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The Sadgati Vratam, etc.
1Brahma said: -One should perform a Vratam, on the day of the eighth phase of the moon and break his fast on the night of the vow. He, who continually practises the Vrata for a year, and closes it by making the gift of a cow to Brahmana, is elevated to the status of an Indra, after death. The Vratam is called Sadgati Vratam.
2The same Vratam practised on the day of the eighth phase of the moon’s increase in the month of Pausha, is called the Maha Rudra Vratam, such a Vratam practised in my honour is ten thousand. times more meritorious than the one practised for an ordinary end.
3The Vratam should be specially performed if the proper day of its celebration happens to fall on a Wednesday, inasmuch as its performance would ensure endless prosperity to the votary.
4A seeker after self emancipation should take nothing but eight pinchfuls of cooked rice on the occasion, and live as devout and pure as possible.
5-6By taking Kalambik treated with acid and enshrouded with the blades of Kusa grass, a garland of mango leaves, on the occasion, a man is sure to acquire all wished-for objects. The god Mercury should be worshipped in a pool with the five kinds of offerings.
7-8And a Karkari (a kind of small water pot) full of rice, should be given to a Brahmana by way of Dakshina. The god should be contemplated as armed with a bow and an arrow, shining with the greenish golden hue of his complexion, and worshipped on the petals of the mystic Mandalam by reciting the Vada, etc., “Bijam. The votary should then hear the regents of the Vratam recited by a Brahmana, which is as follows:-
9Once upon a time there lived in the city of Pataliputra a god Brahmana whose name was Vira. Vira had a wife named Rambha, a daughter of his daughter named Vijaya, a son named Kausika and a bullock of his named Dhanapala.
10-12One hot day in summer, Kausika oppressed with the scorching heat of the sun, took the bullock to the Ganges to give him a much-needed ablution. While he was himself bathing, several cowboys came and decamped with the bullock before he could raise the necessary alarm. Kausika came out of the river and began to wander in the forest in grief and despair. It so happened that his sister Vijaya came to fetch water from the Ganges at the time and saw her brother in that sad predicament. So she joined him in the wood and went on rambling in quest of the bullock.
13Thirsty and worn out with the fatigues of the day, Kausika went down to a pool of water to fetch some dark lotus stems for his sister, when, behold, there appeared to him on the green grassy bank of that limpid pool a baby of celestial nymphs engaged in practising the Vadashtami Vratam. Kausika, hungry and exhausted asked them for food.
14The nymphs in their tum directed him to first practise the Vratam. Kausika called his sister and did as directed Kausika and Vijaya practised the Vratam, he with the object of recovering his lost bullock, and lie with the motive of securing a suitable husband for herself.
15They took their meals out of two mango leaves as served out to them by the nymphs; and the nymphs vanished after their repast. Kausika recovered his lost bullock through the merit of performing the Vratam.
16he thieves voluntarily restored the same to him in the morning, and Kausika and his sister went home with their boons. “Now the good Brahmana Vira had passed an anxious and sleepless night, and he was glad when his son and daughter saluted him in the morning. Now Vira was anxious to secure a suitable husband for his daughter as she had attained a marriageable age. There were idle speculations for many long days of suspense and domestic quarrel.
17At last Vijaya, the daughter, disgusted with the peremptory way in which her father wished to dispose her off, broke her silence and said, I shall be wedded to the God of Death.” Now Death was the bridegroom she had chosen for herself, and the merit of the Vratam had entitled her to have the husband of her choice.
18So the Lord of Death appeared to Vira and sued for the hand of his daughter. Irrevocable is the decree of heaven, and the gods brook no equivocation of terms. So there could be no refusal, and the marriage of fair Vajaya with the Lord of Death was contracted with the seal of fate. Vira and his wife Rambha were translated to heaven, and the son Kausika was rewarded with a kingdom at, Ayodhya. Kausika celebrated the marriage of his sister in a style quite in keeping with his new dignity.
19-21And the Lord of Death took away his bride to his mansion in the nether world. After his installation as the Queen of Yama (the God of Death), Vijayi was suddenly roused’”up, one day, from her reverie by the agonized cries of her own mother. She saw her spirit, chained and fallen from heaven, and about to be consigned to the pangs of hell. Vijaya performed this Vratam for the liberation of her mother’s spirit and asked it to do the same after it had been liberated. The mother again ascended to heaven through the merit of performing this Vratam and lived there happy in the company of her husband.