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Amaavasyaa, or Amaavasee, or Amaavas or Maavas is the name of New Moon night in Hindu religion. It is the day of conjunction of the Sun and the Moon. It is the first night of the first quarter of the lunar month. Since the Moon is invisible on this day, Amaavasyaa is also referred as No Moon night. Amaavasee holds great importance in Hinduism.  There is also an ongoing debate whether Amaavasyaa is auspicious or inauspicious. In fact that those who worship the Soorya (the Sun) recognize Amaavasyaa to be powerful and auspicious, while Moon-worshippers understand the day as unsuitable.

A legend goes with it like this - Achchodaa was the mentally conceived daughter of the Barhishad. Barhishad are those who live on the divine Som juice. Achchodaa did not have a father, so she constantly desired for a real father. As a result of her yearning for a mortal she lost all her divine and Yaugik powers and fell from Heaven. While she was falling down, she prayed to be saved. The souls from the Pitri Lok (the world of the forefathers) heard her appeal, so when she was passing through their Lok, they immediately came to her rescue. After hearing her story, they advised her to be born as King Amaavasu's daughter. King Amaavasu was a radiant, prudent and erudite man.

Later on things occurred as the Pitri formulated. Achchodaa in the mean time regained her powers. In order to show her gratitude to the humble Pitri Achchodaa conducted a ceremony for the Pitris. Thus Amaavasyaa is named after the name of the King Amaavasu, and the custom of honoring our forefathers continues till this date. This custom is called as Pitri Karm. Pitri Karm is a plea by this generation to their forefathers to eliminate and safeguard them from any impediments. It is also a way to get blessing from their forefathers. thus mostly it is well known for Pitri Tarpan, but its importance is much more increased when it fall on the following days.

Types of Amaavasyaa

There are several types of Amaavasyaa -
(1) Somvatee Amaavasyaa - This is the Amaavasyaa which falls Som Vaar (Monday).
(2) Shani Amaavsyaa - Any Amaavasyaa falling on Shani Vaar (Saturday)
(3) Maunee Amaavasyaa - Hindu Maagh month (January–February) and
(4) Mahaalaya Amaavasyaa (Pitar Samokinee Amaaavasyaa) in Aashwin month (September–October) - This day is the last day of Pitri Paksh Shraaddh fortnight. Hindu make offerings (Tarpan) to their dead ancestors who have either died on this day or for those whose death Tithi they don't remember.

All the four Amaavasyaa are highly auspicious as the four Poornimaa. In some regions people observe partial fast (Upavaas) or a complete fast on the day. Otherwise Amaavasyaa is considered the ideal day to perform black magic and evil acts. Since there is no Moon on this day, and the night is pitch dark, this provides the ideal setting to invoke evil powers. It is advised not to travel on an Amaavasyaa night. The logic being that since there is no moonlight, this could invite lot of hardship and danger.

Many astrologers advise against performing any important ceremony on the day as the Moon, an important planet in Hindu astrology, is not visible. In some regions, people do perform certain auspicious deeds on the day. But largely no new beginnings or important ceremonies are held on this day.

(1) Somvatee Amaavasyaa
Somvatee Amaavasyaa, or Amaavasee is the New Moon day or the No Moon day that falls on a Monday (Som Vaar). If the Amaavasyaa Tithi is there during sunrise till the fourth part of the night its very auspicious day. This day is very dear to Shiv and Durgaa. This day is also known as Yog Shiv Raatri too.

The significance of Somvatee Amaavasyaa was explained by Bheeshm to Yudhishthir in the Mahaabhaarat. It is said that who ever takes a dip in a holy river on this day would be prosperous, free of diseases and would be free from grief and sorrow. It is also believed that by taking a dip in the holy rivers the soul of ancestors will also rest in peace. Married women take the holy dip for a happy family life and for the long life of their husbands.

They also worship the Peepal tree today by tying the holy thread around it 108 times. Peepal is the most sacred tree in India. It is regarded as the dwelling place of the Hindu Trinity - Brahmaa, Vishnu and Mahesh. They circumambulate (Parikramaa) it 108 times with their hands folded. They pour water and milk on its roots and offer sandal paste, vermillion, wet rice (Akshat) and flowers. Som Vaar Amaavasyaa Vrat (fasting) is observed for a long and happy married life. Many devout Hindu also fast on this day and some people  have only a single meal. On the day thousands of people take a dip in Gangaa at Haridwaar, Trivenee (Ilaahaabaad or Prayaag) and other places.

The scriptures say that on Somvatee Amaavasyaa, one should do lots of Jap, Shiv Archanaa, Ashwattha Pradakshinaa, Pitri Tarpan, give Daan and indulge in Sat-Kaarya (meritorious works). Somvatee Amaavasyaa is equivalent to 1,000 Soorya Grahan, so Saadhak should never miss this day and should do lots of Mantra Jap. Doing Pradakshinaa around the Ashwattha tree in the morning, blesses one with Putra Laabh (son), removes sins and gives the benefit of doing Pradakshinaa. Performing Jap under Ashwattha tree on this day gives benefits in many folds. Taking bath in rives, temple tanks, or lake removes one's sin. To take bath, the Saadhak should stand in the middle of the river or lake till chest level and perform Jap. The benefit by doing such cannot even be described by the thousand headed Aadi Shesh. Those who know Shree Rudra Mantra by heart can recite them in this way. Shiv Bhakt should never fail to worship Parameshwar on this night. Performing Poojaa on this Amaavasyaa night to Shiv Ling gives the benefit of Shiv Raatri Anushthaan.

The Legend About Somvatee Amaavasyaa
As per the story of Somvatee Amaavasyaa, once upon a time there lived a money lender who had seven sons and one daughter. He married all his sons but could not find a suitable match for his daughter.

A monk visited their house regularly and blessed the money lender’s daughters-in-law but never blessed the daughter. The daughter told her mother about this and she confronted the monk with this question. The monk did reply and left quietly. This really worried the mother and she called a Pandit. The Pandit told her that her daughter was destined to become a widow. The girl’s mother asked the Pandit for a solution to the problem. He told them that there was a washerwoman who lived on the island of Singhal. If that woman agrees to apply vermilion (Sindoor) on the forehead of the girl, her fate will change. The Pandit also told them that observing fast of Somvatee Amaavasyaa will also be instrumental in reversing her fate.

The mother sent her daughter and her youngest son to that island. On their way to the island they came across the sea shore and wondered how to cross it. Sitting under a tree they saw a vulture’s nest. A male and female vulture lived there with their babies. One day when both vultures had gone out of their nest to fetch some food, a snake entered their nest and attacked the babies. All this was being witnessed by the girl who was sitting there. She immediately jumped to help the vulture babies and saved them from the attack. When the vultures returned they were really pleased to know what had just happened. As a token of their gratitude they helped the girl to reach the washerwoman’s house. After reaching her destination she started living with the washerwoman.

After a few months the woman was really pleased with the girl and applied vermilion (Sindoor) on her forehead. While returning to her house she also observed Somvatee Amaavasyaa. This reversed her fate and then she lived a happy married life with her husband.

(2) Shani Amaavasyaa
This is the Amaavasyaa falling on Shani's day - Shani Vaar (Saturday). There are numerous fears regarding Lord Shani (Saturn) like it can affect one’s horoscope and thereby one’s life. Amaavasyaa itself is feared by many people, so it is only natural to fear Amaavasyaa on a Saturday. This Amaavasyaa in 2008 is falling on August 30, Saturday. The people who believe in astrology take precautions on this day. They perform special Poojaa and pray to Lord Shani. There are numerous theories regarding the effects of Shani. But there are also people who consider Shani as just one of the Nava Graha and believe that there is nothing to worry about him. The easy escape from the wrath of Shani is by praying to Lord Hanumaan. Saturday is also the day when Lord Shani is worshipped and so is the day for Hanumaan.

(3) Maunee Amaavasyaa
This Amaavasyaa falls in the month of Maagh. Maunee means to keep silence or not speaking. This day people try to keep Maun for as long as they can. Auspiciousness of Amaavasyaa for Pitri-Tarpan is all the more increased if it falls on Som day - Monday - Somvatee Amaavasyaa.

Maunee Amaavasyaa Falling on Somevatee Amaavasyaa - 23 Jan, 2012
If possible, keep Maun or silence exactly at the Sun-Rise time, which has unique feature as 7 out of 9 Graha are attaining Mahaa Yogadaa Yog at that time. This New Moon is particularly dynamic as the Sun and Moon conjunction are the focal point of a T-square involving Jupiter and Saturn, two planets that balance each other, extremely spiritually charged this day.

Manu and Shataroopaa started the Universe (to create Maanav) created the Maanav or humanity on this day. By observing silence on this day you enhance your own capabilities. Observe Maun - silence of Sound, or speech, silence of senses, and the silence of all where you connect with divinity by observing silence of speech and silence of senses. And the one who remains/maintains silence on this day attains the the sate of sage or Muni, state of oneness with the Self. He becomes a Sage and gets the blessing of Saraswatee.

Have you wondered why Maunee Amaavasyaa comes first and then comes Vasant Panchamee. Not necessary to go into elaborate Saadhanaa on this - in reality you should be as calm as possible, calm inward and outward. By maintaining this silence of all, you can remove/eradicate the stress and illness of Mind and Body. Today many people take the dip in the Trivenee but do not observe the silence of senses. If you are chaotic, your life is chaotic then you must observe silence on this day.

Even after hearing Mantra Shlok, different verses and understanding the meaning at the intellectual level, if the understanding does not translate into living that is because of our bondage to ourselves, or habit patterns which make us forget our True nature. By Self inquiry and by practice we need to live the Truth. Silence often makes our recoup to our concentration and observation. It is the day to ‘receive’ rather than to transmit, if you are not able to maintain silence for 24 hours then maintain at least for a few hours.

Story of Maunee Amaavasyaa\
Once upon a time, a Brahman named Devswaamee used to live in Kaanchee Puree. Dhanvatee was his wife. He had seven sons and one daughter. His daughter's name was Gunvatee. After marrying all his 7 sons, Devswaamee had sent his eldest son in search of a good boy, for his daughter. An astrologer said that after the completion of marriage, Gunvatee shall become widow. Hearing this, Devswaamee and others got worried. Devswasmee asked for a solution to this problem from the astrologer. He said, a washerwomen named Somaa lives on Singhal Island. Worshipping Somaa can remove this Dosh of Gunvatee.

So, Gunvatee and her youngest brother left for Singhal Island. Island was located in the middle of sea. Both of them sat under a tree, waiting to cross the sea. On that tree, a vulture had made his nest. Children of vulture used to live in the nest. When the vulture returned to the nest with his wife, their children told "one brother and sister have been sitting under this tree since morning, They are hungry and thirsty. So, we shall also not have any food." So, the vulture gave food to Gunvatee and her brother and asked the reason for their arrival there. They told him the whole matter. After hearing the whole matter, vulture gave them the assurance of reaching the Singhal island. Next day, vulture dropped them on the island.

After reaching the island, both of them started doing the house work of Somaa laundress. Cleaning of house etc, was done by the brother and sister, very neatly and systematically. When Somaa used to wake up, she used to think, who does all these works. Somaa asked her daughter-in- law, who cleverly replied that it was done by her. Somaa could not believe her and decided to stay up at night. Then Somaa saw that Gunvatee and her brother doing all the housework. Somaa was very much pleased by them and asked the reason behind this.

Gunvatee narrated the things told by the astrologer about her marriage etc. So, Somaa blessed her. Both the brother and sister requested her to come to the marriage with them. Somaa agreed and told her daughter-in-law "if anyone dies at home, don't perform the cremation before I am back."

Marriage of Gunvatee began. As the marriage was concluded, her husband was dead. Somaa by her virtues gave life to Gunvatee's husband. Now, all her good deeds were finished as a result, her family members living on Singhal island, died. While returning home, Soma decided to accumulate her good deeds. She sat under a Peepal tree. She worshipped the tree and circled (Parikramaa) it 108 times. So, her family's dead members were back to life. Somaa received fruits of her selfless service

(4) Mahaalaya (Pitar Samokinee) Amaavasyaa
This Amaavasyaa falls in the month of Aashwin. This marks the end of the Pitri Paksh. People do Tarpan for their dead ancestor and send bid farewell them to go to their own Lok.

Amaavasyaa Vrat

There are following Amaavasyaa which are main on which people like to observe fasts

Jyeshth Amaavasyaa (Vat Saavitree Vrat)
On Jyesth Amaavasyaa. Suhaagin woman should do this for 3 days. Starting from Trayodashee (13th Day) to Amaavasyaa. On 13th day worship Saavitree near the root of a banyan tree with 7 grains. Just before morning, wrap Soot (spun thread) round the trunk of the banyan tree and worship it with Kumkum etc. In the morning greet Satyavaan and Saavitree saying "Namah Saavitryai Satyavatey" and give the offered Naivedya to Braahman. Come home, feed a Braahman and eat food herself saying "Saavitree Devee Preeyataam". This gives good fortune to a married woman.

Aashwin Amaavasyaa (Pitra Paksh Amaavasyaa)
Whatever is given on this day in the name of Pitar is eternal. Vratee can do this in any year. Keep fast on this day and worship his Pitar.

Maagh Amaavasyaa - Maunee Amaaavsyaa
Worship Brahmaa Jee along with Saavitree on this day.

Somvatee Amaavasyaa
Any Amaavasyaa falling on Somvaar (Monday)



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 01/29/14