Anant Chaturdashi, also known as Anant Chaudas, is a holy occasion dedicated to God Vishnu. As per Vedic culture, Lord Vishnu is the lord of several avatars (incarnations) and the preserver of the Universe. Lord Anant is one of the avatars of Vishnu in whose name the festival Anant Chaturdashi is celebrated. The term ‘Anant’ translates to ‘infinite’ or ‘boundless’, and is also used as another name of God Vishnu.
As per the Vedic calendar, the Shukla paksha (waxing phase) Chaturdashi (14th day) of the Bhadrapada month is observed as Anant Chaturdashi. This day usually coincides with Ganesha Visarjan, the ritual that completes the annual festival of the Ganeshotsav. The festival of Anant Chaturdashi holds immense significance in the Vedic tradition. It celebrates the spirit of oneness and common brotherhood. Though this day is observed all over India, people in different regions have different beliefs and celebrate them in various ways. The Anant Chaturdashi Vrat (fast) is the most important practice of the day. On this day, the devotees observe a day-long fast and tie a sacred thread during Puja.
When is Anant Chaturdashi 2023?
Anant Chaturdashi 2023 Date: September 28, Thursday
Anant Chaturdashi Puja Muhurat: 06:12 AM to 06:49 PM September 28
Duration: 12 Hours 37 Min
Chaturdashi Tithi Beginning: 10:18 AM on September 27, 2023
Chaturdashi Tithi Ending: 06:49 PM on September 28, 2023
Anant Chaturdashi 2023 – Rituals & Beliefs
Anant Chaturdashi is regarded as the most significant day to worship Lord Vishnu in Anant (boundless) form. It commemorates the infinite forms of Lord Vishnu. It is also a unique occasion on which devotees worship Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, River Ganga, and Shesh Nag (also known as Sheshanaga or Adishesha who is the king of Nagas (serpents) on whom the Lord Vishnu rests.
Anant Chaturdashi falls 10 days after Ganesh Chaturthi, the day dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha. The devotees who install Ganesh idols in their homes on Ganesh Chaturthi, perform the Visarjan (the ritualistic immersion of the idols on sea, river, or lake) on the auspicious day of Anant Chaturdashi. The belief is that Lord Ganesha who comes to visit the devotees on Ganesh Chaturthi day returns to his abode on Anant Chaturdashi day.
The Anant Chaturdashi Vrat is an important fast in the Vedic tradition. The importance of observing this fast has been emphasized in the Agni Puran. Usually, the devotees observe a day-long fast. On the day of Anant Chaturdashi, after paying homage to Lord Vishnu, devotees tie a thread of cotton or silk with 14 knots on their hands.
Anant Chaturdashi 2023 Celebrations
The Anant Chaturdashi rituals are generally followed wholeheartedly. The devotees, both men and women, come together, offer prayers, and take a vow in the name of Lord Anant. While offering prayers, devotees keep a wooden plank with 14 tilaks on it along with various offerings such as Puris, Puaas, and Panchamrit which is made of milk, curd, honey, and ghee. They pray to the Lord for their prosperity too.
River Goddess Yamuna and Shesh Nag are also worshipped on this occasion. Goddess Yamuna is usually worshiped with 16 substances. After Yamuna Puja, the Shesh Nag is invoked, and his seven hoods are worshiped using sandalwood paste, vermillion, incense, lamp, and turmeric. Also, sweets, milk, and fruits as prasad are offered to Shesh Nag.
The Anant Chaturdashi observance comes to an end with devotees tying the Anant Sutra on their wrists. Anant Sutra, also known as Raksha Sutra, is a sacred thread of cotton or silk with 14 knots colored with Kumkum and Turmeric. It is believed to protect from evils. Usually, men wear it on their left hands and women wear it on their right hands.
The 14 knots in Anant Sutra are symbolic of the 14 main granthis (glands) in the human body which are interconnected. The action of worshipping the Lord is supposed to invoke energy into these knots and the body. Thus, the body and mind get charged with the flow of willpower. Devotees are recommended to perform these rituals for 14 years. Every year, the knot of the thread is taken out after wearing it for 14 days.
The Anant Chaturdashi fasting is also recommended for 14 years. Generally, the devotees observe this fast for the well-being of their families. Those who observe fast have to wake up in the morning, take a holy bath, and perform all the Anant Chaturdashi rituals. The devotees can consume fruits, milk, or sweets after the Puja. They should avoid consuming salt.
In Maharashtra, where Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great vigor, the idols of Lord Ganesha are installed at homes, and pandals are taken to a lake, river, or sea for immersion. This ritual known as Ganesh Visarjan is observed on the day of Anant Chaturdashi which marks the end of ten days long Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
Anant Chaturdashi Puja
Anant Chaturdashi fast is observed on the 14th lunar day of the Shukla Paksha, of the Bhadrapad month in the Hindu Calendar. For this condition to be satisfied, the 14th day must start after 2 muhurats from the time of sunrise. Otherwise, it must be observed on the previous day. To maintain the auspiciousness, the whole ritual is to be observed in the first half of the day. If you can’t find time to do it in that phase, you should try to do it in the first time frame of the middle phase of the day, which is from the 7th and the 9th muhurat.
There is a specific procedure to perform the Anant Chaturdashi Puja and other rituals. In the parts of Eastern UP and Bihar, the rituals are specifically linked to the Anant Roopa of Lord Vishnu and Kshirsagar (Ocean of Milk).
-On this day, after the bath, the devotees take a wooden plank on which fourteen vermilion tilaks are marked. Offerings including 14 puas (sweet wheat bread which is deep-fried), 14 puris (deep-fried wheat bread), and Panchamrit symbolizing Kshirsagar (Ocean of Milk) are then placed on the plank. Some people establish a Kalash on the Puja altar or use a picture of Lord Vishnu.
“Anant Sansar Mahasumdre Magran Sambhyudhar Vasudeva.
Anantrupe Vinojoyasva Hranantasutray Namo Namaste.”
- After this, they prepare Anant Sutra by dipping the sacred thread with 14 knots in vermillion, saffron, and turmeric.
- Then the thread and the idol of the lord are worshipped with the Shadoshopchar method and by chanting the below mantra. Some tie the thread on a cucumber and swirl it over the ‘Ocean of milk’ five times.
- After this, the devotees tie the sacred thread around their wrists. Men tie it around their left arm and women tie it around their right arm and wear it for 14 days.
What is the Significance of Anant Chaturdashi 2023?
Anant Chaturdashi is celebrated as the day of Lord Vishnu. Anant, which means eternal, is another name of the lord. As per the belief, the lord created 14 lokas and, to protect these, he took 14 different avatars, which gave him the name of being infinite. On the day of Anant Chaturdashi, a devotee can please the lord of creation and be blessed with his blessings.
The Anant Chaturdashi Vrat holds a major significance and is prevalent in many states of India. Usually, people observe this fast to get relief from all their past sins and for the well-being of their family. It is believed that along with fasting, if a devotee recites Vishnu Sahasranama Stotra, then all his wishes get fulfilled. This fast is recommended to be observed for a continuous period of 14 years in a row to get bestowed with the divine blessings of the lord and to attain eternal bliss.
Significance of Anant Chaturdashi in Jainism
Anant Chaturdashi is a significant day for the Jain people. Lord Vasupujya, the 12th Tirthankara of Jains is believed to have attained nirvana on this particular day. The Digambar Jains observe the rituals of Paryushana Parva in the last 10 days of the Bhadrapada month. The last day of the Paryushan is celebrated on the eve of Anant Chaturdashi on which the devotees observe a strict fast. Kshamavani, the day the Jains ask for forgiveness for the mistakes they have made, is observed one day after Anant Chaturdashi.
The Legends behind Anant Chaturdashi
There is a legend on Anant Chaturdashi based on a context in Mahabharata. When Pandavas lost their wealth and glory in the gambling game played with Kauravas, they had to experience an exile of twelve long years. One day, Lord Krishna went to meet Pandavas in the forest. After greeting him with proper respect, the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhishtira asked him for a remedy to get out of their hardships and to get back their lost kingdom and wealth. Hearing this, the Lord advised the Pandava king to observe Anant Chaturdashi Vrat that could solve all his problems in life and fulfill his heart’s desire. After hearing this, Yudhishtira asked the lord ‘who is Anant’ to which the lord explained in great detail – Anant is another avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu rests on the Sheshnaag for an infinite time. Anant lord in the avatar of Vaaman went through the three lokas in just two steps. No one can presume his start or his end, and that’s why he is called Anant, which means infinite. By worshipping him during Anant Chaturdashi, all the woes will cease to exist and one will be able to live a life that he has always wanted.
Following the lord’s advice, Yudhishtira observed the fast with his family and, after its successful completion, he was able to regain his lost kingdom and wealth.
Legend of Sushila and Koundinya
Lord Krishna also shared the story of Sage Koundinya and Sushila to the Pandava king which is as follows.
According to this story, sage Koundinya once saw his wife worshiping Lord Anant. When Kaundinya asked about it, Sushila spoke about the significance of worshipping Lord Anant. Kaundinya rejected everything and insisted that all their wealth and happiness were due to hard work. He even pulled the sacred thread from her arm and put it into the fire. Since then, things started going downhill and poverty struck them. Soon, sage Kaundinya realized his mistake and regretted his actions.
To rectify his mistakes, he spent his life in search of Lord Anant. He even went through a strict penance. Despite all the efforts, Kaundinya was not able to see the deity. Disappointed with his efforts, he decided to give up his life. Suddenly a hermit appeared before him, who took Kaundinya to a cave. Lord Vishnu appeared in front of Kaundinya in the cave and advised him to observe Anant Chaturdashi Vrat for 14 years to regain his lost wealth. The sage started observing it for 14 consecutive years and their life gradually filled with prosperity and happiness.