By J U B Sastry
With divine planet Jupiter entering the zodiacal sign Virgo (Kanya) during the night hours of Thursday, Aug 11, 2016, Krishna Pushkaraalu took off on a grand gala note with lakhs of devotees taking sacred dip in Krishna waters of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on the first day on Friday.
Pushkaram means twelve and Pushkaraalu means sacred bathing festival that comes in once in twelve years for each river in India. This means each major river in India gets Pushkaraalu festival once in twelve years.
Timing of Pushkaraalu
The timing of Pushkaraalu for each of the 12 major rivers in India is linked to natural beneficial planet Jupiter’s transit in each of 12 zodiacal signs. Jupiter takes one year to complete transit of each sign travelling at the rate of 12 days for one degree. The zodiac is divided into 12 signs (Rasis) and each sign is assigned 30 degrees with the entire zodiac consisting of 360 degrees.
Travelling one degree distance in duration of 12 days, Jupiter takes one year to traverse 30 degrees in a zodiacal sign. Jupiter therefore takes 12 years to arrive at the same zodiacal sign again in its transit. That is the reason each river gets Pushkaraalu once in 12 years. But why are these Pushkaraalu assigned to Hindu believers first of all? And why are these Pushkaraalu linked to Jupiter’s entry in each sign?
Jupiter is God
In astrology, Jupiter is considered the most beneficial planet. It signifies wealth, family welfare, children, Philosophical outlook, magnanimity, higher education, spirituality, purity, divine blessings, progress, commitment to ethics and morality, friendly unions, togetherness, respect for elders and all other virtues on earth.
In Elements, Jupiter is ether, also known as the universe that is ever expanding as per the findings of the science. For this reason, all learned astrologers consider this as God.
Bathing in an assigned river in the first twelve days of Jupiter’s entry into a zodiacal sign is nothing but remembering God and invoking God’s blessings for our well being. During the first twelve days, Jupiter transits in the first degree of a sign. And during the last twelve days, Jupiter transits in the last degree of the sign. For this reason, the first twelve days are called Aadi (beginning) Pushkaraalu and the last twelve days are called Antya (ending) Pushkaraalu.
Offering prayers to five elements
In Pushkaraalu, people offer prayers to skies with water (Arghyam) while bathing. It only indicates that the all pervading skies are the embodiment of God and God is not confined to temples alone. It is the congregation of five elements. Offering prayers through bathing in a river means you are in water with earth under your feet. You are out in the open looking at the all pervading skies and air. You look at Sun invoking fire. This is nothing but invoking the five elements for your welfare. This is the reason why you should have a holy dip during day time in Pushkaraalu.
By taking a dip in Aadi Pushkaraalu and Antya Pushkaraalu, we remember God at the beginning and ending of every year that coincides with Jupiter’s entry into and exit from each sign of the natural zodiac. And offering prayers to God by participating in Pushkaralu every year at each of 12 sacred rivers of India, we always remember God. This is the essence of Pushkaraalu whatever is the mythological stories doing rounds.
The following is the list of rivers that get Pushkaralu coinciding with the entry of Jupiter in each sign of the natural zodiac.
Aries: Ganga, Taurus: Narmada , Gemini: Saraswathi, Cancer: Yamuna, Leo: Godavari , Virgo: Krishna, Libra: Kaveri, Scorpio: Bheema, Sagittarius: Pushkara-Vaahini, Capricorn: Thunga -Bhadra, Aquarius: Sindhu (Indus), Pisces: Pranahitha
(The writer is an astrology researcher and consulting astrologer. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)