Bhishma Asthami - 7th Feb 2014
Magha Shukla Asthami is death anniversary of Bhishma Pitamah, one of the most prominent characters of the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata and this day is known as Bhishma Asthami. Bhishma due to certain family compulsions had vowed celibacy and followed it throughout his life. Due to his loyalty and devotion to his father, Bhishma was blessed with boon to choose the time of his death.
When he got injured in the battle of Mahabharata he didn’t leave his body due to this boon. He waited for the auspicious moment to give up his body. According to Hindu belief Dakshinayana is inauspicious period and all auspicious activities are postponed till Uttarayana. Bhishma chose Magha Shukla Asthami to give up his body on this day of Uttarayana (उत्तरायण).
On this day People do Ekodishta (एकोदिष्ट) Shradhha for him. His Shradhha has been prescribed for those who have lost their father. However many believe that his Shradhha rituals can be performed by all irrespective whether their father is alive or dead.
Hindu religion has several prominent saints and philosophers out of which three great spiritual personalities are most revered. They are Sri Sankaracharya who advocated Advaita Philosophy, Sri Ramaanujaachaarya who advocated Visishtaadvaita philosophy and Sri Madhwacharya who advocated Dvaita Philosophy. All the three are together known as the trinity of Aachaaryas.
Notable works of Sri Madhwacharya include commentaries on Upanishads, Bhagavat Geeta, Brahma Sutras, Mahabharata and Bhagavatha Purana besides scripting several other original works on his doctrines.
Sri Madhwacharya was instrumental in establishing the famous temple of Lord Sri Krishna at Udupi and installed the idol of Sri Bala Krishna that was said to have been worshiped by Rukmini Devi the prime consort of Lord Sri Krishna during Dwapara Yuga.
Madhwa Navami falls on the 9th day of Magha Masa during the bright fortnight. It is said that it was on this day in the year 1317 AD, Sri Madhvacharya while teaching his disciples at Udupi Sri Anantheshwara Temple, suddenly a heap of flowers were showered on him and he disappeared from that heap not to be seen later. It is considered as the day he entered the Badarikasrama. It is strongly believed among his followers that Sri Madhwacharya is still present even today in Northern Himalayas continuing his spiritual pursuit with Sage Sri Vedavyasa but beyond ordinary vision.
Special celebrations are held across the country on the eve of Madhwa Navami at all the Madhwa related temples and mutts participated by large gathering of Madhwa followers.