What is the significance of "Vratas (व्रत )" described in Hinduism. e.g. "Haritalika (हरितालिका)" , "Rushi Panchami (ऋषि पंचमी) etc.
Are there any scriptures pointing towards importance of "vratas" in Hinduism?
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Vraat (Sanskrit : व्रत) means "vow, resolve, devotion", and refers to the practice of austerity, particularly in matters related to foods.
So simply speaking , Vrata means to accept some rules of restrictive discipline.In spiritual or Adhyatmik (आध्यात्मिक) perspective Vrat means to apply control over our physical sense organs,with a solemn vow to observe regulatory discipline.
Significance of Varata in Hinduism -:
Vrata is a resolution with a special purpose in mind. Devotees believe a great will power exists within such resolution. Vrata and Vows adds power to the internal consciousness.
The word Vrata in spiritual or Adhyatmik sense also means to move near to the supreme God.
Devotees refrain or avoid themselves from food and water,on the day of Vrata to please the God.The fasting aspect of Vrata or Upavas (उपवास) makes the mind strong and increases its firmness.
Vrata bestows all kinds of advantage at the physical and spiritual levels. During the observance of vrat, devotee's completely abstains from food, or partly abstains from food and this gives physiological rest to the digestive apparatus, which in turn awakens and increases the digestive power, leading to ease (comfort) of digestion and purification of the mind.
The fasting aspect of Vrata or Upavas (उपवास) makes the mind strong and increases its firmness and the stories connected with Vrat, if their purport is understood, can transform the life of a person.
Devotees believes resolution is a means to awaken our dormant powers (सुप्त शक्ति). Just as a person will employ all his powers to (successfully) attain any difficult objective, in the same way, to accomplish the objective of his resolution, he gathers all his powers and uses them.
One such vrata is known as Ekadasi vrata, because it is performed ekadashi day . Each vrat has a mahatme (glories) (माहात्म्य) that describe the spiritual benefits of that particular fast.
So there are various physical as well as mental benefits of keeping the vratas. And in turn help devotees live happy ,healthy life and brings them closer to god. So Vratas have their significance in Hinduism.
Vrat is fasting on a particular day in the worship of particular Diety. while the real meaning of Upwas is looking inward up means in vas means to stay. your are turning your senses inward to look for the atman inside to know who you are