Essence Of Dharma Sindhu -1























Essence Of
Dharma Sindhu  






1    Foreword

In the process of Learning with the intense desire to experience the ripples of the endless Ocean of Hindu Dharma, a venture has been made to present a Summary of ‘Dharma Sindhu’ so exhaustively scripted by Maha Panditha Kashinatha Upadhyaya in 1790 AD. The Pandita himself stated that while the doyens of Dharma Shastra should readily appreciate the nuances of his Treatise on Dharma, the Commoners and Students would have an opportunity to acquire the rudimentary know-how on the Subject. This Summary seeks to make an honest effort in that direction.

This swifty Digest on the Practice of Dharma opens up with the basics of ‘Kaalamaana’ or Time Calulations ranging from Tritis to Yugas; the Tithi-Vaara-Paksha-Maasa-Ayana-Samvatsara Nirnayas; the influence of Solar-Lunar-Planetary-Nakshatras on Humanity and the Highlights of the Occasions that all Hindus tend to observe. Such opportunities include Social-Family-Individual Occurrences; they are also outlets for recalling the Almighty by way of Stotra- Japa- Keertana- Vrata-Homa-Tirtha Yatra Practices as are enabled by Mantra- Tantra-Yoga means. The next Subject of Coverage deals with ‘Samskaraas’ or Rituals signifying the milestones of Human Life from Births to Bereavements; these Ceremonials reflect the Character of the Society and normal compliance of Formalities as interpreted by distinct Sections of Hindu Dharma. The Samskaaras that constitute the way of Hindu Life range from Garbha Daana, Pumsavana, Janma Shanti, Nama Karana, Anna Prashana, Chooda Karma, Vidyaarambha, Upanayana and Vivaha. Brahmacharis and Grihastas enter into ‘Ahnika Karya Krama’ from Sandhyopaasana, Homa Prakriyas, Tarpanaas, Prayaschittas, Vaishwa Devas, Yagnaas, Daanas, Nitya-Naimittika-Kaamya Vratas, Murti Pratishtha Karyas for Societal Benefits and so on. In fact, these major components establish the Core of Dharma or the Unique Approach to Virtue, keeping in view the high pedestals of the foregone Yugas vis-a-vis the diluted and disillusioned Kali Yuga. The Uttara Bhaga handles the inevitable part of mortal Life and its Termination. Its coverage ranges from Preta Samskaraas, Antya Kriyas, Dina-Paksha-Maasa-Abdika Vithis etc. which need to be carried out in favour of the Pitru Devatas as one expects that his / her sons should perform too for the Peace and Liberation to the Departed Souls like they did themselves. The Extra-Terrestrial Duties are strongly beholden as the Relieving Points to redeem the Departed Ones as also to bestow gratification to the Performers. Appropriately enough, the essence of Human Life leads to the final conviction of Vairagya or the Other-Worldliness and the chapter on ‘Sanyasa’ fits in well as the last portion of Dharma Sindhu.

The thought of concising and editing Dharma Sindhu in English occurred since such works have not been identified easily. Also, this desire was overdue but the last few years of mine were over-crowded
with the preparation of concising some twenty Puranas in English all of which were released by the website of Kanchi Shankara Matha viz. kamakoti.org/news in the Articles Section. Indeed I am highly indebted to the grace of HH Vijayendra Saraswati for his inspiration and pro-active guidance. (from Sri V D N Rao)


2    Preface


Vedah Smrutih Sadaachaaraha swasya cha Priyamaatmanah

Etacchaturvidham praahuh sakshaat Dharmasya lakshanam/

(Veda-Smriti-Sadaachaara-and one’s own Conscience constitute the four corner-stones of Dharma)

Drushtaa purva nibandhaatrirnaaya sindhu kramena siddharthaan

Praayena mula vachaannyujijjtya likhvaami baalabodhaaya/

(Having studied various ancient Sciptures and strictly based on the rudimentary facts delineated in those Root-Grandhas that the essence of ‘Dharma Nirnayaas’ /Regulatoty Verdicts is sought to be described.)


Panditha Kashinaatha, a famed devotee of Bhagavan Panduranga in Pandaripura (1790 AD) scripted Dharma Sindhu, after digesting innumerable works of the yore. The Scriptures include Manu Smriti (200 BC-100 AD approx.), Yagnyavalka Smriti ( during 100 -300 AD approx.) , Paraashara Smriti (some time during 100-500 AD), Narada Smriti (some time during 100-400 AD), Brihaspati Smriti
( some time during 300-500 AD), Katyaayana (400-600 AD) , Vyavahaara Kaara-Nibandha Kaara (sometime during 400-600 AD), Bhava Deva Bhatta’s Vyavahaara Tilaka (1100 AD) , Prakaasha Nibandha (1125 AD)), Govindaraja Smriti Manjari ( 1080-1100 AD), Lakshmidhara Kalpataru
(1100-1130 AD) ; the Trio of Jeemutavaahana , Shulapaani and Raghunandana (1090- 1130 AD) of Dharma Shastraas); Aparaarka Nibandha (1115-1150), Shridhara Smrutyarthasaara Nibandha (1150 AD), Aniruddha’s Dharma Shastra (1168 AD), King Ballalasena’s edited books of Vedacharya’s Smriti Ratnaakara/ Aachaara Saagara, Chandeswara’s Daana Ratnaakara and Todanaananda’s Samhitaa Soukhya & Nirnaya Sindhu, Devana Bhatt’s Smriti Chandrika (1090-1091AD); Hemadri’s Vipula-kaaya Nibandha (1260-70 AD ), Kulluka Bhatt’s Manusmriti Vyaakhyas viz. Ashouycha Sagara, Vivada Sagara and Shraddhaa Sagara (1260-1270 AD); Shri Datta Upaadhyaaya’s Maithila Nibandha (1275-1230 AD), Chandeswara’s Dharma Shastra (1300-1370 AD); Madhavaacharya’s several Kaala -maana Grandhaas (1330-1385 AD); Vishweshwara Bhatta’s Madana Paarijata Grandha (1360-1390 AD); Raja Madana edited Madana Ratna Prabandha of five Vidwans (1350-1500 AD) on Kaala, Aachara, Vyavahaara, Prayaschitta, Shaanti etc. ; Shulapaani scripted several Grandhas like Ekadashi Viveka, Dolayatra Viveka, Shradda Viveka, Pratishtha Viveka etc. (1365-1470 AD ); Rudradharo -paadhyaaya’s Shudda Viveka, (1425-1460 AD); Misuri Mishraa’s Vivadachandra (1400-1450 AD); Vachaspati Mishra’s Vivada Chintamani (1425- 1490 AD); Nrisimha Prasad ‘s Vishwa kosha (1490-1515 AD); Pratapa Rudra Deva ‘s Saraswati Vilaasa (1500-1525 AD) ; Govindaananda ‘s several Grandhaas like Daana-kaumudi, Shuddhi-kaumudi, Shraaddha-kaumudi and Varsha Kriyaa -kaumudi (1500-1540 AD); Raghunandana’s Smriti Tatwa (1520-1575 AD); Narayana Bhatta’s Anityeshtha paddhati, Tristhalisetu and Prayogaratna Nibandhus; Todaraananda/ Todaramul the Finance Minister of the Great Akbar’s Vishwakosha (1520-1589 AD); Nandana Pandita’s Vyakhya on Paraasara Smriti called Vidwan Manohara as also Keshavaijayanti (1590- 1630 AD); Kamalakara Bhatt , Narayana Bhatt and Ramakrishna Bhaatt of the progeny-link’s made signal contributions on Nyaya-Vyakarana- Meemaamsa- Vedanata- Sahitya- Dharma Shastraas and Vaidika Yagnaas besides Nirnaya Sindhu (1610- 1640 AD); Mitra Mishra’s Veera Mitrodaya (1610-1640 AD); Ananta Deva ‘s Smrita Koustbh Nibandha (1650-1680 AD); Nagendra Bhatt’s authoritative writings like Aachaarendu-shekhara, Ashoucha Nirnaya, Tithindu shekhara, Teerthendushekhara, Praayataadichittendu shekhara, Shraaddhendu shekhara, Sapandika Manjari, Saapindika Deepika etc.( 1700-1750 AD); and Bala Bhatt’s Lakshmi Vyaakhya or Mitakshara para Bhashya (1730-1820 AD).

The Monumental Digest of Hindu Dharma so scripted by the illustrious Panditha Kashinaatha (1790 AD) was the outcome of his lasting and immortal gift to the posterity.



3       Kaala-Maasa-Paksha-Tithi Nirnaya


‘Kaalamaana’ or the Calculations of Time are based (ref. Maha Bhagavata Purana) on Tritis-hundred Tritis or one Vedha-three Vedhaas one Lava-three Lavaas one nimesha-three nimeshaas one kshana-five nimeshas one kashtha or eight seconds - fifteen kaashthas one laghu or two minutes- fifteen laghus one danda-two dandas one muhutra and six/seven dandas one fourth of a day or night-four praharaas or yamaas [ a day or night has eight yaamaas and each yaama has seven and half ghadis]- one Paksha has a fortnight-two Pakshas or fortnights one Maasa or month-six maasaas one Ritu or Season- two Seasons one Ayana viz. Uttaraayana / Dakshinaayana- two Ayanaas one Varsha/ Samvatsara / Year. Each Year has five methods of calculations viz. Chaandra-Soura-Saavana-Naakshatra-Baarhaspatya. In Chandra Varsha: Beginning from Shukla Pratipaada Tithi upto Amavasya (viz. Prathama- Dwiteeya, Triteeya, Chaturthi-Panchami-Shashthi-Saptami-Ashtami-Navami-Dashami-Ekaadashi, Dwaadashi-Trayodasi-Chaturdashi-Amavasaya) and again from Prathama to Pournami, the Chaitraadi Maasaas (viz. Chitra-Vaishakha- Jyeshta-Ashaadha-Shraavana- Bhadrapada- Ashvijuja- Kartika- Margashira- Pushya-Maagha- Phalguna approximately corresponding to March-April-May-June-July-August-September-October-November-December, January and February) would sum up to twelve months ie. 354 days ; in ‘Mala Maasa’/ Kshaya Maasa or ‘Adhika Maasa’(Extra Month) there would be thirteen months. In Chandra Varsha as also in other ‘Pancha Vidha Maasaa Prakarana’ or the afore-mentioned month-wise calculations , there would be sixty years viz. Prabhava, Vibhava, Shukla, Pramodoota, Prajopatti, Aangirasa, Shrimukha, Bhava, Yuva, Dhaata, Ishwara, Bahudhaanya, Pramaati, Vikrama, Vrisha, Chitrabhaanu, Swayam -bhaanu, Taarana, Parthiva, Vyaya, Vrisha, Sarvajit, Sarvadhaari, Virodhi, Vikruti, Khara, Nandana, Vijaya, Jaya, Manmatha, Durmikhi, Helambi, Vilambi, Vikaari, Sharvani, Plava, Shubhakruth, Krodhi, Vishvaavasu, Paraabhava, Plavanga, Keelaka, Saumya, Saadhaarana, Virodhi- kruth, Paridhaavi, Pramaadeecha , Ananda, Raakshasa, Nala, Pingala, Kaala yukti, Siddhaarthi, Roudri, Duyrmati, Dundubhi, Rudhiraodgaari, Raktaakshi, Krodhana, and Akshaya. In the context of Soura Varsha, as Mesha and other Rashis (viz. Mesha or Aries, Vrishabha or Taurus, Mithuna or Gemini, Karaka or Cancer, Simha or Leo, Kanya or Virgo, Tula or Libra, Vrischika or Scorpio, Dhanu or Sagitarius, Makara or Capricon, Kumbha or Aquarius and Meena or Pisces) revolve a complete circle of a year, then 364 days are through. Saavana maana Varsha denotes time from one Sun Rise to another Sun Rise and thus the duration of Savana Varsha is 360 days. Naakshatra Varsha is 324 days based on the Nakshatra in which Moon would lie at the Sunrise of a day; the Nakshatraas are twenty seven in number viz. Ashwini, Bharani, Krittika, Rohini, Mrigashira, Ardra, Punarvasu, Pushyami, Ashlesha, Makha, Purva Phalguni, Uttara Phalguni, Hasta, Chitra, Swaati, Vishaakha, Anuradha, Jyeshtha, Moola, Purvaashaadha, Uttara Ashaadha- Abhijit a male Star for a very limited duration- Shravana, Dhanishta, Shatabhisha, Purvaabhaadra , Uttaraabhaadra and Revati. Abhijit-literally meaning Victorious- is stated to be Shubha Muhurta for any auspicious Kaarya, irrespective the impact of the previous or following Nakshatras. Barhaspatya Vatsara is calculated on the basis of time period of Brihaspati or Jupiter’s motion through Madhyama(Mesha) Raashi thus totalling 361 days .However, all the Shrouta-Smaartha Karmaas are executed in the Chandra Varsha basis only.

Ayanaas are of two kinds viz. Dakshinaayana and Uttaraayana: Surya’s passage through six Raashis from Karka to Dhanu is called Dakshinaayana and the passage from Makara to Mithuna Rashis is called Uttaraayana. Ritus (Seasons) are counted both Soura-maana or of Surya’s passage and Chandra maana or Chandra’s passage-wise. Commencing from Meena / Mesha Raashis the passage of Surya through the subsequent two further Raashis is called Vasanta Ritu or Spring Season of pleasant weather roughly coinciding with Chaitra/Vaishaaka or March last to May last weeks when festivals like Ugadi, Shri Rama Navami, and Baishaakhi are celebrated. The subsequent Ritus are as follows: Greeshma Ritu or Summer coinciding with Jyeshtha-Aashaadha or the last portions of May-June being Summer and hot when festivals like Ratha Yatra and Guru Purnima are observed; Varsha Ritu or monsoon season coinciding with Shravana-Bhadrapada or the last portions of May-July being very hot observing Raksha Bandhana, Krishnma Ashtami, Ganesha Chaturthi, and Onam; Sharad Ritu or Autumn Season coinciding with Ashwin-Kartika Maasaas or last portions of September-November being mild weather celebrating Navaraatraas and Deepaavali; Hemanta Ritu or pre-winter Season coinciding with Margaseersha-Poushya of the last quarters of November-January celebrating Pongal and Samkranti; and finally Shishira Ritu or winter coinciding with Maagha-Phalguna Maasaas and the last quarters of January-March observing Vasanta Panchami, Shiva Raatri and Holi. The Chandra -maana procedure varies in the sense that the cycle of Seasons starts from the first day of Chaitra itself. In any case, the Shrouta-Smaarta Karmaas are re-emphasised and are better performed in Chaandra Ritus only.

Samkraanti Nirnaya : In the calculation of Mesha Samkranti, there occurs a Punya Kaala consisting of fifteen-fifteen ghadiyas before and after; there is an opinion that the Punya Kaala consists of ten ghadiyas. Before Vrisha Kaala Samkranti there would be a Punya Kaala of sixteen ghadiyas ; in Mithuna Samkraanti sixteen ghadiyas are counted before; thirty ghadiyas are counted before Karaka ; in Simha sixteen ghadiyas before; in respect of Kanya sixteen ghadiyas are counted after, in Tula there would be fifteen-fifteen Ghadiyas before and after; in Vrischika, sixteen ghadiyas are counted before; after Makara forty Ghadiyas; in Kumbha sixteen ghadiyas before; and for Meena the Punya Kaala is to be decided sixteen ghadiyas soon thereafter. Karka Samkraanti is stated to occur when the early morning hours ie. before two ghadiyas coincide with Vrisha-Simha-Vrischika- Kumbha and Karkaata Punya Kaala. If the Samkarana takes place before the mid night of that day then the previous day is taken as the Punya Kaala but if it is after the midnight, the Punya kaala is declared as on the following day. If Makara Samkranti takes place in the night then Punya kaala is observed as on the following day. Three ghadiyas after Suryaasta is called Surya Sandhya and if Makara Samkraanti occurs before that time then the Punya Kaala is reckoned as on the previous day. In case of Karka Samkrani, the Punya Kaala is slated for the next day. In Mesha Samkranti, daanas are to be offered in the form of sheep /goats; in Vrisha Samkranti, cows are offered; in Mithuna Samkraanti, Vasrta-Anna danaas are offered; in Karka ghrita-dhenu daana; in Simha Chhatra / Suvarna daana; in Kanyaa Samkramana, House/Vastra daana; in Tula Samkarana, cows or cow products like milk or ghee or curd besides Tilaas; in Vrischika Deepa daana; in Dhanu Samkranti, daana of Clothing- horse-bull-elephant carriages; in Makara, Agni or Indhana daana; in Kumbha, danna of cow-grass and water ; and in Meena Samkrani bhu daana or maalaa daana are prescribed. In respect of Ayana/ Mesha / Tula Samkrantis, fasting on three previous nights or at least the previous night and daanaas on the next morning are to be observed. Also, in respect of all Samkrantis, pinda-rahita shraaddha is prescribed. In both the Ayanaas viz. on Purnima and Amavasya days, nitya shraaddha and Annaadi daanaas are prescribed preceded by night-fastings. The Vrisha-Simha-Vrischika-Kumbha Sankrantis are stated to be of Vishnu Paada; Mithuna-Kanya-Dhanu-Meena are stated to be of ‘Shadsheeti Sanjna’; Mesha and Tula Samkrantis are of Vishu-Naama; and Karka-Makara Samkrantis are of Ayana-Naamaas. In respect of all these kinds of Samkrantis, observance of the prescribed regulations are stated of be of far-reaching significance. To undertake all Mangala Karyaas or Auspicious Deeds fifteen ghadiyas before and there after ought to be avoided. However, Raatrou samkramanopi , divaiva snaanaadikam na tu raatraaviti tu sarva sammatam/ (If Samkrantis take place in the nights, snana-daana-bhojanaadi karmas be performed on the following mornings.) In case, any person’s Janma Nakshatra (Birth Star) coincides with Surya Samkranti, there are indications of loss of money and therefore he or she would better take bath along with lotus leaves . If Samkranti enters in Mesha-Tula-Makara Karkatakas on day time /Vishu - Ayana days, then Vedaadhyana or abstaining from reading or teaching Vedas be avoided on the specific days as also on the follownig and previous days; that is why this Samkraanti is called Pakshini Samkraanti.

Mala Maasa/ Adhika Maasa and Kshaya Maasa: Mala Maasa is of two types viz. Adhika Maasa and Kshaya Maasa. In Adhika Maasa there would be no Samkrantis of any kind where as in Kshaya Maasa, there are double Samkrantis. Following the first Adhika Maasa, the second Adhika Maasa occurs in the thirtieth month and again on the following eighth or the ninth month thereafter. Kshaya Maasa happens only one and forty one years subsequently. That too it occurs in Kartika- Maarga sirsha /Agahana-Poushya Maasaas only. When Kshaya Maasa occurs there would be two Adhika Maasaas in the same year.The examples as to how Adhika Maasaas occur are: if there is Mesha Samkraanti from Chaitra Krishna Amavasya and there woud be no Samkranti from Shukla Praatipada to that Amavasya, then that Maasa is Adhika Vaishakha Maasa; again when Vrishabha Samkranti takes place then that Maasa would be called Shuddha Vaishaakha Maasa. The illustration of Kshaya Maasa is as follows: Suppose there is Kanya Samkraanti from Bhadrapada Krishna Amavasya- then Ashvyuja maasa would be Adhika maasa- Tula Sankraanti from Ashwiyuja Shuddha Praadipada- Vrischika Samkraanti from Kartika Shukla Paatipada- Dhanu Sankraanti from Margasirsha Patipada- Makara Samkranti from the same month’s Amavasya: in this illustration Kshaya Maasa is the combine of Dhanur-Makara Samkrantis. This combination of Margasirsha –Pousha maasaas is like that of Artha Naareeshwara; those who die in this Kshaya Maasa (the Purvaartha Margasirsha Month and the Uttaraartha of Poushya Month) need to perform Pratyaabdika Shraaddha. Then on Maagha Amavasya, Kumbha Sankraanti would occur which would be followed by Phalguna Adhika Maasa ; Meena sankraanti would take place on Shuddha Phalguna Shukla Pratipada. Thus, a year when a Kshaya Maasa happens between two Adhika Maasaas that year would have thirteen months short of a few days ie 390 days. The Adhika Maasa that preceeds Kshaya Maasa is called Samsarpa; this is the best time for performing all kinds of Karmas including Shubha karyas. The Adhika Maasa that follows the previous Kshaya Maasa called Samhaspati Maasa however is not good for any kind of Karmaas. Similarly, the Adhika Maasas occuring during the next three years also is not good for performing all kinds of Karmaas.

The Do’s and Don’t’s during Adhika Maasa and Kshaya Maasas are as follows: normal duties of performing nitya-naimittika-kaamya karmas should be continued unless there are unvoidable exigencies; Sandhya, Agnihotra, and such other normal karmas are nitya karmaas while grahana snaanaas and such occasional karmas are naimittika karmas and kaamya karmaas are those to ward off evils as also drishti-related tasks; indeed all such tasks should not be disturbed. However Jyotishtomas, Jyateshti and Putra Kaamekshi karmas should be postponed to Shudda Maasaas. Naveena Karmaas ( Fresh Intiatives) and Samaapti or Conclusive Karmas be avoided in the Mala Maasas. Yet, those tasks like Punah-Pratishtha of a Murti which need to be necessarily followed up by a Murti already set up as also tasks ranging from Garbhaadaana , Annaprasana, and such tasks need not be postponed. Jwara roga Shantis, Nitya-Unmaashika- Amavasya Shraddhas too should not be disturbed. However in respect of those who die in Mala Maasa , the Pratyaabhika be performed on the respective Tithis after the Mala Maasas. The Shraaddha of those who die in Shudda Maasaas should not be done in Mala Maasa but should be done in the following Shudda Maasa only. But if the Prathamaabdika falls in Mala Maasa, then it should be done in the Mala Maasa itself since the ‘Samvatsara Purthi’ occurs then. The Dwiteeya Shraaddas would however resume again on the concerned Tithis of the Shuddha Maasaas in the subsequent years. Again, twelve days after the death of a person requiring obsequies ought be executed even in a Mala Masa. If the dwiteeya Maasika falls in Mala Maasa again, the same should be repeated twice over. In that case, the Unaabdika be done and the dwiteeyaabdika be pushed forward and the Saamvatsarika Shraddha be performed in fourteen Maasaas. In the Mala Maasas, following tasks must not be resorted to viz. Upakarma, Utsarjana, Ashtka Shraadha, Griha Pravesha, Chudaakarana, Yagnopaveeta, Vivaaha, Tirtha Yatras, Griha Nirmaana, Devataa Pratishtha, renovation of wells and gardens, wearing of new clothes and tasks involving decoration of self or surroundings, Mahaa Danaas, Yagna Karmas, Darshan of Apurva Devata and Apurva Tirthaas, Sanyasa, Kaamya, Vrikshotsarga, Rajaabhisheka, Annapraashana, Nama Karmaadi Samskara, Pavitraaropana, Damanaarpana, Shravanaakarma, Sarpabali, Shayana-Parivartaadi Utsavaas, Shapadha-Divyaadi karma etc.

Tithi Nirnaya in Saamaaya Paribhaasha: Tithis are of two kinds viz. Purna and Sakhanda. Purna Tithi is called what obtains upto sixty ghadis after Sun Rise. Sakhanda Tithi is what obtains less than that time. Akhanda is divided in two parts viz. Shuddhaa and Viddha. Shuddha is the period of time occuring from Suryodaya to Suryaastama; however on Shiva Ratris the time from Sun Rise to Midnight past Sun Set is noted as Shuddha Khanda. The rest is called Viddha. Now the term Vedha - which means protrusion of one Tithi into another-is also of two kinds viz. Praatah -Vedha and Saayam Vedha. The duration from Suryodaya upto six ghadis later is called Praatarvedha and the subsequent six ghadis after Suryaasta and before the commencement of the next Tithi is called Saayam Vedha. In respect of certain Tithis, the Vedha is of longer duration; for instance, Shashthi’s Panchami Vedha is of twelve ghadis; Ekaashi’s Dashami Vedha is fifteen ghadiyaas; Pournami’s Chaturdashi Vedha is eighteen ghadiyas. Now, this Vedha is applicable to different karmas as they could be ‘nishiddhaas’ or ‘graahyaas’, ie. acceptable or not. In any case, application of approval for a Karya is clear on Sampurna Tithis / Shubha Tithis.

Karma Visesha Nirnaya: Karma is of two types: Daiva and Pitravya. Daiva Karma is related to six kinds of Bhojana viz. Eka bhukta (eating on mid-day once) Nakta (eating at the pradosha time in the night ie three muhurtaas following Suryasta), Ayaachita bhukta (unsolicited and unscheduled fasting or carry forward meal of previous day), Upavaasa (day and night fasting), Vrata or fasting on account of performing a Vrata and Daana ( restraint of bhojan on account of providing charity). Additionally, fasting due to regular Ekaashi Tithi or on specified days is also observed by one’s own volition; such fastings could be at the hours of individual choice say as per the five parts of a day viz. Pratah kaala, Sangava, Madhyahna, Aparaahna and Pradosha. Eka Bhukta or one meal a day is relevant to Madhyahnika Tithi or of the Tithi of the half day past thirty Ghadiyas and thereafter the time upto Sunset is called Gaula kaala. Nakta vrata is to consume a single meal three muhurtas after Sunset called Pradosha kaala; after the Nakta Bhojana, and there after there would be no futher eating, sleep, sangama and reading; this kind of Nakta Vrata is normally observed by Yatis, Putraheenaas, widows and widowers. Ayaachita bhukta is related to the different situations like Pitru-related fastings or bhojana as case that might be.

Upavaasa is restricted maximum to two nights for women . Without the permission of husband, no house wife can observe Vratas and Upavasa. On the days of Upavasa or the Shraddha days, house wives are forbidden of teeth-cleaning with kaashtha or ash of firewood as on normal days and ‘danta dhaavana’should be done with ‘neem’twigs or leaves. On the Upavaasa or Vrata days, Sankalpa or Invocation should be performed in the early morning using with water filled in copper vessels by Uttaraabhi mukha or facing northward. Newly initiated Vratas or Udyaapanas of Vratas should not be performed in Mala Maasaas, Amavasyaas, or khanda tithis or of carry forward thithis. Khanda Tithi is denoted by the same tithi of the pratha kaala which lasts at least upto the madhyaahna. Also, the commencement of a Vrata and its termination on the same Tithi is called Satya Vrata. The common and dharmaas to perform a Vrata involve Kshama, Satya, Daya, Daana, Shoucha, Indriya nigraha, Deva Puja-Japa-Dhyaana-Kathaa Shravana-Samkeertana and Havana of that particular Deva targetted, Santosha, self-discipline and Bahyaantara Shuchi are normal expectations.



4    Tithi Prakaara Vratas


In Kamya Vrataas targetting specific Devataas particularly these regulations are a ‘must’. During the course of the Upavaasa, looking at the Anna (Bhojana), massages of cow related oils/ ghee, taamboola sevana, application of anulepanaas or body scents are forbidden.For Sowbhaagyavati Strees performing Soubhaagya Vratas however exemped : Sabhatrukeena Soubhaagya Vratebhya taamboolaadi na varjayam/ Ashtaitaanya Vrataghnaani aapo mulam phalam payah havir braahmaanakaamyaa cha guror vachanamoushadham/ (The Soubhagya Vrataas performed by Soubhaagyavatis need not be subjected to restrictions viz. Abhyangana or use of thaila or oils, taamboola, Jala, Moola, Phala, Ksheera, Havishya, Brahmana ‘iccha’ or desireable instructions, Guru Vachana and Auashadhi Sevana).

However, if ‘Vrata bhanga’ or major shortcomings on the part of persons observing the Vrata occur, the concerned persons should shave their heads, observe upavaas for three days; alternatively offer Brahmana bhojana or its Value or at least perform Sahasra Gayatri Japa and / or twelve Praanaayaamas by way of Prayaschitta or atonement. If the Vrata as per pre-determined decision is violated for some reason or another, the same be performed by the concerned person’s wife, or son, or daughter, or a Brahmana Purohita or even a friend and the Vrata Phala would still accrue to the Karta. During the Upavaasa time, one should not take water too many times, should not chew betel leaves/nuts, should not leep, nor resort to ‘Ashtavidha Mithuna’ ie. think of sex, hear procavative songs, viewing objectionable material, secret gossip, take vows and decisions and refrain from acts other than related to devotion. However, taking water once or twice in unavoidable situations is pardonable. But drinks, milk of any kind except of cows, masoor or lentils, Jambeera Phalam , Shakti churnaas etc. are avoidable. Tila or Sesame and Moong or Green gram may be eaten but Mulika, Kshaara Vastu, Honey, Meat etc. are prohibited. Tears, anger, desire infatuation of any kind, feelings of envy or sorrow, are to be refrained from. Wheat, barley, mango fruit, coconut kernel, peepul, jeera, plantains, Amla, Imli, sea salt, cow-products like ghee, milk, curd, and such havishya vastus used for Agni Homa are consumable.

In the context of Kaamya Vrataas where there are no specified limitations of maasa and tithis as Pratimas made of gold, silver etc.are worshipped. In the connected tasks, perfomance of ghee homaas are included. Even if specific Mantraas are chanted, there are no restricions of number; one could perform hundred and eight times, or twenty five types or atleast even eight homaas. But Upavaasa and Brahmana Bhojana would be included. The Udyaapana or termination of such Vrataas would include Daanaas, preferably go-daana and Brahmana Ashirvaada and bhojana- dakshinaas. But once a Vrata is taken up, it must be concluded formally lest it would be counted as a Chaandaala Vrata. Widows performing any Vrata must wear white clothes only and not coloured vastra. In Kaamya Vrataas, only those individuals concerned are to be performed but not proxies in respect of mantra vidhi pujaas, homa-japa-daana-Udyaapanaas. In other words, nakta bhojana-upavaasa kaaryas have to be executed by the Karta alone though other Karyaas might be performed by representatives. That is why, women folk must ensure that there would be no limitations like ‘Rajaswalaavastha’ ( menses period) or prolonged illness coming in the way. When more than one Vrata are performed at the same time then the order of Karmas like daana-homa and so on may be adjusted to ‘Avirudha karma krama’ or the normal order of kamya karmas. Chaturdashi, Ashtami and such other Vrataas require that day meal is not permitted. Chandraayan Vrata should be continued even if there are intervening Ekadasaadi requirements of Ratri bhojanaas are prescribed; the prescribed units of fistfull bhojana has to be observed only. However, it is reiterated that no new Kamya Vrata could be taken up when a person is during ‘Ashoucha’ period even by proxy; there cannot be a proxy where Mantra, Deva Karya or Agni Karma are involved. Proxies are allowed only nitya-naimittika karmas if inevitable. However the specific place where Sankalpa /Dharana or Intiation of Upavasa and Vrata is performed, ‘Paarana’ or Udyapana should be the same too.

Observance of Tithi prakaara Vrataas:

[ In Narada Purana, Maharshi Sanatana enumerated various ‘Vratas’ (religious rites) to invoke specific Deities on particular days in each month through out the year for special purposes. On the Pratipada day of Chaitra month Shukla ‘Paksha’, Shouri Vrata and Vidya Vrata are scheduled, while on the same day of Shravana Shukla fortnight, Rotaka Vrata is performed for Goddess Lakshmi. Mahattama Vrata is observed in Bhadrapada Shukla, Ashoka Vrata and Navarathra Vrata are important on Ashvin Shukla and Dhana Vrata in Marga Sirsha. On Dwiteeya day, Netra Vrata is held in Vaishakha Shukla, Bhaskara Vrata in Jyeshtha Shukla, Jagannatha-Balarama-Subhadra Vrata in Aashaadha Sukla and Yama Dwiteeya Vrata in Kartika Shukla. Akshaya Vrata, Rambha Vrata, Swarna Gauri Vrata and Brihat Gauri Vrata are performed on the Triteeya day in Vaishakha, Jyeshtha, Shravana, and Ashvin Shukla Pakshas respectively. One of the most significant Vratas is held on Bhadrapada Krishna Chaturthi viz.Ganesha Chaturthi. Twenty specified Leaves are to be utilised for the Puja on this day by reciting the very popular Mantras coordinating Ganasha’s names and specific Leaves viz. Sumukhaayanamah Shami patram pujayami, Ganaadheeshaya namah bhangaraiyaka patram pujayaami,Uma putraya namah bilwa patram pujayami, Gajamukhaaya namah Durvadalam pujayaami, Lambodarayanamah ber param pujayami,Harasunavey namah Dattura patram pujayai, Surpakanthayanamah tulasi dalam pujayami, Vakra tundaaya namah semaka patram pujayami, Grahagrajaayanamah Apaamarga patram pujayami, Ekadantaayanamah Banabhantaa patram pujayami, Herambaayanamah Sindura patram pujayami, Chaturhotreynamah Tejapatrm pujayami and Sarvewarayanamah Agasthya patram pujayaami; This puja is then followed by the Shodasha Upachaaras and so on.On the Panchami ‘Tithis’, Matsya Vrata is held in Chaitra Shukla, Naga Vrata in Vaishakha Shukla Paksha, Anna Vrata in Shravana Krishna Paksha, Upanga Lalita Vrata in Aswin Shukla, and Jaya Vrata in Kartika Shukla. On the Shashthi days, Kumara Vrata is performed in Chaitra Shukla, Skanda Vrata in Ashaadha Sukla, Lalita Vrata in Bhadra Krishna Paksha, and Chandana Shashti Vrata in Bhadrapada Shukla in the name of Devi. Saptami is the day for Surya Deva Vratas on Chaitra Shukla, Vaishakha Shukla, Jyeshtha Shukla, Aashada Shukla, and Sharvana Shukla; Shakha (Mitra) Saptami in Kartika Shukla, Abhaya Vrata in Pousha Shukla, and Achala Vrata (Ratha Saptami) in Magha Shukla are significant. Ashtami is an important ‘Tithi’; Chaitra Shukla Ashtami is stated to be the birthday of Devi Bhavani and as such Mahashtami is a significant day. Similarly Jyeshta Krishna Paksha Ashtami is earmaked for Trilochana Puja, Ashadha /Shravana Shukla Ashtamis, meant for Turmeric Puja and Dashaphala (Ten Fruits) Vrata in favour of Devi.
Krishna Janmashtami in Shravana Krishna Paksha is a very essential day for Krishna Puja when day long fasting is observed and the ten Tulasi leaf- worship is performed by reciting Krishnaya Namah, Vishnavey Namah, Anantaaya namah, Govindaya Namah Garudadhwajaaya Namah, Daamodaraaya namah, Hrishi keshaya namah, Pama naabhaya namah, Haraye Namah, and Prahavey Namah. Aswin Suddha Ashtami is observed as the famed Durgashtami destroying Mahishasura during the Dussera Navaratras commencing from the Prathama day of the month. Shri Rama Navami Vrata in Chaitra Shukla Paksha is observed as a fast day for self-purification followed by the Puja as described erelier. During Vaishakha month both the Pakshas are earmarked for UmaVrata on the Navami day; but observed most importantly as the popular Maha- Navami during Aswin Shukla Paksha worshipping Devi Parvati. Bhadrapada Shukla Navami is known as Nanda Navami to worship Devi Durga and Kartika Shukla Namvami is Akshaya Navami when a devotee should perform ‘Tarpana’ to Devas, Rishis and Pitras. As regards Dashami Tithi, Chaitra Shukla is stated to be a day which Dharma Raja is fond of and after fasting till the evening, worship of the Deity with flowers, fruits, ‘Gandha’ etc. should be observed and at the end of the Vrata, bhojan and dakshina is to be provided to fourteen Brahmanas. Jyeshtha Shukla Dashami is the day of ‘Gangavataran’ and is reckoned as ‘Dasahara’or destroyer of Ten Sins when Ganga Snaan is highly recommended; this is the day when ten yogas coincided viz. Jyeshtha Maasa, Shuka Paksha, Hasta Nakshatra, Budha day, Dashami Tithi, ‘Gara’ karana, Ananda Yoga, Vyatipaata, Kanya Rashi’s Chandra and Vrisha Raasi Surya. Shravana Shukla Dashami is marked for Shankara Puja when Nakta Vrata, Japa, Brahmana Bhojana and suvarna daana are commended. Bhadrapada Shukla Dashami is to observe Dashavatara Vrata to worship the Ten Incarnations of Vishnu viz. Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Nrisimha, Trivikrama /Vamana, Parashu Rama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki by day-long fasting and Brahmana Bhojana etc. Ashwayuja Shukla Dashami is the much-celebrated Vijaya Dashami when the Dussehra Festival of Nava Rathras get terminated to mark the killing of Mahishasura by Devi Durga as also to symbolise the Ramleela celebration as Shri Rama killed Ravana and brought back Devi Sita from Lanka. Margasirsha Shukla Dashami is the Arogya Vrata day when ten Brahmanas are to be treated with bhojan and dakshina, while ten Vishwa devas viz. Kratu, Daksha, Vasu, Satya, Kaala, Kaama, Muni, Guru, Vipra, and Rama are to be worshipped. Magha Sukla Dashami is the Day for Angira Vrata to meditate ten Angira Devas, viz. Atma, Vayu, Manah, Daksha, Mada, Praana, Barhishmaan, Gavishtha, Dutta and Satya, where as Phalguna Shukla Dashami, fourteen Yama Devas are worshipped viz, Yama, Dharma Raja, Mrityu, Antaka, Vaivaswata, Kaala, Sarva Bhuta Kshaya, Aoudumbara, Dadhna, Neela, Parameshthi, Vrikodara, Chitra and Chitragupta. Ekadashi has a special significance among all the Tithis as the Shukla and Krishna Paksha Ekadashis are invariably observed with Upavaasa, Japa, Homa, Pradakshina, Stotra Paatha, Dandavat- Pranama and Ratri-Jaagaranas followed by Dwadashi’s Brahmana Bhojanas and dakshinas. Chaitra Shukla Ekadashi is called ‘Kamada’ or the Fullfiller of Purusharthas and Sin-destroyer. Vaishakha Shula Ekadashi is known as ‘Mohini’and Krishna Ekadashi is known as ‘Varuthini’ when Purushottama and Madhusudhana are worshipped. Jyeshtha Krishna Ekadashi is called ‘Apara’ to worship Trivikrama, whereas the Jyeshtha Shukla is ‘Nirjala’ which is observed with fasting without water from dawn to dusk, and thereafter treat Brahmanas with Bhojan. Ashadha Krishna Ekadashi is called ‘Yogini’and is observed with day-night fast / puja and bhojan to Brahmanas on the following Dwadashi. Ashadha Shukla is ‘Shayani’Ekadashi, Shravana Krishna is ‘Kamika’ Ekadashi, Shravana Shukla is ‘Putrada’ Ekadashi, Bhadrapada Krishna is ‘Aja’ Ekadashi, Bhadrapada Shukla is ‘Padma’ Ekadashi, Aswin Shukla is ‘Papankusha’ Ekadashi, Aswin Krishna is ‘Indira’ Ekadashi, Karik Krishna is ‘Rama’ Ekadashi, Kartik Shukla is ‘Pabodhini’, Margasirsha Krishna is ‘Utpanna’ Ekadashi, Margasirsha Shukla is ‘Moksha da’ Ekadashi, Pousha Krishna is ‘Saphala’, Pousha Shukla is ‘Saphala’, Magha Krishna is ‘Shat Tila’ Ekadashi observed with full penance including Snaana, Daana, Tarpana, Havan, Puja, fast unto Dwadashi Brahmana Bhojan and dakshina. Like-wise, Eakadashis are performed on Magha Shukla as Jaya, Phalguna Krishna as Vijaya, ‘Aamalki’ on Phalguna Shukla and ‘Papamochini’on Chaitra Krishna. As regards Dwadashis, details of ‘Vrata Pujas’ worshipping Vishnu Rupas viz. Keshava, Narayana, Madhava, etc.have been described from Marhasirsha to Kartika Months (Shukla Pakshas) along with the Puja-Vidhana. Following is gist of Vratas as follows): ‘Madana Vrata’ is perfomed on Chaitra Shukla Dwadashi to dedicate it to Kaama Rupi Shri Hari. On this very day, ‘Bhartru Dwadashi’ is also observed by worshipping Lakshmi and Vishnu too. Similarly, Vratas aiming at various forms/ names of Vishnu are observed on the Dwadashis herebelow: Vaishakha Shukla/ Madhava, Jyeshtha Shukla/ Trivikaram, Shravana Shukla/ Shridhara, Bhadrapada Shukla/Vamana, and Aswin Shukla/ Padmanabha. The Kartika Krishna Vrata called ‘Govatsa Dwadashi Vrata’is addressed to Mother Cow reciting the Mantra: Ksheerodarnava Sambhootey Suraasura namaskrutey, Sarvadeva mayey Devi Sarva devailankrutey/ Maatarmaatargavaam Maatagruheenaarghyam namostutey/ (Mother! Gomata! You manifested from the Ocean of Milk, ornamented by all Devas, worshipped by Devas and Danavas alike; kindly accept this ‘Arghya’ followed by Puja and ‘Nivedana’.On this day of Govatsa Dwadashi, devotees should avoid oil-fried items, Cow-milk, curd, ghee etc. On Margasirsha Shukla Dwadashi, ‘Sadhya Vrata’ is performed by assuming the Twelve Sadhya Ganaas, Viz. Manobhava, Praana, Nara, Apaana, Veeryavan, Chiti, Haya, Naya, Hamsa, Narayana, Vibhu and Prabhu. The Ganaas are invoked into a rice spreading and worshipped, after which request Lord Narayana to be pleased. On this very day, a ‘Dwadasha -aditya’ Vrata be also performed by doing Puja to Dhata, Mitra, Aryama, Pusha, Shakra, Amsha, Varuna, Bhaga, Twashta, Viviswaan, Savita and Vishnu. Trayodashi Tithis are well-known for ‘Maha Vaaruni Vrata’ in Chaitra Krishna paksha, if possibly coinciding with Saturdays/ Shatabhisha Nakshatra and if lucky futher along with a bath in River Ganga. On Jyeshtha Shuka Trayodasi, a Vrata for ‘Dourbhagya Shamana’ (pacifying the trends of misfortune) is performed with the Puja of Mandara, Karaveera and Arka flowers to Narayana, while ‘Goraatra Vrata’ is observed on Bhadrapada Shukla Trayodashi by performing ‘Pradakshinas’ and giving away charity to Veda Pandit. The Pradakshina should accompany the recitation of: Gavo mamaagratah santu gaavo may santu pustatah, Gaavo mey paasravatah santu Gavaam Madhey vasaamyaham/ (Cow is ahead of me, behind me, by my side and I reside among Cows!). On Ashwin Shukla Trayodashi, a three-night long ‘Ashok Vrata’ is performed by praying to Shakara Maha Deva kept under an Ashoka Tree; the person who performs the worship gives away a Pratima as daan, along with dakshina. ‘Nrisimha Vrata’ is well known on Vaishkha Shukla Chaturdashi, when a devotee requires to keep day-long fast and worships the Deity with ‘shodasho-pacharas’ and recites the Kshama Prarthana Mantra again and again: Taptahaataka keshaanta Jalatpaavaka lochana, Vajraadi nakha sparsha Divya Simha Namostutey/ (Divya Simha! Your mane is shining like molten gold and eyes are glowing like fire balls; the slightest touch of your diamond-strong nails are excruciating; my salutations to you!). After the Puja, the devotee should sleep on bare earth, with full control of body parts. The Vrata is to be performed a few years to secure high contentment and fulfillment of earthly desires as also salvation after life’s termination. On this very date of Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi, Omkareshwar Linga Vrata is to be observed for demolition of all past sins. On Jyeshtha Shukla Chaturdashi, ‘Rudra Vrata’is to be performed for securing unimaginable results by observing ‘Panchagni Yogic Tapasya’. Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturdashi is earmarked for executing Ananta Vrata, while Kartika Shukla Chaturdashi, observance of Pashupat Vrata has far reaching impact. However the most outstanding Vrata of the day/night is stated to be on Shiva Raatri on Phalguna Krishna Chaturdashi, when Nirjala Upavas, Bilwa patra puja, high concentration, Night-long Jaagaran, Stotra-Paath, three-hourly Abhisheka and detailed Puja and japa, purifies a devotee with fulfillment and Shiva Darshan. On Purnimas, Anna-daana would please Chandra Deva in Chaitra month and any kind of charities on Vaishaka purnima would have multiplier-effect; Dharmaraja Vrata on the latter Purnima would please him with Go-Daan, Swarna Daan and Bhojan Daan. ‘Vata Savitri’ Vrata would certainly please Devi Savitri who conquered Lord Yama for the sake of her husband with the prayer of a devotee by reciting: Jagat pujye Jagan -matah Savitri pati devatey, patya sahaviyogam mey vatasthey kuru tey namah/ ( Jaganmata Savitri, You are worshippable to the entire Universe as you are the unique Pativrata. You reside in the Vata Vriksha and as such, I pray to the Vata Tree; do bless me to ensure that I am never separated from my husband). Any woman who prays to Savitri and worships her and treats virtuous women with food and gifts would never lose her husband till she dies herself. Shravana Purnima is the day of Upa Karma of Vedas’, when Yajurvedi Brahmanas should perform Tarpana to Devas, Rishis and Pitras; the Rishis whom Tarpana are to be offered would be of one’s own ‘Shakha’. Rigvedis on Chaturdashi day of Shravana month and Sama Vedis on Bhadrapada Hasta Star should observe ‘Raksha Vidhana’. ‘Uma Maheswara Vrata is scheduled on Bhadrapada Purnima, which requires total abstinence, Upavas on the previous and on the day proper, Jaagaran on the previous night and fast till the dusk time of the day, Pujas on the previous night, on the day and night proper would be compulsory as per shodasopacharas as described in the previous pages of this write-up. This Vrata is expected to be performed for fifteen years, whereafter the ‘Udyapan’ function should be concluded with full formalities of Mantras, homas, and celerbrations. Shakra Vrata is also scheduled on the same day of Bhadrapada Purnima addressed to Indra Deva for ‘Dhana-Dhanya Vriddhi’ or all round prosperity. ‘Kartika Purnima’ Vrata is intended to attain/ retain Brahmatva in the next birth as also to demolish enemies and the Deity to be worshipped is Kartika Deva. On this day of Kartika Purnima at the Pradosha Time, organisation of ‘Tripurotsava’ and Deepa Daana are considered propitious; display of illuminations, especially in the vicinity of a river or a water-body would help light up ‘krimi-keetas’, flies, mosquitos, trees, water, etc and would enable ‘Punarjanmas’ (rebirths) as human beings since the upgradation of such ‘Praanis’would indeed be a welcome step for such ‘praanis’. As regards, the Amavasya Vratas, Sanatana Kumara explained to Narada Maharshi that Chaitra and Vaishakha Amavasyas were extremely significant since these days were very dear to Pitras for their Puja, Shraddha by way of offering ‘Pindas’(cooked rice) prepared by the ‘paarana vidhi’, Brahmana Bhojana, especially ‘daanas’ of cows etc. In Jyeshtha month Brahma Savitri Vrata was stated to be imperative on Amavasya. In Ashaadha, Shravana, and Bhadrapada months, Amavasyas are essential for Pitru shraddas, Daanas, homas, and Deva Pujas. On Ashwin Amavasya, it would be good to perform Shraadha Tarpan to Pitaras in River Ganga or more ideally at Gaya. On Kartika Amavasya ‘Deepa daan’given in a temple, or home, near a river, a garden, go-shaala or at a public Place is commendable; on this very day, Lakshmi Puja would be beneficial. Organising Brahmana Bhojan on a Margasirsha Amavasya or better still performing Shraddha on that day would be useful. In fact, Pitru Shraaddhas on Pousha, Magha and Phalguna Amavasyas would be effective] .



5    Tithi Vrata Nirnayas:

After the narration of Narada Purana as above, Dharma Sindhu describes Tithi-wise Nirnayaas: Praatipadaa nirnaya: In respect of Vratas and Pujaas on Shukla Pratipada Tithi, the ‘Sankalpa’ (Resolve) for the same would have to be for Pratipada Tithi despite the fact that the ‘purva viddha’ or carry forward of Pratipada commenced on the previous day and would be valid till the madhyana or mid day next. In case, there is a carry-forward of Amavasya, then again the Sankalpa should not be for Amavasya but has to be for Pratipada. Any Sankalpa is best done between Suryodaya’s Ushahkaala and two muhurtaas later. Like-wise, Dwiteeya Shukla Paksha Tithi is to be decided after considering the Triteeya viddha. In case of Krishna Paksha, if a Tithi is taken as of two parts as ‘Purvaahna’/ before noon and ‘Uttaaraahna’/ post noon, then the dwiteeya tithi is to be considered as Purvaahna. As regards the Triteeya ,with the exception of Rambhaa Vrata, all other Vratas are to be performed three muhurtaas leaving the carry forward of the previous Tithi ie.on the Triteeya Tithi itself. In respect of Gouri Vrata however, slight extension of Kalaa- Kaashtah from the Dwiteeya Tithi to the Triteeya would disqualify the Samkalpa but the carry forward of the Dwiteeya would be in order if theSamlalpa of this Vrata is acceptable soon on the termination of the Triteeya ‘s extension ie on Chaturthi morning. Referring to Ganesha Vrata , Dharma Sindhu stated that the Chaturthi is to be taken into consideration as the Madhyaahna Chaturthi and if the Chaturthi arrives after Madhyaahna then the Vrata is to be performed on the next day . If however Chaturthi extends to the following madhyaana, then Chaturthi is preferably applied to the previouys day itself.Sankata Chaturthi Vrata is to be reckoned as of Chandrodaya kaala Vyapti; if Chandrodaya is on the previous day then the Vrata sankalpa would be for the Triteeya; other wise on Chaturthi proper; if Chandrodaya is reckoned on both the days, then Chaturthi is the day foir the sankalpa. On Panchamis for instance on Naga Panchami Vrata, arrival of Panchami upto the Madhaayna the Vrtata Sankalpa be firmed up on that day itself. But if Madhyaahnas occur in both the days then the Vrata be performed on first Madhyaahna ie on Panchami proper.On Shashthi Vrataas like the Skanda Vrata, the same principle is followed viz. the Purva Viddha or the carry forward upto madhyaana of Shashti be taken into consideration. It may however noted that the Sunday-Shashthi/Saptami combination is unique and is noted as Padmaka Yoga. Saptami Vratas like Ratha Saptami are decided on the basis of ‘Suryastama’on the previous Shashti Tithi without carry forward of Shashthi into the Saptami. In regard to Ashtami Vrataas, especially Krishnaashtami is performed in Krishna Paksha of Shravana Maasa, on the afore- mentioned principle of ‘poorva tithi vidha’ upto Madhyahana. Similar would be the case of Bhavani Puja on Chaitra Shukla Ashtami, Durga Puja Ashvauyuja Shukla Ashtami and Kaala Bhairava Puja on Margasirsha Krishnaashtami coinciding with Bhairava Jayanti. In reference to Navami Vrataas,like Shri Rama Navami on Chaitra Shukla Paksha, Maharnavami on Ashwin Shukla Paksha and Akhshaya Navami of Kartika Shukla Paksha, the analogy of Ashtami Viddha upto ‘ madhyahna’ be considered. Dashami Vrata nirnaya in respect of Vijaya Dashami in Ashviyuja Shukla Paksha and ‘Gangaavatarana’ Snaanas on Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha are observed too.
Ekaadashi nirnaya: There are two ways of observing Ekadashi viz. mere Upavaasa and Vrata Swarupa. In the former case, those persons who have sons too could observe Upavaasa but not those who sons in Krishna Paksha. The Vrata with Upavaasa needs to be performed formally as per prescribed Mantraas and Brahmana Bhojana. However, those who observe the Vrata from Aashadha Shukla Ekadashi called ‘Shayani’ upto Kartika Shukla Ekaadashi called Bodhini could do so even if they have sons ; ie. even including the Vrata in Krishna Pakshaas. In fact, Vaishnava Grihasthis do not have the barrier of Shukla / Krishna Paksha irrespective of their having sons or not. The Vrata is highly beneficial for good health, prosperity and contentment. Observance of the Ekaadashi Upavaasa in any case is stated to be compulsory, be it among Vaishavaites, or Shaivaites or Suryopaasakaas and non obervance attracts ‘prayaschitta’ or atonement. The Vrata can be performed by any body from eight to eighty years; in fact whose who are able to observe the Vrata has no age barrier. Married women have to secure the clearance of their husbands, lest it may tantamount to futility and even negative resulting in the husband’s longevity and Naraka vaasa of the woman concerned. Irrespective of being a man or woman, those who might not be able to withstand the rigour of Nakta Bhojana, the Vrata could still be performed by way of securing Havishya Anna Prasasada, besides fruits, tila, milk, water, ghee, ‘panchagavya’ or a mix of five of cow products viz. milk-ghee-curd-urine and dung as per one’s own ability or choice. If for any reason, Ekaadashi Upavaasa is not observed, then the failure could be rectified by observing the Vrtata or Upavaasa on the next day viz. Dwadashi. Those who have no physical strength or disability to perform the Ekaadashi Vrata, blood relations like wife or husband, sons, sisters, brothers could proxy for the Kartaas. Observing Ekaadashi Vrata is stated to reap the fruits of hundred yagnaas. Ekaadashi nirnaya is based on Vaishnava and Smaarta methods. Ekaadashi occurs in two ways depending on the ‘Vedha’ viz. Arunodaya Dashami Vedha and another is Suryodaya Dashami Vedha; Suryodaya is indeed clear. Vaishnavaas take into account 57 ghadis before Arunodaya while Smartaas consider 60 ghadis before. Ekaadashi takes place in two time capsules: one is Viddha and another is Shuddha. Arunodaya Vedha’s Viddha is stated to differentiate Shuddha Ekaadashi. This occurs in four ways viz. Adhika Ekaadashi, Adhika Dwadashi, both ‘Adhikaas’ and both ‘Anadhikas’. The Tithi of Dwadashi is known as the ‘Adhikata Suryodaya’ preceding Ekadashi. As per Smarta Nirnaya, Dashami’s Vedha Viddha at Suryodaya is called Ekadashi. In case both Ekadashi and Dwadashi happen to be on the same Tithi, then the previous capsule of time is preferred for Upavaasa.Before the Upavaasa and Vrata, the Karta after concluding the Nitya Kriyas in the morning of Dashami should initiate the Sankalpa (Invocation) by saying: ‘ ‘Devesha! We are declaring to take up the Ekaadashi Vrata for three days viz. Dashami-Ekaadashi-Dwaadashi; kindly bless us to perform the Vrtata without any hindrance’ (Dashami dinaarambha kaarsheham Vratam tawaa, Tridinam Deva Devesha nirvighnam kuru Keshava!)’. Having made the Prayer, the Karta should observe ‘Eka Bhukta’or one meal on the day. During the Vrata / Upavaasa of three days, the Kartha should have a single simple vegetarian meal a day without oily fries and grams, keep restraint on excessive quantity of eating or drinking water or juices, practise celibacy and abstinence, refrain from consumption of honey, observe silence and least possible conversation, avoid day-time sleep, and keep cool and be devotional minded. Next morning, after performing Nitya Karmaas, the Karta should face East-ward with folded hands with flowers, take ‘Achamana’with the water from a copper vessel and express his / her resolve as follows: Ekaadashyaam niraahaaro bhutwaahamapa- rehani, Bhakshaami Pundarikaasha sharanam mey Bhavaachyuata/ (Hey Pundarikaaksha! I will fast on Ekaadashi and on the following day shall break the fast; Achyuta! Kindly ensure my good health.) Those Kartaas who are unable to perform perfect fasting might help themselves with water, or milk, or fruits, on the pattern of Nakta Bhojana. Shaivaits should execute Rudra Gayatri and others regular Gayatri must recite along with the Sankalpa. In case, Ekaadashi arrives at mid-night, fasting should extend beyond mid-day. After the Sankalpa, the Karta should take three sips of water from the prescribed vessel, while reciting Namo Nartaayana Mantra three times and having prepared a ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ settle down to execute formal Puja of the Idol with Deepa-Dhupa-Pushpa-Phala- Snaana of the Idol-Yagnopaveeta-Vastra-Naivedya-Arati- Mangala Vaadya-Geeta-Nrityaadi Upachaaraas and Raatri Jagaranas. The Ekadashi Niyamaas include avoidance of harsh language or impure thoughts or bad countenances. Patience, calmness and truthfulness ought to be the hallmarks.

Dwadashi Tithi Puja: Next morning on the following dwadashi again well before sun-rise after ablutions, pray to Surya Deva, execute normal Sandhyaa Vandanaadi nitya karmaas , perform Punah-Puja to be followed by Brahmana Puja-Bhojana dakshina Vastradaaadi vidhis, break the Ekaadashi Upavasa finally by reciting : Agnaana timiraandhasya Vratanaanena Keshaava! Praseeda Sumukho Naatha Jnaana drushti pradobhava/ (Hey Keshava! Be pleased as the Vratathat is just concluded and bless me by letting me out of ‘Aganaana’or ignorance and grant me Jnaana Drishti or the vision of wisdom!) . In the event of unsatisfactory observance of the strict regime of Dashami-Ekaadashi - Dwaadashi Vrataas, the Prayascchitta or atonement is to recite the ‘Ashtaakshara’ Mantra viz. ‘ Om Namo Naraayanaaya’ hundred and eight times for minor derelictions and one thousanad and eight times for major lapses. The termination of the act of atonement would be to mix up Tulasi leaves in the ‘Naivedya Anna’ mixed with ‘Amlaaphala’ or goosebury fruit. Dwadashi Paarana must be done before the close of the Tithi. Dwaadashi ‘Niyamaas’ or regulations include avoidance of day-sleep, consuming of other’s food and double bhojana; honey, eating or drinking in glass utensils, consumption of oily food, meat and oily food, pulses like masoor (Red lentil), Chana (green lentil), Urad, til /sesame seed products etc; use of cosmetics including eye-lotions; anger-greed-untruthfulness, any kind of intoxication, betel leaves, and so on. While these regulations are in the Kaamya Vratas, the Nitya Vrataas are flexible in the sense that those who might not have ability to the observe strict procedures, especially the day-night fasts, atleast they could undertake a light meal without ‘Anna’ (cerials). Incidentally, ‘Maha Dwaadashis’ are of eight types: That tithi which is predominetly Ekadashi but extends into Dwadashi is called ‘Unmeelani Dwadashi’. That Dwadashi which is Shuddha or of Shukla Paksha extending to the next phase of Krishna Paksha is called ‘Vaangjuli’. If Ekadashi occurs at Suryodaya and extends to Dwadashi upto the next morning’s Trayodashi then the Maha Dwadashi is called Tridarshi Dwadashi. If Dwadashi extends towards Darshani/ Amaavawasya or Pournaamaasi, then it is called ‘Pakshavardhani’. If it is with Pushyami then it is called Jaya Dwadashi, with Shravana then Vijaya, with Punarvasu then Jayanti, and with Rohini then Papanaashani. Upasaasaas on these Maha Dwadashis are of great significance as would reduce the impact of sins and lead to the path of Moksha. Trayodashi Tithi Nirnaya: It may be noted that Trayodashi falling before Shukla Paksha and after Krishna Paksha are significant. Beginning from a Shukla Paksha Trayodashi falling on a Saturday, Pradosha kaala Vrata pujas of Bhagavan Shiva and nakta bhojana executed on twenty four Shukla Trayodashis would have far reaching consequence. That Nakta Bhojana is called Chaayaa Nakta and this is required to be performed as Trayodashi lasts six ghadis / three muhurtas ahead. Chaturdashi Nirnaya: Chaturdashi is counted as occurs on before Pournami in Shukla Paksha or on a day before Amavashya in Krishna Paksha. On each Krishna Chaturdashi, Kamya Shiva Raatri Vrata is performed as in the case of Maha Shiva Raatri; that is the timing should be such that Chaturdashi should be till midnight. Paarana should thus be during Chaturdashi; other wise, this has to be till the next morning on Purnima.

Pournami-Amavasya Nirnaya: Except Savitri Vrata which can be observed on both Pournami and Amavasya, all other Vratas are scheduled on Amavasya keeping in view the Vachana / Principle : Bhutoshtaadashanaadhibhih ie. even if there is a ‘vedha’( protrusion of time from one tithi into the subsequent tithi) from Chaturdashi to the next tithi by eight ghadis. That is why the vedha from Chaturdashi to Amavasya is worthy of performing the Vrtas on Amavasya too. In fact, Amavasyaas coinciding with Mondays and Tuesdays are considered as very auspicious for Saanaas, Daanaas, and Pujas. Like wise, Sundays falling on Saptamis and Tuesdays on Chaturshis are auspicious. The Soma –vati Amavasya Vrata is preferably performed before ‘Aparaahna’ or before noon and not in the time there after. The ‘Kshura Karma’ or head shaving cermoney for Yatis must be performed on Pournami Mornings upto six ghadis, lest the third muhurtha there-before is to be counted as Chaturdashi.

Ishti kaala nirnaya: [Vedic followers performing ‘Aouposana’ or Invocation of Deities are required to carry out a ritual called ‘Sthaalipaaka Yagna’ called ‘Ishti’ or what Rishi Bodhayana popularised and thus called Bodhayana Ishti; this is normally observed on Prathama Tithi after Amavasya or the New Moon or Pournami the Full Moon] Talking of the appropriate time for executing the ‘Yagnaas’, the suitable time is stated to be at the Paksha Paapitada Tithi, while the Anvaadhaana or the preamble- Agni Karya to the Yagna is performed, the actual Yaagaas are performed at the ‘Pakshaanta Parva’or the termination of festive occasion. Thus, Yaagaas should not be executed in the fourth phase of a Pratipaada. Then the Anvaadhana should be performed before the Parva and the Parva should be in the Pratipada Purna Tithi. If parva falls in a Khanda Tithi or a broken Tithi, one should take into account the shortfall or the excess of ghadis and decide the gap by half of the ‘Sandhi’or the breach. The Sandhis are four kinds viz. Purvaahna Sandhi, Madhyaana Sandhi, Aparaahna Sandhi, and Raatri Sandhi. If the day time is divided as of two parts, the Purvaartha is Purvaahna and Paraartha is Aparaahna. The gap of two ghadis between Purvaahna and Aparaahna is called as Madhyaahna.


Pinda Pitru Yagna kaala nirnaya: As per those who are Rigvedis, ‘Pinda Pitru Yagna Kaala’is reckoned as the day’s ‘Sandhi’ between Amavasya and Pratipaada ; this is divided into five parts and the fourth part known as Aparaahna would be the time for Pitru Yagna. In case Sandhi is in Aparaahna, then the Anvaadhaana is in Madhyaahna; if Sandhi is before Madhyaahna or Purvaahna then Anvaadhaana would be at ‘ Yagaanantara’s Aparaahna’, but if the Sandhi is during ‘Ahoraatra’ or overnight then Anvaadhaana would be in the Amavasya day time itself. Now, Yajurvedis and Hiranyakesi Shaakhaites believe that Pitru Yagna be performed during the Sandhi Kaala, irrespective of Aparaahna or Madhyaahna; in this case, Aparaahna is divided as of five parts and the fourth part is the Pitru Yagna kaala. Sama Vedis, Katyaayanis and Sankhyaayanas believed that Anvaadhana be performed on the same day as on Pitru Yagna; that too in the third part of the day time’s ‘aparaahna’. Those Rigvedis who observe ‘Grihyaagni’ or house-hold Agni Karya consider that if Darsha Shraaddha is on the same day as of Pinda Pitru yagna , then they should perform both by the ‘Vyatishanga’method ; in other words, Vyatishanga is to perform ‘Saha Prayoga’or both at the same time. If there is a Khanda Parva or on different days, then Darsha Shraddha be done on the previous tithi and Pinda Pitru Yagna on Amavasya proper. However those who observe ‘Shroutaagni’, the method of Sampurna Darsha ie. Darsha Shraaddha and Pitru pinda yagna is to segragate the two and follow the procedure of Anvaadhana, then Vaishvadeva, later on Pinda Pitru yagna and finally the Darsha Shraadda. But they should not follow the short-cut method of ‘Vyatishanga’; then only the ‘Saagnika’ or the follower of Agni Karya would have appropriately performed the Pinda Pitru Yagna; otherwise, he should not at all resort to this yagna.If one ‘Ishti’ or the seriatum is defective, he should perform Prayaschitta by way of ‘Paada kruccha’ or atleast ‘Ardha kruccha’, lest Agni is stated to have doused off and would need to be revived again from the very beginning. If Pinda Pitru Yagna is either not done or is defective, then there must be a ‘Sankalpa’ or Invocation at the Ishi Sthaanaa or the Place of Ishti Yagna saying Sapta hotaaram hoshyaami four times and perform ‘Puranaahuti’.

Amavasya nirnaya in reference to Darsha Shraaddha: Darshana Shaddha is performed on Amavasyas’ Aparaahna which is the fourth part of the five parts of the Tithi. The Shraddha is observed on the previous day in case Amavasya falls either fully or as a carry forward to the next day. The determination of Amavasya depends on the extent of the tithi; if it falls equally on the previous and the subsequent day then it should be reckoned as the next day. For eg. If Chaturdashi has seventeen and Amavasya has twenty three ghadis of a day of thirty ghadis, then the next day is appropriate for the Shraddha. Alternatively, if Chaturdashi has twenty three ghadis and Amavasya sixteen, then the Shradda nirnaya should be for the earlier day. Aahitagnis or those who perform nityaagni homamas should first perform Vaishva -deva cum Pinda Pitru Yagna and then exercise the ‘Varshika Shradda/Abdika’. If Amavasya Shraddha is not executed properly, then ‘Nyusha Vaacha Mantra’ be recited hundred times as a prayaschitta or atonement.

Ishti and Sthaalipaaka Prarambha nirnaya: The Ishti and Shtaalipaaka Yagnas described as above are required to be done in ‘Purna Maasa’ or the Shukla Pahshas only and not on Darsha Shradda Day. However , Darsha Pourna Karmas are initiated after the Aadhaana Homa ( offering at the very beginning) and ‘Grihapraveshaneeya Homa’ or the preliminary Homa, then this has no objection.

Vikriti Karmakaala nirnaya: Vikriti karmas are of three kinds: Nitya, Aagrayana and Chaaturmaasyaas; Vikriti’s of Naimittika Karmas are like Jaateshti, while Kaamyaas or those Karyas aimed at success for fullfilling defined purposes of ‘Purushartha’ nature. Like wise Yagnaanga Vikrutis are of two kinds viz. Nithya and Naimittika and these are done either on ‘tadyatkaala paksha’ or on two sandhyaakala basis or on Parva Dinas or festival days or on Deva Nakshatra Days of Shukla Maasa viz. Krittika to Vishakha. Pashu yaagaas are performed in Varshaa kaala (Rainy Season) in either Dakshinaayana or Uttaraayana in Shravana Maasa.

Chaaturmaasa is observed in four ways: the best method is on the basis of ‘Yaavaajjeeva’ basis or all through one’s life time; in this case, the Chaturmaasya can be from Phalguna Pournami or Chaitra Pournami and after doing Vaishwa Deva Parva / intiation and commencing from Aashaadha Purnima to four months hence. In a single year method, the Vrata should be terminated either by a Pashu Yaaga, or Soma yaaga. In Dwadasaaha or Twelve Days method, on the first day the Kartha should perform Viashva Deva Puja, on the fourth day Varuna Praghaasa, on the Ashtama-Navamis Saaka medha, and on the Dwadasha day the Sunaaseereeya puja. The Chaaturrmaasa in a Five Day Observance, some opine that it should commence in Uttaraayana Shukla Paksha Deva Nakshatras. Exceptionally, the Vrata might even be observed on a Single day basis on any Chitra Maasa Purnimaas. There is also a possibility of a Week-long Vrata comprising Vaishwa Deva Para for two days, Varuna Praghaasa on the third day, Grihamedhheya on the fourth day, Maha Havis on the fifth day, Pitru Yagna and Saakamedha on the sixth day and ‘Sunaaseereeya’on the seventh day.
Kaamya Naimittikeshta nirnaya: Kaamya –Ishtis are performed on the basis of Saamaanya Vikruti basis mentioned above on Shukla Paksha Deva Nakshatras. However, Jateshti Vrata by the wives of the Karta requires ‘Ananaashoucha’ or physical purity for twenty nights . Nitya Karmaas which are a component of Yagna Kaarya ought to be observed simultaneously and hence need for separate emphasis. In case there is a ‘Havirdosha’or such deficiencies, the persons performing the Naimittika Karmaas need to follow the procedure of ‘Nirvaapana’or realisation of shortfalls in the ‘Karya’ and resume the Anvaadhana once again.

Aadhaana Kaala: Adhaana is decided on the basis of Parva and Nakshatra. This covers the entire Parva or the process from the stage of ‘Sankalpa’or invocation upto ‘Purnaahuti’ or termination. If this is not possible, the Parva may be considered as from the ‘Garhastyaadhaana’ to ‘Avahaaneeyaadhaana’ and the same is applicable to Nakshatra nirnaya too. In case the Karma Kaala extends to two days in the Parva then Nakshatra Yoga be applied. Undoubtedly, the best possible combination for the Adhaana Kaala is that of Vasanta Ritu- appropriate Nakshatra- and Parva. In case the Ritu is otherwise, then Aadhaana nirnaya might be passable but the Nakshatra alone and Parva alone are not suitable then the Aadhaana Kaala is not approved. As per ‘Sutraantarokta’, the suitable Nakshatras are Krittika, Rohini, Uttara, Mrigasira, Punarvasu, Pushya, Purva Phalguni, Purvaashaadha, Hasta, Chitra, Vishaakha, Anuraadha, Shravana, Jyeshtha and Revati. As per ‘Ashvaalaayanasutrokta’ the select Nakshatras are Krittika, Rohini, Vishaakha, Purva Phalguni, Mrigasira, and Uttaraabhaadra. If Aadhaana is based on Soma Kaala, then Ritu and Nakshatra considerations might not be too relevant.

Grahanaas: Grahana Nirnaya: As long as one could vision Chandra and Surya Grahanaas (Eclipses), one would reckon as the Punya Kaala or the auspicious time. Even if the Grahana were not visible due to the obstruction of clouds or so, even then on the basis of the information available as per the calculation of ‘Shastraas’about the ‘Sparsha’( beginning) and Moksha (end), one should observe the required ‘Snaana-Daanaas’. Surya Grahana on Sundays and Chandra Grahana on Mondays are called ‘Chudaamani’ and ‘Daanaadi Karyaas’ bestow endless Punya. One should take bath for ‘Baahyaantara Shuchi’ or external and internal cleanliness as soon as the Grahana Sparsha or the First Touch; during the course of the Grahana, one should perform Homa-Devarchana-and Shraaddha. When Grahana is receding, then Daanaas are required to be executed and at the time of Moksha, one should take bath once again; the bath at the ‘Sparsha Kaala’ and Moksha Kaala are of distinct waters; the Mukti Snaana is defined as follows: Sheetamushnodakaat punyamapaarakyam parodakaat, Bhumishthamudhrataa punyam tata prasravanodakam/ Tatopisaara sampunyam tatah punyam Nadi jalam, Tatastirthanadi Gangaa Punyaa punyastombhudhi/ (Cold water bath is more propitious than with hot water; better bathe with one’s own water; fresh water from the depths of Bhumi is better from well water exposed and stored; water from a flowing water is better than in a waterbody; Tirtha water like Ganga is better than that of a from a river; and bathing in Samudra water is by far better than even a river like Ganges!). Grahana Snaana should be with the same clothing as during the Grahana and then only the bath would be stated as Mukti Snaana; that bath need not be by reciting Mantras. ‘Suvasini Strees’ or house wives who have their husbands alive could have neck-deep bath but those women who like to be purer to take head- bath do have the option to do so. Those women who are in the menstrual stage should keep her utensils seperated and should not sqeeze her wet clothes after the bath. Fasting three days before or atleast one day before would bestow ‘Maha Phala’ but those Grihastis with sons and daughters need to take up the fast. But they should perform Deva-Pitru Tarpana. Persons of all the ‘Chatur Varnaas’ should wet the clothes after an Eclipse as they would be subject to the regulations of ‘jaataadi sutaka’ or ‘Ashuchi’ / impurity of births and deaths as they would have been deemed as having visioned the Rahu Graha: Sarveshaametavarnaanaam sutakam Rahu Darshaney. During the ‘Grahana Kaala’, Go-Bhu-Hiranyaadi Daanaas would accord far-reaching benefits. It is stated: Sarvam Gangaa samam toyam, Sarvey Vyaasa samaah Dwijaah, Sarvam Bhumi samam daanam grahaney Chandra Suryayoh/ (On occasions like Lunar or Solar Eclipses, all kinds of waters are like Ganga water; all Brahmanas are like Vyasaacharya; and all kinds of charity are as good as Bhu daana). Describing the effectiveness of Daana, it is stated: Samanu -braahmaney daanam dwigunam Braahmanbruvey, Shrotriye shata saahasram paatrey chaanantya mashnutey/( Offering greetings / namaskaaraas to a Brahmana by birth might be misplaced but providing charity to a ‘Dwija’ or twice-born who has the qualification of Samskaaraas like Upanayana or thread marriage and Gayatri Mantra secures better Punya; a Brahmana who has the Samskaaras but devoi d of Vedaadhyayana is called a Brahmanabruva but still charity to him would be worthy of hundred times more; charity to a well read Brahmana ‘Srotriya’ or he who follows the Brahmana Dharmaas in full spirit and practice would fetch Ananta Punya). Grahana Shraadha should be done with suitable Dakshina and possibly with Ghrita yukta bhojana followed by Mantra Punascharana; the relevant Mantra states: Chandra Suryoparaagey cha snaatwaa purvamuposhitah, Sparshaadi Moksha paryantam Japenmantram samaahitah, Japaadashaam shato homastathatha homaaccha tappanam, Homaashaktou japamkuryaatdhoma sankhyaa chaturgunam/ (One should discard bhojana well before the Grahana , take bath at the ‘Sparsha’ or touch of the Grahana and its ‘Moksha’ or termination and perform ‘Japa’ althrough the Grahana Kaala. Out of the ‘Japa Sankhya’ (number) so performed, one tenth of the Sankhya should be the homa sankhya and one-tenth of the homa sankhya should be the Tarpana sankhya. In case, one cannot perform Homa and Tarpana, the Japa sankhya may be quadrupled. In case tarpana is performed then they should first recite the Mula (Root) Mantra and then recite :Amukaam Devataam tyarpayaami and offer palms-full of water and again sprinkle water on one’s head reciting: Amukaam devataamahamabhishinchaami/ before the Tarpana at the rate of one tenth of the tarpana; this would be followed by Brahmana bhojana to the extent of one tenth of the Brahmanas engaged for the bhojana-daana-dakshinas. Thus the entire process of Japa-Homa-Tarpana- Maarjana-Vipra bhojana comprising the five components is called ‘Punascharana’ following Surya / Chandra Grahana Darshana. The Punascharana Mantra vidhana is as follows :- Before Grahana Sparsha, the Karta takes Snaana and Aasana and recites the Mantra : Amukagotromuka Sharmaaham Raahugrastey Divaakarey Nishaakarey vaa Amuka Devataayaa ; Amuka Mantra siddhi Kaamograasaadi mukti paryanta mamuka Mantrasya Japa Rupam purascharanam karishye/ (The Sankalpa states that I-of the gotra-naama solemnly resolve that the entire period during the Touch and Termination of the Solar/ Lunar Eclipse period will observe Mantra-Japa- Purascharana). The Mantra after Grahana Moksha and performing Snaanaadi nitya karmaas would resolve by reciting : Amuka Mantrasya kritaitadgrahana kaali Kaamukasankhyaaka Japa saangataa siddhyartham taddasaanga homa taddasaanga tarpana taddasaanga maarjana taddasaanga Vipra bhojanaani karishye/ After the Sankalpa, one might perform the seriatum of the Sankalpa failing which the Japaa to the extent of four times of the original Japa sankhya be recited. Those who are unable to perform the Purascharana as above might at least recite Ishta Devata Prayer and Gayatri Japa.

Do’s and Dont’s at the Grahana Kaala:Sleeping during the time of Eclipse leads to illnesses. Passing urine ends up in poverty and bad luck. Easing the stomach (Stools) leads to the life of ‘krimis’ in the following birth. ‘Maithuna’ lands up as a pig in the next birth. Head bath during the Eclipse period leads a person to leprosy and Bhojana in the time paves way to naraka. Eating the remnants of bhojana cooked before or during the Grahana Kaala is prohibited as would lead to stomach and digestive problems and similarly drinking even water would tell upon the system. However,the carry forward storage of curd, milk, butter, ghee, unused oil and such other uncooked stocks might be consumed after the Grahana but should be duly covered by ‘Dharbha Khandaas’ as would be proteceted by the rays of Sun or Moon in grahana. ‘Garbha Strees’ women during conception ought to protect themselves from the fall of the rays as there had been several evidences of the babies born thereafter sufferng from physical deformities.

Grahana Vedhi Vichara: In the case of Surya Grahana, there would be a Vedha or time difference of four Yaama Kaalaas (each day or night has eight yaamaas or four praharas and each yaama has senven and half ghadis) and in respect of Chandra Grahana the Vedha would be three Yaamaas. Thus, if Surya grahana is in the early morning, then nothing should be consumed for four yaamas before. If the Surya Grahana is scheduled in the second yaama of the day, then any consumption before two yaamas is prohibited. Likewise if Chandra grahana is in the first yaama of a night, then bhojana is to be avoided during the day’s last two yaamaas before the eclipse. Exceptions are provided however in respect of children or the Old persons and in their case, bhojana is allowed upto one yaama or 6-8 ghadis therebefore. A capable person who eats during the Vedha kaala should atone by keeping fast for three successive nights . Grahana kaalaa bhojana attracts ‘Praajaapatya Kruccha Prayaschitta’. Again, if Surya and Chandra secure redemption only after their normal setting times or at the time of their day or night terminations respectively (Sunset or Moon Set), it is stated that they are in a stage of ‘grasta’ or dormancy; in that case one is required to take bath and purify to vision the full ‘bimba’or globe on the next day and then only take food.

Janma raashi phalas of Grahanas and Daana Vidhis/regulations: The Janma Raashi impact of Grahanas on individuals is as follows:- Swajanma Raashestruteeya Shashthaikaadasha Dashama Raashisthitam Grahanam Shubhapradam, Dwiteeya Saptama Navama Panchama Sthaaneshu Madhyamam, Janma Chaturthaashthama Dwaadasha Raashi Sthitamanishthapradam/ (Grahanas coinciding with the third, sixth, tenth and eleventh Raashis bestow ‘Shubhapradam’ or auspiciousness. If the Janma Raashi is in the Second, Seventh, Ninth and Fifth Places then the impact is medium. But if Grahanas fall on the fourth, eighth, and twelfth Raashis, then the effect is ‘Anishtha’ or bad. [ Incidentally, the Raashi positions are as folows: Mesha (Aries), Vrishabha (Taurus), Mithuna (Gemini), Karkataka (Cancer), Simha (Leo), Kanya ( Virgo), Tula (Libra), Vrischika (Scorpio), Dhanush (Saggitarius), Makara (Capricon), Kumbha (Aquarius) and Meena (Pisces)]. As the impact of Grahanas on specified Janma Raashis and and Janma Nakshatras is adverse then Raashi-Graha-Nakshatra ‘Shanti’ ( pacification) would correct the possible effects as per the Instructions of Gargaachaarya; if the perscribed Shaanti is not within one’s reach, atleast ‘Bimba Daana’ may be performed. The procedure is to prepare Chandra Bimba (Globe-like Swarupa) or Surya Bimba in Silver as also Naaga Bimbaas in gold and place the two bimbas viz. Chandra or Surya and of Naaga representing Rahu graha in a Copper or Kaasya Paatraas (Vessels) filled with ghee and Tilas or Sesame seeds wrapped in Vastra (Cloth) and Dakshina (fees) and invoke Chandra or Surya as the case may be and Rahu graha stating: Mama Janma Raashi Janma Nakshatra sthitaamuka grahana suchita sarvaarishta shaanti purvakamekaadasha sthaana sthita grahana suchita Shubha phala praaptaye bimba daanam karishye/ Thus giving away the Daana with the above‘Sankalpa’to a well-read Brahmana, the following prayer be recited: Tamomaya Maha Bhima Soma Suryo vimardana, Hema Taara pradaanena mama Shanti prado bhava/ Vidhun tuda namastubhyam Simhikaanandanaachyuta, Daaney naanena Naagasya rakshamaam vedhajaadbhayaat/
(Andhakaaramaya! Maha Bhayankara! Rahu Deva! You have the ability of beating up even Surya and Chandra! You provide happiness to your mother Simhika Devi; Achyuta or the Undiminishable; as I make this obeisance by offering this Naga Bimba at the time of the Grahana, do relieve me of the Grahana Vedha and provide me security and destroy my fears).This procedure is valid for those affected by those born in the twelfth, eighth and fourth Raashis. Such persons affected by the Grahana should not vision the Chandra or Surya Bimba in any case.

[Narada Purana describes as to how Chandra-Surya Grahanaas take place; the Essence of the relevant Chapter on Grahanaas in brief is as follows: Chandra Grahana (Lunar Eclipse) takes place on a Pournami and Surya Grahana (Solar Eclipse) on Amavasya and these are called Parvas. As ‘Grahas’ rotate on their own axis and perform Pradakshina (circumambulation) around Bhumi, that path is known as the ‘Kasksha’or region of that Graha. Prithvi is far away from the Sun path and Chandra is nearer and is in between Surya and Prithvi. In the direction in which Surya travels, the shadow of Prithvi falls in the opposite direction of Surya’s path and the length of the rotating shadow is equal to that distance. As Prithi is round, the shadow of Chandra is also rounding, moving six ‘Rashis’ away from Surya. Chandra rotatating on its own axis moves along with Surya on the Southern Rekha (Line) and that time is known as Darshanta Kaala ie at the junction of the termination of Amavasya and the beginning of Shukla Pratipada; similarly, when Surya reaches six Rashis ahead that time is Pournima. Thus Surya is shadowed by Chandra and Chandra is shadowed by the shadow of Prithvi; that is why during Surya Grahana, Surya is known as Chhadya or the shadow maker and Chandra is Chhadak; again, in Chandra Grahana, Chandra is Chhadya, Earth’s shadow or Bhubha is Chhadak or Grahana Karta. The ‘Vilambana’or the delay of time between the ‘Chhadya’and ‘Chhedak’ is known as ‘Chhanna’ or ‘graas’. Thus when Chandra is fully invisible, then the Lunar Eclipse is stated to be complete or ‘Sarvagraas’. If Chandra grahana is a ‘Khanda Grahana’ or a partial eclipse, then Prithvi’s shadow falls on Chandra to that extent. Surya Grahana (Solar Eclipse): When Chandra travels while in rotation between Surya and Prithvi and lies in the Southern direction under the level of Surya, that day when Sun rays fall on the top portion of Chandra, that night is called as Amavasya since Chandra’s lower portion is invisible on Earth. It is on that Amavasya when Chandra comes in between Prithvi and Surya and Surya’s ‘bimba’ disappears at a point of time, that particular Amavasya is stated to the time of Surya Grahana (Solar Eclipse). As in the case of Lunar Eclipse, there might be Sarva graas or Khanda Graas of Solar Eclipse too. On Amavasya, Chandra’s Chhaya falls towards Prithvi and in that Chhaya Bhubhubhagh falls and Surya bimba disappears; the extent of disappearence denotes the full or partial Solar Eclipse. Maharshi Sanandana explained to Narada Muni the methodology of calculating the exact time and duration of the Eclipses as also the general impact on various other Grahas. The belief in Puranas that Rahu was responsible for the Eclipses as he was annoyed at the successful attempts made by Surya and Chandra to dismember him, although succeeded to secure ‘Amrit’ and as a result accomplished the status of Grahas, was not unfound; it is believed that Rahu was dismembered from one entity into two as Rahu and Ketu and Lord Brahma set up Rahu in the shadow of Chandra and Ketu in the shadow of Prithvi and appointed them as Grahas (Planets); while Rahu and Ketu were positioned as the shadows nearby to Surya and Chandra respectively and were thus stated to be responsible for the Eclipses. ]

Samudra Snaana Vidhi:: Samudrey Pournamaasyaamavasyaadi parvasu snaayaat, Bhrigu Bhoumyta diney Snaanam varjyayet/ (Bathing in a Sea is permissible only on Pournamis and Amavasyaas that too on any day excepting Tuesdays and Fridays). Just as Ashwatha Vriksha (Peepul Tree) and Samudra are prayed to by way of visioning any time but not touched indiscriminately, the Vriksha could be touched on Saturdays only and Samudra is touched only on ‘Parva dinaas’as specified. However such restrictions of touching or bathing are not applicable to Rameshwara Setu as indicated in some ‘Grandhas’ or Sacred Books.

Tithi-Nakshatra Vidhis: Saptamyaam nasprushettailam Neela Vastram na dhaarayet, Nachaamyaamalassnaam na kuryaatkalaham Narah, Saptamyaam naiva kurveeta Taamra paatrena bhojanam/ (On Saptami Tithis, oil must not be touched, blue clothing is not worn, bathing by applying Amala Oil is prohibited, arguments and fights are avoided and use copper plates or utensils for serving food. On Nanda tithis viz. Pratipaada, Shashthi, and Ekadashi, oil-baths should not be resorted to; on Rikta Tithis viz. Chaturthi, Navami and Chaturdashis, hair cuts are disallowed; on Jaya Tithis viz. Triteeya, Ashtami and Trayodashi meat-eating is forbidden and on Purna Tithis viz.Panchami, Dashami and Purnimas copulation is barred. As regards the specific days of a week, ‘Abhyangana’ on Sundays, Tuesdays for hair cuts, and Stree-Sangatya on Wednesdays are taboo. Forbidden Stars are Chitra, Hasta and Shravana for oil applications and baths; Vishakha particularly coinciding with Pratipaada for hair cuts; Magha, Krittika and Uttara fot stree-sangathya; Saptami for Tila Tarpana and Tila Bhojana; Ashtami for consumption of cocoanuts and bye products; Navami for Tumbilouki vegetable; Dashami for eating Parora or Snake gourd mvegetable, Ekaadasham Nishpaapa Dhanya; Dwadashi Masoora Dal and on Trayodashi Vangakaaya or Brinjal.
Other do’s and don’ts: Purnima Darsha Sankraanti Chaturdashyashtameeshucha, Naraschandaala -yonousyaa thaila Stree maamsa sevanaat/ (If a person takes up oil-woman-meat on Purnima-Darsha-Sankraanti-Dwadashi or a Shraaddha day, then he is bound to become a chandala in his next birth.) On these days, clothing should not be warped. In the nights of those Tithis, one should not carry Mrittika or Sand, Gomaya or dung, or water. Gomutra or the urine of cows should not be handled. On Amavasya and such other ‘Parva Dinaas’ tila homaas be performed and daanaas be given away for the safety and well being of the self and family members. On Parva Dinas or festival occasions, Vedaadhyayana be avoided but physical and internal cleanliness as also celibacy be ensured. On Pratipada, Darsha / Amavaasya, Shashthi as also on Shraaddha days, Birth days, Vrata days, Sundays and at the time of mid day baths, teeth brushing with neem twigs should be avoided but ash of homaas be used; otherwise, mouth wash be done a dozen times and dry leaves be used to clean up the tongue. Indeed these regulations are being mentioned by way of practical usage but not with a view to acquiring knowledge.






Om Tat Sat

(Continued)

(My humble salutations to  the lotus feet of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamy ji and also my humble greatulness to  Brahmasree Sreeman V D N Rao ji Philosophic Scholar for the collection)

2 comments:

Gomata Balasubramaniam said...

Thanks a lot for Dharma Sindhu online ..

Gomata Balasubramaniam said...
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