It is well known that Indians believe passionately in the theory of muhurts or auspicious times to perform sacraments, to make major purchases or to begin new ventures. Inspite of modern technology and changing life views, this dedication to auspicious time is a prominent feature of Indian life. Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright half of Vaishakha, is considered one of the four most sacred days of the year. This year it falls on the 16th of May.
The word Akshaya means that which never diminishes – hence beginnings made or valuables bought on this day are considered certain to bring luck and success. Akshaya Tritiya is traditionally the birthday of Lord Sri Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Sri MahaVishnu. The Puranas tell how he reclaimed land from the sea along the west coast of India by his valour. Even today it is locally called as Parashurama Kshetra. In India, Akshaya Tritiya is considered as one of the most auspicious days of the year.
There is a story in this connection wherein the angry sage Durvasa came to Draupadi demanding food. When the Pandavas were exiled to the forest, they were concerned how to feed the ‘Brahmanas’ who accompanied them, Draupadi Devi was given a pot by the sun god called as ‘Akshayapaatra’. This pot would never be empty until Draupadi had taken her meal and turned the pot upside down. Then it would produce no more for that day. Once Draupadi had finished cooking and had just taken her meal when the Muni Durvasas arrived with many of his disciples. The angry sage Durvasas and his disciples had secretly been asked to go there by the Kauravas who knew that by this time Draupadi would have taken her meal, and if she was unable to offer them anything to eat, she would incur the wrath of Durvasa. Durvasa and his disciples went to the river to bathe and freshen up before taking their meal. Draupadi, full of anxiety, prayed to Lord Krishna to help her. Lord Sri Krishna then told Draupadi that if there was a morsel of food left He would be satisfied if that were offered by Draupadi, His pure devotee with love to Him. Seeing a fragment of spinach stuck to the side of the pot, Krishna asked for it, Draupadi offered it to Krishna, and simply by eating that morsel of foodstuffs, all of Durvasas’ men and Durvasa himself became completely full and satisfied, and out of embarrassment slipped away and didn’t come to demand a meal from Draupadi as the sinful Duryodhana had arranged for them to do.