Hindu Fasts: Agastyargha Fast
Brahma Said:-Now I shall describe the mode of practising the Agastyargha-Vratam. The vow should be celebrated on the three days immediately before the sun passes into the sign of Virgo. 0 thou holy sage, an image of Agastya, should be made of Kasha flowers, and worshipped inside a water-pitcher. The Argha offer- ing should be duly made to it and the votary shall pass the night in vigil and divine contemplation.
He shall fast that day and worship the image with the offerings of curd, sesamum, fruits and flowers and formally dedicate the vessel containing the Argha offering to the god. The vessel should be tinged with five colours (containing rice powders of five colours) and filled with bits of gold and silver and the seven kinds of cereals, technically known as the Saptadhanyam, besmeared with curd and sandal paste. The Argham should be finally offered by reciting the Mantra which reads as follows:—”I make obei- sance to thee, 0 Agastya, who art the offspring a Mitra and Varuna, and hence retain in thy self the principles of ether and water. I make obeisance to thee, (0 Agastya,) who art hoary as the Kasha flower and wast born in a pitcher.”
Even women and Shudras are admitted to the privilege of practising the vow as above described. The votary shall forego all fruits, rice meals, and vegetable juices during the observance of the vow, which should be closed by feasting and making gifts of water- pitchers with bits of gold to the Brahmanas. The successive observance of the vow for seven years is rewarded with the realization of one’s all wished for ends.