Celebrated In: India
It is believed that the water of the most sacred and holy river in Hinduism, the Ganga, turns into the nectar on Mauni Amavasya day. Due to this belief Mauni Amavasya day is the most important day in Hindu calendar to take holy dip in the Ganges.
According to North Indian calendar, Mauni Amavasya falls in the middle of Magha month and also known as Maghi Amavasya. Many people take pledge to take holy dip in the Ganges not only on Mauni Amavasya day but also during whole Magha Mahina. The daily bathing ritual starts on Paush Purnima and ends on Magha Purnima day.
In other words:
Mauni Amavas, or Mauna Amavasya, is the no moon day in the Magha month (January – February) as per the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India. It is also an important bathing date at during the annual Magh Mela and Magha Snan and Kumbh Mela. The word ‘mauna’ or ‘mauni’ means silence and several Hindus keep complete silence on the day.
Mauni Amavasya is also known as Mauni Amavas (मौनी अमावस). As name suggests it is also the day of silence in Hinduism when people take pledge to observe one day fasting by not uttering a word throughout the day.
Mauni Amavasi is a day of spiritual sadhana – a day to make an attempt to getting into the habit of calming the restless mind.
According to Hinduism, ‘Mauna’ (silence) is an essential part of spiritual discipline. Derived from the word muni, a Sanyasi or saint who practices silence, mauna ideally symbolizes a state of oneness with the Self. Mauna has also been described by Adi Shankaracharya as one of the three essential attributes of a Sanyasi.
In modern day, it was Ramana Maharshi who popularized silence as a medium of spiritual instruction. For him silence was a state beyond speech and thought – it is living without the ego sense.
In India a full day is from one sunrise to next sunrise. A dinmaan (daytime) is from sunrise to sunset. A raatmaan (nighttime) is from sunset to next sunrise.
Daytime is divided into 5 equal parts as follows (assuming sunrise at 6 a.m. and sunset at 6 p.m.):
- Praatha – 06:00 to 08:24
- Sanghava – 08:25 to 10:48
- Maadhyaanha – 10:49 to 13:12
- Aparaanha – 13:13 to 15:36
- Saayankaal – 15:37 to 18:00
Shraadh is to be done in Aparaanha kaal. But the 30 food items preparation might start as early as 5:00 a.m. By the time the function finishes it would be 3:00 p.m. It is a tiring 10 hours continuous work for both husband and wife. But nowadays only a short cut 20 minute offering of oblation is done on Amavasya. Due to pressure of time in fast paced lives of cities, this function is done in (wrong time) Praatha kaal.