Sheetla Ashtami 2021: Date, Tithi Timing and Significance
When is the Sheetala Ashtami festival/Basoda festival?
Sheetla Ashtami (Sunday, April 04, 2021) also known as ‘Basoda Puja’ is celebrated on Ashtami (eighth day) of Krishna Paksha in Chaitra month (April-May).
What is Sheetala Ashtami?
It is the day of Goddess Sheetala celebrated eight days after Holi or on the first Monday or Friday after Holi. Popular in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, Sheetala Ashtami is considered an auspicious day to worship Goddess Sheetala, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. People perform Basoda Puja on this day in order to worship and please the goddess.
Did you know Shitala (Sheetala) Devi is also worshipped by many in North India, West Bengal, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan?
‘Shitala’ or ‘Sheetala’ means ‘the one who cools down (something)’. She is one of the incarnations of Goddess Durga or Shakti and is known for curing ailments such as poxes, sores, pustules, ghouls, and other diseases. She was described in the 17th Century Bengali text Shitala-mangal-kabyas, a poem by Manikra Gangopadhyay. Different Hindu communities, Buddhists, and tribal groups worship the goddess. She is regarded and called by the peoples of northern India as Jagrani, Mangala, Bhagavati, Dayamayi, and Karunamayi. In southern India, the Dravidians regard her Mariamman. The locals of Haryana state worship Shitala Devi as kripi or the wife of Dronacharya.
Sheetala Mata is an incarnation of Goddess Durga, there is a wide variety of Maa Durga and Maha Kali idols made with 100% natural gemstones. The idols are beautifully crafted and the intricate carving is evident of the excellent craftsmanship involved which makes every piece exclusive. The Durga idol can be placed in your home, office, or shop to seek protection from Goddess Durga. It is also ideal to place it in your puja altar and worship daily.
A range of Maa Durga pendants in silver and gold that is appropriate for wearing every day. Shitala Mata is an incarnation of Maa Durga and wearing a Durga locket will bring courage to the wearer. The pendants are made with the purest metals and every design is beautiful. The pendants are suitable to be worn by both men and women and can be even gifted to your loved ones. It makes for a perfect accessory to gain power and prosperity with the blessings of the Goddess.
Shree Shitala Mata Yantra etched on a gold-plated copper plate is the Yantra that imparts the blessings of Shitala Mata. It safeguards the devotees from diseases and gives them the courage to overcome problems in life. Goddess Shitla is known to cure diseases and offer relief from sickness. This Yantra can be placed in your puja altar or at your shop and office as well. The Yantra is available with a variety of options like a gold finish frame and a brown & gold finish frame.
Glittering photo of Shitala Maa to place in your puja altar and worship every day. The picture depicts Shitala Mata seated on Her Vahan (vehicle) donkey with a broom in one hand and a pot of water on the other hand. The broom in Her hand is to sweep off the diseases and germs while the pot has healing water to cure the devotees. This photo also comes with an acrylic frame that can be placed in your office, shop, or living room.
Every deity described in the Vedic literature holds divine objects that are associated with natural elements of the cosmic creation. Seated on an ass, Goddess Sheetla holds a winnowing-fan, a broom, a pot, and a bunch of neem leaves.
Winnowing Fan: Goddess Shitala holds a winnowing-fan which represents purification. A winnowing-tool or fan is used to separate the straw from the grains. It showcases the process of purification. When the body is diseased, it needs to be purified from the ailment and restored to its original state.
Broom: The goddess uses Her divine broom to either spread the germs or dust off the same. Spreading germs here means inflicting the negative with the negative. In the scriptures, She is said to inflict the demons with the fatal germs and heal those suffering from fevers by driving the germs out of their body.
Pot: Goddess Sheetla carries a pot full of healing water. This water is soothing and enlivening. When a person recovers from a fever, he regains his natural state which is to attain a higher state.
Neem leaves: A Neem leaf (Azadirachta indica) in Ayurveda is a medicinal, healing remedy for skin problems and other inner bodily issues. As per Vedic literature, both the body (matter) and the soul (spirit) must be kept together. When both are healthy, it is easier to tread the spiritual path.
Ass: Goddess Sheetla is seated on Her divine vahana (vehicle) ass. It represents one’s being humble, calm and focused on one’s duties in times of crisis like that of a disease.
SIGNIFICANCE OF SHEETALA ASHTAMI: SHEETLA MATA STORY
All the manifestations of Goddess Durga are wonderfully described in the Devi Mahatmaya. Whenever there is an imbalance in the natural order of universal functions, there appears an incarnation of Durga according to time, place, and circumstances. For instance, when the peaceful environment on Earth is interrupted by an invincible demon, Durga chooses the most suitable form in order to kill him.
Once Goddess Durga was incarnated as Katyayani, daughter of Sage Katyayan, and protected the village against the atrocities of demons led by Kaalkeya. One of his demons named Jwarasura infected the village with diseases such as dysentery, smallpox, chickenpox, and cholera. ‘Jwara’ in Sanskrit means ‘fever’. The demon of fever Jwarasura went on spreading the germs of those horrible diseases. Katyayani protected her young friends (children) from the diseases but when the spread intensified, she assumed the form of Sheetala Devi who held a short broom, winnowing fan, a jar of cooling water, and a drinking cup and wiped out the diseases.
Later, She asked Her friend Batuk to stop the demon Jwarasura. However, the demon and Batuk fought a battle resulting in the latter’s death. Being happy and conceited, Jwarasura was surprised to see the body of Batuk turning into dust.
Afterward, Jwarasura encountered a fierce figure with a three-eyed face, four arms holding a battle-ax, sword, trident, and the demon heads. Being dark in color, He had a garland of skulls, frightening Jwarasura. When Jwarasura inquired from Him about His identity, He called him muddha (fool) and asked him to surrender unto the feet of Goddess Katyayani who is none other than Durga. Realizing that it is Batuk who assumed the form of Shiva, Bhairava, he aggressively started fighting. Bhairava with His cosmic Trident beheaded the demon, ending his ruthless atrocity.
Goddess Sheetla is worshiped regionally or locally. One can see in her temples that she is projected with Jvarasura (the demon who causes fevers), Ghentu Debata, (the god of skin diseases), Raktabati (the goddess of blood infections), and Oladevi, a goddess of diseases like Cholera.
Why is Sheetala Ashtami celebrated?
Sheetla Ashtami is dedicated to Sheetla Mata and the fast or vrat is observed on this day to keep diseases away and stay protected. It also brings prosperity and blesses the devotees with good health.
The Tithi starts at 06:30 AM to 06:53 PM. It is the most auspicious puja timing. It is believed that Goddess Sheetala Devi cures diseases like Smallpox, Chickenpox, Measles, and the like. Families worship Her for the protection of their children against these diseases. In the state of Gujarat, the locals celebrate a similar festive day known as Sheetala Satam a day before Krishna Janmashtami. On this day, cooking gas is not used. People prepare food items on the previous day and have them on Sheetala Ashtami.
Date & Day
Apr 04, Sunday
Basoda Puja Time
Apr 04, Sunday
Apr 05, Monday
BENEFITS OF BASODA PUJA:
The best cure for diseases like smallpox, poxes, sores, fever, and seasonal ailments
Protects against accidents, heat, and skin diseases
Drives away miseries and obstacles
How to Celebrate Sheetala Ashtami at Home: What to do?
Rise early in the morning and take bath with this mantra:
"Ganga Cha Yamuna Chaiva Godavari Saraswati, Narmada Sindhu Kaveri Jalesmin Sannidhim Kuru" "In this water, I invoke the presence of divine waters from the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu, and Kaveri.”
After your bath, visit a Sheetala Devi temple.
Shitla Mata Ashtami Pooja Vidhi
In the case of no temple, you can worship Her at home by installing Her deity picture. One can also have a deity picture of Goddess Durga as Sheetala is an incarnation of Durga.
Light up an oil lamp, incense sticks, and focus on Her lotus feet. Offer Her Rabri or curd and recite Basoda Vrat Katha, Shri Sheetala Mata Chalisa, Sheetala Maa ki Arti, Shri Sheetala Mata ashtak, and the like.
Offer the food items that are prepared on the previous day to her.
Once the offering is made, distribute the food items as prasadam.
One can also use a Durga Pendant on this day for the protection of your home, office, or vehicle.
One may listen to Durga Prayers as it spiritualized the atmosphere on this day.
SHREE SHITALA MATA YANTRA
Energized with the Vedic mantras of Goddess Shitala, this Yantra protects against various diseases and bestows good health. The Shree Shitala Mata Yantra helps the devotees to gain strength to overcome life crises.
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