Not many of us would know when Ved Vyas and Lord Ganesha began writing the sacred epic of Mahabharata. Nor could we recall when the sacred Ganges descended from Heaven to bless the Earth. Or for that matter, none would probably bother to check up on the birth date of Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. But ask the little one in the family what is the most auspicious day to buy gold, pat would come the reply—Akshaya Tritiya!
You could have missed Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you have been cursing yourself for being scatter-brained that year after year you forget Mother’s and Father’s Days. But this one day is never overlooked. Rather, you aren’t allowed to, what with the hype that commences in advance and refuses to die down until you double up all the way to the nearby jeweller to purchase “prosperity”—touted as the synonym of gold.
Akshaya Tritiya, a holy day in the Hindu calendar, is now the officially nominated day for the noblest of metals to be brought home. It is promoted as the most auspicious 24-hour window for a one-way ticket to the land of prosperity—but only if you buy the glittering metal.
The “buy gold” campaign is multi-pronged and well-orchestrated, one that you could hardly resist, very much like the allure of the metal itself. The holy day that is believed to usher in ever-increasing prosperity, success and good luck is primarily a day meant for charity. A day on which one receives countless blessings by way of giving to the poor. The day on which Yudhishthira, in Mahabharata, receives the Akshaya Patra with which he feeds the poor of his kingdom. The day on which Sudama finds his hut transformed into a palace by Lord Krishna who is pleased with the humble offering of his devoted friend.
But nobody fancies the mythological recaps today. The auspicious day has been turned into an opportune one to indulge in marketing gimmicks. The marketing pie is iced on both sides, chilled with the creamy elements of commerce and spirituality. Have you heard of the Akshaya Tritiya packages that unfold the secret of “never-declining wealth”? There are tailor-made premier packages comprising a range of rituals in the form of “poojas” including of the Gaja (elephant), the Ashwa (horse) and the Ko (cow). Everything arranged at the click of your mouse! More such customised rituals in the names of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kubera are on offer online to multiply your wealth manifold times.
Even as we wonder at the demystification of the process of growing prosperous by the marketing gurus, Gods above must be going crazy watching this mad scramble for material wealth on a day meant for nobler rites like charity.