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Sharad Purnima, an important day in Hinduism, is basically a harvest festival that is celebrated on the full moon day in the lunar month of Ashwin. It usually falls during the months of September or October according to the Gregorian calendar. This year, Sharad Poornima falls on October 23, 2018.
Sharad Purnima is known by many names like Navanna Purnima, Kaumudi Purnima and Kojagiri Purnima. The people of various parts of the country worship different deities as per their popularity in the region. Kojagari vrata is observed in the honour of Goddess Lakshmi. Lord Indra who is the king of gods and the bringer of rains is also worshipped on this day. Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati are honoured on this day too.
On this auspicious occasion, let us learn about the interesting facts and legends of Sharad Purnima. Read on to know more.
The Meaning Of Kojagiri
It is said that the word Kojagiri is derived from the Sanskrit words Ko Jagriti which means ‘who is awake'. It is said that Goddess Lakshmi roams the earth on this night asking, ‘Ko Jagriti?' When she finds someone awake and deep in worship, she blesses them with wealth and prosperity.
The Legend Of 16 Kalas
A kala is a skill or quality that a human being possesses. It is said that there are 16 kalas in all and only the most perfect man has all the 16 kalas. Lord Krishna is perhaps the only man to be born with all the 16 kalas and is called the complete and perfect man. It is said that Lord Rama was born with only 12 kalas.
On the night of Sharad Purnima, the full moon comes out resplendent with all the 16 kalas and it is the only night in a year that this happens.
The Healing Moonlight Of Sharad Purnima
It is believed that on Sharad Purnima, the moon rises with properties that heal the body and the soul of human beings. The rays of the moon are said to be dripping with nectar that nourish human beings from inside out.
To celebrate the day, people make kheer, using rice and milk. This kheer is then left out in the moonlight overnight for it to soak up the goodness of the rays. The next morning, the kheer that is infused with the powers of the moonlight is served as prasad to the members of the family.
The Night Of Raas Leela
The famous Raas Leela, the divine dance of love, took place on the night of Sharad Purnima. As the legend goes, one Sharad Purnima night, that was basking in the light of the full moon, Lord Krishna played a tune on his flute. The melody was so enchanting that all the Gopis in the Brij region came out of their homes in a trance-like condition. They danced to the tune of the flute; and with each Gopi, danced a Krishna.
It is said that by the power of his Maya, Lord Krishna stretched a single earthly night into a night of the Brahma. A night of the Brahma equals billions of years on earth.
Sharad Purnima Vrat Katha
Sharad Purnima vrat katha is to be read on the day the vrat (fast) is observed. It exalts the benefits of performing the vrat properly.
Once there lived two sisters who were the daughters of a moneylender. Both the girls observed the fast of Sharad Purnima. While the eldest daughter fasted with devotion, the youngest daughter was not very bothered by its intricacies. The elder daughter consumed food only after she had offered arghya (offering water through a small copper kalash) to the moon god. On the other hand, the younger daughter did not even see the fast through.
The two girls grew up and got married. While the elder daughter was blessed with good and beautiful children, the babies of the younger daughter died soon after they were born.
The younger daughter visited a saint who told her that she had been observing the Sharad Purnima vrat without any true devotion. Doing so had brought this misfortune upon her.
Next Sharad Purnima, the younger daughter performed the Sharad Purnima vrat with full devotion. She gave birth to a baby soon after, but it too died in some time.
She believed that her elder sister would be able to find a remedy for her problem. She placed the body of the baby on a cot and covered it with a sheet. She invited her elder sister to her home and made her sit on the cot. The elder sister sat on the cot and her clothes came in contact with the baby's body. As soon as this happened, the baby came alive and started crying.
The elder sister was startled. The younger sister told her about how the baby was dead and had come alive at the touch of the elder sister. They both believed that this had happened due to the grace of the Moon God and the effect of the Sharad Purnima vrat.