|6 ‘Vratas’ on ‘Pratipada’, ‘Dwiteeya’ and ‘Triteeya’ ‘Tithis’|
Muni Sumantu described about the significance of performing Tithi-specific Vratas and procedures: By way of ‘Upavasas’(fastings), one should consume milk on the Pratipada or the first day of a month; on the Dviteeya (Second) day only saltless food; on Triteeya (third) day rice with tilas (sesame seed); on the Chaturthi(Fourth) day only milk; on the Panchami (fifth) day, only fruits; on the Shashthi (Sixth) day, cooked vegetables only; on the Saptami (Seventh) day, only ‘bilwaahaar’ or wood-apple leaves; on the Ashtami (eighth) day, only barley be consumed; on the Navami (ninth) day only ‘Anagnipaak’ or uncooked edibles; on Dashami and Ehadashi (tenth and eleventh) ‘ghrutaahar’or food with ghee; on Dwadashi (twelfth) day, ‘kheer’ or cooked rice and sugared milk; on Trayodashi (Thirteenth) day only ‘Gomutra’ or cow’s urine; on Chaturdashi (fourteenth day) one could consume ‘Yavaanna’ or rice with Yava (Cumin seeds); on ‘Purnima’
(Full Moon) day one should consume water with kusha grass and on ‘Amavasya’ (Dark Moon) day ‘Havishya Bhojan’or normally Moong Dal, Til oil, Jeera and Tamarind. This type of ‘Tithi Bhojan’ for one fortnight yields the fruit of performing ten Ashvamedha Yagna; for three/four months would give the reward of hundred Ashvamedha and Rajasuya Yagnas and the happiness of staying in Swarga for one Manvantara; and for one year of fastings, the stay in Surya loka is assured for fourteen Manvantaras. This ‘Upavasa Vrata’ could be performed by men, women of any ‘Varna’.
On the Pratipada Tithi especially of Kartika month, worship to Brahma is executed to signify Brahma’s Creation Process on that day in the Pratipadika Kalpa; Yagna, Tapas, Tirtha Snaan, Puja by Lotus and other flowers / fruits along with the traditional Sixteen Services like Abhishek (Bathing) of Pratima (idol) with milk, curd, honey and ghee with Veda Mantras; Dhupa, Deepa, Vastra, Aabhushana or ornaments, Naivedya and Daan of a Kapila Cow. Continous ‘Japa’ of Gayatri Mantra is a natural component of the Puja package. On Kartika Shukla Tithi specially, Brahma’s ‘Ratha Yatra’ (Procession of the Chariot) be celebrated with the Idols of Brahma and Gayatri, followed by night-long ‘Jaagaran’ (Keeping Awake) with Recitation of Vedas and Puja on the following day would be performed with devotion. The resultant remuneration of this devotion would be the devotee’s long stay at Brahma loka after life.
To signify the illustration of Sage Chyavan and his wife Sukanya during the second Kalpa, a significant Vrata known as Pushpa Dwiteeya is executed in Kartika Shulka month commencing from Dwiteeya for one year by eating only flowers of the season and by giving away Gold / Silver Flowers or atleast lotus flowers as charity to Brahmanas by which Ashvini Kumars would be pleased to bestow beautiful physiques of youth and good health. A young princess called Sukanya entered into a forest along with her friends and by mistake pierced into the eyes causing blindness of Chyavana Muni who was performing Tapas sitting behind a thick bush since she felt that the eyes were glittering worms and as a result the Muni cursed that the soldiers of the King whose daughter that the princess was, would suffer from the stoppage of their body excrements; the King apologised to the blinded Muni and to appease the latter’s agony offered his daughter in wedding. Sukanya, a mere girl, suffered silenty about the wedding with an old Sage but the passing Ashwini Kumars (Celestial Physicians) over the sky understood the plight of the girl and blessed that her husband would be transformed to a handsome young youth. The Muni gave a boon in turn to Ashwini Kumars that they could be supplied Ambrosia (Amrit) as they were not eligible to secure it as Deva’s Physicians but they were not Devas. There was an altercation between the Muni and Indra and finally the Muni by his Mantra Shakti made eligible to receive ‘havis’ from Yagnas as Devas and thus secured access to Amrit. Successful performance of this Pushpa Dwiteeya Vrata would facilitate the devotees concerned to reach heavens till the end of the ‘Kalpa’ and on return to Martya loka would bless them with excellent health, fame and family happiness.
On the Dwiteeya of Shravana Krishna Paksha, worship of Bhagavan Vishnu along with Devi Lakshmi by way of ‘Ashunya Shayana’ Vrata or Phala Dwiteeya is recommended to ensure that no married woman would become a widow and that she and her husband would not leave company of each other as long as they live with mutual fondness and happiness. The Vrata should commence with ‘Vishnu Praarthana’ or Prayer as follows:
Shrivatsadhharir chhreekaanta Shrivatsa Shripateyravyaya, Garhasthyam maa pranaamsham mey yatu Dharmarthakaamadam/ Gaavascha maa pranashyantu maa pranashyantu mey janaah/ Jaamayo maa pranashyantu mattho daampatya bhedatah,
Lakshmya viyujyeham Deva na kadaachidyatha Bhaganaan/ Tatha kalatra sambandho Deva maa mey viyujyataam, Lakshmyaa nashunyam varada yathaa tey shayanam sadaa,
Shayya mamaapya shunyaastu tatha tu Madhusudana/ (Hey Bhagavan Vishnu who adorns Srivatsa insignia and Lakshmi Devi’s dear husband, kinldly protect our ‘Garhastya’ by fulfilling our desires of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha; please ensure that our family members, cows, womenfolk and all of us face any difficulty, that there should never be any diffrence of opinions; that we would never ever part with Lakshmi nor part with each other; our beds should never be empty, just as your bed should never part with Lakshmi Devi!). After praying Vishnu and Lakshmi, the couple performing the Phala Dwiteeya Vrata should consume only fruits in the nights and after the next morning Pujas donate variety of ripe and sweet fruits to Brahmanas along with clothes, suvarna (gold) and prized gifts. The Vrata is to be continued for four months likewise to ensure all round propitiousness and joy to the entire family.
At the beginning of the Third Kalpa, Devi Gauri prescribed Mangala Gauri Triteeya Tithi Vrata as conveyed to Yama Dharma Raja. Those women who perform this Vrata should always be happy along with their husbands, just as Devi Gauri enjoys her company with Lord Shiva. Unmarried girls ought to perform this Vrata sincerely to ensure securing ideal husbands. Widows too might perform the Vrat to ensure that there would not be widowhood in subsequent births. During the observance of this Vrata, consumption of salt ought to be avoided; in fact, a day before the Puja, the womenfolk should fast and on the day of the puja to Gauri Pratima (Idol), the fast might be terminated by night with saltless food; they should sleep near the Idol in the Puja Place itself; after the repeat Puja again on the subsequent day satisfy Brahmanas with Vastras, Dakshina and other gifts.
Devi Indrani carried out the Vrata and secured a virtuous son named Jayanta. Devi Arundhati did the Vrata and attained a high place as a Star on the Sky along with her husband Vasistha! Devi Rohini secured the best position among the co-wives of Chandra by the grace of Devi Gauri after executing the Vrata successfully. Thus the Triteeya Vrata is performed on the Third days of Vaishaka, Bhadrapada or / and Magha months.
Observance of Akshaya Triteeya in any of these months by donating Anna-Vastra-Bhojan-Suvarna and Jala after fasting and worship would bestow Akshaya (endless) benefits of Ruddhi (Prosperity), Buddhi (Intellect), Vriddhi (Enhancement), Siddhi
(Achievement) and Shri (Wealth)!
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