KATHMANDU, Jan 31: The month long Swasthani Brata (fasting) dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Swasthani which had began on the full moon day of the Nepali month of Push concluded this morning.
The recitation of a Hindu tale which is about dialogues between two mythical characters Kumar and Agashtya Rishi (revered sage) narrated in the Skanda Puran (Hindu religious texts) with rituals every day is the major part of the Swasthani festival that concludes on the full moon day of the month of Magh. This year, the festival had commenced on January 1.
Swasthani is depicted as the four-handed deity possessing Chakra, Trishul, Sword and Lotus in each hand.
Devotees concluded fasting before 8: 55 am today bearing in mind pre- impact (as
defined by the Hindu religion) of a Lunar eclipse which is seen this evening.
On the concluding day of the Bratakatha, 108 janais (holy threads), 108 beetle nuts, 108 fruits, 108 selroti (Nepali traditional sweet dish made of rice flour which is similar to doughnut in shape ), a collection of verities of flowers, red sandalwood, sindoor (vermilion powder), clothes, and cash are offered to the Hindu Goddess Swasthani Mai. Of the offerings, eight are given to husband, if there is no husband then to son, and if no son then to a friend of son and if no friend then it is to be released on the nearby river by a fasting woman.
Similarly, the month long festival was organized on the banks of historic Salinadi at Sankhu on the north-eastern outskirts of Kathmandu.
It is believed that by observing the festival (fasting) of the Goddess Swasthani by strictly following rituals brings the separated couple together, would help devotee
get rid of illness, overcome trouble, get good spouse (in case of unmarried) and well-being of the husband if a woman is married. Men also but so far in few numbers observe the festival.
The Swasthani Katha containing 31 chapters speaks how Goma Brahmani is reunited with her son Nawaraj, and he later became the king of Lawanya country as a result of her going through Swasthani fasting rituals in line with dictations by Saptarishi. It also narrates the story of Goddess Parbati who had, on the recommendations of Vishnu, observed the Swasthani Brata wishing for getting the Lord Shiva as her husband.
Those who failed to conclude the Swasthani at midday today before the eclipse occurs in the evening can conclude it until Krishna panchami (on February 5), said Chairman of the Nepal Calendar Fixation Committee Prof Dr Ram Chandra Gautam. RSS