Sharad Purnima, also known as Kojagari Purnima, is a significant and enchanting Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm in various parts of India. This harvest festival marks the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the Sharad or autumn season. It holds a special place in Hindu mythology and is celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm.
The Essence of Sharad Purnima
Sharad Purnima falls on the whole moon night in the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin (usually in October). The term “Sharad” refers to autumn, and this festival signifies the arrival of the harvest season, with fields and gardens brimming with ripe crops. The full moon on this night is believed to be exceptionally radiant and believed to possess unique healing properties.
Sharad Purnima Vrat Katha: The Legend
The festival of Sharad Purnima is steeped in mythological significance, with a celebrated story called “Sharad Purnima Vrat Katha.” This tale revolves around Lord Krishna and his divine play.
As the legend goes, Lord Krishna observed this fast with utmost devotion to attain the love and affection of Radha. According to the story, on this night, Lord Krishna played his enchanting flute, captivating Radha and other Gopis (milkmaids).
This story symbolizes the divine love between Lord Krishna and Radha and serves as an example of unwavering devotion.
The Significance of Sharad Purnima Vrat
Many Hindus observe a day-long fast on Sharad Purnima, often known as Kojagari Purnima Vrat. Devotees believe that observing this fast with dedication can fulfill their desires and wishes. The word “Kojagari” is derived from the phrase “Ko Jagarti,” which means “who is awake?” It is believed that the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, roams the Earth on this night, blessing those who stay awake and engage in worship.
The Rituals and Traditions
The observance of Sharad Purnima typically begins in the evening. Devotees gather in temples or at home for worship. Here are some everyday rituals associated with the festival:
- Worship of the Moon: On Sharad Purnima night, the moon is worshipped with various offerings, including milk, rice, and sweets.
- Fasting: Devotees observe a day-long fast, consuming only milk and milk-based products like kheer (rice pudding). Some also abstain from eating altogether.
- All-Night Vigil: Many people stay awake throughout the night, singing bhajans (devotional songs) and hymns in praise of Lord Krishna.
- Making Sweets: Preparations of delicious sweets, particularly kheer, are an essential part of the festival.
- Charity: It is considered auspicious to give alms and donations to the less fortunate on Sharad Purnima.
- Lighting Lamps: Traditional oil lamps are lit to commemorate the divine presence of Lord Krishna.
The celebration of Sharad Purnima varies across different regions of India. In West Bengal, it is celebrated as Kojagari Lakshmi Puja, where married women worship the goddess Lakshmi for the prosperity of their families. In Gujarat, it is celebrated as Sharad Poonam, where people fly colorful kites to mark the festival.
The Grandeur of Moonlight
On Sharad Purnima, the moon is believed to shine with unparalleled brilliance. Many people engage in moon-watching activities, often relishing the beauty of the moonlit night with outdoor gatherings and festivities. The soft, silvery moonlight creates a tranquil ambiance, which adds to the charm of the festival.
Sharad Purnima is a beautiful festival that blends spirituality with the joys of nature. It signifies the bountiful harvest season, the radiant moon, and the divine love of Lord Krishna. Whether it’s through the observance of the Kojagari Vrat, worshipping the moon, or sharing sweets and devotion, Sharad Purnima is a time for spiritual reflection and an opportunity to celebrate the changing seasons.