The purpose of fasting is to abstain from your physical needs to gain something on the higher spiritual realm. Scriptures say that fasting helps you to attune yourself with the supreme godhead and helps your body and mind to be in a state of harmony. You can understand what is fasting by doing it with devotion and find out the results yourself.
What is the importance of fasting or vrat in our lives?
In Devanagri, the word vrata means to Vow, resolve, and show the devotion” Vratas help us surrender to the divine and unite with the higher self in spirit. Vr means will and Rita means pattern. Vrata helps us achieve final liberation by maintaining the cyclical pattern of the cosmos. The importance of fasting cannot be explained in just a few words.
What are the benefits of fasting?
Fasting, in medical terms, has a plethora of health benefits, including obesity control, warding off spike in blood sugar levels, improved heart and brain functions and cancer prevention strategy. Religious fasting has an enormous impact on energy balance, dyslipidemia, and oxidative stress. It is also advised to be incorporated as a health management practice for preventing diseases by the medical fraternity.
Worshipping Lord Shiva on Amavasya vrat on Monday would confer all the worldly pleasures and the ever-growing number of devotees bears a testimony to this fact. This vrat bestows a good life partner to those unmarried; it grants marital peace and domestic concord for the married devotees; it confers pleasures in every way to all devotees who pray to him with some fervent wish on their minds. Monday/ 16 Somvar fasts provides relief from various health issues, and improves financial status, and happiness.
Thursday fasting is observed to appease Jupiter and ward off obstacles in marital life. It is also done to improve your health and financial prospects. Fasting process coupled with prayers pleases gods instantly and, you will gain the divine blessings and boons. Thursday is essentially the day of the Guru, or Jupiter planet. Benefits of fasting are varied.
Can you elaborate on the Monday puja vidhi?
The 16 Somvar Vrat is best to be observed starting from the 1st Monday of Shukla Paksha in the month of Shravana, initially observing the vrata and fast for 4 to 5 Mondays. If it feels comfortable, the devotees can stretch up the fast up to 16 consecutive Mondays. The Somavathi Amavasya is celebrated during the period of July to August, in North India, while it is performed between November to December across South India.
16 Somvar Vrat Puja Vidhi
The devotees observing the fast must be clad in white the Somavathi Amavasya. As per the vrata procedure, one has to get up before sunrise, meditate on Lord shiva, take the usual bath, followed by prayers to Lord Shiva and Parvathi devi. A special puja should begin at this point. This fast begins with sunrise and ends with sunset. In the morning, sprinkle the holy Ganga Jal , milk and curds on the ‘shiva-linga’ and bedeck the Linga with white flowers and seasonal fruits. The entire day should be spent in chanting of the primordial mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” until dusk and then story of Lord Shiva is read in earnest devotion. They are allowed to have only a meal of Sabu dana khichdi or fruits for lunch.
The vrata ends the next day of Shivaratri with udyapan and shiva puja. Naivedya is distributed. Usually, prayers are conducted in the premises of the temple, those, for whom the temple visit may be a little cumbersome, can still conduct the prayers at home. The Monday Puja Vidhi incorporates all the above procedures.
Can you explain in detail, the Thursday Puja Vidhi?
You can begin fasting on any Thursday except in the month of Pushya. Most preferably it is started on the first Thursday or Shukla paksha. This fast is carried out for 16 Thursdays, and then continued for three long years, at a stretch.
For conducting the puja, you require lentils, jaggery, turmeric, banana, and a photo of Lord Narayana. You need to take a bath early in the morning, wear yellow robes, and then sprinkle the lord’s photo with holy water, and turmeric. Envelop the photo in a yellow cloth. Offer Akshata (yellow tinged rice grains), Chant the slokas and read the Vrata katha. The ghee lamp should be lit during worship. Offer yellow-colored sweets to the lord on this day. Take food only after your prayers. Do not wash your hairs that entire day or eat salty dishes. You can conclude the Vrata by listening or reading the Vrat katha. Thursday Vrata katha is a must do. Yellow clothes must be given away in charity that day. The Thursday puja Vidhi has all the above procedures to follow as these will grant wish fulfillment for the devotees.