Shri Swasthani Fast Concluding-- Shri Swasthani fast is one of the difficult fasts for women observed during Poush Shukla Purnima for one month. The deities of this fast are Lord Shiva and Jagajjanani Parbati.According to the evidence of mythological texts, Nepal is the playground of the Himalayan daughter Parbati/Parvati. Mother Parvati, the powerful form of Lord Shiva, had aspired to receive Lord Shiva as her bridegroom from her early childhood days. And, this same difficult fast that Bhagwati observed for the first time in history to get her desire fulfilled is the Shri Swasthani fast.
The History and Life plus Devotion of Sati Devi
Curiosity surely arises, who is the Bhagwati Shri Swasthani Mata/mother worshiped by Parvati herself? Come, Let's talk about this: Goddess / Mother Parvati was Sati Devi, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati in her previous life. As mentioned in the Shri Swasthani Brat-Katha, Lord Shivaji was married to the same Sati Devi. At one point, Daksha Prajapati organized a big Yagya (fire worship). Lord Brahma, Bishnu, Indra, and Tettis Koti (3.3 million) gods/deities were invited along with their courtesans but Daksha Prajapati did not invite his own son-in-law Shiva and daughter Sati Devi. Sati Devi was dissatisfied as the perfect Yagya idol, Lord Shiva was not invited to the Yagya. Therefore, she went to the Yagya site to complain about it with her father. Instead, he insulted, disrespected, rejected, and condemned Lord Shiva which deeply had an effect on Sati Devi and she felt even more unbearable pain. Sati Devi was not only Shiva's consort but also a form of power. Sati and Shiva are forms of nature representing Nature (Prakriti) and man (Purush) respectively. Therefore, Sati vowed to end her relationship with her own father, who committed a great sin like slandering Lord Shiva. And, sacrificing her life to Lord Shiva, she jumped into the fire altar of Yagya and gave up her life.Daksha's fire sacrifice was destroyed by shiva's army because of Daksha condemning Lord Shiva. Birbhadra beheaded Daksha and threw the head in the fire altar. After that, respecting the compassionate call of Daksha's wife Birani, the same Bir Bhadra gave life to Daksha Prajapati but in the form of an animal.Lord Shiva is the Lord of all sacrifices/Yagya. When the same Yagya idol was not invited nor was the Yagya part given, the Yagya performed by Daksha Prajapati would have been in vain and disastrous automatically. What happened to Daksha Prajapati after Sati's tears and curses are all described in the story.
Lord Shiva's Lamentation and Shakti Peeths
The demise of his better half and life partner Sati as his integral power caused asceticism in Lord Shiva and he began to travel the earth carrying the body of Sati Devi. Because of this, Sati Devi's body started melting and her body parts started falling apart from her body. Shiva and Shakti resided in the holy places where Bhagwati Sati Devi’s body parts had fallen. Jyotirlingas and Shakti Peeths (power center) were established in different parts of the world as part of Shiva. There are various contexts of stories of local devotees receiving gifts from Shiva Shakti while performing devotional service, worship, and penance at these Shakti Peeths. These contexts have shown the importance of Shakti Peeths.
Parbati's Life and her Devotion
Sati Devi was reborn from the womb of Himalaya’s wife Menaka with the name of Parvati/Parbati. Parbati had already chosen Lord Shiva as her husband in her heart according to her previous life’s ancestral rites. But, when Parvati was old enough to be married, her father Himalaya started preparation for her marriage with Lord Bishnu. When Parbati found out about this, she ran away to the remote forest, and started meditating on Mahadev (Lord Shiva), and began to do severe penance.When Parbati decided to become Shiva's wife and did penance to him, Ashutosh Mahadev (Ashutosh meaning he who is easily pleased) was pleased with her and appeared before Parbati. And, after taking suggestions, advice from Lord Bishnu, who advised her ways to get Shiva as her husband. Bishnu advised Parbati to fast for a month on Shri Swasthani so as to get her wish fulfilled of getting Shiva as her husband and for the first time in history Parbati methodically fasted on Shri Swasthani for a month.
Attributes of Shri Swasthani
Shri Swasthani Bhagwati is of a golden divine color like gold, has three eyes, has a happy face like a lotus flower, sits on a throne adorned with various ornaments, holds a sword, and sapphire lotus has four arms and is the power source of Shiva. Under the influence of such a Shri Swasthani goddess’s fast, Parbati received the gift of obtaining the power form of Shiva in her body and also got Mahadev as her husband.It is already mentioned here that, in the Satya Yuga, according to the advice of Lord Bishnu, Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas, fasted in Shri Swasthani to get Mahadev / Lord Shiva as her husband.
Goddess Parvati's Suggestion and its effects
In time, Goddess Parbati suggested observing this fast to the poor and destitute as well. Mother Parbati sent a message through Sapta Rishi (seven sages) to Goma Brahmani, who lost her husband while she was pregnant with a 70-year-old Shiva Sharma Brahmin at the age of seven. The context of her being saved from the effect of the story of Shri Swasthani too is mentioned in this Shri Swasthani fast. Under the influence of this story, her son Navaraj, who was abroad and lost, immediately returned and became the king of the beautiful country, Labanya.In the same way, even only the offerings of Shri Swasthani Brat that came floating in the river were found by a Serpent separated from her partner. She blessed the one who put the offering in the water and just by this small holy deed she was reunited with her partner. Chandravati, the daughter-in-law of the same Goma Brahmani, suffered for years being unconscious in the bank of Shali Nadi, River when she arrogantly blasphemed and despised the Shri-Swasthani Goddess. Whereas, the devout people who used to carry her in a palanquin on their shoulders received the heavens. Later, Chandravati was rescued due to the effect of Shri-Swasthani's fast. All these issues and contexts come up in the Swasthani story.
Places Mentioned in the Story / Katha
The Sali Nadi river and the Sleshmantak forest mentioned in the story of Shri Swasthani Mata are in Kathmandu, inside our country Nepal. It is mentioned in the Skanda Puran that all the themes and events mentioned in this story also happened in the spheres of Nepal. “Swasthani” is the goddess of one's own place. Nepal also is the playground of Parbati, the daughter of the Himalayas. Goddess Parvati, who became an integral part of Shiva by performing penance in this land, is known as Shri Swasthani Parmeshwari. Devotees flock to Pashupatinath, Shleshamantak forest, Bankali, Bagmati river, Mrigasthali, Kirateshwar, Gaurighat, Guhyeshwari, and various other Shakti Peeths and Mahadev temples, sacred Shali Nadi river, etc. where Shiva-Parvati played in various forms during the entire month of the fasting. In those places, Swasthani Mela (fair) is also held during the fasting period.
Methods of Fasting and its Observance
In order to observe/take the fast of Swasthani, on the day of Poush Shukla Chaturdashi, one should cut the nails of the hands and feet, take a bath, put on clean clothes, and prepare for the fast by cleaning the house and its yard, etc. Brati (the person observing the fast) should consume fruits only once a day and sleep on the floor over a Radi-Pakhi, i.e, hand-knit rough woolen carpet/quilt throughout the month. On the day of Poush Shukla Purnima, after bathing in the morning and doing daily activities, by purifying oneself, one should sit in a pure cushion made of Cuz grass. Then the Brati, to start the fasting, should make a resolution from the heart as follows “From today till the full moon of Magh Shukla Purnima, as per the method of Fasting, I will spend every noon with the ritual/ offering of Shri-Swasthani Parmeshwari, and every day at night by listening to the Swasthani story, I will conclude my fast of one month” and the Brati should start the fasting. There is a provision for the devotee or brati of Shri Swasthani to bathe daily during the month of Magh, to remember the goddess with devotion in their minds, to worship and adore as per mentioned methods, to chant/recite mantras, and to eat only one meal of sattvic food, and in the evening to recite, listen to stories of Aradhya Devadhideva Mahadev and Mata Parvati. In this way, after fasting for a whole month, one should conclude the fast on the full moon of Magh Shukla Purnima.In the Swasthani Brat Katha, Parvati during her childhood used to worship Lord Shiva by making a sand Shivalinga, thus there is a tradition of making sand shiva linga and worship it during this Shri Swasthani fast. Worships should be done by placing a copper plate inscribed with Asta Dal above a Tapari (multipurpose leaf plates and bowls made by stitching Saal leaf of Saal trees, “Shorea Robusta” with small very thin-small bamboo sticks) filled with rice placing it near the Shivalinga. Shri Swasthani Fast ConcludingThe ornaments of Shri Swasthani Mata should be placed on that plate and a beautiful idol with ornaments should be set up and worshiped along with Bhagwati’s prasad (offering of sweets, fruits, etc) and Mahadev by offering Panchamrit, sandalwood, incense, lamps, clothes, betel nut, vermilion, saubhagya dravya (various items used by Hindu married women, red in color), Sel-roti, (Deep fried round bread), haluwa (rice or wheat flour fried and prepared like a pudding), etc. After the puja, one should meditate on the following mantra of Shri Swasthani Mata with flowers in hand:सुवर्ण–वर्ण–दीप्ताभां त्रिनेत्रां कमलाननाम् ।सिंहासन–समासीनां सर्वालंकार–भूषिताम् ।।नीलोत्पल–धरां वामे, दक्षिणे वरदां शुभाम् ।खड्ग–चर्मधरां चोर्ध्वं वामदक्षिणयोः क्रमात् ।।चतुर्भुजां च मां वाऽपि पूजयेत् वृषकेतुनम् ।एवं ध्यात्वा महादेवीं स्वस्थानीं जगदीश्वरीम् ।। That is to say, “I pay attention and meditate to Shri Swasthani goddess who has a divine color like gold, has three eyes, with a happy face like a lotus flower, sits on a throne adorned with various ornaments, holds a sword, feather and sapphire lotus, having four arms”.At noon one should worship Shri Swasthani Mata along with Lord Shri Mahadev. After the puja (worship), one should give argha (obeisance) to the goddess Shri Swasthani so that one’s wish may be fulfilled. After the evening worship, the story of Shri Swasthani Mata should be recited. There is a tradition of listening to the story of Swasthani Brat, a dialogue between Kumar and Agastya Muni of Magh Mahatmya under the Kedar section of Skanda Puran. Aarti should be performed after listening to the story.After performing daily pujas in this order, the story called daily during the days of Magh is ended by writing “Aum-kar” on a copper plate for a special puja. One should put a sand Shiva-linga in the center of the plate and also install the Shri Swasthani goddesses figure and make the offering with 108 pieces of Pan (kind of sweet wrapped in betel leaves containing areca nut, lime, cinnamon, etc), 108 pcs of Janai (sacred thread worn by Brahmins as well as some other following Hinduism) 108 Akchyata (Rice), 108 Oil lamps, 108 offerings, barley, sesame, etc., all items to be offered must contain 108 pieces. Other fruits and offerings can be offered as much as possible. After the puja, one should circumambulate or perform the prostration of the plate and offerings 108 times. Shri Swasthani Fast Concluding
Shri Swasthani Fast Concluding
After concluding (Shri Swasthani Fast Concluding) the fasting, by reciting “O Swasthani Mata, by the grace of Yours, I have completed my fast” and give Argha (obeisance). After this all the offering made to the Shri Swasthani mata, from 108 pieces of various items, one should take out 8 pieces of each item and give it as Prasad to one’s husband if there is no husband to one’s own son, if there are no sons then to son of one’s best friend or if none of them exists then they should be placed in the flowing river water with the wish that all incomplete works, etc be fulfilled. It is also mentioned in the method of fasting of Shri Swastani Mata that after this the remaining fruits and other items should be eaten during the concluding night and stay awake the whole night. Shri Swasthani Fast Concluding
Popular Belief and the End.
There is a popular belief that after doing so many deeds (Karma), and by consuming the items from the offerings made to Shri- Swasthani Mata by the brati and family, the result of Shri Swasthani Brat-Katha will eliminate all the sorrows and fulfill all desires plus wishes of the devotee and her family. Since the marriage of Shiva and Parvati took place due to the influence of the Shri-Swasthani Brat, it is believed that by observing this fast, one can get a bridegroom as the one wish for. It is believed that the effect of this fast will help to attain happiness, peace, prosperity, and auspiciousness as received by Goma the Brahmani.One of the fasts performed by women in Nepal with great reverence and faith is the fast of Shri-Swasthani Mata. Shri Swasthani Fast ConcludingShri Swasthani Fast Concluding– Shri Swasthani fast is one of the difficult fasts for women observed during Poush Shukla Purnima for one month. The deities of this fast are Lord Shiva and Jagajjanani Parbati. According to the evidence of mythological texts, Nepal is the playground of the Himalayan daughter Parbati/Parvati. Mother Parvati, the powerful form […]
The Ekadashi date of the Magh Shuklapakchya is called Jaya Ekadashi or Bheema Ekadashi. This Ekadashi is called Jaya Ekadashi in the book called Brataraj (King of fast).
कथयिष्यामि राजेन्द्र शुक्ले माघस्य या भवेत्।
जया नाम्नीति विख्याता सर्वपापहरा परा।।
Bheema Ekadashi or Jaya Ekadashi fast event
During the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Yudhishthira, Magh Shukla Ekadashi is called Jaya Ekadashi in the Bhavisya-Puran. Referring to the story of Pushpavati and Malyawan, Jaya Ekadashi has been taken as the Ekadashi that destroys all sins and provides salvation.One day Devaraj Indra was enjoying dancing in the paradise of Nandan Ban, with various apsaras. As many as 50 million celestial nymphs (Apsaras) were gathered to present the dance, and the same number of Gandharvas to give enjoyment through their singing abilities and arts. On the occasion of this presentation, the Malyawan Gandharva and Pushpavati Apsara (celestial nymph) came closer and they were fascinated with each other. They were so attracted to each other's elegance that they could not pay attention to their presentation. Because of this, not only did Devaraj get enraged by their movements tactics and boring presentation, but he was infuriated and immediately cursed them - "go to Martyalok (earth) and become a vampire couple."
युवां पिशाचौ भवत दम्पतिरूपधारिणौ।
मृत्युलोकमनुप्राप्तौ भुञ्जानौ कर्मणः फलम्।।
With the effect of the curse, they immediately attained the vampire state, fell into the abyss and started living a harrowing life as a couple. Likewise, came the month of Magh. During the month of winter when it started raining too, their lives became more troublesome. With the rain and water, completely drenched and cold they could neither eat nor sleep.Incidentally, that day was the date of Ekadashi, i.e Jaya Ekadashi, of the Magh Shukla pakchya, and they spend their day in the rain, as though bathing in it, and without food, without sleep during day-night. Unknowingly, they went on to practice Ekadashi fasting practices such as bathing, fasting, eating nothing, and jagram (stay awake at night for religious purpose) all night. Unbeknownst to them, the effects of the Jaya Ekadashi fast were seen in Martyalok, as they were the Malyawan Gandharva and Pushpavati Apsara, as were before.After being released from the curse, a flying vessel arrived to take them back thus, they boarded it and returned to paradise again. Devaraj Indra, who was there, after hearing the whole story from their own mouths came to know about the importance of Jaya Ekadashi’s date. Devraj then suggested the importance of the Jaya Ekadashi date and recommended it Hari Bhakta, Shiva devotees and all the deities of heaven to take Ekadashi fast and also welcomed both to heaven giving them proper homage.
हरिभक्तिरता ये च ये वा शिवभक्तिरतास्तथा।
अस्माकमपित ते मर्त्याः पूज्या वन्द्या न संशयः।।
Due to the influence of Ekadashi fast, very very ordinary people also can also enjoy happiness along with material happiness in this lifetime and could attain salvation in their afterlife after their demises, therefore, everyone is asked to fast in all Ekadashis. Since it is very virtuous, it is requested to take the vow of Ekadashi in Jaya i.e Bheema Ekadashi.
यः करोति नरो भक्त्या श्रद्धायुक्तो जयाव्रतम्।
कल्पकोटिशतं यावत् वैकुण्ठे मोदते ध्रुवम्।।
Twenty-four elements also contain eleven senses too. In fact, the vow of Ekadashi is taken so that the eleven senses can be subdued and controlled. In the context of the Jaya Ekadashi fast, the effects of the guilt of the eye senses (Chachyu) led Malyawan Gandharva and Pushpavati Apsara the hard plight of the vampire life, more than the sufferings of the infidels. Therefore, if the senses, including the eyes, cannot be controlled, we too must go into a vampire-like state, so we must always try to control our senses.Scriptures mention that, since the Magh Shukla Ekadashi date of the month of Magh is very sacred, by fasting observed on this date one can obtain the fruit of entering Baikunthalok (Bishnu’s Heaven). Since all Ekadashi fast is a routine, all the 24 Ekadashi, vows throughout the year are considered to be virtuous and full of good welfare. The original statement of Jaya Ekadashi is that by observing all 24 Ekadashi fasting taking a vow, controlling and subduing 24 elements mentioned in the numerology (adherent to number and yoga), one can achieve Moksha (salvation) and Baikunthalok (Bishnus heaven). Through Ekadashi fast. To Read this article in the Nepali Language please click here.The Ekadashi date of the Magh Shuklapakchya is called Jaya Ekadashi or Bheema Ekadashi. This Ekadashi is called Jaya Ekadashi in the book called Brataraj (King of fast). श्रीकृष्ण उवाच कथयिष्यामि राजेन्द्र शुक्ले माघस्य या भवेत्। जया नाम्नीति विख्याता सर्वपापहरा परा।। Bheema Ekadashi or Jaya Ekadashi fast event During the dialogue between Shri Krishna and […]
Nepal Nursing Day. Today is the 15th of Magh, i.e. Nepal Nursing Day. Nepal Nursing Day is celebrated all over Nepal on the 15th Magh every year. Today is a special day for all the Nepali nurses who are dedicated to their profession are always at the forefront of the service day as well as night and are always engrossed in the service of patients. Wearing a white coat (Nurse coat), a white cap on her head, with a bulk of medical supplies in her hand possessing a soft smile, is a health care provider, and she is known as a Nurse.Whenever the word Nurse is spoken/heard, it is a very natural human phenomenon to think of a hospital, a health post, or a place to improve human health and the caring services of the nurses. Every year on the 15th of Magh, Nepal Nursing Day is celebrated in Nepal. Nepal Nursing Day is a day to appreciate the bravery, kindness, and service spirit of the nursing profession. Heartfelt salutations from the Nepali Patro family to all the front liner Nepali nurses who work very hard without complaining whether it is day or night. Since today is Nepal Nursing Day, let us try to dig a little more into the history of Nepal's nursing instead of the World (International) Nursing day. The history of this highly respected profession as nursing is not very old in this country, it is believed to have started in B.S 2013 (1956 A.D.) but its documents are hardly found.It is said that during the Rana period of that time, Nepali disciples, including some Nepali housewives, were formally trained in nursing. It is believed that during the strict Rana rule of that time, some aristocratic families started the nursing profession in Nepal realizing the benefits of health care and the nursing profession plus its importance in general. The credit for giving birth to a dignified profession like nursing in Nepal goes to different people. In that period, some Nepali disciples from some aristocratic families like Bidhavati Kansakar and Dharmadevi Kansakar including Vishnu Devi Rai and Radha Malakar were trained to be health assistants from Allahabad in India around 1956 A.D. but no records of these training are found to date. Whereas as per one case in Nepal's history, the late Lamu Amatya is considered the first professional nurse in the country. The Government of Nepal declared the late Lamu Amatya the first professional nurse in the country on the 18th of Baisakh 2074. In a program organized by the Ministry of Health that same day, the then Health Minister Gagan Kumar Thapa officially handed over the prestigious certificate titled “Nepal's First Nurse Certificate” on the basis of the legal pieces of evidence presented by Yogeshwar (Yogi) Amatya, one among the two sons of Lamu Amatya, declaring the late Lamu Amatya as country’s i.e. “Nepal’s First Nurse”.Late Amatya graduated from Calcutta Medical College in 1954 with a degree in nursing. And, she started her first job as a professional nurse in Nepal on Chaitra 13th of 1956 A.D. She rented a house in Chhetrapati as part of the “Nursing Training Project” under the Ministry of Health. In the beginning, she was paying the rent from her own pocket and lots of young people joined the center to be a nurse and to help the destitute. Born on January 27, 1932 (1988 B.S. Magh 14) in Darjeeling, India. Lamu Amatya passed away in Kathmandu on 19th Jestha 2069 B.S.The beginning of nursing profession in world history began when the military conflict known as Crimean War (Oct 1853-February 1856 was raging on. In that war, Russia lost to France, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom, and the Piedmont-Sardinia alliance. The war was fought for the rights of the Christian minority in Palestine, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of the Roman Catholics, and Russia promoted the rights of the Eastern Orthodox Church. These two nations with their interest in the expansion of their respective empires and the balance of power between the two nations, the French and British were among the ones to set forth priorities to protect the Ottoman Empire. Long-term reasons for this war included the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the expansion of the Russian Empire in the previous Russo-Turkish wars, and the British and French defending the Ottoman Empire to maintain Europe's balance of power. Let the readers of the Nepali Patro know and remember that the Crimean War, one of the wars among many wars fought at different times around the world, was led by various countries to their advantage, which is still known as the "infamous incompetent international genocide". It was during this same Crimean War that Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 - August 13, 1910) an English social reformer, and statistician became the founder of the modern nursing profession. Nightingale became famous for the service she rendered as a manager and trainer of nurses during that vicious war. During that time, she organized nursing care facilities for the wounded soldiers at Constantinople which in turn paved the way for the Nursing career to be a respectable profession. And, thanks to those contributions, she became to be known throughout the world as "The Lady with the Lamp," especially as she used to go on rounds during the night also with a candle in her hand to serve the wounded soldiers. In honor of her pioneering work in nursing, new nurses today are sworn in at the start of their career under the "Nightingale Oath", and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international honor a nurse can achieve, is awarded in her name and the annual International Nursing Day is celebrated on her birthday. Now, again returning to our own country Nepal, we have already mentioned that the history of nursing in Nepal is not so old. However, the importance of nurses at this present time and its perspective is so great that we cannot even describe it in words. And Nursing as a profession in Nepal now has developed very much. That too as a dignified, respected, and important profession. Can we imagine a hospital without these tenderhearted nurses? Of course, we could not. Considering these various important reasons/factors, every Nepalese should treat and look at the nursing profession with respect and dignity. These front-liners who work day or night devoted to the service of the sick are indeed the true jewel of the nation. There should be no doubt about it. We all need to show due respect to these nurses who are giving us medicine according to the advice or medicines prescribed to them by a doctor, dressing the wound and applying it with medicine, etc so that we can recover from any disease or illness in a short span of time. This honor is not only to be shown today on this occasion of Nepal Nursing Day but each and every day including every time we get services from them, we should be proud of all these Nepali nurses. On the occasion of Nepal Nursing Day, on behalf of the Nepali Patro family, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all the dedicated nurses in the nursing profession, including Nepalese here in Nepal as well as those working outside of here. With best wishes for the future also on this auspicious day to all the nurses of the world. To Read this article in the Nepali Language please click here.Nepal Nursing Day. Today is the 15th of Magh, i.e. Nepal Nursing Day. Nepal Nursing Day is celebrated all over Nepal on the 15th Magh every year. Today is a special day for all the Nepali nurses who are dedicated to their profession are always at the forefront of the service day as well as […]