1) LORD VARAHA ENLIGHTENS PRITHVI PRITHVI’S QUERIES

Lord Vishnu, in his incarnation of Varaha (a boar), had liberated Prithvi (Mother Earth) from the clutches  of Hiranyaksha,  the mighty demon  who  had  abducted her to  Rasatal.  After being rescued,  Prithvi  heaved  a  sigh  of  relief  and  looked  at  her  saviour,  who  was  smiling.  She curiously asked lord Varaha-…

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2) PRIYAVRATA ATTAINS TO HEAVENLY ABODE

Describing the incident which enabled King Priyavrata to attain to heavenly abode Lord Varaha told Prithvi- “Swayambhuva Manu lived during the first kalpa. He had two sons- Priyavrata and Uttanpad. Priyavrata was extremely virtuous by nature. In course of time, he relinquished his throne and after distributing his kingdom among…

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3) ASHVASHIRA’S UNIFICATION WITH LORD NARAYAN

Prithvi asked lord Varaha about the famous incident which described Ashvashira’s unification with lord Narayan. Lord Varaha then narrated the following tale- “During ancient times, there used to live a virtuous king named Ashvashira. He had performed an Ashwamedha Yagya in which he had donated large amount of wealth. Once,…

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4) KING VASU AND SAGE RAIMYA UNITE WITH SRI HARI

Prithvi was anxious to know about the effect sage Brihaspati’s discources had on King Vasu as well as sage Raimya. She asked lord Varaha- “What did both king Vasu and sage Raimya do after listening to the preachings of sage Brihaspati?” Lord Varaha replied- “King Vasu was so impressed by…

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5) MATSYA AVATAR

Once, when lord Vishnu awakened from his yoga nidra, he found that the Vedas had submerged in the ocean as the result of Pralaya (deluge). He incarnated as matsya (fish) to retrieve the Vedas from  the  ocean-bed.  As  soon  as  lord  Matsya  entered  into  the  ocean,  He  attained  such  an…

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6) KING DURJAY

During Satya Yuga, there lived a king named Suprateek. Although he had two queens, yet none of them bore any son to him. One day, Suprateek went to meet sage Durvasa, who had his hermitage at the foothills of Chitrakut mountain and engaged himself in the sevice of Durvasa. The…

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7) SHRADHA RITUALS PITRAS AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SHRADHA

Once sage Markandeya arrived at Naimisharanya to see sage Gaurmukh. Sage Gaurmukh was delighted to find such an enlightened soul at his hermitage. After the formalities were over, Gaurmukh requested him to shed light on the venerability of ancestors and the significance of shradha rituals. Sage Markandeya replied- “Lord Brahma,…

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8) THE APPROPRIATE TIME FOR PERFORMING SHRADHA

Describing the auspicious time for performing the rituals of shradha, Markandeya told Gurumukh- “A person desirous of performing the rituals of ‘kamya shradha’ can do so on any of the following days- a) at the commencement of uttarayan or Dakshainayan. b) at the time when vyatipat yoga takes place. c)…

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9) SHRADHA KALPA

Describing the types of Brahmin considered to be elligible to preside over the rituals of shradha, Markandeya told sage Gaurmukh- “The following types of brahmin are can perform shradha- trinachiket, trimadhu, trisuparna and the brahmins who are well versed in all the Vedas. The shradha rituals can be performed by…

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10) HOW TO INVITE BRAHMINS TO SHRADHA CEREMONY

Invitation should be given to the all the brahmins one day in advance. If invited brahmins arrive to attend the shradha ceremony they should be treated with due respect. The brahmin who is supposed to perform the rituals should wash the feet of other brahmins to show his respect towards…

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11) TYPES OF SHRADHA AND MANTRA

A person performing the shradha rituals should have his seat made of ‘kusha’ grass. After taking his seat, he should invoke the deities and make offerings of ‘ardhya’ to them. While offering ‘ardhya’ to the deities water and barley are commonly used along with other articles like sandalwood, incense, etc….

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12) THE RITUALS OF PINDA DAN AND BALIVAISHVA DEVA

One important characteristic of the rituals connected with pinda dan is the offerings made to manes in the form of sesame seeds and water. Another important aspect is that ‘pinda’ is offered on the ‘kusha’ grass which are kept facing south- first in the name of one’s dead father and…

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13) THE MANIFESTATION OF VARIOUS DEITIES

During Treta Yuga, there lived a king named Prajapal. Once while he was on his hunting spree, he entered into a dense forest. He was delighted to see a dear who started running for its life after hearing the noise. Prajapal let his horse loose in the direction of the…

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14) AGNI

“When Agni manifested himself from Brahma’s anger, he requested him (Brahma) to assign an auspicious day to him for his worship. Lord Brahma said- ‘Since you have manifested first of all the deities, therefore the first day (pratipada)  will be reserved  for  your worship. One who performs havan on pratipada…

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15) ASHWINI KUMARS

King Prajapal requested Mahatapa to describe how both the Ashwini Kumars manifested themselves. Sage Mahatapa narrated the following tale- ‘Marichi was Lord Brahma’s son while Kashyapa was Marichi’s son. All the twelve Adityas are the sons of sage Kashyapa. One of the Adityas- Martand, was marrird to Vishwakarma’s daughter whose…

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16) GODDESS PARVATI

King Prajapal asked Mahatapa about the reason why goddess Gauri- the epithet of power, had to take incaranation. Sage Mahatapa replied – “Goddess Gauri manifested from lord Narayan and was offered to Rudra as his consort by lord Brahma. Lord Brahma then instructed Brahma to begin creation but Rudra being…

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17) LORD GANAPATI

King Prajapal then asked sage Mahatapa about the manifestation of lord Ganapati and about the significance of chaturthi in terms of Ganapati’s worship. Mahatapa narrated the following tale- “Once all the deities went to seek Shiva’s help in sorting out a peculiar problem they were faced with- while they experienced…

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18) NAG DEVTA

King Prajapal then requested Mahatapa to shed light on the origin of the serpents and the significance of  ‘panchami’.  Sage Mahatapa replied- The serpents  came from  the lineage of Kadru-Kashyapa’s  wife.  Sage Kashyapa  had  numerous  progeny from  Kadru-Vasuki,  Anant, Kambal, Karkotak, Padma, Mahapadma, Shankh, Kulik, etc. When all these serpents…

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19) KARTIKEYA

Describing Kartikeya’s manifestation and how his worship got associated with the auspicious day of shashthi, sage Mahatapa told king Prajapal- Once a fierce battle was between the deities and demons in which the deities got defeated. The reason behind their defeat was the absence was the absence of an able…

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20) LORD ADITYA

King Prajapal asked Mahatapa- “The thought of divine radiance taking the form of human radiance bewilders me. Please clear my doubts.” Sage Mahatapa replied – “When the almighty God willed to manifest himself in other tangible forms, an effulgence emanated from his being resulting into the creation of ‘Surya’ (The…

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21) ASHTA MATRIKAS

Continuing with his narration, sage Mahatapa said – “During ancient times, there lived a mighty demon named ‘Andhakasur’. Andhakasur had become arrogant because of a boon of immortality received from lord Brahma. Being tormented by Andhakasur, all the deities went to seek lord Brahma’s help. Lord Brahma took the deities…

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22) GODDESS DURGA

King Prajapal requested sage Mahatapa to narrate about the manifestation of goddess Durga and the significance of her worship on navami. Sage Mahatapa replied- The mighty demon-Vetrasur had driven out deities from the heaven. All the deities went to lord Brahma and sought his help. As lord Brahma was wondering…

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23) DASH DISHAS

Having finished the tale of goddess Durga, sage Mahatapa revealed how all the six directions came into existence- “Six divine women manifested themselves from both the ears of lord Brahma during the initial phase of creation. The name of these six divine women were Purva (east), Dakshaina (south), Paschima (west),…

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24) KUBERA

Continuing with the tales of the manifestation of various deities, sage Mahatapa said- “In the process of doing his creation, lord Brahma bellowed as a result of which Kubera manifested himself. Lord Brahma assigned Kubera the lordship of all the wealth and prosperity. It wasm ‘ekadashi’ when Kubera had manifested…

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25) LORD VISHNU

Describing how lord Vishnu manifested, sage Mahatapa told Prajapal – “Narayan- the almighty God incarnated as lord Vishnu to nurture all the living creatures inhabiting the world. Eventually lord Vishnu entrusted the job of world’s welfare to goddess Yoganidra and himself went into his meditative sleep. While he was still…

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26) DHARMA

Sage Mahatapa then told king Mahapal about the manifestation of Dharma and the significance of trayodashi- ‘Dharma manifested himself from the right part of almighty God and appeared like a bullock. The almighty God instructed him to protect the mankind from all evils and sins. All the four feet of…

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27) LORD RUDRA

Sage Mahatapa then went on to describe the incident that led to the manifestation of lord Rudra and the significance of chaturdashi- ‘In the beginning of creation, when lord Brahma failed in his repeated attempts to create, he became frustrated. Frustration turned into fury and from his fury manifested a…

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28) TANMATRAS

Describing the importance of amavasya, sage Mahatapa told Prajapal- “Once, while lord Brahma was just about to commence the process of creation, suddenly ‘tanmatras’ (subtle forms of matter) revealed themselves from his mind. All of them being extremely virtuous were eager to go up in the sky to do penance…

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29) CHANDRAMA

Describing the importance of purnima sage Mahatapa said- “Daksha Prajapati had cursed Chandrama, his son-in-law for maltreating his daughters. As the fallout of that curse Chandrama started waning day by day and eventually became invisible on amavasya. All the deities became worried  and  went  to  seek  lord  Vishnu’s  help.  Lord …

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31) KURMA-DWADASHI VRATA

This particular austerity is dedicated to the worship of lord Kurma- the incarnation of lord Vishnu. It is celebrated on the twelfth day of the bright half of the Hindu month ‘pausha’. The austerity which commences on the tenth day itself when a devotee is supposed to purify himself by…

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32) VARAHA-DWADASHI VRATA

Varaha dwadashi is celebrated on the twelfth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-magh. This was the day on which Prithvi had been rescued by lord Varaha- the incarnation of lord Vishnu. An idol of lord Varaha is installed on a pot filled with water and worshipped with…

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33) NRISIMHA-DWADASHI VRATA

This austerity is observed on the twelfth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-phalgun. A devotee should observe fast on this day and worship lord Nrisimha with appropriate rituals. This particular austerity is capable of absolving a man from all his sins.

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34) VAMANA-DWADASHI VRATA

Vamana dwadashi is celebrated on the twelfth day of the bright half of the Hindu month- chaitra. A devotee should observe a fast and worship lord Vamana by saying the following prayer- “O Lord! Vamana- the dwarfish incarnation of the almighty Vishnu, who took incarnation on the auspicious day of…

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35) JAMDAGNYA-DWADASHI VRATA

This austerity is related with the worship of lord Parshurama who is also famous as Jamdagnya. It is celebrated on the twelfth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-vaishakh. Before commencing the rituals, a devotee should purify himself by taking a bath and then worship an idol of…

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36) KALKI-DWADASHI VRATA

A devotee should commence this austerity by observing a fast on the eleventh day of the bright half of the Hindu month-bhadrapad and break it on the following day-dwadashi. He should worship lord Kalki with appropriate rituals. As per the norms of the rituals, the idol of lord Kalki is…

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37) PADMANABH-DWADASHI VRATA

This austerity is related with the worship of lord Padmanabh- an epithet of lord Vishnu and is observed on the twelfth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-ashwin. One important charecteristic of the ritual is that all the organs of lord Padmanabh is worshipped. The idol is placed…

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38) DHARNI-VRATA

This particular austerity is observed in the Hindu month of Kartik. The rituals commence by worshipping various organs of lord Narayan amidst the chanting of different mantras which are as follows- om sahastra shirse namah – head 2. om Purushay namah – arms   om vishwa rupine namah – throat…

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39) BUDDHA-DWADASHI VRATA

Lord Buddha is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The austerity begins on the eleventh  day of the bright  half  of the Hindu  month-Shravana.  On this  day lord  Vishnu  is worshipped with appropriate rituals and by making offerings of various articles like flowers, fruits, incense, etc. The following…

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40) SUBH-VRATA

This particular austerity on the first day of the Hindu month-margashirsh. It is related with the worship of lord Vishnu and the rituals have some special characteristics- having one meal on the eleventh day of the month (ekadashi), donating barley to brahmins, worshipping the idol of goddess Prithvi on ‘ekadashi’,…

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41) DHANYA-VRATA

This particular austerity is a form of ‘nakta-vrata’, which means observing fast for the whole day and breaking it in the night. The austerity commences on the first day of the bright half of the Hindu month- aghan and lasts for a year. Rituals include worshipping Agnideva- an embodiment of…

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42) KANTI-VRATA

This austerity is related with the worship of Sri Krishna and Balarama. It commences on the second day of the bright half of the Hindu month-kartik and lasts for a year whereby a devotee observes fast on the second day (bright half) of every month that follows. While worshipping Balarama,…

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43) SAUBHAGYA-VRATA

This austerity commences on the third day of the bright half of the Hindu month-falgun and lasts for a year whereby a devotee observes fast on the third day (bright half) of every month that follows. According to the tradition a devotee can either worship ‘Shiva-Parvati’ or ‘Sri Hari- Lakshmi…

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44) AVIGHNA-VRATA

As the name implies, this austerity clears all the obstacles faced by a man. It commences on the fourth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-falgun and lasts for four months whereby a devotee observes fast on the fourth day (bright half) of every month that follows. One…

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45) SHANTI-VRATA

This austerity commences on the fifth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-kartik and lasts for a year whereby a devotee observes fast on the fifth day (bright half) of the every month that follows. It is related with the worship of lord Vishnu and Sheshnag. A devotee…

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46) KAM-VRATA

This austerity is related with the worship of lord Kartikeya and is observed in the bright half of the Hindu month-pausha. On the sixth day of this month, a devotee is expected to live on nothing else but fruits. Lord Kartikeya is also known by several other names- Shadanan, Senani,…

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47) AROGYA-VRATA

This austerity is related with the worship of lord Surya Narayan who is also known by several other names like Aditya, Bhaskar, Ravi, Bhanu, Diwakar, Prabhakar, etc. A devotee should observe a fast on the seventh day of any month and worship lord Suryanarayan. The fast should be broken on…

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48) PUTRA-PRAPTI VRATA

This austerity commences on the eighth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-bhadrapad. The rituals consist of taking a ‘sankalpa’ on the preceding day (saptami) and worshipping lord Sri Hari on the next day with appropriate rituals. Offerings are made to the sacrificial fire, which usually consist of…

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49) SHAURYA AND SARVA BHAUM VRATA

the nineth day of the bright half of the Hindu month-ashvin. The rituals commence by taking a ‘sankalpa’ as well as observing a fast on the preceding day (saptami). The fast is broken on the next day (ashtami) by having fruits. Cereals are excluded from the diet. One important aspect…

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50) THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DHENU DAN – TIL DHENU-DAN

As the name implies, an idol of a cow made from powdered sesame seeds is donated to a brahmin. The idol should weigh not less than sixteen ‘prasthas’ (one prastha=four kudav, ancient units of weight measurment) Similarly a calf’s idol made from powdered sesame seeds and weighing four ‘prasthas’ is…

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