Hindu Fasts: Pratipad Fast

Brahma Said:-

Now I shall describe the mode of practising the Vratas, which should be performed on the days of the first phase of the moon, etc. A votary should take a single meal on the day of the first phase of the moon, and make the gift of a cow of the Kapila species, the next morning. The Vratam is called S'ikhi Vratam, the merit of which leads the performer to the region of the Fire-God, after death. The Vratam should be commenced from the month of Chaitra, and the God Brahma should be worshipped with offerings of perfumes, flowers, and flower-garlands. The wor- ship should be closed with a rite of Homa, and the votary should think himself as to have been already possessed of the good he covets in life. A person seeking personal beauty in his next re-birth, should worship the god with the offerings of flower-gar- lands, etc., on the day of the sixth phase of the moon's increase in the mouth of Kartika, and thenceforth on the same day, each month, for a year. The S'ridhara manifestation of Vishnu should be worshipped in the company of his consort Lakshmi, on the day of the third phase of the moon's wane in the month of S'ravana, Beds, bedsteads, and fruits, etc., should be gifted to the Brahmanas at the close of the worship, which should be conducted by reciting the Mantras, which respectively run as, "Om, obeisance to S'ridhara;" and "Om, obeisance to S'ri." The God S'iva and his consort Uma should be as well worshipped on the third day of the fortnight in the month of Chatra. Offerings of viands and Madanaka should be made to the deities.

The Vratam, which should be commenced from the month of Chaitra, should be practised, for a year for the fruition of the end for which it is undertaken. The God S'iva has given this in- junction to his divine consort. A Vrati should form all adjure the use of salt in his meals, on the day of the third phase of the moon in the month of Phalguna, and refrain from using any, for a year. The Vratam should be closed by making gifts of beds and fur- nished dwelling houses to the Brahmanas. A married couple belonging to the same social order should be sumptuously feasted on the occasion as the proto- type of the divine man and wife, and addressed as, "Be thou propitiated, 0 thou the consort of the god of becoming, etc." He, who performs the Vratam as above described, in translated to the region of Gauri after a prosperous career on earth. The different mani- festations of energy such as, Gauri, Kali, Uma, Bhadra, Durga, Kami, Sarasvati, Mangala, Vaishnavi, Lakshmi, S'iva and Narayani, should be successively worshipped on the day of the third lunar phase, each month, whereby the performer would never know the pangs of separation and bereavement. The Vrati should fast on the day of the fourth phase of the moon's in- crease in the month of Magha, and give measures of sesame seeds to the Brahmanas, taking nothing but sesame water that day.

The Vratam should be per- formed on the same day, each month, for a period to two years, the rewared of its performance being a peaceful and undisturbed life on earth. "Gah Svaha" is the principal Mantram, which should be used in the worship, and the rites of Shadanganyasa, etc., should be duly performed. The Gayatri Mantram sacred to the god of this worship (Ganapati) reads as follows, "Om, let us know the long-eared deity; let us meditate upon the Self of the god with protruted lips, may the tusked-one lead us to do the same." Burnt offerings of sesame seeds should be made to the god, and his divine cohorts should be likewise worshipped as follows:"Obeisance to Gana, obeisance to Ganapati, obeisance to Kushmand'aka, obeisance to Amogholka, obeisance to Ekadanta, obeisance to Tripurantaka-rupi." After that, S'yamadanta, Vikaralasya. A'haves'a, and Padmadanshtra, should be worshipped. After that, the votary should laugh, and clap his hands and dance round the divine image for the propitiation of the god.

The reward of thus worshipping the god, for a year, on the day of the fourth phase of the moon's increase, each month, is erudition, opulence, fame, longevity and a large progeny. The God Gana should be worshipped on a Monday marked by the four phase of the moon's increase, and rites of Japa and Homa should be duly per- formed thereafter, the reward of the performance being an immunity from the calamities of the world, and a glorious residence in heaven after death. By worshipping the god Vignes'vara on the day of the fourth phase of the moon's increase with offering of sugar, laddukas and other articles of confectionary, a man becomes the happy possessor of all earthly good things in life. By worshipping the god with the offerings of Damanaka flowers, the votary is blest with the pleasures of fatherhood. The God Gana may be worshipped under the auspices of the fourth phase of the moon in any month of the year by reciting the Mantra which reads as, "Om, obeisance to Ganapati." The Mantra specifically sacred to the deity, should be as well recited on the occasion; and libations of clarified butter, cast into the fire, the reward of the performance being an immunity from all earthly ca- lamities and the enjoyment of all good things, which this life can possibly offer.

The man. who worships the image of the God Vinayaka and addresses him in any of the following names, viz., the worshipped one of the gods, the one-tusked deity, the god with the protruted lips, the three-eyed or the three-mouthed one, the blue-necked celestial, the large-bellied god, the dreadful one, the lord (succourer) of distress, the dusk-coloured deity, the young moon Vinayaka, the lord of the Gangas and the elephant-faced one, attains to an elevated status after death, and becomes entitled to the privilege of heaven in the capacity of a liberated Self. The intelligent votary, who worships the true import of any or all of the above said epithets, witnessess the relisation of all his heart left objects.

The divine serpents Vasuki, Tahshaka, Kaliya, Manibhadraka, Airavata, Dhritarashtra, Karkataka, and Dhananjaya, should be bathed with clarified butter, etc., in either of the blessed month's of Shravana, Bhadra, A's'wina or Kartika and under the auspices of the fifth phase of the moon's increase. The ser- pents named Ananta, Vasuki, S'ankha, Padma, Kamvala, Karkotaka, Shankhaka, Kaliya, Takshaka, and Pingala, should be worshipped in each month of the year. A votary by worshipping these eight celestial serpants in the light fortnight of Bhadra, is liberated from the trammels of rebirth. The pictures of these celestial serpents should be drawn on each side of the door of the house under the auspices of the fifth phase of the moon's increase in the month of Bhadra, and the household should invoke and worship the divine snakes by name, in each of them. Milk and clarified butter should be offered to the images of snakes on the occasion, inasmuch as it would ward off the danger of snake bites in the household. The Vratam is called Dashtoddhara (prophylasis against snake bites) Panchami.

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