What is the Magh Purnima Ritual?•
Posted on February 15 2022
Magh Purnima is a full moon day that falls in the Magh month in the Hindu solar calendar. This day typically occurs in either January or February. The Magh mela event takes place every year on this day at the meeting point of the Triveni Sangam or the three rivers comprising Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. This day is considered to be an important day to perform ancestor rituals and offer darpan so that the souls of their beloved departed ancestors rest in peace. It also marks the final day of Kalpavas, an end to the month long Kalpavasa Vrata throughout the month.
Hindus consider Magh to be an auspicious and important month. The Magh Purnima day is an important day especially for North Indians and the mela is celebrated on a grand scale all over North India. This day is also important in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, the great float festival is held on this day. The celebration is marked by mounting decorated Lord Sundareswara and Meenakshi idols on floats.
Devotees wake up early and gather around the banks of the holy river Ganges to take a bath in its waters. If this is not possible, they try and add a few drops of the Gangajal that they have in their homes to the usual bathing water. This holy bath relieves the bathers of their sins.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu dwells in Kshir Sagar during the Magh month. The river Ganges is represented as one form of Kshir Sagar. Therefore, the lord is impressed with those who bathe in Ganga on this day. It is believed that doing so helps the followers of Lord Vishnu to be bestowed with wealth, contentment and happiness. The bath also takes them one step closer to salvation.
Following the bath, worshippers proceed to getting ready for the pooja. Lord Hanuman and Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Satyanarayana are worshipped with utmost devotion. Some devotees also offer their obeisance to Lord Brihaspati and Goddess Parvati. Lord Brihaspati is represented by Hindus as the god of Magha nakshatra.
As part of the pooja rituals, the gods are decorated and placed on a raised platform. Devotees then take turn to recite different parts of the Satyanarayana Katha and recite the Om Namo Bhagwate Vasudevaya mantra or Om Namo Narayan mantra. It is also alright to say other any mantra dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Worshippers make several offerings to the gods such as banana and tulsi leaves, kumkum, sandalwood paste, supari, till and fruits. Panchamrit is also offered as prasad to the deity. Some people also mix sugar and wheat together and roast the mixture. This mixture is placed as prasad in front of the idols. Most Vishnu temples have special Satyanarayana poojas in the evenings on this day.
After the pooja, donations are made to brahmins and the needy in the form of food and clothing. It is said to be beneficial if the food offerings include cereals, fruits, ghee and jaggery. Hindu scriptures stress on the fact that donating sesame or til seeds every day of the month to be very auspicious. Devotees also engage in feeding cows on the Magha Purnima day. This keeps them stay motivated and energized the entire day.
Most devotees also observe a fast on Magh Purnima. They remain on a vrat throughout the morning hours or have only one meal during this time. The fast is broken after offering the moon some ardhya in the evening. Observing a fast helps to alleviate the stress in a person and purify his/her body.
Based on astrological interpretations, the Magha Purnima day occurs when the Sun is positioned in Capricorn sign and the Moon position is in Cancer. Therefore, this day is important with respect both the Sun and the Moon. A holy bath on this day helps the bather to seek relief from his/her problems related to these two celestial bodies. Moreover, if the bath is done during the morning hours throughout the entire month, the person is granted with strength and power. This will help him/her participate in religious activities and have a clean soul. As a result, he/she will be able to face any problem easily. Hindus believe that the great saint Vishwamitra never failed to take the holy bath during Magh Purnima and Kumbha Mela.