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Sravana Pournima-Raksha Bandhan-Hayagreeva Jayanti-Rakhi Pournami

07/31/2012

One of the most Auspicious days of the Shravan month would be August 1ST.This days is celebrated by many names in different parts of India. It is known as Shravan Pournami, Raakhi Pournami, Upakarma, Avani Avittam and Hayagreeva Jayanti.

Technically speaking Avani Avittam refers to the day on which Sravana Nakshatra ( Avittam) is visible in the night sky with a full moon. Shravana Pournami technically falls on August 1 ( Usa Timing).For India timing August 1 would still be Pournami but occurs with Uttarashada Nakshtra and August 2nd would be Avani Avittam.Some parts of India would celebrate it on August 1st  as well.

 

Significance of the Day

Hayagreeva Jayanti :  Lord Hayagreeva was one of the Avatar’s of Lord Vishnu though it is not traditionally included in the Dashavatara scheme. There are many versions of the story dealing with the origin of Lord Hayagreeva.All of them convey a deep metaphysical meaning in their own way. The story has multiple layers of meanings and a short post would not do justice to it fully.I will post a full version of the story later.

Shorter Version: The story can be found both in the Devi Bhagawatam and also in the Mahabharata.Long ago when there was nothing but the great void, Lord Narayana was in yoganidra reclining upon his serpent mount.  The Lord is both without attributes and also with attributes. It is interesting to note that the story begins with creative destruction of the universe and then proceeds to creation.

Bhu Tattwa( Element representing the earth…not earth itself) then merges into the Jala Tattwa . Jala Tattwa merges into Agni , Agni merges into Vayu,Vayu merges into Akasha. Please note in Hindu mythology that Akasha is the all encompassing element.It has the capability to hold everything. Akasha finally merges into cosmic mind. The cosmic mind merges with Nature or Prakriti .Finally Prakriti merges into Purusha ( Cosmic being ) and finally Purusha merges into the Paramatma .

Then creation begins with darkness enveloping the known universe and from this darkness of the great void begins the intent of the Paramatma to view itself and this in reverse gives rise to Brahma and the process reverses itself.

Lord Hayagreeva blessing Brahma

Lord Brahma thus created from the great void starts the process of creation of the entire cosmos. As a part of the process Lord Brahma starts writing down the Vedas and he is occupied with the task for many thousands of years. The story says with the passage of time , ego enters the mind of Lord Brahma  and he starts feeling very proud for the creation of the Vedas. Lord Narayana notices this and decides to rectify the situation. Lord Narayana passes his divya dristhi ( divine vision ) on a pair of water droplets hanging on the Lotus and out of the two droplets arise two Asuras. They are known as Madhu and Kaitabha.

 

Metaphysically both the Asuras represent the Sattva guna and Rajo guna. Madhu and Kaitabha immediately pounced upon the Vedas that Lord Brahma was writing and disappeared taking the Vedas along with them. Lord Brahma realized his ego was the cause of this mishap and appealed sincerely to Lord Narayana to retrieve the Vedas and help him continue the process of Creation. No creation is possible without knowledge of the cosmos and the Vedas represent all the knowledge of the cosmos.

Lord Narayana wakes up from his Yoga Nidra , agrees to help Lord Brahma and takes the form of a being with the body of a man and head of horse.

Haya literally means Horse and Greeva means neck. Hayagreeva is the Lord with the head of a Horse. The Lord in the form of Hayagreeva is associated closely also with the Sun .The Sun is the source of all creation in the Universe.If the Sun were not there , plants would not be there to create food through photosynthesis and animals and human beings would not exist either .

The story proceeds to state then that the Lord had to wage war with Madhu and Kaitabha for a long time before recovering the Vedas. The metaphysical meaning being that overcoming Sattwa and Rajo guna as a part of yoga sadhana takes a lot of effort.Even Sattwa becomes an hindrance at a point of time in the yogic evolution. It is like a golden chain binding a person.

 

Lord Hayagreeva is worshipped before starting one’s education .Shri Vadiraja Teertha the great saint of Karnataka composed many hymns in praise of Lord Hayagreeva at Udipi.

 

Continued with next Post on Rakhi Pournima and Upakarma

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