In Sanskrit, Amāvásyā refers to the lunar phase of the New moon. The dark moon tithi (phase) is when the Moon is within the 12 degrees of angular distance between the Sun and Moon before conjunction (connected or corresponding to each other). The New Moon tithi (called Pratipada or Prathama) is the 12 angular degrees after conjunction. Amāvásyā is often translated as new moon as there is no accurate term for the Moon before conjunction in the English language.
The word amavasya in Sanskrit can be broken down to mean: “amā,” means “together,” and “vásya,” means “to dwell,” or “to cohabit.” It also means “na,” +”ma,”+”asya,” meaning: “na,” = “No, “ma,”=Moon, “Asya,”=”There,” which means – There is no Moon.
Amāvāsyā day is considered auspicious for the worship of ancestors with puja (prayer) rituals and fasting being observed by Hindus throughout India. Even High Court judges of 18th Century India used to observe Amavasya as a day off until the British Rule that brought the Christian Sunday-off principle to the Indian industry.
It is also considered a night of great significance for tantrics and healers who work with the other realms to bring their magical spells to fruition, using the “moonless,” night as a gateway or portal to connecting with souls and spirits who aid with the healing or the destruction of certain ventures. Some people even avoid stepping out of their homes on this night. People even observe a strict fast on this day to keep all these evil spirits at bay and devotedly worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali to protect them and their families from harm.
WHAT IS AADI AMAVASYA?
Aadi Amāvāsyā is the new moon day that falls in the Tamil month of Aadi (mid-Jul to mid-Aug), and is revered to be one of the three most powerful New Moon days to offer Tarpanam (ancestral rituals) to honour ancestors to receive eternal blessings – it is believed to be the time when divine forces bless the earth with grace where everyone’s prayers are answered. It is a 1-month long of offering and worship, fasting, meditation and honing of temple vortices throughout Tamil Nadu, that, temples are generally closed to the public during this month and religious activities are kept minimal for the sole purpose of priests focusing on the recharging the energies of their temples and deities.
On Amāvāsyā day, the Sun and the Moon occupy the same sign. The Sun signifies the father and the soul; while the Moon signifies the mother and the mind. Aadi Amāvāsyā is of great importance because the Sun and the Moon occupy Cancer at the same – Cancer is the sign of the Moon.
AADI – AN ANCIENT PERSPECTIVE
Hindu weddings, ceremonies for arrival of new-born babies, new home blessings are generally not practised during this month as the entire month is considered to be moonless. Therefore, any engagements, marriages, births are prohibited and postponed as the Tamils believe that the moonless month is bad omen and any venture starting during this month will turn out to have bad effects on the entire family and in some occasions, the entire village.
This, however, is a fallible tale that village folklore took advantage of, while benefitting from the ill-informed people of the land. Marriages that took place during this time in the olden era were cursed to be the reason of the village downfall as well as the failure of harvest of that agricultural cycle. Babies born during this time were treated as bad omen and were doomed with no future ever in their lives. Some were also brutally eliminated as they were regarded offsprings of demons that were trying to intervene with human existence. Mothers who bore such children were treated as witches and were ostracised never to be able to seek help or set foot into the village they were banished from. Such preposterous ideologies were the teachings of the village temples and chief priests who were generally, chief of the village. In this manner, many women practising Goddess rituals were also banished as they were able to harness trance state, with premonitions that outweighed the will of the chieftains of the village – they therefore, posed to be a threat for the so-called wise men of the village, who ruled their domains with the fear of God’s punishment.
In the same way as the villagers viewed aadi, in their view too, Amavasya was also regarded ‘the,’ portal from which evil resurrected and transcended upon earth – violating menstruating and pregnant women in the most vicious of ways. Hence why, many Indian women till date are told never to go out during menstruation or when pregnant after dusk. This too was the reason why menstruating women were feigned upon, as the chieftains suppressed the power of women over them and made them out to be possessed by the demon, when in actuality, they were in trance with divine energy.
This has all over time, become a thing of common folklore, forgetting the numerous innocent people who were tortured and banished by a handful of imbeciles, working in the light of God!
As more and more people became informed and better aware of the significance of the month Aadi, they came to learn that the entire month was not moonless (and could not have ever been even), as they also witnessed Full Moon rituals during the same month celebrated in just about the same gusto.
Thankfully, the Aadi month is no more revered to be a bad omen but rather a month of deep obeisance to all that is divine, with temples being open to receive patrons with half-opened doors – for families who sponsor prayers for the upkeep and maintenance of the temple.
RITUALS OF AADI AMAVASYA
TIME: 2.40 AM (20TH JULY 2020) – 1.32AM (21ST JULY 2020)
CHANT 1008X: LALITA SAHASRANAMA (use rudra mala)
OFFER: 1] 9 NAV DHAN GHEE LAMPS
(made from 9 grains which are blended together and mixed with flour and water to be fashioned into lamps – this is edible and can be offered to all in the family).
* 9 grains = black sesame seeds, horse gram, green gram, rice, white beans, chickpeas, wheat and Bengal gram
* Pray to ancestors to keep your family lineage free from ancestral karma and curses.
2] RED AND YELLOW FLOWERS
3] SINDHOOR OR KUM KUM (red powder for chanting of 1008x Lalita Sahasranama)
* Drop a pinch of the Kumkum on a copper plate as you chant the Devi path 1008x.
4] ABHISHEK – BATHING RITUAL
* Bathe all brass statues with milk and rose scented flower water – this can be done with rose flower petals as well.
5] PRASADH – OFFERING
* Fruits or panch amrit (5 nectars = honey, ghee, brown sugar, yoghurt to be mixed together to make offering).
6] HAVAN – FIRE RITUAL
*This is generally done to clear the home/spaces of any lurking negative energies while ushering only divine energies into our homes.
May this Amavasya birth for you new beginnings of great grandeur. May you always be at peace with who you are – may you become peace!
OM LOKHA SAMASTA SUKHINO BHAVANTU! JAI MAA!
SUJATA NANDY WORLD GURUKUL