This coming week presents us with quite a lineup of auspicious events, starting tomorrow morning at 3:11am PDT when the current 23 day Mercury retrograde ends and life returns to some sense of normalcy (fat chance!). Thursday is Holy Thursday, the commemoration of the “Last Supper” between Jesus and the Apostles, followed by “Good Friday”—the day of remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth when he died on the cross—also called Black Friday and Holy Friday. Saturday is the beginning of Passover and Sunday, of course, is Easter. Adding to the mix is Hanuman Jayanti—Hanuman’s birthday—celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Chaitra in the Indian calendar, the full moon in April, which occurs this year on Friday April 7th at 12:19pm PDT.
The full moon on Friday occurs in the Nakshatra called “Chitra”. Chitra means “bright”, and is represented by Spica, a bright white first magnitude star in the sign Virgo. The symbol for Chitra is a pearl, called Mukta in Sanskrit. The words Mukti and Moksha, both meaning liberation, are derived from the same root. Virgo represents the sixth house of the Cosmic Man, the house of disease and opposition. Here the seeker endures trials and tribulations that precede the activation of the Soul’s faculties. The diety associated with Chitra is Vishvakarman, the Divine Architect, who helps us chip away the unwanted and unnecessary aspects of the self to reveal the “Pearl” within. Chitra is the 14th of the 27 nakshatras, occurring exactly in the middle and representing the balance point of equilibrium that is the midpoint between expansion and contraction, the pause between the inhalation and the exhalation. In numerology, the number 14 has similar connotations. In the Tarot the number 14 card is called “Temperance” and depicts an angel mixing two heavenly fluids with one foot in the water and one foot on dry land. Chitra stimulates the desire to build and reach new levels of achievement. Those under the influence of this nakshatra are extremely honest, seek intellectual delopment, are efficient leaders and can be true wonder workers. Whatever our level of spiritual development, Chitra encourages us to glimpse the vision of perfection and work and struggle to make that vision a reality.
Speaking of wonder workers, my favorite wonder worker, Hanuman, is having a birthday on Friday. Hanuman was born at sunrise and on Hanuman Jayanti a Hanuman puja is traditionally performed just before the sun rises. It is said that at this time the power of Hanuman in the world is 1,000 times what it normally is. The Hanuman Chalisa and other Hanuman prayers are sung and offerings of sindoor (red powder), red hibiscus flowers, a coconut, incense, and arati (an offering of light in the form of an oil lamp) are made. Hanuman is considered to be the embodiment of what ayurveda calls the “three vital essences”—Prana, Tejas, and Ojas. Prana is the life force, the Air element that gives us energy, intelligence and adaptability. Tejas, the purified Fire element, gives us glowing health, strength and courage, and penetrating insight. Ojas, the essential Water element, keeps us juicy in mind, body, and heart and gives us endurance and devotion. For any interested locals, there will be a Hanuman Puja at the Ashtanga Yoga Center on Friday at 6am.