(Last Updated on : 22/04/2010)
Agni Purana says that Bhishrna Panchakam is considered the king of all the Vratas. The Vrata is generally practised on the day of the eleventh phase of the Moon's increase in the month of Kartika
. The penitent should observe a vow of silence on the occasion, bathe thrice every day and perform such a rite of ablution for the five successive days from the day of the first observance of the vow, and offer libations of water to the gods and his departed manes, containing the seeds of five different sorts of Vrihi and sessamum orientale.
It has been said in the Purana that the rite of ablution should be done unto the image of the god Hari, with the composition known as the Pancha-gavya and the Panchamrita. The body of the idol should be smeared with sandal-paste etc., and crystals of scented gum resin soaked in clarified butter, should be burnt before it. Day and night, the lamps should be kept lighted before the image, and oblations of sweetened porridge should be offered to the god whom it represents. The Vrati should repeat the Mantra hundred and eight times. The Fire God in the Purana narrates that the penitent should sleep on the bare floor during the continuance of the Vratra, and take cowdung, curd, milk and the composition known as the Pancha-gavya, respectively on the first (Ekadashi), second and third. He should break his fast in the night of the following full moon, whereby he would be liberated from the trammels of life, after a happy and prosperous career on earth.
The legend in Agni Purana says that the Vrata is named after the hero Bhishma
who practised it in the by-gone age, and attained the god Hari through its merit. The supreme Brahma is to be worshipped in all the Vratas, which has the observance of a fast as its essential condition.
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