Hindu Fasts: Ashok Puranima Fast

Said The God Of Fire:

Hear me discourse on the process of practising the Ashoka-Purnima-Vrata, in which the Bhudhara manifestation of the god Shiva, as well as the earth- goddess should be worshipped. The Vrata should be first undertaken on the day of the full moon in the month of Chaitra, and practised on the occasions, of all subsequent Pumimas for a year. The rite of Vrisotsarga should be performed on such a Tithi in the month of Karticka. The penitent should break his fast in the night, which should be spent in vigil. By practising such a Vrata, a man goes to the region of Shiva after death. This is what is known as the Vrisha Vrata. Libations of water and cakes of obsequis offered to one's departed manes on the occasion of the Amavasi (day of the new moon), known as the Pitri Amavasi, last them for enternity. By observing fasts and pro- pitiating the souls of his departed ancestors for a year, a man becomes purged of all sins and ascends heaven after death. Similarly by worshipping the birthless deity (Narayana) on the day of the full moon in the month of Magha, a man is able to witness the ful- filment of all his heartfelt desires.

Now I shall describe the way of practising the Savitri Vrata, which should be observed on the day of the new moon in the mouth of Jaistha. The femala Vrati should fast for three consecutive days on the occasion, and worship Savitri the model of chastity, with the grains known as the Saptadhanya, under- neath a Vrata tree, on the above said Tithi. Damsels should join hands in a merry-go-round and dance and sing round the Vata tree, fondly embracing (Kanthasutra) and worshipping it with pasted saffron.

They should return home on the morrow, dress up and dedicate platefulls of offering by repeating the Mantra "Obeisance to Savitri and Satyavana," and make them over to the Brahmanas. On the same day, the pious Brahmanas should be treated with sumptuous repasts, and the penitent shall break her fast. Farewell should be bid to that model wife (Savitri), by reciting the Mantra which runs as "Be pleased, 0 thou goddess Savitri." A damsel practising such a Vrata becomes exceptionally fortunate.

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