Hindu Fasts: Chaturmasyam Fast
Brahma Said:-Now I shall describe the mode of practising the Chaturmasyam Vratam, The vow should be first undertaken on the eleventh day of the moon’s increase in the month of Ashad’a, or on the day of the full moon therein, after having duly worshipped and supplicated the god Hari as follows:—”May the Vratam which I have, this day, undertaken in thy presence, 0 lord, come to a successful termination, by thy grace and will. Kindly deem it complete, 0 Janard’ana, even if I be not spared to fulfil it as now vowed for.”
Thus having worshipped and addressed the god, the votary shall get himself initiated into the acts of subsequent meditation and penitence. The sins of a man, who wishes to practise this vow for the satisfaction of the god Hari, are annihilated. He who bathes and takes a single meal each day during the four months under discussion, ascends, a pure and undefiled spirit, to the region of Vishnu. A Brahmana, who is well-versed in the Vedas and abjures oil, wine, women, and animal food for these four months, goes to the region of Vishnu, by practising the present Vratam, and attains to that stage of self-liberation which is called Sayuyayam (lit.-to be in perpetual touch with the Supreme Self) Even by fasting for a single night during the season, a man is transformed into a god, after death.
By fasting for three consecutive days during the season, a man is sure to be translated to Shveta- dvipa, after death. An unsolicited emancipation waits the man who practises a Chandrayana Vratam during the period. By practising a Prajapatyan during the period, a man attains to the region of Vishnu. The performance of a Paraka Vratam under the circumstance, is attended with the same result. The votary shall live on powdered barley (Shaktu), barley gruel, milk, curd or clarified butter, or on alms during the entire term of the vow, which may be substituted for cow’s urine, barley gruel or the Panchagavyam. He shall forego the use of all pot herbs, fruits, roots and vegetable juices. He who practises the vow as above indicated shall attain to the region of Vishnu.