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Mauni Amavasya is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Paush or Magh (the name of the month depends on the place that the festival is celebrated, the dates remain the same). It usually falls during the months of January and February as per the Gregorian calendar. Mauni Amavasya is considered to be immensely holy and is a day set aside for taking a holy bath in sacred rivers.
The holiness of the bath increases if it is taken at the point of confluence of two or more rivers. The most sacred place for this in India is Devprayag Triveni Sangam where the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. Another important thing to note is that Mauni Amavasya is commonly the first Amavasya of the new year and the last Amavasya that comes before Maha Shivaratri.
In the year 2019, Mauni Amavasya falls on 4 February. The timings of Mauni Amavasya are as follows:
The beginning of the Amavasya tithi: 23.52 pm on 3 February
The end of the Amavasya tithi: 2.33 am on 5 February
The Importance Of Mauni Amavasya
The day of Mauni Amavasya is also known as the new moon of silence. On this day, the sadhus observe a vow of silence or mouna. This is considered to be a gesture of the awakening of wisdom that cannot and need not be spoken about.
It is a belief among the saints that there is nothing actually in this world that needs to be said and there is nothing that can be said.
The water of the river Ganga is thought to turn into nectar on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya. This makes the river Ganga the most important river to bathe in on the day.
Mauni Amavasya is considered to be the best day to bathe in the river Ganga too. There are devotees who vow to bathe in the river Ganga for the whole month of Magha.
They start the day of Paush Purnima and end the vow on Magha Purnima. The day is so important that in the year 2017, more than 5 crore devotees gathered at the Sangam ghats of Allahabad to take the sacred bath. The data was quite similar for 2018.
The day of Mauni Amavasya is also called the Maghi Amavasya, as it falls in the month of Magha, according to the calendar that is followed in the northern part of India.
The Spiritual Significance Of Mauni Amavasya
The knowledgeable in spiritual philosophy explained that the word "Mauni Amavasya" has a very deep and important spiritual significance. The word Mauni Amavasya can be separated into mauni, ama and vasya.
One of the translations is mauni - silent, ama - dark and vasya - lust. Another translation of Amavasya means to dwell together. The word can mean the day when you observe silence to remove darkness and lust.
Lord Chandra or the Moon God is considered to be the master of our minds. On the Mauni Amavasya day, the moon is absent. It is said that the words spoken or the decisions taken on this day will cause bad results or may be inauspicious in nature.
As Lord Krishna said in Bhagvat Gita - "The mind can be the greatest friend if trained properly and kept in control. If it is given the control over you, it can turn into the worst enemy too."
So, observing silence is in a way a practice for keeping it in control. This is also the reason behind the tradition of maintaining silence and bathing in the holy rivers to purify one's body, mind and soul.
How To Celebrate Mauni Amavasya?
Traditionally, the devotees observe fasts on the day of Mauni Amavasya. They keep a vow of silence and abstain from speaking even a single word. The bath in the river Ganges is also considered compulsory.
If you are unable to observe Mauni Amavasya in the traditional way, you may do some of the following rituals to the same effect.
If You Cannot Take A Bath In The River Ganga
If you have some water collected from the river Ganga at home, add a few drops of it to your bathing water. You can also chant the following mantra before you bathe in the water:
"Ganga Cha Yamuna Chaiva Godavari Sarasvati,
Narmada Sindhu Kaveri Jalesmin Sannidim Kuru"
The mantra above summons the blessings and presence of all the holy rivers in the Indian subcontinent to be present in your bathing water in essence.
The day of Mauni Amavasya is a good day to perform pitri puja. You can also use this occasion to remember and honour the memory of your ancestors and ask for their blessings.
Meditate and listen to meditation chants and music in the morning. It will help you calm down and control the mind.
You can wear the Rudraksha beads that are considered to be related to the moon. The beads need to be of two mukhi or sixteen mukhi. These bring calmness to the restless mind of the wearer.
Moon stone can be used to provide a positive outlook in the mind.
Feed The Animals
It is considered to be auspicious to feed the animals like dogs, crows and cows.
Mauni Amavasya is also a day to worship Lord Shani. People offer til or sesame oil to Lord Shani on this day.
You must donate some amount to the poor and needy. You may offer essential items for life and also food and clothes.