Amāvasyā

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(Redirected from Amavasya)

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Amavasya, AmAvasyA, Amaavasyaa


  1. not without proximity or cohabitation
  2. not separated; dwelling together; 'living near'
  3. the moonless night (of the new moon), when neither the sun nor the moon can be spotted as they are considered to be dwelling together.

If full-moon has fascinated the ancient man, new-moon must have induced a sort of anxiety and fear. Amāvasyā or new-moon has been raised to the status of a deity capable of bestowing wealth and valiant sons on the supplicant.[1]

On this day the moon is not visible from the earth. It is believed to be with the sun (amā = near, vāsyā = living), and is seen only by the sun. Hence the other name ‘darśa’ for amāvasyā.

Two kinds of amāvāsyās are recognized :

  1. Sinīvālī - When it is mixed with caturdaśi tithi (the 14th day after full- moon)
  2. Kuhu - When it is mixed with pratipad (the 1st day after new-moon).

Even these are sometimes referred to as deities who can be supplicated. One of the well-known Vedic sacrifices, the Darśa, has to be compulsorily performed on this day.

Amāvasyā falling on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday is especially considered as holy. If it is further associated with the nakṣatras as Anurādhā, Viśākhā or Svātī several vratas (religious observances) are recommended to be performed on such days.


References

  1. Atharvaveda 7.79[84].2
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore