‘Akhaya Tritiya’, it is related with many stories. One of the stories is that, on this day the Ganges (a holy river in India) came to Earth to purify mankind.
It is also associated with two instances of Lord Krishna.
What happened is, once the five Pandavas, (the five brothers from the Mahabharata epic) and their wife were in exile. At that time a saint called and said, ‘I am going to have food with you.’ When the message came, they had no food. They had already eaten and had kept their pots away. Draupadi (the wife of the 5 Pandavas) prayed to Lord Krishna. At the same time, Krishna came to their house and said, ‘Oh I am very hungry.’ When he came in, he saw that there was only one grain of rice stuck to the pot. He picked that one grain of rice and ate it, and turned the pot into an Akshaya Patra. Akshaya Patra means that which never diminishes.
When the saint came with 400 people, Draupadi could feed all of them from the same pot. The more she took from the pot, the more would come from it. It would never go down.
So it is a common expression in India to say, ‘This is an akshaya patra‘, which means it always keeps giving.
If people are very generous and they are always doing seva and contributing to other, then you say, ‘This is an akshaya patra’, means it never goes down; a perennial source.
A magical pot which keeps feeding millions.
The other story is, Krishna had a friend who was very poor. His name was Sudhama. Sudhama means a good place, or a very benevolent place.
So, one day his wife said, ‘We are living in such poverty and Krishna is so rich. Why don’t you go and get something from him. He is your close friend.’
Sudhama said, ‘Okay, I’ll go, but I can’t go to a friend empty handed. I have to take something’. So his wife packed three handful of puffed rice in a scarf and gave it to him. It is like rice crispies.
When Sudhama went to Krishna and Krishna welcomed him, and washed his feet. The story goes that they were such good friends and in the friendship there was so much love that Sudhama forgets to give the rice to Krishna and also forgets to ask him for anything. He came to ask him for a favor but he could not ask him anything because he was so overwhelmed with love. They were so close that he forgot to ask. He could not ask. He could not even speak.
When he was about to leave, Krishna asked, ‘Hey, you have brought me something? Give it to me. I know your wife has sent something. Why are you not giving it to me. Come on, give it.’
Krishna took the rice and he ate one handful, then he ate the second handful, by that time his wife Rukmini came and said, ‘I want to take the third one’.
While all this was happening, Sudhama left without asking him for anything. When he reached home, he found his house flooded with riches and gold. That’s the story.
So, people today buy gold and they gift each other. Today if you get anything, it will always grow. You gift, or you buy, it all grows. That is the belief.
Every day is a celebration! All that we need to know is that this world that we are in, all these things, are ultimately nothing! One day we will leave all this here only. Our body too will go back to this Earth. But you, the spirit will be alive. You will rise up because you are eternal.
“Nothing is impossible. Not only spiritual upliftment, even material things can flow when the devotion is very strong. That is the essence of this story.”
We are all here just for a few years, but the world remains for so many millions of years. The trees are there, the birds are there, the clouds are forming, rain comes, Sun is shining. This whole phenomenon is happening since billions of years. In another 40-50 years all of us will be gone, but this whole thing will continue. That is the Divinity.
Here are some popular beliefs and stories related to Akshaya Tritiya:
- It is said that the God of wealth and the treasurer of all deities, Kubera, prayed to Goddess Lakshmi on this special day, and was granted the gift of perpetual wealth and prosperity. That is why, this day is so auspicious for starting new ventures, buying a new property or gold, or getting married, as it assures prosperity and benefits. In many households, a daylong Kubera-Lakshmi puja is performed on this day.
- The holy river Ganges descended on Earth from the heavens on this day.
- This is the day when the sage Parshuram, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, was born.
- Treta Yug, the period of the holy Ramayana, commenced.
- Ved Vyasa initiated the recital of the great Indian epic Mahabharata before lord Ganesha.
- Lord Krishna’s childhood friend Sudama, visited Dwarka to him and offered him a humble gift of poha (rice flakes). Therefore, Vaishnavas (worshippers of lord Vishnu) fast throughout the day and open their fasts with rice.