Monthly Fast

Hindu Fasts: Monthly Fast

Said The God Of Fire:-

Now I shall describe the process of practising
the Masa Vratas (vows which should be observed in
the different months of the year), which grant enjoy-
ment in this life and salvation in the next. The wise
and the intelligent should forego the use of oils and
unguents during the four months, commencing from
the month of Ashada. Similarly by foregoing the use
of flowers and salt in the month of Vaishaka, and
making the gift of a cow to a Brahmana, a man
acquires a sovereignity in this life. A man by ob-
serving a fast, extending over a period of month,
and making the gift of a cow to a Brahmana, should
practise the Vrata known as the Bhimavrata.

By bathing
every day in the morning during the month of Ashada,
a man becomes merged in the essence of Vishnu,
the same result being obtained by making gifts of
treacle and a cow in the months of Chaitra and Vaishaka.
The greatest of all observers of vows, the husband
of the goddess Gouri, practised the abovesaid Vrata
of treacle, on the day of the third phase of the moon.
The man who practises the Nakta Vrata (Breaking
one’s fast in the night) in the month of Margashirsha;

goes to the region of Vishnu. The Vratas known as
the Vrata of a single meal each day (Ekabhakta), the
Dvadashi-Vrata, and the Tila-Vrata should be practised for four consecutive months (1-5).

By practising Vratas during the four months com-
mencing from the month of Shravana, a man is able
to witness the realisation of all his heart-felt desires.
The resolution of practising the Chaturmashya Vratas
spoken of before, should be first solemnly made, by
fasting on the day of the eleventh phase of the moon
in the month of Ashada. The god Hari, manifest as
the sun god, should be worshipped under the auspicies
of the continuance of that luminary in the sign of
cancer, and by riciting the following prayer ” I undertake
this vow, 0 lord, in thy presence, may this come to
a safe termination through thy gracious pleasure, 0
Keshava. May this vow be deemed as complete even
in the event of my dying before it reaches its goal.”

Thus a Brahmana should abstain from taking all animal-
food, forego the use of oils and unguents, and worship
the god Hari for three days by observing a fast on
each alternate day, whereby he would attain the region
of Vishnu. A man, by practising the vow of silence
(Mouni-Vrata) and the one known as the Chandrayana,
goes to the region of Vishnu and becomes an eman-
cipated spirit in the end. Similarly, by practising the
Vrata known as the Prajapatya, while living on a
diet of powdered wheat and barley, a man ascends
the heaven after death. Again by drinking milk sim-
ply, or by living solely on the composition known
as the Panchagavya or on roots and vegetables, a
man goes to the region of Vishnu after death. Simi-
larly the man who abstains from all meat, lives on
a diet of barley, on forgoes the use of all sweet
articles, attains the god Hari (6-13).

Now I shall describe the process of performing
the Koumuda-Vrata, which should be practised in an
empty stomach in the month of Ashvina. The god
Vishnu should be worshipped in the Vrata, occur-
ring on the day of the twelfth phase of the moon’s
increase. Lotus and other water-flowers and Naividyas
illuminated by lamps of oil or clarified butter, should
be offered to the god. The god Vasudeva should be
worshipped with garlands of Malati flowers, and by
reciting the Mantra running as “Om obeisance to
Vasudeva.” Thus by practising a fast for a month in
connection therewith, a man acquires piety, worldly
prosperity, wealth and salvation, in short, every thing
he sets his mind upon (14-15).

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