Masi is the Tamil month, and according to the Georgian calendar, it falls in February-March. Masi Magam, or the day of Masi nakshatram, falls between February 25th and February 26th, between 1.33 am to 2.22 am the following day. Because it falls on a full moon of the month, it is also mentioned as Masi Pournami. The 27 stars or Nakshatras are called the constellation, and Magam is one. It is seen as the time of spiritual purification.

So, what makes this day unique? It is on this full moon day the moon and the star Magha are in a straight line, and it is considered to be the birth star of powerful kings. This alignment happens once a year, where the heavenly beings descend on the earth to cleanse the karma of themselves and their descendants. It is a rare constellation and calls for all to bow before the divine, letting go of your ego to be blessed with energy and power. Do not miss this opportunity to invoke divine intervention.

Rituals of Masi Magam

The prominent ritual of Masi Magam is the holy bath which is given to the Gods in the Theerthavari or the ocean. The procession starts in the morning, where the deities of Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti are taken to the Theerthavari for the holy dip. This procession is accompanied by musical instruments like Mellam, a percussion instrument and Nadaswaram, a double-reed wind instrument unique to Tamil Nadu. Devotees throng the seashore to see their favourite Gods take the ceremonial bath and seek their blessings for a happy and prosperous life. If there is no sea nearby, the bath to the idols is given in lakes, ponds or rivers. Devotees witness this auspicious event as they accompany the lord to the nearby lakes or sea. Elephant worship is also known as Gaja pooja, and horse pooja, i.e. Ashwa pooja, is conducted. These are age-old practices of our ancestors to bring prosperity to the devotees.

The shore of Rameswaram wears a colourful look as the devotees throng the ocean to take a holy dip. It is considered auspicious, and the ritual of taking a bath on the day of Masi Magham can wash away all your sins. However, the practice is believed to be very special by the Hindus. The rituals of Masi Magam vary from one place to another depending upon the ethnic background, yet the belief that those having a dip in the ghats attain the feet of the almighty is universal.

Maha Magam – A Rare Feat

The biggest of all Magam comes once in twelve years, called the Maha Magam, and has supreme significance attached to it. It is a very special day for the Hindus, and people from all over the country throng the temples to witness the special poojas. Lakhs of people visit the Maha Magam tank in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu to take a dip in the 21 thirthas located around the tank. The festival of Maha Magam is celebrated once in 12 years with pomp and splendour in Kumbakonam. Taking a dip here is considered to be as holy as in the river Ganga in Varanasi. The tank is located near the Adhi Kumbeshwara temple in Kumbakonam. Maha Magam is special because, during this time, Jupiter moves into Leo.

The Mythological Evidence

The prominence of the Magamagam is traced back to mythology, when once Shiva wanted to recreate the universe after it was destroyed. Brahma requested that he begin from Kumbakonam, a temple city in Tamil Nadu. The Great God agreed and asked Brahma to fill a pot, also known as Kumbha, with nectar and place it on top of Mount Meru. The pot was located on Masi month on Purnima day, and the world was recreated.

The significance of performing rituals to our ancestors on the day of Masi Magam came into practice as the legend states that the King Vallala of Thiruvannamalai sought the blessings of Shiva to perform his last rites, as he was childless. God agreed to his wish and performed his last rites on the river banks to provide salvation to the king. It is also believed that Shiva visits the place to perform the ritual of the dead King to relieve him from the cycle of life. This is one of the reasons to believe that a dip in the holy rivers or ocean can purify the soul. Being considered the day of the universe’s beginning, it is ideal to start new ventures for a new life on this auspicious day.

The Masi Magam is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, and devotees visit the abodes of Shiva, Vishnu and Parvati to seek their blessings for eternal peace and purification of the soul. Temples in Kumbakonam, Srirangam and Pondicherry have famous shrines where the festival is celebrated with grandeur and devotion.

Seek the blessings of the divine and our ancestors to lead a happy, blessed and prosperous life.

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