Agrasen Jayanti is a popular festival celebrated by members of the Agrahari and Agrawal sectors of the Hindu community. Celebrated with full gaiety and devotion in the honour of their respected forefather, Maharaja Agrasen, the festival is observed to commemorate his birth anniversary.
The festival is observed on the ‘Ekam’ (1st day) of the Shukla Paksha (the period of the bright fortnight of moon) during the Hindu month of ‘Ashwin’. It also falls on the first day of Navratri, a popular Indian festival. According to the Gregorian calendar, this date falls between September to October. This year, Agrasen Jayanti will be celebrated on 29th September.
Maharaj Agrasen was a famous Suryavanshi king who ruled over Agroha. He is also believed to be the founder of Agrahari and Agrawal communities in India. He was famous for his principles of nationalism, socialism, equality and non-violence.
The king was highly respected and admired by the people in his kingdom, and the community members celebrate the event with immense joy and enthusiasm in his honour. Agrasen Jayanti is celebrated commonly in the northern states of India like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana that has maximum Agrawal, Agrahari and Jain communities.
A contemporary of Lord Krishna, he was born almost about 5185 years ago to King Vallabh of Pratap Nagar. He married Princess Madhavi, the daughter of King Nagraj of the Nagvansh dynasty, and had 18 children.
Significance of Agrasen Jayanti-
The word ‘Agrawal’ is the combination of two words, ‘Agra’ meaning ‘Agrasen’ and ‘wal’ which means ‘balak’ (son). Therefore, the name Agrawal itself implies the ‘Son of Agrasen’. This is why the day of Agrasen Jayanti holds great significance for descendants of Maharaja Agrasen.
According to the Hindu mythologies, Maharaja Agrasen was advised by Lord Shiva to observe Tapas for Goddess Lakshmi. Pleased by his dedication, Goddess Lakshmi told Maharaja Agrasen to start business profession for the betterment of his people.
Members of Agrahari and Agrawal communities follow this tradition of keeping his birth anniversary as the first day of business.
This day is also considered very auspicious for starting a new business career, or for those who want to venture into new professional fields.
Rituals during Agrasen Jayanti-
Members of the Agrawal and Agrahari community celebrate the birth anniversary of Maharaja Agrasen with great devotion and dedication. Devotees start the day by visiting the temples of their respective ‘Kuldevi’ early in the morning to seek her blessings. They also offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and seek blessings for peace, harmony, and prosperity in their personal and professional endeavors.
A traditional ritual includes holding Sobha Yatras to honor the Maharaja. These yatras are taken through prime locations through the cities, depicting relics and images of Maharaja Agrasen and his family members. In some places, cultural programs and functions are also held.
Maharaja Agrasen was known to teach the lessons of unity and harmony in society by the concept of helping each other. People especially engage in social welfare activities to honor his principles. They organize free food distribution, and hold medical camps to spread the message of brotherhood and equality.