dung. Cow dung has big importance in Hindu culture. In the old days it was used for everything from light at night (Methane) to polish mud floors of traditional houses. Still now no Puja is complete without cow dung in Nepali Hindu culture. 
 
In this night Newar community perform Maha Puja also known as self-puja. It is done to purify our body. In this puja a Mandap decorated with Saipatri (marigold flower), sweets and fruits and a special Mala (garland) which is made of thread is kept. Each member of the family has one Mandap. A female member of the family offers the person sitting on the Mandap a Sagun with her hands crossed. Shagun usually consist of fried eggs, fruits, sweets, meat, fish, lentil and pastries. In the left hand with egg and fish and in the right hand Rakshi (homemade alcohol). This day is also the beginning of Nepal Sambat, Newari New year.  
deusi bhailo
 
In the evening many Nepali children and young men go house to house singing Deusi song (Aahai bhana mera bhai ho deusi re bhana na bhana deusere). Deusi is very similar to Bhailo. Bhailo is primarily for female and Deusi for male. However, now a days there is such distinction. People go in group with males and females members to celebrate Bhailo and deusi both. 
 
Fifth Day: Bhai Tika or Bhai Duj
 
Pancha Rangi Tika
The fifth and last day of Tihar is Bhai Tika. This day sisters put “Tika of five colours” Paanch Rangi Tika – Yellow, green, red, blue and white on forehead of her brothers, to ensure long life and pray to Yamraja for her brother’s long life and prosperity. Sister offers brothers Shaguns of  dry fruits especially walnut, hazelnut (Katus), fruits and sweets and in return the brothers give their sisters gifts and money. The brothers also put Pancha Rangi Tika to sister and bow her on her feet and assure her to protect her till the end of life.
 
On this day, Rani Pokhari Temple (located at central Kathmandu) is opened for those who do not have any brother or sister. This is the only time in a year the temple is open to general public.
 
Story and legends behind Bhai Tika
 
A legend has it that while performing ‘brother worship’ the messenger of Yama Raj came to collect the soul of the man going through ‘brother worship’, as the lifetime of the man has expired in the human world. However, a sister performing ‘brother worship’ has requested the messenger to wait until she completes the ‘brother worship’.
 
The smart sister invited the messenger to sit along with the brother and get the honor of ‘brother worship’. The sister did ‘brother worship’ so well to the messenger that he became very pleased with her and asked her anything she wished to have as a gift. The wise sister asked the messenger for a long life of her brother. Thus, she saved the life of her brother.
 
Another story about how the ‘brother worship’ has started is that Yama Raj has five days off, as Lord Vishnu gave the boon of ruling the three worlds for five days to Bali Raja. Lord Vishnu has tricked Bali Raja to go to a lonely dark world for his meritorious act that has shacked the heavenly kingdom of Lord Indra. So, Lord Vishnu has granted him to rule all three Hindu worlds for five days in addition to agreeing on guarding Bali Raja for four months. Yamaraj’s world is one of the three worlds. So, he went to visit his sister, as he has not visited her for a long time.
 
Seeing her brother, Yama Raj, sister Yamuna became so happy, she did not know how to welcome the brother who has visited after such a long time. So, she did every possible thing to keep her brother Yama Raj happy for five days. On the last day, before going back to his world, Yama Raj made the presentation of a unique gift to his sister in return for her hospitality. We believe that she has set the tradition of ‘brother worship.’
 
So, we call the five days of ‘Tihar’ as ‘Yama Pancak’ means the five days of Yama Raj. On these five days we do everything possible for keeping Yama Raj happy, as Yama Raj is going to judge our vices and virtues after our death, and treats our souls accordingly. 
The fifth day, as part of the Tihar Festival, men visit tha house af their sister’s, where sister put a tika ar mark an his forehead and a gariand around his neck. Sisters pray far long and prosperous life of their brothers. Ihe men then touches the feet of their sisters. In return she receves a gift of money, clothes or omaments.
Afterwards, it is the accasion for a big meal served by the sisters to the brothers. In retum, thay receive a gift of money, clothes and arnaments.

Chhat

Sanjha UrgaChhath parva is celebrated by natives of Mithila region of Nepal and India. This festival is dedicated to god Sun. Sun is called Surya in Sanscrit, Chhat parba is thanks giving to lord Surya for sustaining life on earth and to worship him to provide his continuous blessings to mankind. 
The Sun, source power of nature, considered the god of energy and lord of the life-force, is worshiped in Chhath to promote well-being, prosperity and progress. Hindu people believe sun helps to cure many illness and diseases. Sun is considered as source of healing too. Sun is also considered as token of stability and prosperity. Therefore, people worship sun to ensure the longevity and prosperity of family
The government of Nepal declares the Public holidays all over Nepal during the Chhath

Shivaratri

Shivaratri is celebrated as birth-night of Lord Shiva.
Sahivaratri is the night of Falgun Krishna Chaturdasi under Hindu Lunar Calendar. This year Shivaratri is on  Feb 27, 2014 that is on Falgun 15, 2070 in Bikram Sambat Calendar.
The Lingodbhav Moorti of lord Shiva was self immerged at midnight of Shivaratri. So, this night is celebrated as the Birth-night of lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is called Bholenath too.
There are many stories behind the celebration of Shivaratri. 
During Samundra Manthan, the poison Halahal came out of the ocean. It started creating destruction all over. To protect the universe from the devastation Lord Shiva drank the poison and managed to keep it in his throat. His throat turned blue. Since then he is known as Nilkantha. Nila Kantha in Sanskrit is one with blue throat.
Shiva protected the world from the dangerous poison; therefore, people started celebrating the day as Shivaratri and thanking Shiva for shaving the world.
It is believed Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day.  Some places, Shivaratri is observed as marriage anniversary of Shiva-Parvati too.

Festivals and events celebrated in ashram

  • Jan 4:Birthday celebration of Gurudev (Ramchandra Das) with different cultural as well as social activities around ashram. The elderly of the village are invited. They receive a meal  and a winter gift: a pair of warm socks, a shawl, a hat, etc.
  • Feb 21 : Birthday celebration Mother and annual celebration of Sri Aurobindo Nagari Nawalpur- Branch of Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir.
  • Feb 29 : Supramental manifestation day day of spiritual living
  • Apr 24 : Annual celebration of Sri Aurobindo yoga mandir in Kathmandu, Nepal with different cultural dances, songs, spiritual discourses, chanting, seminars, drama etc.
  • 15th Aug: Birthday celebration of Sri Aurobindo.
  • Now 24: Annual celebration of Sri Aurobindo Tapobhumi- Gulmi.