BANGALORE: Although Indian women possess the world’s largest collection of gold jewellery but it does not stop them from shopping for more and more. The need and urge for hoarding and buying this precious yellow metal has surged over the years despite the skyrocketing prices especially in the last decade. One can see hordes and hordes of women in front of gold boutiques or the traditional shops, hawking gold at somewhat reasonable rates. The Akshaya Tritiya has come as an excuse to indulge and splurge to their heart’s content.
The word Akshaya means imperishable or eternal — that which never diminishes. Initiations made or valuables bought on this day are considered to bring success or good fortune.
Akshaya Tritiya is considered as one of the most auspicious days of the Vedic calendar. It falls on the third day of the bright half of Vaishakh month (April to May), when the Sun and Moon are in exaltation; they are simultaneously at their peak of brightness, which happens only once every year. Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej, is traditionally the birthday of Lord Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. People conduct special Pujas on this day, bathe in holy rivers, offer barley in a sacred fire, and worship Lord Ganesha and Devi Lakshmi on this day.
The day also marks the beginning of the SatyaYug or the Golden Age — the first of the four Yugas. In the Puranas, the holy Hindu scriptures, there is a story that says that on this day of Akshay Tritiya, Veda Vyasa along with Ganesha started writing the great epic Mahabharata. Ganga Devi or Mother Ganges also descended on earth on this day. Perhaps, the most famous of the Akshaya Tritiya stories is the legend of Lord Krishna and Sudama, his poor Brahmin childhood friend. On this day, as the tale goes, Sudama came over to Krishna’s palace to request him for some financial help. As a gift for his friend, Sudama had nothing more than a handful of beaten rice or ‘poha’. So, he was utterly ashamed to give it to Krishna, but Krishna took the pouch of ‘poha’ from him and devoured it. Krishna followed the principle of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ or ‘the guest is like God’ and treated Sudama like a king.
His poor friend was so overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality shown by Krishna, that he could not ask for the financial favour and came home empty handed. However, when he reached his place, Sudama’s old hut was transformed into a palace. He found his family dressed in a royal attire and everything around was new and expensive. Sudama knew that it was a boon from Krishna, who blessed him with more than the wealth he actually intended to ask for.