Full Moon day is called Pournami or Poornima in South India. A Full Moon occurs when the Sun and the Moon are 180 degrees away from each other. On a Full Moon day, the Moon casts its illuminating radiance on earth all throughout the day, 24 hours. Praying the whole day will help one dissolve the bad negative karma of past lives and help change one`s destiny. It is a time for strengthening one`s positive energies through spiritual observances of prayer, meditation, recitation and fasting.
This lunar day is auspicious to perform or undertake new initiatives. Prayers and fasting are observed on these days by pious Hindus to gain the grace of the Divine Mother Goddess. Lord Sathyanarayana pooja and worship is also done on Full Moon days. Fasting is observed on this day from sunrise to sunset and one breaks the fast only when one has the sight of the Full Moon on this day. Ghee lamps are lit in the temples or at home after taking darshan of the Moon in full splendor. It is a day spent on spiritual development. Dips are made in holy rivers and ponds.
Importance of Fasting:
Fasting is supreme austerity. It is also called vrat. Worship of deities during this period of fasting helps a lot to attract their blessings and also help the mind to be calm and controlled. It can help elevate the consciousness from sensual to super consciousness, when attuned to their divine vibrations.
There are various types of fasting: Eka Bhukta (one meal is taken in the afternoon), Nakta Vrat (eating only once in the night), Upavaas (to fast completely and take only fruit).
In Full Moon days, food is taken only after the sight of the Full Moon.
Ways to observe Full Moon fast:
- Wake up at Brahma muhurtha (4 a.m-6 a.m). This period of the day is called the “hour of Brahman “by the Rishis.The early hours of the morning are fully charged with prana or vital energy. This vital energy is needed by the body to nourish the cells and activate the six mystic energy centers of the body through meditation.
- Take bath before 6.oo a.m and wear clean clothes.
- Take care to clean the prayer altar and the surroundings of home.
- Do away with useless chatter and observe periods of silence to go within.
- Full Moon is an ideal time to pray for our pithrus or ancestors for their deliverance.
One must not eat anything except for fruits and milk during the day. Fasting helps to reduce the acid content in the system, reduce the rate of metabolism and increases endurance.
One should avoid salt, rice, pulses, wheat and grains.
- In the evening, when the Full Moon appears on the sky, one should have a sight of this moon and then break the fast.
- One should offer fresh flowers and fruits to the Goddess at home and light a lamp. Offerings of sweet milk pudding or rice pudding should be made to the Goddess.
- Betel leaf if available can be placed in front of the Goddess. Sanskrit mantras from Lalitha Sahasranama can be recited on this day to earn immense merit.
- An offering of kumkum should be made to the Goddess while mantras are recited. Kumkum is a symbol of auspiciousness.
- After the prayers, arati should be shown to the Goddess to receive her abundant blessings.
- On this day, charity can be done to the poor by feeding them or gifting clothes to the needy.
- A poornima fast will bless one with wealth, health, abundance and longevity.
Full Moon days that fall these coming months are:
Ashadha Poornima – July 12th
Sravana Poornima – August 10th
Bhadrapada Poornima – September 9th
Aswija Poornima – October 8th
Karthika Poornima – November 7th
Margasira Poornima – December 6th