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Title: Bhishma Panchaka Vrata

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-11-10 10:45:00


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Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! A five-day worship period prescribed for the last 5 days of Kartika (Damodara) Month and it is known as “Bhishma Panchaka”. Lord Krishna becamse very pleased on Shrila Bhishma and He agreed to give His pure love to those fortunate souls who chant, sing, hear, read, worship and fast for these five days of Bhishmadeva. « Less: ""]More »[URL=""

 Along with chanting, singing hearing and reading the Holy Names and Pastimes, devotees may offer the following to the Deity form of the Lord:

On the first day, one must offer padma (lotus) flowers to the feet of the Lord On the second day, one must offer bilva (wood-apple) leaves of the thigh of the Lord On the third day, one must offer gandha (scents) to the navel of the Lord On the fourth day, one must offer java flower to the shoulders of the Lord On the fifth day, one must offer malati flower to the head (siro-desa) of the Lord

Reference: Garuda Puraana (op cit.)

“The last five days of Kartika month are known as Bhisma Panchaka. Grandfather Bhishma fasted for these five days, preparing to give up his life. However one observes Kartika-vrata, he should intensify it for the last five days. The best way to observe the Kartika-vrata is to abstain from eating grains for the whole month, and to take only milk or water for the last five days. If one eats grains during the month, he should avoid them for the last five days. Also, one should only eat once a day. This is the proper procedure .”

“This five day fast is difficult for those people who are not serious in Bhakti: "http:///". If someone observes this fast, he is considered to have observed all other fasts, because it is greatly meritorious and frees one from great sins. Therefore, everyone should make a great endeavor to fast on these last five days of Bhismadeva.

“The fast should begin by remembering Bhismadeva on the Ekadashi day and should end on Purnima . One should eat only vegetables or fruits and should worship Lord Krishna: "http:///"]Gauranga [URL="http:///". If he needs to eat, he should do so only in the evening. A woman can also observe this fast by the suggestion of a twice-born, and if a widow observes this fast, she can also attain liberation and happiness.”

“Shrila Suta Goswami says in the Padma Purana, Uttarakhanda, ‘This liberating fast is unknown even to the demigods. If one listens to what I have said and fasts on these five days, even if he had sex his sister, daughter, mother, etc. he becomes free from that sin. Even if someone attentively listens to this narration, he also achieves happiness. I tell you the truth again and again that one should keep this fast secretively, and continue performing it unceasingly - such a person surely achieves liberation.”

“In the month of Kartika, which is very dear to Shri Hari, one who bathes early in the morning attains the merit of bathing in all places of pilgrimage. Anybody who offers a the Lord a ghee lamp in the month of Kartika, O brahmana, becomes free from all kinds of sins, such as killing a brahmana, and he goes to the abode of Lord Hari.” (Brahma khanda ).

Kartika vratinam vipra yathokta karinam naram

Yama dutah palayante simham drstva yatha gajah

Srestham visnu vipra tat tulya na satam makhah

Krtva fratum urje svargyam vaikuntham kartika vrati

(Padma Purana)

 “Suta Goswami says, “If anyone fasts and observes the Kartika-vrata according to the rules and regulations, the Yamadutas, the messengers of Yamaraja, run away from him, just as an elephant runs away by seeing a lion. This dear fast  of Lord Vishnu is even better than performing one hundred great sacrifices that would take him to heaven because the person who observes the Kartika-vrata goes to the spiritual world.”

Sulabha mathura bhumau praty abdam kartikas tatha

Tathapi samsarantiha nara mudha bhavambudhau

Yani sarvani tirthani nada nadyah saransi ca


Kartika nivasanty atra mathure sarva mandale

(Padma Purana)

“Although one can easily reach Mathura  on this earth, and although Kartika month is easily observable, and although in the month of Kartika all of the places of pilgrimage, oceans, rivers, and lakes come to the Mathura area, still, those human beings who are foolish and suffering in the ocean of material existence do not take advantage of it.” 

It is advised that it is better to carefully follow the scriptural injunctions to advance in spiritual life than to be lazy and think that it is not necessary.

Vaisnavo na sa mantavyah samprapte kartike mune

Yo na yacchati mudhatma dipam kesva sadmani

“O sage, that foolish person who does not offer a lamp in Lord Keshava’s temple during Kartika is not considered a Vaishnava.”

The conclusion is, as Lord Brahma tells Narada in the Skanda Purna: ‘O son Narada, the month of Kartika is very dear to Lord Kesva. If anyone acts meritoriously in this month just to please Lord Vishnu, he receives unlimited results

Relections on Bhishma Panchaka - Ekadashi Period and Fasting etc. The last 5 days of the month of Kaarttika are traditionally known as the Bhishma Panchaka or the Vishnu Panchaka. In the Hari Bhakti: "http:///" Vilasa, it is said that if one is capable, one should observe fasting from certain foodstuffs on the Bhishma-panchaka for the pleasure of the Lord. This is optional. The Padma Purana say that one pleases the Lord and makes spiritual advancement by such austerities.

.. The strictest way of doing this fast is to take only the five products of the cow (pancha gavya) on each of the five days(!). . or fast by restricting the eating like during ekadashis: no grains and beans. only fruits and roots.