Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology: Remedies: Austerities and Fasts, Chapter VII, Part – 7



Continuation…
Dr. Shanker Adawal

Different types of Austerities

Part 2

Chandrayan Vrata- It’s an important austerity lasting for a month which commences on First day of the bright half of a month by observing fast for the whole day and breaking it in the night with one morsel of food. On the next day, i.e. `dwitiya’ one morsel of food is increased which means that instead of one morsel of food now two morsels are taken. This way one morsel of food is increased on each of the following days till the fourteenth day (chaturdashi) when the fast is broken by having fourteen morsels of food. A total fast is observed on `Amavasya’ (dark Moon). On the next day i.e. first day of the dark half of the month one morsel is decreased which means that the devotee should break his fast with thirteen morsel of food. This way one morsel is decreased on each successive day till `chaturdashi’ when a devotee breaks his fast by having only one morsel of food. This is the way, how a Chandrayan vrata should be observed.

Anang Trayodashi Vrata- This austerity is related with the worship of Lord Shiva and commences on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the Hindu month Margashirsh and lasts for a year. It concludes exactly after a year when `Rati’ and `Anang’ are worshipped with appropriate rituals. Ten thousand offerings are made in the sacrificial fire. Brahmins are fed and donations made to them. One who observes this austerity is blessed with health, wealth and good fortune.

Akhand Dwadashi Vrata- This austerity is related with the worship of Lord Vishnu. It commences on the twelfth day of the bright half of the Hindu month Margashirsh and lasts for a year consisting of three phases. One important characteristic of this austerity is that after four months, which is the first phase of the austerity, five vessels filled with food-grains are donated to Brahmins. In the second phase of the austerity consisting of four months and commencing from the Hindu month Chaitra, pots filled with parched grams are donated to Brahmins. Similarly, in the third and final phase of the austerity pots filled with ghee are donated to Brahmins.

Shiva Ratri Vrata- This austerity is related with the worship of Lord Shiva and a fast is observed on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the Hindu month Phalgun. A devotee should observe fast in the night and worship Lord Shiva by chanting `Om Namah Shivay’. He should perform `haven’ with black sesame seeds and worship Lord Shiva at midnight, in the third and the fourth `prahar’ (one prahar equals three hour) with appropriate rituals. One who observes fast on this day gets all his wishes fulfilled and attains salvation as well. A devotee who observes Shiva Ratri fast for twelve successive years acquires knowledge, wealth, success and happiness. Such a man also attains to Shiva loka after his death.

Virtues of Observing Fast on Shiva Ratri Night- During ancient times there lived a hunter named Sundarsen in the province of Arbuda. One day, he went deep into the forest in search of his prey but unfortunately he found none. He wandered all over the place but in vain. When evening came, he climbed up a wood apple (Bael) tree to protect himself from the wild animals. Sundarsen was worried that his family would have nothing to eat the night. Engrossed in his contemplative mood, he kept on plucking leaves from the `Bael’ tree and throwing them down. There was a Shiva linga just under the tree and the leaves, which Sundarsen threw, fell down on it.

Next morning while Sundarsen ws climbing down the tree, his arrow fell down. While picking up his arrow, he touched the Shiva linga. Sundarsen was unaware of the fact that it was Shivaratri night and he had worshiped Lord Shiva with appropriate rituals albeit inadvertently he had offered Bilva patra to Lord Shiva and had touched the Shiva linga. He attained to Shiva loka on account of the virtues attained by his inadvertent worship of Lord Shiva.


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