|9 Skanda Shashthi Vrata|
Kartika Deva’s ‘Avirbhaava’ or Holy Appearance was stated to have occurred in Kartika Month on the Shashthi day of the Shukla Paksha (Fortnight), as Kritthika Devis enabled his birth; Bhagavan Shiva, Agni Deva and Devi Ganga had vital roles in the birth. Again, it was on the same Tithi of Shashthi that Kartikeya was conferred the Title of Deva Senapati. The Skanda Vrata is performed on both the Shukla and Krishna Paksha Shashthis of the month. On these days, the ground rules are to observe fasting (except consume a few fruits), celibacy and sleeping on ground, and worship Kartikeya ‘Pratima’(Idol) with ‘Arghya Pradaana’ or offering Water by the Mantra:
Saptarshidaaraja Skanda Swaahaapati samudbhava,
Rudraaryamaagnija vibho Gangaagarbha namostutey,
Preeyatam Devasenaaneeh sapaadayatu hrudgutam.
The Vrata proceeds with the worship of Skanda by flowers, ghee, curd and such other material. Brahmanas are to be satisfied with Bhojan, dakshinas and Vastra. By the grace of Skanda Deva, performance of this Vrata in a formal manner would bestow Siddhi (Achievement), Dhruti (Firmness), Tushti (Contentment), Rajya (Kingship), Ayu
(Longevity), Arogya (Health) and Mukti (Salvation). Kartikeya Vrata is performed on Shasthi day of Bhadrapada month also in the same manner and veneration as above. In fact, the Vrata is also observed on the Shashthi of Maragasirsha Shukla Month too.
It was in this context that Sumantu Muni emphasised that ‘Vedadhyana’ was indeed a pre-requisite of ‘Vrata paalana’, but the principal objective is ‘Sadacharana’ or Good Practice / Application of Values in the performance of Vratas;
Achaara heenan na punanti Veda
yadyapyadheetah saha shatbhirangaih,
shilpam hi Vedadhyayanam Dwijaanam
vrutam Smrutam Brahmana lakshmanam tu/
(Reading Vedas is no doubt an important requisite, since Vedas fom the framework but practice of what Vedas contained is the principal objective of Brahmanas.) Hence Practice of Vratas with sincerity is far more crucial than the knowledge of performing them.
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