Hindu Fasts: The Shashti Vratas

Brahma Said:

Similarly, the god Kartikeya should be worshipped under the auspices of the sixth phase of the moon's increase in the month of Bhadra, Ads of ceremonial ablution, etc., performed on that day, bear immortal fruits- The votary should break his fast the next morning, after having worshipped the Sun-God and sumptuously feasted the Brahmanas. The Mantra to be recited in connection with the solar worship on the occasion, reads as follows:"Om, 0 Sun, 0 thou the first and permanent light-meteor, that illumine the vast expanse of heaven, the parent of all life on earth and emblem of eternal life, least thou my friend and guide in the universe. Humbly do I lay myself prostate before thy godly presence." The votary should break his fast thereafter on the day of the eighth phase of the moon's increase, and eat nothing but pepper that day. The Vratam is called Maricha Saptami, the reward of its performance being the attainment of all objects in life.

The votary having bathed and lived as an anchorite on the day of the seventh phase of the moon's in- crease in the month of Bhadra, should worship the Sun-God and make gifts of fruits to the Brahmanas. His food that day should consists of nothing but Matulungas or cocoanuts. The fruits should be gifted to the Brahmanas on the occasion by reciting the Mantra, "Be pleased, 0 Sun-God." The Vratam is called Phala-Saptami. It makes it performer the happy possessor of all good things he covets in life. The votary having worshipped the Sun-God under the auspicies of the seventh phase of the moon's in- crease in Bhadra, should make offerings of sweet porridge (Payasa) to the god, and feast the Brahmanas with that article of food.

He should take nothing but milk on the day of the Vratam, and pay money re- munerations to the Brahmanas, who have been feasted on the occasion with food, drink, lambatives, etc., which should be foregone by the votary himself. The Vratam is called Anodana-Saptami, which brings wealth, progeny and creature comforts to its per- former. A person wishing victory in life should take nothing but air on the occasion of the Vij ay a-Saptami, whereas a person with the realisation of any definite object in his heart, should live on Arka leaves on the day.

The performance of the Vratam is rewarded with the fulfilment of all desires of the votary, who is enjoined to refrain from using all kinds of cereals, honey-cakes, utensils made of stone, or of Indian bell-metal, unguents, oils, meat, etc. Moreover he should forewear his cup and the bed of his wife on the day of the fast, which enables its performer to witness the realization of all his desires.

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