CHAPTER – 16 DESCRIPTION OF DWADASHI FAST

The sages say: “O fortunate one! You have obliged us narrating the tale of sacred Ganges. Now we desire to hear what Narada asked Sanatkumar.”

Suta says: “O great sages! Now I narrate what Narada asked Sanatkumar, listen to it carefully.” Narada says: “I am blessed hearing the pious tale of the Ganges. Now kindly tell me about the

fast and rituals performing which, Sri Hari could be pleased.”

Sanatkumar says: O Narada! May God bless you! You are the supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu. That’s why, you are asking about these rituals. Now I am telling you about these rituals and fasts, which make a man fearless. O Narada! There is a special provision for worshipping Lord Vishnu on the twelfth day of Shukla Paksha (brighter phase) in the month of Margashirsh. This worship could be performed wearing white or yellow clothes. During the worship, one should recite the mantra – KESHAVAYA NAMASTUBHYAM.

One should then offer oblations of ghee and sesame seeds in sacred fire. During the night, one should sing devotional songs before Shaligram and remain awakened. Then the idol of Vishnu should be bathed with five liters of milk. Similarly, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu should be worshipped with Naivedya and edible items three times. Next morning, similar worship should be repeated.

At the end of the worship, one should donate sweetmeats made of milk, ghee and coconut to Brahmin while reciting-‘May the Lord materialize all my wishes.’ Seeing off the Brahmin, one should break his fast at the end.

On the same day, in the month of Pausha, one should observe a fast and worship Lord Vishnu’s idol bathing it with milk while reciting NAMO NARAYANA.

In  this  worship  also,  there  is  provision  of  nightlong  prayers  and  vigilance.  Donating  the Brahmins with rice, pulses, ghee etc., one should respectfully feed them and break his fast in the last. Donation of Dakshaina is a must. Similarly, on the same day in the month of Magh, there is a provision of daylong fast and worship. This time, five kilos of sesame seeds are donated to the Brahmins.

On the twelfth day of Shukla Paksha in Phagun, one should bathe Sri Hari’s idol with five liters of milk. Then one hundred and eight oblations of sesame seeds and ghee are made to the sacred fire. Nightlong prayers, feeding of Brahmins etc. are as usual. In this worship, unhusked rice is donated. The required mantra is GOVINDAY NAMASTUBHYAM

On the same day in the month of Chaitra, there is a provision of bathing Vishnu’s idol with five liters of ghee and making oblations of honey, ghee and sesame seeds one hundred and eight times while reciting -NAMOSTU VISHNAVE TUBHYAM

Then four kilos of rice are donated to a Brahmin.

On the twelfth day in the brighter phase of Vaishakh, there is a provision of bathing Vishnu’s idol with milk and making one hundred and eight oblations of ghee reciting -NAMASTE MADHUHANTE

 

On the twelfth day in the brighter phase of Jyeshtha, there is a provision of offering one hundred and eight oblations of kheer (rice cooked in four liters of milk) while reciting NAMAH TRIVIKRAMAY.

 

Twenty Malpuas (wheat flour kneaded in milk and sugar and fried in ghee) are donated to a

Brahmin.

 

On the same day in the month of Ashadh, Lord Vishnu’s idol is bathed with four liters of milk. Then oblations of ghee are made and cereal mixed with coconut and curd are donated to the Brahmins. This worship  is directed to Vamana incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hence, mantra NAMASTE VAMANAY is recited all along the rituals.

 

In the month of Shravan, there is a provision of bathing Lord’s idol with milk and honey on the twelfth day of the brighter phase. Then one hundred and eight oblations are made reciting – SRIDHARAY NAMOSTUTE.

 

Then four liters of milk, clothes and two golden earrings are donated to the Brahmin.

 

Lord’s idol should be bathed with milk while reciting – HRISHIKESH NAMOSTUBHYAM on the twelfth day in the month of Bhadrapad.

 

Then one hundred and eight oblations are made with cooked cereals mixed with honey. Wheat donated along with gold to the Brahmins besides feeding them with respect.

 

In the month of Ashwin also, Lord’s idol is bathed with five liters of milk. Then, one hundred and eight oblations are offered with ghee, sesame seeds and rice reciting – NAMASTE PADMANABHAY.

 

Two hundred and fifty grams of honey are donated to a Brahmin. In the month of Kartik, on the same day, Lord’s idol is bathed with four liters of milk, curd or ghee while reciting- NAMO DAMODARAY.

 

Then, one hundred and eight oblations are offered with sesame seeds mixed with honey and ghee. This worship is closed with donating five types of edible items to a deserving Brahmin, feeding him and seeing him off with Dakshaina.

 

O Munivar! Those who observe this virtuous fast for the twelve months of a year attains to the supreme abode. Observance of this fast for one or two months only is also equally benefiting. If this fast is observed for a year, there is a provision of special closing ritual at the end so that one shouldn’t have to observe it again in his life. This closing ritual is performed on the twelfth day of the darker phase in the month of Margsheersh.

One should get up early in the morning that day and after attending routine tasks; he should take bath, wear white clothes, smear sandalwood paste on the forehead and make a square-shaped altar on the ground. This altar should be decorated with jingling bells, whiskers, flags and white cloth. On the four corners of the altar, four lamps should be lighted.

 

At the center of the altar, a Sarvatobhadra wheel is drawn and twelve urns filled with water are kept on it. Putting five kinds of gems in these urns, they should be covered with white cloth. The worshipper must procure silver or gold idols of Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu and place them on the lids of the urns. Frugality is not expected in this ritual. These idols should be bathed with milk containing ghee, honey, curd and five types of dry fruits. It should be followed with proper worship of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. These rituals last nightlong.

 

Next morning, oblations are offered with sesame seeds reciting all the twelve mantras described above. Donation of ten Malpuas, curd, kheer, ghee etc. are made to twelve Brahmins. At last, all the idols and other materials are handed over to the priest who had guided the worship. Devotee must dine after all and he should not speak during dining. All the desires of the one who observes all these twelve fasts and closes them properly are fulfilled and he attains abode of Vishnu along with his twenty-one generations.

 

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