Akshay Trithiya, one of three most auspicious tithis in the year, is associated with several legends through different periods of time.
Akshay Trithiya is on the third tithi of Shukla Paksha, the waxing or bright half of the moon, in the month of Vaisakh, celebrated on 22nd April 2023. It will be on 10th May in 2024 and 30th April in 2025. Astrologically, it is one of three most auspicious tithis in the year, the other two being the first tithi of the Shukla Paksha of Chaitra, celebrated as the New year, and the tenth tithi of the Shukla Paksha of Ashvina celebrated as Vijay Dashami.
Celebrated as Akshay Trithiya, it is the day that marks the beginning of the Treta Yuga, during which period Sri Rama manifested. It is also the day in which Sri Parashuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, incarnated. It is believed to be the day when Veda Vyasa began reciting the epic Mahabharata to Sri Ganesha, who recorded it.
After prolonged penance, today was the auspicious occasion when the earth itself was blessed by the descent of the sacred Ganga. King Bhagirath had perfomed tapasya for an age without a name in seeking the Ganga for the salvation of his ancestors. In remembering them, we receive their blessings in our resolve to complete their unfinished work. It is a day that reminds us that shudh sankalpa or pure intent and tapasya or austerities performed for the welfare of others bears fruit.
Traditionally, the temples of Char Dham open for darshan on Akshay Trithiya, after the long winters. In 2023, the temples of Yamunotri and Gangotri open on Akshaya Trithiya, and Kedarnath opens on 25th April and Badrinath on 27th April 2023.
It is a good day for new beginnings, for daan, for puja, yagya, spiritual practice and auspicious activities. In an age when material welfare and progress dominates the mind, people celebrate by buying gold, silver and precious gems, thus seeking the blessings of Sri Lakshmi. In earlier ages, when one was more in tune with balance and harmony in all aspects of life, one recognised that one must earn merit. And one sought the blessings of Sri Lakshmi, so one could use wealth for the welfare of all. Giving was the reason to receive.
The story of Lord Krishna and Sudama is often related in context of the day. Sri Krishna’s childhood friend, the Brahmana Sudama, plagued by hard times and poverty, at the behest of his wife, arrives at Sri Krishna’s palace gates at Dwarka, where he is refused entry. Sri Krishna Himself comes to greet him, welcomes him as a dear childhood friend, snatches the gift of puffed rice Sudama is embarrassed to offer and delights in it, and takes pleasure in his company. When Sudama leaves joyous and fulfilled, though seemingly empty-handed, and approaches home, he starts worrying about what he will tell his wife. He sees in place of his dilapidated kutia, a palace with unimaginable wealth, awaiting him. What we offer the Lord with a generous heart, seeking nothing in return, earns merit. Sudama prays simply that his mind and actions be engaged in the continual service of the Lord, in divine surrender and love.