Why do Women Observe Vat Purnima Vrat?•
Posted on May 25 2022
Vat Purnima Vrat is a fast undertaken by Hindu married women of North India and West India, especially in Gujarat, Uttarkhand, Goa, Maharashtra, Delhi and Orissa. The fast is observed on a full moon day in the Hindu Jyeshtha month that is between May and June every year. This year, the Vat Purnima Vrat falls on June 14, 2022 (Tuesday). A similar fast by name Karadiyan Nombu is observed by ladies from the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The preparations for the fast start three days before Vat Purnima and end on the full moon day. The vrat is observed by women for the prosperity and longevity of their husbands. The fast is also undertaken for a happy married life. Apart from long life of their husbands, the vrat is also said to help their husbands be blessed with fortune and good luck.
Women observe a rigid fast throughout the Purnima day after consuming a few roots of a banyan tree along with water. Some of them take a fast on all three days. Irrespective of the number of days, the fast is observed without fail on the Purnima day or the third day.
According to the Skanda Purana, the fast is said to have been observed by Savitri for the life of her husband Satyavan whom she was told would die on a specific day. Savitri started taking a fast along with deep meditation three days before the destined day. On the said day, Satyavan breathed his end ion her lap. Savitri laid him under the shade of a vat or banyan tree. When Lord Yama came and took the soul of Satyavan with Him, she followed him and won the life of her husband with her smartness.
The Vat Purmina vrat is also called Vat Savitri vrat because of the above association with Savitri.
Married women wake up early on this day during the Brahma Muhurat. They take a bath after applying a paste of gooseberry and sesame seeds. After the bath, they dress up with several adornments like sindoor, henna, bangles, kajal and bhindis. They also wear new traditional outfits on this occasion and keep a leaf of the banyan tree on their hair. If it is not possible to wear new clothes, they wear fresh or clean clothes. After the bath and adorning themselves, the ladies take a vow to undertake the fast with utmost devotion.
Women spend the remaining part of the day in prayers or by listening to or reciting the Satyavan Savitri katha. Some ladies prefer to read the katha with gram seeds in their right hand sitting under the shade of the tree. The gram seed is considered to be very important because Satyavan is said to have become his new life after rebirth with a gram seed that was put in his mouth by Savitri. The vrat is said to be incomplete without listening to the Satyavan and Savitri katha.
During the three days leading to the fast, pictures of Lord Yama, Satyavan, Savitri and a banyan tree are drawn on a wall or a floor of the house and turmeric and sindoor are applied on them. They are worshipped with the recitation of several mantras. Fruits, rice and wet pulses are offered as prasad. Women also offer their prayers to Lord Surya along with red flowers and water offerings.
The banyan tree is also worshipped outdoors and a Jyeshtha Purnima pooja is performed. Idols of Savitri and Satyavan are placed below the tree. Copper coins, flowers, rice, gram seeds and water are given as offerings to the tree and a yellow or red thread is wound several times around its trunk. In some parts of the country, coconut, paan, supari and 16 beauty related items are also placed as prasad near the idols.
Women do a circumambulation around the tree trunk while they wind the thread. This circumambulation is usually done 11, 21, 51 or 108 times based on the woman’s ability to do so. They wish one another with the customary Janm Savitri Ho greeting.
The banyan tree plays a key role in Hinduism. Its roots represent Lord Brahma while the stem and top part represent Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva respectively. Therefore, circumambulation around the tree is considered to usher good fortune.
The fast is broken by eating a little bit of the prasad the next day. Women also make donations of food, money and clothes to the needy on this day. The rituals end with the ladies seeking the blessings of their life partners and other elder members in the family.
The Vat Purnima vrat strengthens the marital bond between the couples. The vrat also marks the spirit of womanhood. It is considered to be auspicious and sacred because of the faith with which it is undertaken. There is also a belief if the vrat is carried out with full sincerity, the lady would have the same man as her husband in her next seven births and have all her wishes or desires fulfilled.
Pregnant and working women as well as ladies with health problems can also perform the pooja associated with the fast even if they are not able to observe the vrat. They will receive the same benefits as those who keep the vrat if they offer their prayers with utmost devotion.
Written by - Deepthi K