What is Akshaya Tritiya?
Akshaya Tritiya is the third day of Shukla Paksha (waxing moon) in Vishaka month (May-June). The word Akshaya means ‘inexhaustible,’ or that which never ends. It is a beautiful day to start a new venture.
Lord Vishnu incarnated as Parasurama, son of sage Jamadagni and Renukadevi, on Akshaya Tritiya day and eliminated all the troublesome kings on earth. Sri Jayadeva Goswami sings of this incarnation thus:
Snapayasi payasi śamita-bhava-tāpam
Keśava dhṛta-bhṛgupati-rūpa jaya jagadiśa hare
O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari who have assumed the form of Bhrgupati (Parasurama)! All glories to you! At Kurukshetra, You bathe the earth in the rivers of blood from the bodies of the demoniac Kshatriyas that you have slain. The sins of the world are washed away by you, and because of you people are relieved from the blazing fire of material existence.
This verse may be chanted to glorify the Supreme Lord. One can also chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra 108 times.
2. Reading Bhagavad Gita
Sage Vyasa began composing Mahabharata on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. This epic is regarded as the fifth Veda, and it includes the Bhagavad Gita, which encapsulates the essence of Vedic literature. Supposedly, our past karma will not affect us if we read the Bhagavad Gita sincerely. One can recite all the 18 chapters of the Gita on this special day. If not, try to recite at least one chapter or a single verse.
3. Performing Shraddha
Shraddha ceremony for departed souls can be performed on Akshaya Tritiya day. The first chapter of Bhagavad Gita has Arjuna voicing his concern that the war with the Kauravas would hinder these ritualistic ceremonies, affecting the forefathers who would suffer the hellish consequences. Akshaya Tritiya is one of the best days to perform the Shraddha ceremony. On Akshaya Tritiya, one can offer oblations to one’s departed forefathers to save them from the effects of their sinful actions.
4. Offer Annadana
When the Pandavas were living in exile, the Sun god gave them a vessel called the Akshaya Patra to feed themselves and their guests. This vessel could provide limitless food as long as Draupadi (the Pandavas’ wife) had not eaten. Hence, on Akshaya Tritiya, you can offer Annadana (feed guests with the Prasad or food offered to the Lord) or contribute Annadana Seva.
5. Donate to charity
Some people think that buying gold on Akshaya Tritiya will make one rich. However, Vedic scriptures do not mention this. In the old days, kings and rich people used to perform sacrifices (yajna) and give their wealth to charity on such auspicious days. The Bhagavad Gita states that one should perform charity without expecting anything in return, at appropriate times (solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, Akshaya Tritiya, etc.) and places (temples), and to worthy people (a learned Brahmin or a devotee of Vishnu). Akshaya Tritiya is a great day to donate to charity.