In the context of Hinduism and Hindu mythology, the term vrata (pronunciation: vrat or brat) denotes a religious practice to carry out certain obligations with a view to achieve divine blessing for fulfillment of one or several desires. Etymologically, vrata, a Sanskrit word (and also used in several Indo-European languages), means to vow or to promise.
In Jainism, the vratas (elements of self-control) form the core of the practical Jainism. The Jain monks follow the five Mahavratas (great vratas), while the laity follow the five Anuvratas (minuscule vratas). In addition, there are several common fasts which are also termed vratas.
A vrata may consist of one or more of several actions. Such actions may include complete or partial fasting on certain specific days; a pilgrimage (thirtha) to a particular place or places; a visit, darshan and puja at a particular temple or temples; recitation of mantras and prayers; performing puja and havans.
According to Hindu scriptures, vrata assists the person doing the vrata to achieve and fulfill his desires as performing vratas are supposed to bring the divine grace and blessing. Sometimes, close relatives or family purohits may be entrusted with the obligation of performing the vrata on behalf of another person. The object of performing vrata is as varied as the human desire, and may include gaining back lost health and wealth, begetting offspring, divine help and assistance during difficult period in one’s life. In Ancient India, vrata played a significant role in the life of individuals, and it continues to be practiced in modern times as well by a number of Hindus.Read more..... Next.... Previous....