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Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology: Remedies: Austerities and Fasts, Chapter VII, Part – 6

Dr. Shanker Adawal

Different types of Austerities

Part 1

In Garuda Puran while replying to the quarries of Garuda, Lord Vishnu described a lot of austerities, few of them are-

Yama (Restraining Passion)- This particular austerity comprises of ten virtues- Celibacy, Forgiveness, Meditation, Truthfulness, Honesty, Non-violence, Not stealing, Gentleness and Self control.

Niyama (Daily Routine)- This austerity stresses the importance of purity: both of the body as well as of the mind. It comprises of the following activities: bathing daily, contemplation, observing fast, performing oblations, self study, abstinence, penance, avoiding anger, being respectful towards teacher and Purity.

Mahasantapan Vrata- This particular austerity comprises of specific rituals related with the usage of `Panchagavya’ (a mixture of cow milk, curd, ghee, cow urine and cow dung). On the first day of the austerity a devotee should have only milk, on the second day curd, on the third day `ghee’, on the fourth day `gomutra’ (cow urine), on the fifth day `gomaya’ (cow dung), on the sixth day he should live only on `kushodak’  (drinking water from a vessel in which `kusha’ grass have been kept) and on the last day of the austerity he should observe complete fast.

Parna Krichchha Vrata- Separate solutions of `Palash’ (Butea frondosa), `Gular’ (Ficus glomerata), `Kamal’ (lotus) and `Bael’ tree (wood apple) are prepared after boiling the leaves of respective vegetation mentioned above. On the first day of the austerity a devotee should have only `Palash’ solution while on the second day he should have `Gular’ solution. On the third day he should have `Kamal’ solution, while on the fourth day he should live only on `Bael’ solution. On the fifth day of the austerity he should live only on `Kusha’ grass solution and nothing else. This is the manner in which the austerity of `Parnakrichchha vrata’ is observed.

Tapta Krichchha Vrata- A person observing this austerity should begin by having hot milk on the first day followed by tepid ghee and lukewarm water on the second and third day respectively. He should observe a complete fast on the fourth day.

Paad Krichchha Vrata- This particular austerity lasts for four days. On the first day a devotee should observe `Ekabhakta vrata’ (having food only a day in the noon). On the second day he should observe `Nakta’ vrata (having food only once a day in the night). On the third day he should break his fast by having whatever is available with him because anything that has been provided by others is strictly prohibited. He should observe a total fast on the fourth day. When a devotee observes these cycles of austerity for three times then it is called `Prajapatya krichchhra vrata’.

Ati Krichchha Vrata- Rituals of this austerity is more or less similar to that of Prajapatya krichchhra vrata with a slight difference- here fast is broken with a handful of cooked food. When this particular ritual is observed for four days then it is called Atikrichchha vrata.

Krichchha Atikrichha Vrata- Observing the rituals of Atikrichchha vrata for twenty-one days living only on milk and water is called Krichchhakrichha vrata.

Parak Vrata- Observing complete fast for twelve continuous days is called Parak vrata.


Dr. Shanker Adawal
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