Hindu Fasts: Worship Of The Eight Matris On The Eight

Said the God of Fire:

Since the God Brahma worshipped the Matris on such a day, the eight Matris should be worshiped on the day of the eighth phase of the moon’s wane in the month of Chaitra. By worshipping Krishna on such a day in the month of Chaitra, a man becomes the master of fabulous wealth.

Now I shall describe the process of performing the Vrata, known as the Krishna-Ashtami, which should be performed on such a day in the month of Magha. In a pure spirit, the penitent should fast in the night, by simply taking a dose of the cow's urine, sleep on the bare floor, and worship the god Shankara. On such a day as stated above, the penitent should worship the god Shambhu, in the month of Pousha, by taking clarified butter; while he should worship the god Maheshvara in the month of Magha, by living on a diet composed of thickened milk, on the day of observance of the vow. Similarly the penitent should eat the seeds of sessamum orientale on the day of the eighth phase of the moon in the month of Phalguna, and worship the god Mahadeva. The diet of the penitent on such a day in the month of Chaitra, should consist of barley, the manifestation of the god Hara to be worshipped on the occasion, being Sthanu. Similarly the penitent should worship the Shiva manifestation of the god, on such a Tithi in the month of Vaishaka, by taking only a handful of the washings of Kusha grass.

The manifestation of Hara to be worshipped on such an occasion in the month of Jaistha is Pashupati, and the penitent should drink only the washings of Shringa, that day. In the month of Ashada, the penitent shall eat the dung of a cow on a similar occasion, and worship the Ugra manifestation of the deity, Sarva being the deity to be worshipped on the day of the vow (Vrata) in the month of Shravana, the diet of the observer consisting only of Arka. Similarly the Vrati shall worship the Tramvaka manifestation of the god, in the month of Bhadra, eating only the leaves of a Bel tree on the night of observance of the vow. The Vrati shall worship the Isha manifestation of the god Hara, in the month of Ashvina, eating rice on the occasion of the Vrata, and the Rudra manifestation in the month of Karticka, taking nothing else than curd on such an occasion. The Homa ceremony should be performed at the close of the year, and the god should be worshipped in the mystic diagram (Mandala), where by the Vrata would be completed. Gifts of cows, clothes, and gold should be made to the preceptor and the Brahmanas. A man, by doing as above indicated and making the necessary prayer in connection therewith, enjoys all the pleasures of life and attains salvation after death. The man who breaks his fast in the night on the occasion of all the Ashtami Tithis in a year, and makes gifts of cows to Brahmanas at the close of the Vrata, goes to the region of Indra.

Now I shall describe the process of performing the Sargati Vrata, which should be practised on the occasion of an Ashtami Tithi, occurring on a Wednesday either in the dark or in the light fortnight of a month. The Vrati (penitent) should not take anything but molasses that day. Men, who observe the vow on the Tithi and in the manner, indicated above, never know any break down in their fortune. The pentient should live on a food, prepared* with eight times the quantity of rice as would becontained in the hollow of the palm covered over with the last three fingers. The rice should be served on mango leaves knitted together and spread over with the blades of Kusha grass. The goddess Amvica should be worshipped with all her retinue and divine appendages, and the observer of the vow should make gifts of rice mixed with Karkati, after having heard from the preceptor the history of the origin of the Vrata, which is as follows:-"Once on a time, there lived a Brahmana whose name was Dhira.

Dhira had a wife name Rambha. a son named Koushika, a daughter named Vijaya, and a bull named Dhanada. Koushika, in the company of other cowherds, used to take the bull to the pasturage every day. One day while he was bathing in the Ganges, thieves came and took away the bullock. On coming out of the water. Koushika did not find the animal, and so he and his sister Vijaya, went on and on in its quest, until they came unto a lake where they found the damsels of heaven, diving and plunging in water in frolics and sports. Whereupon, Koushika who was hungry and fatigued with a long journey, asked the damsels for food, and they replied that as he was a guest, he would have food on his having performed the Vrata. Koushika practised the Vrata as directed, regained the bull through its merit, and did ample justice to the victuals spread before him. Then Koushika and his sister Vijaya went to Dhira with the bull. Dhira gave Vijaya in marriage with the god of death and died. Koushika in turn became the king of Ayodhya, through the merit of practising the Vrata in question. Now it so happened, that Dhira and his wife were doomed to suffer the torments of hell, on account of their misdeeds in life, and so Vijaya wept and wept for many a sad and disconsolate night, implored her lord with many a tears and weeping caresses to liberate her sire from that doleful region, and behold her astonishment to find him, the next day, out on a hunting excursion. Vijaya asked him how he had been set

free. Whereupon the lord of death replied, that the soul of Dhira had been set at liberty from the confines of hell, only through the merit of two Vratas, which Koushika had made over to him. Thus through the merit of performing the two Buddhastami Vratas, the parents of Koushika were translated to heaven, and Vijaya in her turn, gladly undertook to practice the Vrata as well, which grants enjoyment of creature-comforts and an elevated existence after death".

The man, who in the month of Chaitra, drinks the washings of eight tender shoots of an Ashoka tree, on the day of the eighth phase of the moon's increase, marked by the asterism Punarvasu, becomes exempted from all grief. Grief can never approach nor affect a person, who performs the present Vrata which should be practised by reciting the following prayer- "I drink the washings of thy tender shoots, oh thou Ashoka tree-the fond offspring of glad springtide,-the grantor of all boons. I, whose heart in wrung with grief and anguish, drink the washings of thy springborn tender shoots. Make me free from grief for ever." The man, who worships the Matrikas on the day of the eighth phase of the moon's increase, in the month of Chaitra, conquers all his enemies without any effort.




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