Hindu Fasts: The Shravana Dvadashi Vrata

Said The God Of Fire:

Now I shall describe the process of performing the Shravana Dvadashi Vrata, which should be per- formed on the day of the twelfth phase of the moon's increase in the month of Bhadra. By observing a fast on the occasion of such a Dvadashi, marked by the asterism Shravana, a man performs the greatest of all the Vratas. The full merit of the observance of such a Vrata, would be derived, by bathing at the confluence of running streams. By making gifts of occasion of the conjuction of the Mercury and the asterism Shravana, a man acquires the greatest merit that can be derived from gifts. Though otherwise forbidden, a man should observe a fast on the occasion of the Shravana Dvadashi, and take his meals on the morrow (Trayodashi), by reading the following prayer.

"I worship thy golden image, 0 thou Dwarf manifestation of Vishnu, in this pitcher of water. I shall take my meals on the next day and worship the Dwarf manifestation of Vishnu, who wields a discus and a conch shell in his hands, in this pitcher of water, covered over with a pair of white clothes, beside which an umbrella and a pair of shoes have been offered to thee. I wash with pure and holy water as well as with the washings of Pachamrita, the image of Vishnu who carries a stick and an umbrella. Om obeisance and obeisence to Vamana. I offer this Argha to thee, oh thou god of the gods, and who art worshipped by all persons, worthy of such Argha offerings. Grant me creature-comforts in abundance and salvation. Bless me with sons, may fame spread over the world, and make me the master of all sorts of wealth. I offer this perfume with obeisance to the Dwarf manifestation of Vishnu." The Homa ceremony should be performed with the above said Mantra. The head of the image of Hari, should be worshipped by repeating the Mantra which runs as "Om obei- sance to Vasudeva." Similarly the face of the god, should be worshipped with the Mantra "Om obei- sance to Shridhara" (the receptacle of all beauty or prosperity). Likewise the throat of the divine image, should be worshipped with the Mantra, running as "Om obeisance to Krishna." In the same manner, the breast and the hands of the imaged deity, should be worshipped by repeating the Mantras, respectively running as "Om obeisance to Shripati (the husband of the goddess Lakshmi) and "Om obeisance to Sarvastradhari (the weilder of all arms)." Similarly the umbilical region of the image as well as its waist, should be worshipped by repeating the Mantras, re- spectively running as "Obeisance to the all-pervad- ing deity" (Vyapaka) and "Obeisance to the dwarf manifestation of Vishnu." Likewise the public re- gion and the groins of the imaged deity, should be respectively worshipped by repeating the Mantras, running as "Obeisance to the progenitor of the uni verse," flowers being offered at its feet with the Mantra of "Om obeisance to the lord of all".

Articles fried in clarified butter, as well as pitch- ers, full of curd, should be offered to the deity. A vigil should be kept up in the night, and the per- former of the Vrata should bathe at a confluence of the rivers, on the day following. The god should be worshipped with flowers and perfumes, and the ob- server of the vow should recite the following prayer, by offering a hundful of flowers to the deity. "I make obeisance to thee, oh thou protector of the universe (Govinda), who art but another manifestation of the Mercury and the asterism Shravana in conjuction. Destroy all my sins, and bless me with the enjoyment of all sorts of comforts.

Be pleased with me, oh Janardana, every moment of my existence. The dwarf-manifestation of Vishnu is the counsellor and the giver of all articles of gift. It is the dwarf manifestation of Vishnu, that takes gifts at my hands, and makes me the happy possessor of all things. Again and again I make obeisance to him." The Brahmanas should be feasted and remunerations should be given to them, whereupon the observer of the vow would break his fast.

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