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What is procedure of doing any weekly Vrata (fasting) ? (eg- Vrata of Tuesday , Thursday etc)

Should we not eat salt on that day ?

Or Should we live only on fruits on the fasting day ?

Should we eat only once on day of Vrata ?

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Most general guidelines, that may apply to all fasts are explained in the Agni Purana:

Chapter 175 - Rules and regulations relating to the vows (vrata-paribhāṣā)

  1. A vow is designated as a penance because it causes mortification of the body for the doer. It is said to be a restraint as it controls the collection of senses.
  • 4-9. O brahmin! Those brahmins who do not worship fire get prosperity by vows, fasting, restraints and many kinds of gifts. The gods etc. who confer enjoyment and emancipation become pleased. One who has turned back from sins and lives with qualities it is known as upavāsa (fasting). It is devoid of all enjoyments. One who is fasting should reject bellmetal, flesh, masūra (a kind of pulse), chick-pea, koradūṣaka (a species of grain), vegetable, wine, food from others, (association with) a woman, flowers, ornaments and dress, incense, perfume and unguent. (People) do not commend the cleaning of teeth and (use of) collyrium. The five things got from a cow should be used in the place of the toothstick in the morning and the vow commenced. Fasting gets vitiated by frequent drinking of water, the chewing of betels, dreaming and having intercourse during the day.

  • 10-17. Forbearance, truth, compassion, charity, cleanliness, control of the senses, worship of gods, making oblation to fire, happiness and not stealing are remembered to be the ten general virtues (to be practised) in all vows. Befitting one’s capacity one should repeat the sacred hymns and offer oblations (to fire). One should bathe daily, eat moderately and worship preceptors, gods and brahmins. One should avoid taking alkaline substances, honey, salt, wine and meat. Among the grains (all the grains) except sesamum and mudga (a kind of kidney-bean) are commendable. Wheat, kodrava (a species of grain), cīnaka (a kind of paddy), devadhānya, leguminous grain, sugar, śitadhānya (barley or 8white paddy?), roots from the market are deemed to be alkaline things. Rice, ṣaṣṭika (a kind of rice), mudga (a kind of kidney bean), sesamum, barley, śyāmāka (a kind of corn), rice grown without cultivation and wheat etc. are conducive to vows. One should avoid taking pumpkin, bottle-gourd, brinjal, uālaṅkī [pālaṅkī] (?) and pūtikā (a kind of herb). Sweet porridge, the flour of barley, pāṭā-herb, curd, ghee, milk, śyāmāka (a kind of corn), rice, rice growing without cultivation, mūlataṇḍula are conducive as haviṣya (fit to be offered as oblation) at the time of vows (in general) and nakta (vrata) (eating food only in the night) in the rites of offering made to fire. Except wine and meat, the other things are said to be conferring good in a vow.

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  • 59-62. In all the vows the embodied golden images of vows should be worshipped by the person practising a vow after bathing (according) to his means. He should sleep on the floor. (He should do) repetition (of sacred syllables), (offer) oblation and (make) gifts at the end of a vow in general. Twenty-four or twelve or five or three or one brahmin should be worshipped. The preceptors should be fed. The fee (such as) cows, gold etc., sandals, shoe, water vessel, food vessel, earth, umbrella, seat, bed, pair of dress and pots should be paid according to (one’s) means to every one. The rules and regulations have thus been described.


Another brief description from Garuda Purana as given by Veda Vyasa is -

Chapter CXXVIII - Various Vratas described

A Vrati (performer of a Vratram) is under the obligation of observing sepecific rules of conduct and self-control. He should bathe, thrice every day, during the entire term of the Vrata, and sleep on the bare ground, contented, and controlled in his mind and senses, and renouncing all talk with women, shudraa, and degraded persons. He should make burnt offerings of the five sacred articles, as his circumstances would admit of. A Vrati wishing to acquire the full merit of his vow, should practise the above-named austerities, and undergo double the hardship, in the event of his wearing long hair during the entire term of the Vrata. He should not take any thing out of a bowl of Indian bellmetal, nor consume any potherbs, nor take honey, grain, and Koradushaka, nor chew any betel leaf on the day of breaking his fast, not take his meals in another’s house on the occasion. A fast is vitiated by using flowers, perfumes, unguents, collyrium, a tooth brush, a new cloth, or an article of ornament. A Vrati should wash his mouth with the Panchagavyam in the morning before breaking his fast. The merit of a fast is destroyed by gambling, by indulging in day-sleep or in sexual intercourse, and by constantly drinking water on the day of its breaking. Forbearance, truthfulness, clemency, charity, cleanliness of body and mind, and subjugation of the senses, divine worship and Homa celebration are the ten cardinal virtues, which should be practised in connection with the performance of every Vrata. A meal after a whole day’s fast and taken after the rising of the evening star is technically called a night-meal (Nakta Bhojanam), which must not be interpreted to simply mean a meal in the night.



  • So certain food items are prohibited in general, common to all vows, while certain foods are conducive to the vows, as per this excerpt from Agni Purana.

  • Salt must be avoided, along with certain other vegetables and pulses as listed above.

  • Things like gambling, sleeping, sexual intercourse are to be strictly avoided in general.

  • Eating once a day, or doing (nakta-bhojanam), that all depends upon the kind of vow (pratigya) you took for the particular day's fast (like Ekadashi, or weekday fats), one must adhere to those vows strictly, in letter and spirit. That's what constitutes a successful fast.

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  • Hi, mudga seems to mean moong. Correct? In the Agni Purana excerpt it says both that mudga and sesamum are not commendable, and in the next statement, that they are both conducive to vows. Which one is it? Seems to be mistranslation... Jul 7, 2023 at 19:37

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