Why and How is Rohini Vrat Observed?•
Posted on June 02 2022
Rohini Vrat is one of the major vrats observed by the Jain community. This vrat is also undertaken by some Hindus. Although it is quite popular among women, it is sometimes followed by men as well. The vrat is so called because it is observed on the day of Rohini nakshatra. The fast ends with the commencing of the Margashirsha nakshatra after spotting the constellation in the sky.
Rohini nakshatra comes ones every month of the calendar year. Needless to say, this fast is observed on every occurrence of the nakshatra. Hence, it is a customary practice to follow the vrat a dozen or twelve times in a year. Rohini is believed to be the consort of the Moon God and the brightest of all the stars.
According to Jains, Lord Mahavir, their founder led a simple life of an ascetic. He stressed on the fact that one could attain self-realization only if one develops a sense of detachment to one’s physical body. Self-realization marks the ending of human birth.
It is said that the Vrat has special significance when it is observed by women. When they do so, the entire family earns the blessings of the Jain God, Lord Vasupujya. This is why the fast is extremely popular among married women. They undertake the vrat to be bestowed with a content and fulfilling married life along with long life and good health for their life partners.
As with almost any vrat, the rituals for the fast begin with women waking up early in the morning during the Brahma Muhurta time and cleaning their houses thoroughly. After this, they take a bath and go ahead with the remaining rituals.
People observing the Vrat take a vow to perform the fasting with utmost sincerity and dedication. Women place a photo or an idol of their Lord Vasupujya in a calm and clean spot of the house. If it is an idol, the idol is given an elaborate bath. The idol or photo is then decorated with flowers, sandal and other fragrant items. The lord is also given various offerings including water as prasad. They also offer water to the Sun God and do a detailed pooja.
The fasting begins after the pooja and is observed the whole day. Women who are not able to observe the fast due to various aspects such as health reasons or for any other reason can eat some fruits and is referred to as falahaar and must be strictly done before sunset. This is strictly in terms with the Jain tradition of not having any food at night.
Observing a fast on Rohini nakshatra is considered to be advantageous and the benefits are multifold. The fast helps in ushering prosperity in one’s life while getting rid of poverty and sorrow at the same time. It also guides in keeping the soul free of all vices while developing several positive traits. These traits include harmony, self-control and patience.
It is said that when women observe this Vrat, there will be good health, tranquillity and peace in the whole household. The Vrat also brings good luck to the individuals and helps to fulfil their aspirations and dreams. They also get relief from anger, depression and anxiety.
One of the major rituals involves reading the Rohini katha and chanting various Rohini mantras. Donations and alms are also handed out to the needy and temples are visited in the evening.
The origin of Rohini Vrat goes back to the times of King Ashoka of Hastinapur and his wife Rohini. The king had only one sorrow that his wife was always very quiet and hardly interacted with anyone. When a sage visited Ashoka, the king shared his grief with him and the sage told him the reason why his wife behaved that way.
The story goes that there was once a young lady called Durgandha who true to her name had a bad body odour. This worried her father Dhanmitra as he feared that the foul smell would prevent her from getting a suitable match. However, he finally succeeded in finding her a suitable husband after offering the person a lot of money and wealth. Unfortunately, the man left his wife after a while along with the bounty.
Dhanmitra was upset and confided in a hermit visiting his village. The hermit told him that Durgandha was actually the wife of King Bhopal in her last birth. One day, the king welcomed a sage to his palace for a feast. He instructed the queen to prepare and serve some delicious food. The queen was not in favour of this and served some improperly cooked food with a bad taste.
The food upset the sage’s stomach and he cursed the queen to go to hell and take several births as animals and worms before being reborn as the human being Durgandha. The only way for Durgandha to overcome this hardship was to undertake a fast on Rohini nakshatra day. She had to also give alms to the needy. Durgandha did this every year for five years and five months. At the end of this period, she was blessed with a happy life.
The sage requested King Ashoka and Queen Rohini to observe the same fast. They did so and at the end of the fasting period, they began leading a happy and worry-free life.
Jains are of the firm belief that when starts undertaking the Vrat, he/she must observe it without break for a period of three, five or seven years to be blessed by Goddess Rohini. It is recommended to observe the fast for at least five years and five months. Each time the fast is observed, it must end with an udyapana.
Written by - Deepthi K