In Hinduism, the lunar month is divided into two halves known as Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha. These two halves are an integral part of the Hindu lunar calendar and hold significant religious and cultural importance. Let’s explore Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha in detail:
Krishna Paksha, also known as the dark fortnight or waning phase of the moon, is the period when the moon’s illumination decreases from a full moon to a new moon. It spans approximately 15 days, starting from the day after the full moon (Purnima) and ending on the day of the new moon (Amavasya).
The term “Krishna” refers to “dark” or “black” in Sanskrit, indicating the diminishing illumination of the moon during this phase. Krishna Paksha holds great significance in Hindu mythology and rituals. It is associated with Lord Krishna, who was born during this phase of the moon.
During Krishna Paksha, several important festivals and observances are celebrated, including:
Shradh Paksha: As mentioned earlier, Shradh Paksha or Pitru Paksha is a period dedicated to honoring ancestors and performing rituals for their peace and liberation. It falls in the Krishna Paksha of the lunar month of Bhadrapada.
Mahalaya Amavasya: In the month of Ashwin, the period of Krishna Paksha begins with Mahalaya Amavasya. It is considered an auspicious day to offer prayers and tarpan (ritual offerings) to one’s ancestors.
Deepavali or Diwali: The festival of lights, Diwali, also falls during Krishna Paksha.
Ekadashi Vrat: There are two Ekadashi (the eleventh day of the lunar cycle) in every month, one falling in Krishna Paksha and the other in Shukla Paksha. Observing Ekadashi vrat is believed to purify the mind and body and bring spiritual benefits.
Pradosh Vrat: Pradosh Vrat is observed on the thirteenth day of both Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered highly auspicious for seeking His blessings.
During Krishna Paksha, spiritual practices such as fasting, prayers, and rituals are performed with the aim of inner purification, seeking blessings, and honoring divine energies.
Shukla Paksha, also known as the bright fortnight or waxing phase of the moon, is the period when the moon’s illumination increases from a new moon to a full moon. It spans approximately 15 days, starting from the day after the new moon (Amavasya) and ending on the day of the full moon (Purnima).
The term “Shukla” refers to “bright” or “white” in Sanskrit, signifying the increasing illumination of the moon during this phase. Shukla Paksha is considered highly auspicious and is associated with new beginnings, growth, and spiritual progress.