By Swami Harshananda
Akṣaya-tritiyā literally means ‘the inexhaustible third day’.
Festivals and sacred days are usually the days associated with holy persons or memorable events. Akṣaya-tṛitīyā is said to be the day Kṛtayuga (the first of the four yugas or ages) began. Its name is derived from the fact that it falls on the third day of the lunar calendar month (tṛtīyā = the 3rd) and the religious merit acquired on this day becomes inexhaustible (akṣaya). This day falls on the 3rd day of śuklapakṣa (bright fortnight) of the month of Vaiśākha (April-May).
Some of the observances recommended are
- Worship of Lord Vāsudeva with whole grains of rice
- Study of Vedic texts
- Recitation of mantras
- Performance of homa (offerings into consecrated fire)
- Offerings to the departed manes
- Gifts to brāhmaṇas
Many tradesmen begin their new year’s business on this day. This is one of the days considered to be extremely auspicious during the year.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore