How to observe Skanda Shasti vrat?
Skanda Shasti is an important Hindu festival to worship Lord Muruga, who is also known as Subramania, Kartikeya, Skanda and so on.
This day falls on the sixth day of the ‘Shuklapaksha’ (waxing phase of the moon), in the Hindu month of ‘Kartika’, also known as ‘Aippasi’ in Tamil.
This corresponds to the months of October-November according to the Gregorian calendar.
Lord Murugan is popularly known as ‘Skanda’ and Maha Sashti is celebrated in a grand manner in many temples, predominantly in the state of Tamilnadu and its adjoining regions.
Devotees observe this six-day festival by fasting, in their bid to propitiate Lord Muruga and secure his blessings.
There are no hard and fixed rules to observe this vrata and one is free to do so at their own convenience.
However, they should adhere to the basic rules associated with all Hindu rituals of a similar nature.
Norms to be followed during Skanda Shasti fasting
One should strictly avoid consuming non-vegetarian food during this period
Many devotees also avoid garlic and onions
Those who observe the fast are also advised to read scriptures related to Lord Muruga or recite the Kanda Shasti Kavasam or Subramaniya Bhujangam
Visiting Skanda temples during this period is considered highly rewarding
Many devotees consume only a single meal during the Skanda Shasti fasting period
One can consume the meal either at noon or after dusk
Many devotees adhere to a fruit and juice diet during this period
Many Skanda devotees regard the fasting period as a wonderful opportunity to detoxify the body and cleanse themselves of impurities.
Some devotees even confine themselves to consuming only water, coconut water, or in some cases, fruit juices.
The Skanda Shasti ‘Vratam’ (fasting) period ends on the sixth day.
The Vratam should be observed not only to abstain from food but also regarded as a means of purifying the mind by eschewing bad thoughts and contemplating on the Lord.
This ritual offers a great opportunity to discipline the mind and keep oneself in tune with the religious and spiritual plane.
The Vrat starts in the early morning at sunrise. After shower clean your pooja room and the lamp(it is preferable doing it the previous day itself).
First offer sandal, kumkum and flowers to Ganesha, Muruga and other idols/pictures in the pooja room.
Light the lamp and sandal sticks. Worship Ganesha, then worship your kula deivam, then worship your ishta deivam. Now recite Kanda Sashti Kavasam in a pleasant and little louder voice. (Many people recite kanda guru kavasam, subramaiya bhujangam etc).
Now pray to Muruga asking him to help you perform your vrat, then thank him for whatever you have got in your life(like, for giving good parents, husband, health etc), then ask him to bless you.
Now light the camphor and do the Aarti.
Throughout the day inbetween your regular work sing/listen to murugan songs or read books about lord muruga.
In the evening, do the regular pooja that you did in the morning and offer some prasadam(neivedyam).
This prasadam can be anything that you can prepare at home like pongal, payasam, kesari, sundal etc or just fruits or a glass of milk.
Kindly note that there are no hard and fast rules and regulations in fasting, God will accept our fast in whatever way we offer and God doesn’t judge us.
Fasting should be observed only by those who are physically and mentally fit.
Those who are on medication or suffering from some other ailments are strongly advised to stick to their normal diet.
Vrata means “vow, resolve, devotion”, and refers to the practice of austerity, particularly in matters related to foods, habits and drinks by people in Hindu and Jaina culture, as part of a pious observance or prayers seeking health, wealth, fertility, long life or happiness.
Hence Vratam should not be misunderstood just fasting on food, it is a process to purify the mind through prayer, worship, meditation etc.
Several Vedas and Upanishads mention that observing Vrat with sheer dedication holds highest relevance and reverence to offer pious devotion. Such a chaste vow holds the power of fulfilling every desire of the devotee.
The Vrat makes us to move near to the almoghty God. The devotees who observes a Vrat is called a Vrat-Dhari.
Broadly speaking, Vrat means a vow to accept some rules of restrictive discipline. In spiritual field, Vrat means to apply control over our sense organs, with a solemn vow to observe regulatory discipline.
This vow includes not only fasting, and also more importantly not involving in entertainments like going for a movie, not getting anger, not hurting anyone, not gossiping, not cheating others, loving neighbours, animals, birds, and being compassionate, etc. ,
If possible visit Murugan temple. Usually special pooja will take place in Murugan Temple during Sashti days, various kinds of abishegam will be performed. You can also offer milk, sandal, kumkum, panjamridham etc., as per your wish for abishegam(it is not a part of sashti vrat, it purely depends on your own wish).
Some people finish their vrat by the prasadam offered in the temple.
Maha Sashti comes once in a year during the tamil month aipasi (October-November). It is a six day festival which indicates the destruction of the demon Surapadman by Lord Muruga. The demon was destroyed at Tiruchendur. So at the end of the sashti ie. on the sixth day, the festival called Sura Samharam is celebrated.
The festival comes to an end on the next day with the Tirukalyanam of Lord Muruga in Murugan Temples.
Skanda sasthi vratam is very effective. Fasting on this day, reciting skanda sasthi kavacham and worshipping Lord Muruga on this day is very good. Kanda Sashti is celebrated in a grand manner. bu hindus. Some people keep fasting for all 6 days and visit Thiruchendur or Palani or any of the Arupadai veedu. The fasting comes to an end on the sixth day.
Not only on sashti days, reciting sashti kavasam everyday or just playing sashti kavasam in the music system everyday will give you peace and you can start your day with the grace of Lord Muruga.