chaandramaana yugaadi.

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Apr 3 03:23:03 CDT 2000

Hari Om,

chaandramaana yugaadi is the Hindu New year's day according to the lunar
calender. This falls on the chaitra shukla pratipad, ie, the first day
of the bright fortnight of chaitra month. ( the first month of Hindu
calender ) Brahma, the creator , is said to have created the world on
this day ! Hence the name " yugaadi ", the beginning of the era or

People take bath after anointing the body with oil ( abhyanjanasnaana or
oil bath ) and then wear new clothes, decorate the front door of the
house with fresh neem leaves and mango leaves. Since this is the
beginning of summer, the oil bath helps to cool the body and the fresh
neem leaves ward off infections entering the house. People worship their
family diety, pray for the welfare of all, eat a mixture of tender neem
leaves with jaggery. This has medicinal value, acts as an antidote for
many of the illnesses that are common in this summer season.. Eeating
the mixture also signifies our mental preparedness to face the pleasures
and pains of the coming new year with equanimity ! While eating it we
should chant the shloka
" shataayurvajradhaaya sarva sampat karaaya cha
  sarvaarishta vinaashaaya nimbaka.M dala bhakshaNam "

The meaning -  The neem leaves are eaten ( in this shloka there is no
mention of jaggery. Perhaps it was a later addition to camouflage the
bitterness of neem leaves ) for the sake of a body which has a longevity
of hundred years, and which is as strong as diamond, for bestowing all
prosperity and for annihilating all the evil things.

Yugaadi also ushers in vasanta navaraatri ( because it is Vasanta Ritu -
April ) when the Divine Mother is worshipped for nine nights or ten
days. There is also one more navaratri celebration during the Sharat
Ritu - the Sharannavaraatri, which is more popular and more widely
celebrated during September-October.
(These two navaratris may signify the harvesting of spring crops and
autumn crops).

Worshipping the almanac or Panchaanga is a very important ritual on this
day. And after the sumptuous feast in the afternoon, in the evening the
whole family assembles together ( now a days people also gather at some
fixed venue ) to listen to the forecast from the panchaanga, which is
read out by a family priest or an aachaarya. This " Panchaanga ShravaNa
" is supposed to be very auspicious on this day. This forecast also
helps one to be prepared to face any untoward incident or circumstances
that is spelled out by the astrologer who has composed this almanac.
After the panchaanga shravana, a liberal dakshinaa or kaanike is given
to the aacharya and his blessings are received.

Chaandramaana yugaadi is observed widely in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh
and Maharashtra. Since the Raama navami falls on the nineth day from
this yugaadi, ( chaitra shukla navami ) people also read the Raamaayana
Grantha these nine days, suitably dividing the portion of the epic  for
each day which culminates on the navami day. Then they celebrate the
Raama pattaabhisheka on that day. Some people start the Paaraayana ( the
ceremonial recitation ) on navami day and do it for nine days.

The new year according to the solar calender - souramaana yugaadi - is
observed mostly in Tamil Naadu and Kerala on 14th of April ( the first
day of chittirai ).

May the New Year usher in happiness and prosperity to one and all. May
peace prevail everywhere. May we progress further in the path of jnaana.

Regards and good wishes,
Hari Om,
Latha Vidyaranya

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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