In Hinduism, birth days are not celebrated on the date of birth of the Gregorian calendar.
There must be some authenticity to the birthday having some connection with the exact day when one was born.
This is not possible if one follows the so-called "English calendar".
It is possible only in Sanatanic system of time keeping.
The sun and the moon are the time keepers.
The day when the moon comes in the same star (the same place in the sky) when the sun also was in the same constellation as at the time of birth is considered as one's birth day.
So the birthday must be celebrated on the birth star (lunar asterism) in the solar month of birth.
There are specific rules given in astrology on how to celebrate one's birth day and what to do or not to do on the birth day.
Whatever be the nature of the birth star, there is no stigma attached to it if it happens to be one's birth star.
As such one's birth day is not inauspicious for oneself on any account.
The stipulations are with reference to what to do or what not to do on the day of one's birth star in any month.
What to do :-
On the day of one's birth star,
one can start education or any kind of learning,
buy land or property or any item of accumulation,
enter a house (gruha-pravesha)or start the construction of a house,
do homa or worship or charity such as anna daanam
or any act for mental and spiritual upliftment.
This includes getting done the upanayanam (thread ceremony) on the birth star.
What not to do:-
Acts done to one's body should not be done on the birth star.
starting medication, doing surgery or starting any new kind of treatment for an ill ness,
getting married and having the first night etc
and having the 8th month ceremony of pregnancy (seemantha) etc.
Apart from these do's and don'ts, one need not worry about one's birth star, whether it is a good star or bad star or whether the birth day comes on a good thithi or an inauspicious thithi such as ashtami or navami etc.
The yearly birth day is definitely an auspicious day for the person concerned.
According to dharma sastras,
The birth day must be celebrated every month in the 1st year of birth.
If the birth star comes on 2 days in a solar month, the second one only must be considered as birth day.
If the birth star is on 2 days ( starting from the previous day to the next day), the next day only must be considered. The sunrise coming on the day of star determines the birth day.
Even if the star is there for a few minutes in the next day, only the next day is considered as the birth day.
If the birth star is there in the next day for less than 8 minutes, only then the previous day must be considered.
If the birth star does not happen to be there at the time of sunrise on any day (previous day or the next morning), then one must celebrate it in the next solar month.
How to celebrate the birth day:-
- Take oil bath in the morning and wear vermilion or kumkum as the practice may be.
- Worship parents
- Worship the kula devatha with akshatha (unbroken rice mixed with turmeric and drops of ghee)
- Then worship the birth star
- 16 deities are worshipped.
They are Kula devatha,
Deities at home,
Parents (parents are considered as gods)
Bali (grandson of Prahladha)
The worship to these deities is for 'Chiranjeevithwam'-
to pray for longevity and conquer of death like Markandeya.
Markandeya must be worshiped by offering curd rice.
Shasti devi is the Inner Power of the Trinities.
She also signifies 60 years of the solar cycle.
The wish is for completing the cycle of 60 years.
She is worshiped with the mantra,
"Jayadevi jaganmaataaha jagadaananda daayini/
twath prasaadhaat trilokeshu yaasch sthaavara jangamaah
Brahma Vishnu Sivaisaaradhaam Rakshaam kurvanthE taanimE//
(meaning :- " O God of the mother! O shashti Devi! You are the way for eternal pleasure of the universe. With your mercy all the living things in the three worlds, including the Supreme Trinities, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva protect me with this prayer.")
Then milk mixed with gingelly seeds and jaggery must be offered.
This marks the close of worship.
This is followed by feeding the Brahmins and others.
One should not do any cutting acts (hair cut or nail cut) on birthday.
One must be in pious thoughts throughout the day.
One must seek the blessings of elders and be engaged in happy thoughts and deeds.
This was how the birthday was celebrated in olden days!
Given below is an article sent by a friend, on the meaning of birthday and birthday celebration as done in Hinduism
'Celebrating a birthday is actually expressing gratitude to God for the opportunity to do sadhana (spiritual practice) during the past year and praying for His grace in the coming year.'- A Scholar (Through the medium of Mrs. Anjali Gadgil , 21st January 2005, 4 p.m.)
The birthday is the day to assess spiritual progress of the embodied soul: 'The word 'vad-divas', in Marathi language literally means "day of growth". Here growth indicates spiritual progress. For the soul to progress spiritually, purification of the subtle body and imbibing of the three components also known as 'trigunas') from Deities in appropriate proportions is necessary. The spiritual progress of an embodied soul begins at birth. Even if an individual does not undertake actual spiritual practice, due to various spiritual rituals performed on him the sattva component in him increases thus initiating his spiritual progress. Birthday is the day to take stock of the effect of spiritual rituals on his subtle body. From a spiritual perspective, birthday is the day to assess one's spiritual progress and if there is spiritual progress then it signifies actual growth'.- God (Through the medium of Ms. Madhura Bhosale,13th May 2005, 8.04 - 8.22 p.m.)
Birthday is the day to enhance one's ability to imbibe chaitanya: 'Birthday is the day for enhancement of the ability of an embodied soul to imbibe chaitanya, through the benevolent frequencies gained by invoking Deities. Through this action which raises the sattva component in the atmosphere, the embodied soul achieves stability of the inner mind.' – A Scholar (Through the medium of Mrs. Anjali Gadgil, 28th August 2005, 11.40 a.m.)
'In the Satyayug the first birthday was celebrated with an evolved soul making a silent resolve and either showering unbroken rice grains (akshata) on the appropriate chakra of the spiritual energy system (kundalini), touching the chakra or initiating the journey (activation) of the kundalini with a mere glance: 'An individual is born with a spiritual level which is carried forward from the past birth. Accordingly, that particular centre in the spiritual energy system is already in an activated state or a state where the journey of the spiritual energy has halted. In the 'Satyayug', 'Tretayug' and 'Dvaparyug' evolved individuals would be invited to bless the individual whose first birthday was being celebrated or the child would be taken to Him. The evolved soul would perform the ritual of 'aukshan' for the child and making a silent resolve would shower unbroken rice grains on various parts of its body thus activating the chakras of the spiritual energy system in that area, till the chakra where the spiritual journey had halted was reached. He would touch the chakra beyond the one where the spiritual energy flow was arrested with unbroken rice grains in the fingers. This would resume the further journey of the spiritual energy. The evolved soul progressed beyond 75% would know merely by looking at the embodied soul upto where his spiritual energy was activated. So, a mere glance at that chakra would restart his spiritual progress.' – God (Through the medium of Ms.. Madhura Bhosale, 13th May 2005, 8.04 -8.22p.m.)
Saints blessing an embodied soul only after assessing his spiritual progress in the previous year: 'In the 'Satyayug' the spiritual level of the average individual was 60%. The embodied soul himself was capable of perceiving the progress of the spiritual energy in his chakras. In the 'Tretayug' too some embodied souls had this potential. However, in the 'Dvaparyug' most embodied souls lost this ability.
In the 'Treta' and 'Dvaparyugs' either the individual would visit saints or vice-versa and the saint would bestow His blessings for rapid spiritual progress. After having received blessings the embodied soul would seriously enhance his efforts to increase spiritual progress. On the subsequent birthday when the individual would go for blessings to the saint He would bless him only after assessing if his spiritual progress had occurred in the past year. Since the seeker was fully aware that his progress was a consequence of the saint's blessing there were less chances of inflation of his ego.' - God (Through the medium of Ms. Madhura Bhosale, 8th May 2005).
Even though according to astrology, the date of birth as per the Hindu lunar calendar is inauspicious, it is still advisable to celebrate it on that day as the benefits derived are more than if celebrated on the date of birth according to the Western calendar. - Compiler: We advise that the birthday should be celebrated as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
However astrology says 'No auspicious action should be performed on the date that one is born because that day is inauspicious. So what stand should be adopted?
A Scholar: The implied meaning of the word 'inauspicious' in this context is different. The attributes of the embodied soul born on that particular day match with the frequencies present on that date as per the Hindu lunar calendar ('tithi'). The sorcerers with their prowess to do black magic, can make a replica of an embodied soul and can cause distress upto 70%. Thus this day is considered 'inauspicious' due to the probability of suffering which could be maximum on that date.
In 'Kaliyug' this is an excellent example of the misconceptions harboured by people. On this day the probability of harm is more means that, chances of obstacles in any auspicious task is high so the misconception that was formed was that one cannot perform any holy ritual for the embodied soul on this date of the Hindu lunar calendar. On the contrary, when celebrating the birthday on this date, through the ritual of 'aukshan' and a prayer made unto the family deity, the chaitanya generated helps the embodied soul to combat the distressing energy attacks at various levels. Thus, there is no rule that one must not perform any ritual on this day and the statement from astrology is baseless.'- (Through the medium of Mrs. Anjali Gadgil, 4th March 2006, 7.17 p.m.)
Blessings and good wishes endow maximum benefit: 'The frequencies of the date of birth according to the Hindu lunar calendar match the individual maximally.Since the blessings and good wishes of relatives and well-wishers bring maximum benefit to the individual celebrating the birthday as per the Hindu lunar calendar is more beneficial.
One develops the strength to combat obstacles in life: Since the frequencies in the universe on the birthday as per the Hindu lunar calendar match the temperament of the person born on that date, the 'sattvik' and chaitanya-enriched rituals done by an individual on that day leave a deep impression on his subconscious mind. As a result, he derives spiritual prowess to combat problems in his future life.'- A Scholar (Through the medium of Mrs. Anjali Gadgil, 21st January 2005, 9.11p.m. and 28th August 2005, 11.40a.m.)
Benefits of celebrating a birthday as per the Hindu lunar calendar ('tithi') as against the date of birth as per the Western calendar
| ||Celebrating birthday as per |
date by Western calendar
|Celebrating birthday as per|
Hindu lunar calendar
|1. Body involved||Physical body only||Physical body 5% and subtle|
|2. Effects on body||Since it is related only to the |
physical body the embodied
soul benefits from the 'sattva'
frequencies negligibly. As a
result the covering of the
embodied soul by raja-tama
attributes may not get reduced
|'Sattva' component of the|
subtle body increases
|3. Effects on the spiritual |
energy channels (naadii)
|Even after 'aukshan' the |
'sattva' component in the
subtle body does not grow as
much as required; mostly the
sun channel and at times the
moon channel gets activated.
However this does not benefit
the embodied soul spiritually.
|After a 'tithi' begins, every|
moment an embodied soul
derives 'sattvik' frequencies
matching his subtle body,
which are necessary for
purification of the body. As a
result of aukshan the
'Sushumna' channel in the
embodied soul gets activated.
If the spiritual level of the
embodied soul exceeds 60%,
the 'Sushumna' channel
remains active throughout the
|4. Effects on the attitudes of |
an embodied soul
|As the 'sattva' component in |
an embodied soul does not
increase, his extroverted
|As the 'sattva' component in|
an embodied soul grows, so
does his introverted attitude.
'There are as many temperaments as there are people and so also the corresponding number of paths of spiritual practice.' This is one of the basic tenets in Hinduism. Based on this, the methods of performing religious rituals also vary. Though the methods vary, the benefit of the ritual is the same, which is all methods endow the Divine principle. Thus one can decide the method as per convenience. Following are the two methods for celebration of a birthday.
A. 'In the first year of life every month and thereafter every year on the date of birth as per the Hindu lunar calendar one should bathe after an oil massage. This should be, followed by application of tilak of kumkum (vermilion)on the forehead.
B. With the resolve 'आयुरभिवृद्ध्यर्थं वर्ष (मास) वृद्धिकर्मं करिष्ये' fistful of rice are placed on a wooden seat or platform in seventeen small heaps in the name of the family deity ('kuladevata'), lunar asterism at birth ('nakshatra'), parents, Deities Prajapati, Surya, Ganesh, Parshuraam, Raam, Hanumaan , Shasthidevata, Sages Maarkandeya, Vyaas, Krupaachaarya, Ashwathaamaa, Bali, Pralhaad and Bibhishan . The corresponding deity is invoked in each heap and their ritualistic worship with sixteen substances is performed. The Shasthidevata is offered a sacrament ('naivedya') of curd and rice which is later fed to a cow or any other animal. The other Deities are offered sugar cubes ('khadisakhar') or 'pedhas' (a sweetmeat) which is then distributed as holy sacrament.
C. With a prayer, a drink made from a cube of jaggery, a fistful of sesame seeds and half a cup of milk is partaken of by the one celebrating the birthday.
D. Relatives and friends are invited for a meal. Offering of food and other items should be done on this day as much as possible.
E. Avoid receiving money or gifts on this day.
The method of celebration is given below.
A. Bath after an oil massage: On the birthday, after an oil massage, have a bath with clothes on (bath taken in this way is symbolic of forgetting the past, with a prayer to The God for constantly remaining in the present.) When bathing the spiritual emotion should be that 'The pure and holy water of river Ganga is purifying my body and mind'.
B. Wear new clothes after the bath.
C. Offer obeisance ('namaskar') to parents and elders in the family.
D. Perform the ritual of 'abhishek' (ablution with liquids like milk and water) or ritualistic worship of the family deity wholeheartedly.
E. Ritual of 'aukshan': The ritual of 'aukshan' is performed on the one whose birthday is being celebrated. Both, the one performing it and the one on whom the ritual is being performed, should harbour the spiritual emotion that, 'Through our medium, God Himself is performing this ritual and bestowing His blessings on us.' At the end of this ritual unbroken rice grains ('akshataa') are sprinkled on the head of the one on whom 'aukshan' is performed after venerating one's family deity or deity of worship.
F. A gift is presented to the one celebrating the birthday with the following perspective. As one's duty a child is given a gift to express appreciation. While gifting an adult,one should not have a sense of doership. When one gifts something without expectation, after a while one forgets about it. The gift given on a birthday should be such. If doership or expectations are harboured in the mind when gifting then a give and take account is created between the two. When the one receiving the gift has the attitude that it is the holy sacrament (prasad) that he is receiving with God's grace, then a give and take account is not created.
G. Clothes worn when bathing should be given away, without any expectations. This offering should be made to one who is deserving hence it is advisable to give it to a devotee of God or to one serving in the mission of betterment of the nation and righteousness, instead of a beggar.