Top 10 Myths about Akshay Tritiya

Akshay Tritiya is a very significant Hindu festival. The word, ‘Akshay’ means ‘indestructible’, while ‘Tritiya’ means ‘third lunar day’. Also known as ‘Akti’ and ‘Akha Teej’ the festival falls on the Shukla Paksha (Waxing Moon period) Tritiya of the month of Baishakh (late April or early May).

An Akshay Patra or Mangal Ghat filled with gold, an earthen lamp, flowers etc. for puja on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya.

According to the Vedic belief, any good deed done on this day is everlasting. It is believed very auspicious to buy gold and silver on this day. Goddess Lakshmi signifies gold and silver and it is said that if one invests in buying these metals on this day, the goddess will bless him/her with prosperity and wealth. On this day of Akshay Tritiya one should do some rituals like fasting, worship, chanting, meditation, donation, giving joy to others etc. Since all the work of this day is everlasting, every step has to be taken carefully. Many mythological stories are associated with this auspicious day. Let’s see the top 10 myths about the holy occasion of Akshay Tritiya.

Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, with an axe, a bow and a quiver filled with arrows.

On this day, Parasurama, the sixth Vishnu Avatar (incarnation of Vishnu), appeared on earth. So, this day is also marked as Parshurama Jayanti. He was present in the Treta Yuga and the Dwapara Yuga. Although Parashurama’s father, Jamadagni was a Brahmin, his mother, Renuka was a Kshatriya. By doing severe austerities, he got blessings from Shiva. It is said that he defended the Konkan and Malabar regions from sea aggression. For this reason the coastal areas of Kerala and Konkan are called Parashurama fields. Parashurama was a Brahmakshatriya. He was the first warrior sage. His mother was a child of the Surya dynasty of Ayodhya. It is mentionable that Ramachandra was born in this dynasty.

According to the belief of the worshippers, Lord Kubera, the god of wealth prayed to goddess Lakshmi on the day of Akshay Tritiya and he was showered with money. So this day is considered very auspicious to collect or buy gold, silver and property, start a new business, and also get married.

Bhagiratha, a legendary king of the Ishvaku dynasty, brought goddess Ganga from heaven to earth on the day of Akshay Tritiya. After becoming the prince of the Sagara dynasty, he could learn about the painful consequences of his sixty thousand unfortunate ancestors. Bhagiratha entrusted the kingdom to the minister and sadly went to the Himalayas to do austerities. On the advice of Guru Trithal, he atoned for the sins of 60,000 cursed ancestors for thousands of years and tried to convince goddess Ganga to save them from the curse of the sage, Kapil. Satisfied with the austerities of Bhagiratha, Ganga told him that it would be impossible for him to control the tremendous speed of her fall when she would descend from heaven to earth. Ganga also told Bhagiratha that he should pray to Lord Shiva because when Ganga (goddess) would descend to earth, only Mahadev had the power to contain her. Then Bhagiratha started the austerities of Lord Shiva and prayed to him to hold Ganga. Lord Shiva heard Bhagiratha’s prayer and held the goddess, Ganga who had fallen from heaven in his braid and carried her to earth as a river. From then on, another name of Mahadev is Gangadhar (who holds Ganga).

Vyasadeva narrating the story of Mahabharata and Lord Ganesha writing it down.

On the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya, Lord Ganesha started writing the Mahabharata. Once when Vyasadeva was meditating in the Himalayas, Brahma appeared in front of Vyasa. Brahma asked Vyasadeva to compose the Mahabharata. Vyasadeva knew that the story of Mahabharata was complex, so he he needed somebody’s help to write the story of Mahabharata. Brahma then suggested the name of Ganesha. Thus Vyasadeva narrated the story of Mahabharata and Ganesha wrote down it accurately.

Krishna and Sudama were very close friends during their childhood. But there was a financial difference between the two. Krishna was the son of a king. On the other hand, Sudama was born in an ordinary family. However, the difference between their status did not in any way hinder their true friendship or bond. The two, Sudama and Krishna, were inseparable. On this special day (Akshay Tritiya) after Krishna became king, Sudama went to Krishna to ask him for some financial help. Sudama took a pouch of flattened rice with him. He wanted to give it as a gift for his friend, Krishna. But he felt ashamed when he gave it to Krishna. Sudama was so overwhelmed by the hospitality shown by the Lord Krishna that he could not ask Krishna for financial support which led him to go home empty-handed. When Sudama arrived at his home he saw that his hut was turned into a palace and his family was wearing royal attire. Sudama knew that all these were the blessings of his friend, Krishna, who blessed him with more wealth than he needed. Actually the significance of Akshay Tritiya lies in the moral of this story.

Another popular myth related to Akshay Tritiya is about Akshay Patra. This inexhaustible pot was a gift from Lord Krishna to Draupadi. The story is actually from the Mahabharata. While the Pandava brothers were in exile, many sages came to visit them. One day Lord Krishna along with his friends came to meet them. But Draupadi did not welcome him and she was crying in secret . When Lord Krishna asked Draupadi why she was crying, Draupadi informed him that the rice-pot in her kitchen was empty, and she had no more rice left in the cottage to serve the guests outside. Then Lord presented her a bowl which was named Akshay Patra. That bowl was never empty and produced an unlimited amount of food on demand. This divine episode took place on the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya.

The rituals of Chandan Yatra and Akshay Tritiya are performed before Jagannatha Rath Yatra in Odissa, India. Actually it’s a tradition that the construction of the chariots for the annual Rath Yatra festival starts from Akshay Tritiya.

Three other important myths are also associated with the highly auspicious occasion of Akshay Tritiya. It is believed that Goddess Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment, appeared on Akshay Tritiya. According to Hindu mythology, Akshaya Tritiya was the day when Satya Yuga ended and Treta Yuga began. The holy pilgrimage sites of Yamunotri Temple, Gangotri Temple, Kedarnath Temple and Badrinath Temple are opened before the festival of Akshay Tritiya. So the devotees who want to go on the pilgrimage of Chardham Yatra should know the information of the opening dates of the temples.

By Krishna Das

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