Ashvin Pournima (Full moon day in the month of Ashvin). The Holy text Srimad Bhagvat states that on this
day Lord Krushna celebrated the festival of the ‘ras dance’ with the cowherds in Vraj.
1. Importance of Kojagari Pournima
A. In the entire year, it is on this day that the Moon is closest to the earth and hence appears large. The Moon that we see represents the basic Moon Principle ‘chandrama’ and just like the Moon Principle it is soothing and imparts Bliss. This serenity can be experienced from Incarnations of the Lord. Hence Ram, Krushna have also been named Ramchandra and Krushnachandra respectively. It is because of these qualities of the Moon that in the Srimadbhagvadgita (10.21), Lord Krushna has said, “I am the Moon amongst the lunar asterisms (नक्षत्राणामहं शशी)”.
B. According to a legend, it is believed that on this midnight Goddess Lakshmi descends onto the earth from Chandra-mandal (the region of the Moon) and asks, ‘Who is awake?’ She then bestows riches on the one who is awake and makes them content with wealth and food.
2. Method of celebration
On this day, it is a practice to cook newly harvested grains. At night, puja of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Indra (seated on His elephant, Airavat) is performed. This worship is followed by the offering of beaten rice and coconut
water to Deities and ancestors, which is later consumed as naivedya and distributed amongst those present. In the clear moonlight of the full moon in Sharad-rutu, thickened milk is offered to the Moon and later, it is consumed as naivedya. Moonlight possesses a type of Ayurvedic energy and hence, this milk bestows good health. It is a practice to remain awake the whole night. Various indoor games are played for entertainment. The next morning the puja is concluded.
3. Implied meaning Kojagari
Only he, who is awake and vigilant on the night of Kojagari, benefits from the nectar! Kojagar = Ko + Oja +Agar. On this day, through the medium of Moon rays everyone gets abundance of Anand, Atmanand, Brahmanand in the form of the power of soul (Oja); but the Sages ask, ‘Ko Jagrati’?, that is, who is awake to consume this nectar? Who is vigilant? Who knows the greatness of this nectar? Only he, who is awake and vigilant and one who knows the greatness of this nectar will benefit by partaking it!’ – H.H. Parashram Pande Maharaj, Sanatan Ashram, Devad, Panvel
Reference : Sanatan’s Granth, ‘Appropriate method and science in celebrating Holy festivals‘