Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj
The basic instinct of human beings is to search for happiness. In search of happiness, every individual does something or the other. Festivals and occasions are a part of it. In this context, Swami Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj says that everyone wants to be happy and will keep aspiring for it until they achieve it.
India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. Indians celebrate many festivals each year, and Sharad Purnima is especially important. According to the Hindu calendar, autumn lasts from the beginning of the Ashwin month to the end of the Kartik month. Sharad Purnima coincides with the end of the rain; the entire nature appears to be bathed in pure cleanliness after the rain. Sharad Purnima, a cherished festival, casts a luminous glow on this auspicious occasion.
According to astrology, Sharad Purnima is the only day in the entire year when the Moon is full of its sixteen virtues, and rays emitting out of it are considered amrita or elixir. In ancient texts, the Moon has been called the lord of medicine. According to Brahma-puran, medicines have originated from the nectar-like light that falls on the earth from the Moon. Ayurvedic experts eagerly wait for this day to make healing herbs more effective in preventing diseases by exposing them to moonlight. The time from ten to twelve o'clock on this night is especially energy-giving. It is said that for energy and special health benefits, Ravana, the ruler of Lanka, used to receive the moonlight of Sharad Purnima on his navel through a mirror.
In many areas of India, there is a tradition of making kheer (sweet rice pudding) and keeping it in the moonlight under the open sky. Science also confirms that the moonlight of Sharad Purnima has special medicinal properties. The nectar element in milk absorbs a lot of energy from the moon's rays. This process becomes even easier due to the presence of starch in the rice mixed with milk. As a result, kheer acquires medicinal properties. Relishing kheer moistened with moon rays of Sharat Purnima, controls the imbalance of bile in the body and provides health to the body. The moonlight of Sharad Purnima increases the level of Vitamin D in the body and controls blood pressure. There are so many benefits of Sharat Purnima for health and well-being, along with spiritual importance.
People celebrate Sharad Purnima as 'Raas Purnima’, for an epoch-making event. Because, on this day, Lord Krishna had a divine Leela with Shri Radha and the Gopis of Braj on that night, which is called Raas Leela 5000 years ago. In the tenth canto of Shrimad- Bhagwat-Mahapuran, from the 29th to 33rd chapter, there is the narration of divine Raas-Leela. These five chapters are called the ‘Panch-prana’ of Bhagwat. Through this Leela, Lord Shri Krishna has taught the lesson that living beings have to love God for no self-centredness like the Gopis. The sole aim of the living being is to provide happiness to Shri Krishna. God completely gives himself forever to such devotees and provides them with his service in his divine abode. In this way, the living being becomes free from the bondage of birth and death forever. The divine spiritual event of Raas-Leela reminds us about the selfless love for the supreme God. We observe Sharad-Purnima to remember this supreme goal. In Gujarat, people perform Garba in memory of divine maha-rasa. Even in Manipur, devotees of Shri Krishna perform the Raas- dance. Also, the Kartik Snan starts from Sharad Purnima onwards.
Other reasons to celebrate this festival
On the day of Sharad Purnima, people worship Goddess Lakshmi with great devotion at many places in India. As per the shastras, after Sharadiya-Navratri, Goddess Lakshmi travels to Earth to inspect her devotees. She provides wealth and affluence to those devotees, awakened with consciousness and dedication to their work. On this day, devotees stay awake the whole night and worship Goddess Lakshmi. It is also called Kojagari-Purnima. In Orissa, people celebrate Sharad-Purnima as Karthikeya Purnima and Kumar Purnima. Kartikeya, son of lord Mahadev and Goddess Parvati, was born on this day. He is the symbol of beauty, valour, and strength. The Hindu calendar declares that the great poet Valmiki was born on this day. His narrative on Ramayana presents the ideals of a dignified life for the entire human race.
The holy festival of Sharad Purnima holds many auspicious and divine memories in its heart. On this day, the world had the privilege of a unique divine personality, Jagadguru Swami Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj (the fifth original Jagadguru). Maharaj Ji’s appearance on earth is an epoch-making event. Shri Maharaj Ji was born in Mangarh village of Pratapgarh district, Uttar Pradesh, on this divine occasion in the year 1922. He completed the study of Sanskrit grammar, music, literature, and Ayurveda in a brief period. Then he went to the rugged forests of Chitrakoot when he was sixteen years of age and later the forests near Vanshivat in Vrindavan. There, he began the propagation of Sankirtan and love for the divine couple, Shri Radha-Krishna.
In the year 1955, he organized a huge philosophical conference in Chitrakoot, in which many scholars from Kashi and other places participated. In 1956, his initiative held a similar grand religious conference in Kanpur. During that conference, he revealed his extraordinary knowledge of Vedas and Shastras to the top scholars of Kashi. Kashi Vidvat Parishad invited Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj to Kashi for discourse. Having him heard for so many days, they were overwhelmed and felt spellbound by his extraordinary knowledge and mastery of Vedas and Shastras. They unanimously declared Him with the tallest spiritual title of Jagadguruttam, (the best among the spiritual masters of the world) in the year 1957. Acharya Shri Raj Narayan Shukla, the Prime Minister of Kashi Vidvat Parishad, representing a gathering of 500 prominent Vedic scholars, said in his address that “it is a matter of great fortune for us that a saint who can present such divine teachings is with us today. The body appeals to people that they listen to Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj through his association, understand his simple and graceful teachings, and implement them in their lives.
Before Him, the original title of Jagadguru was bestowed upon only four great saints- around 2500 years ago, Jagadguru Shankaracharya, who was an absolute monist, in the 8th century, Jagadguru Nimbarkacharya, who was a dualist, in the 12th century, Jagadguru Ramanujacharya, who was a qualified-monist, and in the 14th century, Jagadguru Madhvacharya, who was also a dualist. The 5th Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj distinctly presented a unique reconciliation of all the aforementioned philosophies, theories, and opinions by citing their individual significance in parallel with their seeming contradictions. His message is that the material world is indispensable for the maintenance of the body, but the actual aim of human birth is the attainment of God. Gopis are figurine of this philosophy, God's most selfless beloveds five thousand years ago. The appearance of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj has been symbolic with the already significance of the day. We bow down before this personality on the occasion of his 103rd appearance day.