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Austerities and Fasts

One way of astrological remedy is to do certain form of austerities. Austerities or “tapas” is a form of accepting voluntarily a penance or self-restraint, in order to pay a karmic debt. Tapa strengthens the mind, will power and capacity to endure any difficulty in life. It takes the mind away from the duality of “likes and dislikes”, Raga and Dwesha.

Tapas activates the “Tejas” or fire element in the mind and body, which bestows inner strength, sharp mind and the capacity to achieve any desired situation and overcome any difficulty in life.

Instead of trying to avoid any form of pain at all means, which is what the mind usually does, the Yogi takes upon himself some challenge to become stronger.

Tapas can be especially powerful to counteract any negative influence from Saturn or to strength the Mars or Sun energies if weak on the birth chart.


The most recommended Tapas are:

 Doing service to the poor, the sick, the personal teacher or the wise people, refrain from pleasures that are not healthy and make the mind scattered and attached, observing a pure simple moderated diet, occasional fasts, keeping silence or only speaking what is absolutely necessary and beneficial, getting up early in the morning to do Yoga, meditation or other spiritual practices, assuming and maintaining a steady posture without movement for meditation, sleeping on a hard bed, sitting on the floor.

One of the highest (and most difficult, but recommended) tapas is: “Bear insult and injury”, not responding with aggression or negativity towards an offender, not identifying with the ego.

But tapas donot mean torturing the body by extreme or “masochist” means, which harm the physical body. Some people cut, burn, beat, pierce their bodies. This kind of extreme Tapas is considered as “Tamasic” or born out of ignorance and delusion.

  
The Bhagavad Gita clearly explains that:
  
“Worship of God, the brahmanas, the teachers, the wise, purity, straightforwardness, celibacy and non-injury are called the austerities of the body”

“Speech which causes no excitement, which is truthful, pleasant and beneficial and the study of the Vedas are called austerity of speech”

Serenity of mind, good heartedness, self-control, purity of nature, this is called mental austerity”

The austerity which is practiced with the object of gaining good reputation, honour and worship, and with hypocrisy is here said to be of a “rejasic”, unstable and transitory” “That austerity which is practiced out of a foolish notion, with self-torture or for the purpose of destroying another is declared to be “Tamasic” or ignorant”. Fasting is regarded as an efficient way of physical, mental, spiritual and karmic purification.

During fasting the toxins from the body are released and that allows the negativity of the mind to be released too. The mind and will power becomes strong. Karmic debts can be purified too.

The prana or vital force usually occupied in digesting the food can be engaged in healing the body and flowing to the higher chakras during fasting.

When there is an afflicting planet on the birth chart, or during a difficult “Dasa”, planetary period or difficult transit of that planet, the austerities and fast should be perform on at least the whole day of the week ruled by the planet for at least 6 consecutive weeks.

  
Sun
Sunday
Moon
Monday
Mars
Tuesday
Mercury
Wednesday
Jupiter
Thursday
Venus
Friday
Saturn
Saturday
Rahu
Saturday
Ketu
Tuesday

 Fasts

Vrat is one of the most significant, simple, facile and a traditional way of rectification of various kinds of maladies. The Sanskrit word `vrata’ denotes `religious vow’. It is one of the most widely used words in the Hindu religious and ritualistic literature. Derived from the verbal root `vrn’ (`to choose’), it signifies a set of rules and discipline. Hence `Vrata’ means performance of any ritual voluntarily over a particular period of time. The purpose is to propitiate a deity and secure from it what the performer wants. This whole process, however, should be undertaken with a sankalpa (Resolution) or religious resolve, on an auspicious day and time fixed as per the dictates of the Hindu religious almanacs called panjika.

Vrata in the Puranas

1. Puranas denote various types of vratas. In all the Purans there is mention of Fasts and how they are performed. Purans have categorized the fasts in following manner.

2. `Kayika-vrata’. It is a vrata pertaining to the body. The stress is on physical austerity like fasting, remaining sleepless, taking baths and such other restraining activity in connection with one’s body.

3. `Vachika-vrata’or vrata pertaining to speech. Here much importance is given to speaking the truth and reciting the scriptures, both being a function of the organ of speech.

4. `Manasa-vrata’ or vrata pertaining to the mind. The emphasis here is on controlling the mind, by controlling the passions and prejudices that arise in it.

5. Payovrata – is the vrata or penance observed by goddess Aditi to propitiate Lord Vishnu. This vrata is discussed in detail in the Bhagavata Purana.

Time based Vrata

There are vratas again based on time. A vrata to be performed just for a dina or day is a `dina-vrata’. One lasting for a vaara or a paksha (week or fortnight) is a `vaara-vrata’ or a `paksha-vrata’ as the case may be. One to be undertaken on a particular tithi (a day according to the lunar calendar) or when a particular nakshatra (asterism) is on the ascendant, is respectively called a `tithi-vrata’ or `nakshatra-vrata’. Most of the vratas now in vogue are based on the tithis of the lunar calendar.

Based on deity

Another classification is according to the deity (an aspect of God) worshipped; for instance, Swarna-gauri-vrata is dedicated to Gauri, another name of Parvati Devi. Likewise Vara-siddhi-vinayaka-vrata is for propitiation of Lord Ganesha or Satya-narayana-vrata to Vishnu known as Satyanarayana.

Impact on society

Who are the persons eligible to perform a vrata? Anyone who has faith in it and wishes to perform it as per the rules, even if the person be a mleccha (alien)! During the Vedic period sacrifices were strictly restricted to the men of the three upper castes called dvijas meaning twice-born. The doors of the vratas were thrown open to one and all during bhakti movement, thus bringing ritualistic Hinduism to especially the lower castes and women. They had been denied that privilege for centuries. Historically speaking, this might have been a master-stroke devised by the liberal-minded religious leaders of the Hindu society to prevent the exodus of their flock to the Jaina and Buddhist folds, which were singularly free from the labyrinth of rituals and offered a simple religion of ethical conduct for the common public.



Dr. Shanker Adawal
Profile: www.connectingmind.comResearch work and articles on Bhrigu Nadi astrology: www.shankerstudy.com
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Rules of Vratas

Though the rules concerning the vratas had been very much liberalized to embrace as large a segment of the society as possible, there had to be some rules guiding the whole process in order to protect and preserve the sanctity of the ritual system itself. These may be summarized as follows:

During the period of the observance of a vrata, one should keep one’s person clean and pure, observe celibacy, speak the truth, practice forbearance, avoid non-vegetarian foods and scrupulously perform all the rituals connected with it.

Once a vrata is undertaken, it should never be left unfinished nor a new one started before completing it. But, one should never start the observance while in ashaucha ceremonial impurity brought about by birth or death in one’s family.

Persons too old or too sick can get the vrata performed for them by the close relatives if they are willing.

Once the decision is taken to perform a vrata, the actual, commencement should be made only as per the auspicious time, place and mode laid down by the books.

Now we will know about some specific Vrats for the elimination of Kuja Dosha, such as : 1) Mangal Vrat; 2) Mangala Gauri Vrat; 3) Vat Savitri Vrat; and 4) Sacred Gauri Vrat.

Mangal Vrat

Manglik persons or those who are suffering from the evils of Mars regarding the absence of conjugal bliss owing to any reason, or the possibility of loss of life of the partner or separation, or otherwise those who are leading miserable married life due to the adversity of Mars must observe Vrat on Tuesday in the following way:-

First of all shodashashopchar Poojan of Mars should be done as explained above with full faith, devotion and dedication. Certain specification, norms, methods and stories have been mentioned in various texts on Vrats. Here we will be discussing all important points of Mangal Vrat i.e. observation of Vrat on Tuesdays. We want to draw the attention of such readers that Vrat on Tuesday does not mean the Vrat of Hanumanji. Mangal Vrat may be observed to please Mangal graham, Mata Durga or any of her incarnation and to please Hanumanji as well. Here we are mostly concerns with the Vrat on Tuesday to prevent the adversity cast by planet Mars. The girls or ladies who are suffering or may suffer due to the evil effects of Mars in their birth charts or if they have Kuja Dosha and get married with a non-Manglik boy, must observe Vrat on Tuesdays.

The Sankalp should be taken by keeping rice, water, betel nuts, flowers and money in the right palm facing towards east or west. Thereafter the contents in the hand should be put in front of Ganapati Devta. After Sankalp Shodshopchar Poojan of Ganapati and Mangal Graha is essential. Without Ganapati Pooja, the n ative is not bestowed with the good results. This is well-established fact that Agrapooja or Ganpati is most essential before offering any other worship to the concerning powere of planets or God.

During Mangal Vrat one may take a glass of milk, tea or juice in the morning after the above Sankalp and worship etc. Thereafter one should take `Choorma” (made of wheat flour and jiggery) between 12 noon to 3 p.m. If one does not want to take Choorma due to any reason he or she may eat sweet fruits or sweets instead. The salt of any kind is strictly prohibited in Mangal Vrat. Any fruits which contain salt, should not be taken. After completing the Vrat one should sing Aarti of Mars before going to bed. If it is very essential one may take one or two fruits after Aarti and before going to bed.

Mangal Vrat should be observed for at least one year. But the Vrat can be extended for 5 years or for whole of the life as advised by Guru or Acharya or by any competent astrologer. After completing the Vrat of Mars, Udyapan is required. It means that the devotee is terminating the Mangal Vrat now onwards. He begets pardon for his mistakes and donates to Brahmins.

Dr. Shanker Adawal
Profile: www.connectingmind.comResearch work and articles on Bhrigu Nadi astrology: www.shankerstudy.com
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Zodiac Yantras

Aries

This yantra is of Aries whose lord is Mars. Person having Aries ascendant or Moon Sign Aries should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

6
7
2
1
5
9
8
3
4

Om Dhim Shrim Laxmi Narayana Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Taurus

This yantra is of Taurus whose lord is Venus. Person having Taurus ascendant or Moon Sign Taurus should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

4
9
2
3
5
7
8
1
6

Om Gopalay Uttardvajaya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatar with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Gemini

This yantra is of Gemino whose lord is Mercury. Person having Gemini ascendant or Moon sign Gemini should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

2
7
6
9
5
1
4
3
8

Om Klim Krishnai Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Cancer

This yantra is of Cancer whose lord is Moon. Person having Cancer ascendant or Moon Sign Cancer should worship this yantra.
The mantra for recital is:
8
1
6
3
5
7
4
9
2

Om Hrim Hringarbhaya Vyaktrupine Namah||

The yantra is to carved on silver plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Leo

This yantra is of Leo whose lord is Sun. Person having Leo ascendant or Moon sign Leo should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

6
7
2
1
5
9
8
3
4

Om Klim Brahamane Jagadadaharaya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Virgo

This yantra is of Virgo whose lord is Mercury. Person having Virgo ascendant or Moon Sign Virgo should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:


8
1
6
3
5
7
4
9
2

Om Pim Pitambaraya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Libra

The yantra is of Libra whose lord is Venus. Person having Libra ascendant or Moon Sign Libra should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

2
7
6
9
5
1
4
3
8

Om Tatavniranjanaya tarak ramaya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Scorpio

This yantra is of Scorpio whose lord is Mars. Person having Scorpio ascendant or Moon Sign Scorpio should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

4
9
2
3
5
7
8
1
6

Om Narayana Suryasinghaya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Sagittarius

This yantra is of Sagittarius whose lord is Jupiter. Person having Sagittarius ascendant or Moon Sign Sagittarius should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

6
7
2
1
5
9
8
3
4

Om Shrim Devkrishanaya Udarjaya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Capricorn

This yantra is of Capricorn whose lord is Saturn. Person having Capricorn ascendant or Moon Sign Capricorn should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

8
1
6
3
5
7
4
9
2

Om Shrim Vatsalaya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Aquarius

This yantra is for Aquarius whose lord is Saturn. Person having Aquarius ascendant or Moon Sign Aquarius should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

2
7
6
9
5
1
4
3
8

Om Shri Upendaraya Acchutaya Namah||

The yantra is to carved on copper plate or on bhojpatra with Asthgand. This mantra is to recited daily in the morning.

Pisces

This yantra is of Pisces whose lord is Jupiter. Person having Pisces ascendant or Moon Sign Pisces should worship this yantra. The mantra for recital is:

4
9
2
3
5
7
8
1
6

Om Klim Uddhritaya uddharine Namah||

Navgraha Yantra

It is the Yantra for all the nine planets. It can be used by everyone or the persons who don’t know their zodiac sign.


Dr. Shanker Adawal
Profile: www.connectingmind.comResearch work and articles on Bhrigu Nadi astrology: www.shankerstudy.com
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