Various Vratas described ||128||
1Brahma said: -O Vyasa, hear me discourse on the mode of performing a variety of Vratas, which can win the good graces of the god Hari, who blesses the performer with all his cherished boons in return.
2-3A Vratam signifies an act of living in conformity with the rules of conduct and self-control, as laid down in the Sastras. The Vratam is but another name for penance (Tapasya). A Vrati (performer of a Vratram) is under the obligation of observing specific rules of conduct and self-control. He should bathe, thrice every day, during the entire term of the Vratam, and sleep on the bare ground, contented, and controlled in his mind and senses, and renouncing all talk with women, Sudras, and degraded persons.
4He should make burnt offerings of the five sacred articles, as his circumstances world admit of. A Vrati wishing to acquire the full merit of his, should practise the above-named austerities, and undergo double the hardship, in the event of his wearing long hair during the entire term of the Vratam.
5He should not take anything out of a bowl of Indian bell metal, nor consume any potherbs, nor take honey, grain, and Koradushaka, nor chew any beetle leaf on the day of breaking his fast, not take his meals in all other’s house on the occasion.
6A fast is vitiated by using flowers, perfumes, unguents, collyrium, a toothbrush, a new cloth, or an article of ornament.
7-8aA Vrati should wash his mouth with the Pancagavyam in the morning before breaking his fast. The merit of a fast is destroyed by gambling, by indulging in day-sleep or in sexual intercourse, and by constantly drinking water on the day of its breaking.
8b-9Forbearance, truthfulness, clemency, charity, cleanliness of body and mind, and subjugation of the senses, divine worship and home celebration are the ten cardinal virtues, which should be practised in connection with the performance of every Vratam.
10-11A meal after a whole day’s fast and taken after the rising of the evening star is technically called a night-meal (Nakta Bhojanam), which must not be interpreted to simply mean a meal in the night. Take of a Pala weight (eight tolas) to cow’s urine, a half thumb full of cow dung, seven Pala weights of milk, three Pala weights of curd, one Pala of clarfied butter, and one Pala of the washings of Kusa grass and mix together.
12The resulting compound is called be the Pancagavyam. A person about to practise the Brahmakriccha Vratam should take Pancagavyam after purifying its component cow’s urine by reciting the Gayatri Mantram; cowdung, by reciting the Gandha Dvara, etc., Mantram; curd, by reciting the Dadhi kravya, etc., Mant ram; milk, by reciting the Apyayashva, etc., Mantram; clarified butter, by reciting the Tejosi, etc., Mantram; and the washings of the Kusa grass, by reciting the Devasya etc., Mantram.
13-14aCelebrations of such religious ceremonies as, Agnyadhanam (lit., first kindling of the sacrificial fire), installation of a divine image, a religious sacrifice, Vedavrata rite of tonsure, investiture with the sacred thread, Vrishotsarga (the rite of the setting free of a sacrificial bull), as well as acts of charities and penances should not be made in a month, which contains two new moons (Malamasa).
14b-15aA Savana month consists of thirty days counted from one new moon to another. A Saura (solar) month is computed from the passing of the sun from one zodiacal sign to another. The time taken by the twenty-seven asterisms (lunar mansions) to make one complete revolution round the earth, is counted as an astral, (nakshatra) month, which consists of twenty-seven days.
15b-16The Saura mode of computation should be adapted in respect of celebrating marriages; and the Savana style, in respect of celebrating religious sacrifices. The second and the third, the fourth and the fifth, the sixth and the seventh, the eighth and the ninth, the tenth and the eleventh, the twelfth and the thirteenth, the fourteenth and the fifteenth phases of the noon’s wane or increase are called Yugmadara to each other.
17A Tithi Vratam performed on a day when that Tithi (lunar phase) meets its Yugmadara, is doubly meritorious.
18A female vowist menstruating after taking the vow is not disqualified from practising it to term in consequence. The Vratas may be practised through a proxy, but penances must be personally performed.
19A vow broken through anger, greed, or incontinence, should be atoned for by a three day’s fast and a clean shave of the head.
20The performance of a Vratam may be delegated to one’s son in case of one’s ill health. A Brahmana, swooning away in course of a Vratam, should be enlivened with milk, and cold applications.