Hindu Fasts: Fourteenth Phase Fast
Said The God Of Fire:-Now You shall describe the process of practicing the Vratas, which should be observed on the days of the fourteenth phase of the moon’s wane or increase (Chaturdashi). A Vrati should observe a fast and worship the god Shiva, on such a Tithi in the month of Karticka, by respectively observing and performing which for a year, he would be long lived and able to enjoy all the comforts which this world offers. Similarly a Vrati should practise self-control and live on fruits only, on days of the third, eighth, twelfth, or the fourteenth phase of the moon’s increase in the month of Magha, and worship the god Shiva, subsequently foregoing the taste of all fruits till the completion of the vow, whereon fruits etc., should be given to the Brahmanas. The Vrata thus practised, is known as the Fala-Chaturdashi, preference being given to the latter Tithi in respect of its observance.
Likewise a penitent should fast and worship the god Shambhu on the days of the eighth or the four- teenth phase of the moon’s wane or increase, (night being the proper time for its observance on both the occasions), whereby he would be the happy possessor of all things worth-having in human life, and secure an elevated existence after death. Poles should be set up with streamers unfurled therefrom, in honour of the god Mahendra (the great Indra), on the occasion of the dark Chaturdashi in the month of Karticka, and the god should be invoked and worshipped over the flagposts described above. The Vrati should take special care in bathing and absolving himself of all inipieties that day, whereby he would attain eternal felicity. Subsequent to that the Ananta manifestation of the god Hari, should be worshipped on the day of the fourteenth phase of the moon’s increase in the same month.
The god, as well as the waters of the ocean which forms his abode, should be represented by the blades of holy Kusha grass, tied up in knots, and the penitent should prepare a cake with pasted Shali and powdered sun-dried rice. Half of the cake should be given to a Brahmana, while he should take the other half himself. The history of the origin of the Vrata, should be recited and heard on the bank of a pond and a string of thread should be tied round the wrist or the throat of the Vrati, by reciting the following distich. “Lift me, ever sinking in this bottomless ocean of miserable births, oh thou Vasudeva, whose image is but the eternal time and infinite space. Break, oh break the fetters that bind me down to successive rebirths, and I bow down to thee, oh god”.