- 1. Spiritual meaning
- 2. History and importance of a birthday celebration
- 3. Importance of celebrating the birthday as per the Hindu lunar calendar
- 4. Method of birthday celebration (with video)
‘Celebrating a birthday is actually expressing gratitude to God for the opportunity to do sadhana (spiritual practice) during the past year and praying for His grace in the coming year.’- (Pujya) Mrs. Anjali Gadgil
The birthday is the day to assess spiritual progress of the embodied soul: ‘The word ‘vad-divas’, in Marathi language literally means “day of growth”. Here growth indicates spiritual progress. For the soul to progress spiritually imbibing of the three components (also known as ‘trigunas’) from Deities in appropriate proportions is necessary. The spiritual progress of an embodied soul begins at birth. Even if an individual does not undertake actual spiritual practice, due to various spiritual rituals performed on him the sattva component in him increases thus initiating his spiritual progress. Birthday is the day to take stock of the effect of these spiritual rituals. From a spiritual perspective, birthday is the day to assess one’s spiritual progress and if there is spiritual progress then it signifies actual growth’. - Ms. Madhura Bhosale
Birthday is the day to enhance one’s ability to imbibe chaitanya: ‘Birthday is the day for enhancement of the ability of an embodied soul to imbibe chaitanya, through the benevolent frequencies gained by invoking Deities. Through this action which raises the sattva component in the atmosphere, the embodied soul achieves stability of the inner mind.’ – (Pujya) Mrs. Anjali Gadgil
‘In the Satyayug the first birthday was celebrated with an evolved soul making a silent resolve and either showering unbroken rice grains (akshata) on the appropriate chakra of the spiritual energy system (kundalini), touching the chakra or initiating the journey (activation) of the kundalini with a mere glance: ‘An individual is born with a spiritual level which is carried forward from the past birth. Accordingly, that particular centre in the spiritual energy system is already in an activated state or a state where the journey of the spiritual energy has halted. In the ‘Satyayug’, ‘Tretayug’ and ‘Dvaparyug’ evolved individuals would be invited to bless the individual whose first birthday was being celebrated or the child would be taken to Him. The evolved soul would perform the ritual of ‘aukshan’ for the child and making a silent resolve would shower unbroken rice grains on various parts of its body thus activating the chakras of the spiritual energy system in that area, till the chakra where the spiritual journey had halted was reached. He would touch the chakra beyond the one where the spiritual energy flow was arrested with unbroken rice grains in the fingers. This would resume the further journey of the spiritual energy. The evolved soul progressed beyond 75% spiritual level would know merely by looking at the embodied soul upto where his spiritual energy was activated. So, a mere glance at that chakra would restart his spiritual progress.’ – Ms.. Madhura Bhosale
Saints blessing an embodied soul only after assessing his spiritual progress in the previous year: ‘In the ‘Satyayug’ the spiritual level of the average individual was 60%. The embodied soul himself was capable of perceiving the progress of the spiritual energy in his chakras. In the ‘Tretayug’ too some embodied souls had this potential. However, in the ‘Dvaparyug’ most embodied souls lost this ability.
In the ‘Treta’ and ‘Dvaparyugs’ either the individual would visit Saints or vice-versa and the Saint would bestow His blessings for rapid spiritual progress. After having received blessings the embodied soul would seriously enhance his efforts to increase spiritual progress. On the subsequent birthday when the individual would go for blessings to the Saint, He would bless him only after assessing if his spiritual progress had occurred in the past year. Since the seeker was fully aware that his progress was a consequence of the Saint’s blessing there were less chances of inflation of his ego.’ - Ms. Madhura Bhosale.
Even though according to astrology, the date of birth as per the Hindu lunar calendar is inauspicious, it is still advisable to celebrate it on that day as the benefits derived are more than if celebrated on the date of birth according to the Western calendar. - Compiler: We advise that the birthday should be celebrated as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
However astrology says ‘No auspicious action should be performed on the date that one is born because that day is inauspicious. So what stand should be adopted?
The implied meaning of the word ‘inauspicious’ in this context is different. The attributes of the embodied soul born on that particular day match with the frequencies present on that date as per the Hindu lunar calendar (‘tithi’).
In ‘Kaliyug’ this is an excellent example of the misconceptions harboured by people. On this day the probability of harm is more means that, chances of obstacles in any auspicious task is high so the misconception that was formed was that one cannot perform any holy ritual for the embodied soul on this date of the Hindu lunar calendar. On the contrary, when celebrating the birthday on this date, through the ritual of ‘aukshan’ and a prayer made unto the family deity, the chaitanya generated helps the embodied soul to combat the negative energy at various levels. Thus, there is no rule that one must not perform any ritual on this day and the statement from astrology is baseless.’- (Pujya) Mrs. Anjali Gadgil
Blessings and good wishes endow maximum benefit: ‘The frequencies of the date of birth according to the Hindu lunar calendar match the individual maximally. Since the blessings and good wishes of relatives and well-wishers bring maximum benefit to the individual, celebrating the birthday as per the Hindu lunar calendar is more beneficial.
One develops the strength to combat obstacles in life: Since the frequencies in the universe on the birthday as per the Hindu lunar calendar match the temperament of the person born on that date, the ‘sattvik’ and chaitanya-enriched rituals done by an individual on that day leave a deep impression on his subconscious mind. As a result, this helps to combat problems in his future life.’- (Pujya) Mrs. Anjali Gadgil
Benefits of celebrating a birthday as per the Hindu lunar calendar (‘tithi’) as against the date of birth as per the Western calendar
|Celebrating birthday as per
date by Western calendar
|Celebrating birthday as per
Hindu lunar calendar
|1. Body involved||Physical body only||Physical body 5% and subtle
|2. Effects on body||Since it is related only to the
physical body the embodied
soul benefits from the ‘sattva’
frequencies negligibly. As a
result the covering of the
embodied soul by raja-tama
attributes may not get reduced
|‘Sattva’ component increases|
|3. Effects on the spiritual
energy channels (naadii)
Even after ‘aukshan’ the
|After a ‘tithi’ begins, every
moment an embodied soul
derives ‘sattvik’ frequencies,
which are necessary for
purification of the body. As a
result of aukshan the
‘Sushumna’ channel in the
embodied soul gets activated.
If the spiritual level of the
embodied soul exceeds 60%,
the ‘Sushumna’ channel
remains active throughout the
|4. Effects on the attitudes of
an embodied soul
|As the ‘sattva’ component in
an embodied soul does not
increase, his extroverted
|As the ‘sattva’ component in
an embodied soul grows, so
does his introverted attitude.
- Ms. Madhura Bhosale
‘There are as many temperaments as there are people and so also the corresponding number of paths of spiritual practice.’ This is one of the basic tenets in Hinduism. Based on this, the methods of performing religious rituals also vary. Though the methods vary, the benefit of the ritual is the same, which is all methods endow the Divine principle. Thus one can decide the method as per convenience. Following are the two methods for celebration of a birthday.
A. ‘In the first year of life every month and thereafter every year on the date of birth as per the Hindu lunar calendar one should bathe after an oil massage. This should be, followed by application of tilak of kumkum (vermilion)on the forehead.
B. With the resolve ‘आयुरभिवृद्ध्यर्थं वर्ष (मास) वृद्धिकर्मं करिष्ये’ fistful of rice are placed on a wooden seat or platform in seventeen small heaps in the name of the family deity (‘kuladevata’), lunar asterism at birth (‘nakshatra’), parents, Deities Prajapati, Surya, Ganesh, Parshuram, ShriRam, Hanuman , Shasthidevata, Sages Maarkandeya, Vyaas, Krupaachaarya, Ashwathaamaa, Bali, Pralhaad and Vibhishan . The corresponding deity is invoked in each heap and their ritualistic worship with sixteen substances is performed. The Shasthidevata is offered a sacrament (‘naivedya’) of curd and rice which is later fed to a cow or any other animal. The other Deities are offered crystal sugar cubes (‘khadisakhar’) or ‘pedhas’ (a sweetmeat) which is then distributed as holy sacrament.
C. With a prayer, a drink made from a cube of jaggery, a fistful of sesame seeds and half a cup of milk is partaken of by the one celebrating the birthday.
D. Relatives and friends are invited for a meal. Offering of food and other items should be done on this day as much as possible.
E. Avoid receiving money or gifts on this day.
The method of celebration is given below.
A. Bath after an oil massage: On the birthday, after an oil massage, have a bath with clothes on (bath taken in this way is symbolic of forgetting the past, with a prayer to The God for constantly remaining in the present.) When bathing the spiritual emotion should be that ‘The pure and holy water of river Ganga is purifying my body and mind’.
B. Wear new clothes after the bath.
C. Offer obeisance (‘namaskar’) to parents and elders in the family.
D. Perform the ritual of ‘abhishek’ (ablution with liquids like milk and water) or ritualistic worship of the family deity wholeheartedly.
E. Ritual of ‘aukshan’: The ritual of ‘aukshan’ is performed on the one whose birthday is being celebrated. Both, the one performing it and the one on whom the ritual is being performed, should harbour the spiritual emotion that, ‘Through our medium, God Himself is performing this ritual and bestowing His blessings on us.’ At the end of this ritual unbroken rice grains (‘akshataa’) are sprinkled on the head of the one on whom ‘aukshan’ is performed after venerating one’s family deity or deity of worship.
F. A gift is presented to the one celebrating the birthday with the following perspective. As one’s duty a child is given a gift to express appreciation. While gifting an adult, one should not have a sense of doership. When one gifts something without expectation, after a while one forgets about it. The gift given on a birthday should be such. If doership or expectations are harboured in the mind when gifting then a give and take account is created between the two. When the one receiving the gift has the attitude that it is the holy sacrament (prasad) that he is receiving with God’s grace, then a give and take account is not created.
G. Clothes worn when bathing should be given away, without any expectations. This offering should be made to one who is deserving hence it is advisable to give it to a devotee of God or to one serving in the mission of betterment of the nation and righteousness, instead of a beggar.
For details on these topics refer to Sanatan's publication: ‘Science underlying various family religious traditions and social customs’