Matsya Avatara


13    Significance of ‘Vratas’, procedures and their fruits (Over-view of Sixty Vratas included)
Matsya Bhagavan narrated to Manu that Mahadeva explained to Uma Devi a number of formal ‘Vratas’ meant for fulfillment of human desires, especially to assure all round propititiousness, health and wealth, name and fame and forward steps towards ‘Moksha’. Among several Vratas so described by Mahadeva, a few selected Vratas are given below:

ANANTA TRITEEYA VRATA: This Vrata is observed on Shukla Triteeya of Bhadrapada, Vaishakha, Pousha, or Margasirsha months by either male or female after taking bath with yellow mustard seeds and wearing ‘tilakam’on the forehead by a mix of ‘chandana’, curd, ‘gomutra’, cowdung, ‘gorochana’ and mushta (cyprus rotundus) which is a favourite of Devi Parvati. The color of ‘Vastras’ may be yellow of men, red for women, unmarried girls white and widows ochre or terracota / Indian Red colour. The Idol of Devi should be bathed first in Panchagavya (cow’s milk, curd, urine, dung and ghee) and later in milk, honey, chandana and flower mix. Lalitha Devi is fond of white flowers, variety of fruits, milk and curd. Puja is to be performed as follows: Varadaai Namah (paadow pujayami/ feet), Shria namah (gulfow/ ankles), Parvathainamah (Janghow lower sheen) Ahokayai namah (Jaanuh or knees) Mangala kaarinyai naah (Uru or hips), Vamadevyai namah (kati or waist), Padmodaraayai namah (udara or stomach), Kaamaashriyai namah (vakshasthala), Sowbhaagyadaayinyai namah (both hands), Shriyai namah (hands, stomach and face), Darpana vaasinyai namah (mirror-like or teeth), Smaradaayai namah (smile), Gouryai namah ( nasika or nose), Utpalaayai namah (netra or eyes), tushtyai namah (lalaata or forehead), Katyaayanyai namah (head and hair); thereafter, touch the feet of the idol by saying: Dhishtyai namah, Kaanthyai namah, Shriyai namah, Rambhaayai namah, Lalitaayia namah, and Vaasudevyai namah/ After the puja on the above lines, ‘Archana’ with ‘Kunkuma’ with lotus leaves spread over on the platform twelve times be performed to the Idol; then set up Pratimas of Gauri and Aparna on the Eastern side, Devi Bhavani on the Southern side, Nirruti side Rudrani, Western side Sowmya Rupa Madanavasini, Vayavya side Devi Paatala, and on the Northern side Devi Uma. In the Madhya bhaaga or the middle area, the idols of Lakshmi, Swaha, Swadha, Tushti, Mangala, Kumuda and Sati should be set up. Lord Rudra is to be set up in the Central portion of the Lotus and on the Lotus earside, Lalita Devi is to be established. Then, songs and musical instruments may be organised; white ‘Akshatas’ and plain water be used to sprinkled on the Deity, red clothing be offered , red flower garland be worn, and hair-parting on her head be coloured with ‘sindoor’; Devi is fond of Sindoor and Kunkuma always. Guru / Acharya puja is also done later as a finale.
In Bhadrapada month, the puja is done with Neel Kamal (Blue Lotus), in Aswin Month with Bandhujiva flowers, in Kartik with Shatapatrak Kamal, in Margashira month with Jaati Malati, in Pushya Month with yellow Kurantak/Katasaraia flowers, in Maagha Month with Kunda and kumkuma, in Phalguna with Sinduwara or Malati, in Chaitra with Mallika and Ashoka, in Vaishakha with Gandhapatala, in Jyeshtha with Lotus and Mandara, Ashadha with Champa and in Shravana with Kadamba and Malati. In the months of Bhadrapada through Ashwin, the material to be used are Gomutra, Gobar, milk, curd, Ghee, Kushodak, Bilwa patra, Mandara flower, Goghrundeka, Panchagavya, and Bel patra; and in other months Naivadya is as per standards prescribed. At the end, there must be Dampati Puja or reverence to husband-wife pair by way of Vastra, flower garland, and chandana-Tambula. Ananta Triteeya Vrata shall indeed yield long life, ideal progeny, excellent health, prosperity, contentment and ‘Shilaloka prapti’at the end of life.

SARASVATHA VRATA: Matsya Deva described to Manu about the importance of this Vrata to be observed by persons for ‘Sowbhagya’ (great propitiousness), high intelligence, expertise in ‘Vidyas’, excellent relationship between husband and wife, affection with relatives, long healthy life, and contentment in life. Devi Saraswati is pleased even by taking her name. Men and women may observe this Vrata any ‘Panchami’ day or any Sunday when ‘Tara’ (Star) and ‘Graha’ (Planets) are in order, as decided by Brahmanas. After performing puja by way of ‘Shodasopachaaraas’ or the Sixteen Services to Gayatri with devotion including ‘Avahana’, ‘Snaana’, ‘Vastra’, ‘Sweta / white Pushpa mala’, ‘Phala, ‘Chandana’, ‘Dhupa’, ‘Deepa’ and ‘Naivedya’, the following be recited: Yathaa na Devi Bhagavan Brahmalokey Pitamahah, Twam parityajya samtishthet tathaa bhava Varapradaa/ (Devi! just as Brahma never leaves you in Brahmaloka alone, bestow to me the same kind of boon); Vedah Shastreena Sarvaani Geeta nrityaadikam cha yat, Na viheenam twayaa Devi tathaa mey santhu siddhaayah/ (Devi! Just as Vedas, Shastras in totality, all the fine arts including Geeta-Nrityas never exist without you, do favour me the same way to provide fulfillment to me also) Lakshmi Medhaa Dharaa Pushti Gauri Tushtih Prabhaa Matih, Etaabhih paahi Ashtaabhistanubhimaam Saraswati! (Kindly provide me protection from the Ashta Murtis viz. Lakshmi, Medha, Dhara, Pushti, Gauri, Tushti, Prabha, and Mati). This way, Gayatri who wears Veena, Rudraaksha Maala, Kaandalu, and Pustak, should be addresed to her and give away to a Brahmana as ‘daan’ including rice, milk, ghee, Suvarna /gold and bell and treat him to Bhojan (Meals) to secure the blessing of Gayatri Devi. Those who perform the Vrata with devotion and humility shall bestow smartness and attractiveness as also stay in Vidyadhara loka and Brahmaloka in three ‘Kalpantaas’.
BHIMA DWADASHI VRATA: Popularised as Bhima Vrata since Bhima of Maha Bharata fame observed it and secured multiple benefits, this Dwadashi Vrata is held in Magha month’s Sukla Paksha. This Vrata was prescribed by Bhagavan Shri Krishna to Bhima:
Ashesha yagnaphaladamaseshaagha vinaashanam,
Aseshadushtashamanamasesha sura pujitam/
Pavitraanaam Pavitram cha Mangalaanaam cha Mangalam,
Bhavishyamcha Bhavishya –anaam Puraanaanam puraatanam/
(This Vrata is equated with many yagnas, destroyer of all kinds of sins, reliever of all kinds of blemishes, respected by all Devatas, sanctified among all kinds of materials, provider of all types of propitiousness, the best of all holy deeds in future and indeed one of the ancient Vratas.) Having taken bath with ghee and ‘tilas’/ sesame seeds, a Bhakta should commence the Vrata on Ekadashi day by reciting the name of Om Namo Narayanaaya/ By saying Krishnaya namah touch both the feet of the Idol, Sarvaatmaney namah worship the mastak /head; Vaikunthaya namah touch the kantha / neck; Shri Vatsa dhaariney namah touch vakshasthala /chest; and then recite the ‘Avahana Mantra’ with Shankhiney namah, Chakriney namah, Gadiney namah, Varadaaya namah, Sarva Narayanasya touch Bhagavan’s hands; then perform Puja to Udaraayanamah udaram pujayaami, Panchasharaayanamah jananendriyam pujayami, Sowbhaagya nathaayanamah jenghey pujayami, Bhuta dhaariney namah jaanuh pujayami; namo Neelaaya vai janghey paadow Vishwa srujey namah, then to Devi Lakshmi: Namo Devyai namah Shaanthai namo Lakshmai namah Shriyai/ Namah Pushtyai Namastushtyai Dhrushtyai Hrushtyai namo namah/ later on perform worship to Garuda saying: Namo Vihanga naathaaya Vayuvegaaya pakshiney, Vishapramaathiney nityam Garudam chaabhi pujayet/ Now, worship with Gandha, Pushpa, Dhupa, Deepa and Naivedya to Shri Krishna, Maha Deva, and Ganesha. By Sun set time, after Sandyha Vandana, pray to Shri Krishna: Namo Narayanaayeti twaamaham sharanam gatah (Bhagavan Narayana! my reverential salutations to you and all the Deities; I am in your ‘Sharanam’ / protection). That night, the devotee Karta should observe ‘Jaagaran’ or night long prayers, singing of Bhajans and such activitees. Next morning on Dwadashi day, puja be performed to Keshava and make oblations into Agni by ghee and declare before Bhagavan:
Ekaadashaayam niraahaarah samabhyarcha Keshavam,
Raatrim cha sakalaam sthitwaa snaanamcha payasaa tatha/
Saprisha chaapi dahanam hutwa Brahmana pungavaih,
Sahaiva Pundarikaaksha Dwadashyam Ksheera bhojanam,
Karishyaami yataatmaaham nirvighnenaastu tacchamey/
( Pundarikaaksha! I am on fast on Ekadashi and on Dwadashi shall have ‘Ksheera’ along with Brahmanas; kindly bless me to see through the Vrata without any obstacle). To start the actual Vrata, a Vedika be prepared. There must be a kalasha hanging from the ceiling with strings with a small hole at the bottom through which water drops must fall on the head of the Kartha through out the previous night seated on the vedika. Similarly another hanging kalasha should drop milk through a minute hole on the idol of Bhagavan Vishnu. Through another kalasha with a hole there should be ghee drops into the Havan kund. Down on the Vedika there should be thirteen Kalashas with white cloth around each filled up with various ‘Bhakshya Padarthaas’ (Eatables), along with a copper vessel and ‘Pancha Ratnas’or five kinds of jewels. Four Brahmanas should be reciting Rig Veda facing north of the Havan Kunda, four Yajurvedi Brahmanas should recite Rudraadhyaaya, four more Samavedi Brahmanas should recite Arishadvarga sahita Vaishnava Sama. The designated twelve Brahmanas should be revered with Vastra, Pushpa, Chandana, Golden Ring, wrist ornament, golden chain, and bed to each. The thirteenth Brahmana would be the Acharya who should be respected with double of the items provided with the other Brahmanas as also cows additionally. At the end of the Daanaas, there should be a full and hearty meal with Bhakshya, Bhojya, Lehya, Choshya, and Paaniyas. But the Karta should only eat saltless rice meal. The Karta, his wife, children and all other family members should then pray to Keshava with the avowed identity of Keshava and Shiva :
Shivasya hridaye Vishnur Vishnoscha hridaye Shivah,
Yadhaantaram na pashyami tathaamey Swastichaayushah/
(May we have the confirmed view that Shiva and Vishnu are just the same, and thus may we be blessed with longevity and extreme propitiousness).

MAHESWARA (SHIVA CHATURDASHI) VRATA: Nandikeswara described the Procedure of the Vrata to Brahmarshi Narada which is observed in all the Lokas. On Margasirsha Shukla Trayodasi, a person resolving to perform the Vrata should take food only once on the day and declare to Maha Deva:

Margaseersha Trayodasyaam sitaayekabhojaam,
Praarthayet Devadevesham twaamaham sharanam gatah/
Chaturdashyam niraahaaram samyagbhyarchya Shankaram,
Suvarma Vrishabham datwaa bhyokshyaami chaparehani/

(Shankara! As a first of this Vrata, I shall take only one meal on Margaseersha Sukla Trayodashi as you should take me in my ‘sharan’ / procection; being on fast on Chaturdashi and only after my worship to you and daana of a Golden Vrishabha to a deserving Brahmana that I shall take next meal again.) Next morning after ablutions, Snaana and Nitya Karmas, the Karta should perform puja to Maha Deva and Devi Parvati with lotus and other flowers, Chandana and Dhupa/ Deepa as follows:

Paadow namah Shivaayeti- Shirah Sarvaatmaney namah,
Trinetraayeti netraani-Lalaatam Haraye Namah/
Mukhamindu mukhaayeti-Shrikanthaayeti kandharam,
Sadyojaataaya karnou tu Vaamadevaayai bhujow/
Aghora hridayaayeti-hridayam chaabhipujayet,
Stanow Tatpurushaayeti tatheshaanaaya chodaram/
Parshou chaananta Dharmaaya Jnaana bhutaaya vai katim,
Uru chaananta vairaagya simhaayetyabhi pujayet,
Anaantyaiswarya nathaaya jaanunee chaaryayed Budhaah,
Prathaanaya namo janghai gulfou Vyomaatmaney namah/
Vyomakeshaatma rupaaya keshaan pushtam cha pujayet,
Namah Pushtyai Namasyushtyai Parvateem chaapi pujayet/

Thus after worshipping the feet, head, forehead, face, neck, ears, hands, heart, chest, stomach, waist, knees, lower sheen, ankles, back etc.of Shiva and Parvati ‘Pratimas’ , the Karta should perform ‘daana’ to a Brahmana of waterful ‘Kalasha’, white flower garland, Vastras, pratima of golden Vrishabha studded with Pancha Ratnas and a variety of food preparations and treat Brahmanas to hearty meals and give ample ‘dakshinas’/ cash. The Karta himself should take in that night only curd and ghee of cows and sleep on floor northward (Uttaabhimukha). On the next morning, after Puja again, then only the fast would be broken along with Brahmanas. The Vrata is to be performed every month year-long on Shukla Trayodashi-Chaturdashi
ending with Krishna Chaturdashi next. The repeat Pujas every month till Kartika month should be performed as follows:

Shankaraaya namastestu namastey karaveeraka/
Traimabakaaya namastestu Maheswaramatah param,
Namastestu Mahaa Deva Staanavecha tatah param/
Namah Pashupatey naatha Namastey Shaambhavey punah,
Namastey Paramaananda Namah Somaartha dhaariney/
Namo Bheemaaya ityevam twaamaham sharanam gatah/

Every month on Trayodashi-Chaturdashi days, the Karta’s intake should alternatively be Gomutra, Gobar, milk, curd, ghee, kushodak, Panchagavya, bel, karpur, Agaru, Yava, and black til. Similarly, the special flower of the respective months would be Mandara (Paribhadra), Malati, Dhatura, Sinduvaara, Ashoka, Mallika, Paatala or red rose, Mandara (Suryamukhi), Kadamba, Shatapati (White Lotus or Gulab), and Kamal. On the Kartika Krishna Chaturdashi, similar program is to be repeated as on the final day of the previous year. Those who duly observe the Shiva Chaturdashi Vrata as prescribed secure the fruits of performing thousand Ashvamedha Yagnas. If he or his father / brothers had perpetrated huge sins like Brahma hatya or equivalent ones would be free from these ‘paatakaas’. The Kartas would receive long life, excellent health, prosperity to his/ her entire family and even to their ‘Vamsa’. After their life they would be four armed Ganaadhipas in Swarga and later on in Shivaloka for several ‘Kalpas’.

Prev:Features of ‘Nava Grahas’ and Procedure of Navagraha Shanti

Quick Jump: