Purattasi is the 6th month in the Tamil calendar. This month is very sacred for Vishnu devotees or Vaishnavites in south India, as they believe that Lord Vishnu appeared on earth in this holy month. The Saturdays, especially, in this month, or Purattasi Shanikkizhamai (Saturday) as they are called by Tamils, are very auspicious and sacred. On these days, devotees observe a strict fast and perform special rituals to honor Lord Vishnu and thank him for preserving the universe during the current Kali Yuga.
Vishnu is also the God of Wealth, and he has unique power on these Saturdays. He also minimizes the negative effects of Saturn. Sometimes, people also perform a Homam for wealth and success at this time. Here are some of the rituals that are performed during Purattasi month.
Vishnu Sahasranama Parayanam & Archana
Chanting the thousand names of Vishnu is believed to bring both material and spiritual benefits. It can activate the Sahasrara Chakra and bestow good fortune. It also helps to achieve one’s goals in life.
Narayana Upanishad Parayanam
This Upanishad depicts Narayana/Vishnu as the creator and gives an explanation of the spiritual significance of the mantra ‘Aum Namo Narayanaya.’
Vishnu Sukta Japam & Parayanam
This is a very powerful Mantra for attaining Moksha, enlightenment, and overall well-being. Vishnu descended to earth to eliminate the hardships of Kaliyuga and to protect devotees from harm. He ensures that his devotees can live in peace, prosperity, and unity.
Story behind Purattasi
Once, there was a potter called Bheeman in Tirupati, a holy town. A great Vishnu devotee, he had taken a vow to fast on all Saturdays to invoke Vishnu’s blessings. However, due to his work, he never got the time to visit the temple and get a darshan of the deity.
He decided that he would bring the deity to him instead. So, he made an idol of clay. As he didn’t have enough money to buy flowers for the idol, he made some flowers using clay and strung them into garlands for the idol. He could not afford to make sweets and other items for Prasad either. All he had was some curd rice for the offering.
Meanwhile, King Thondaiman, who ruled the territory and was a devout Vaishnavite, used to visit the temple on all Saturdays and present gold chains for the deity. But one Saturday, when he came to the temple, he was shocked to find only garlands of sand flowers on the idol of Vishnu. He thought that the priests were stealing the gold chains.
Then, Lord Vishnu appeared in a dream and told him about the humble potter. The king met him and offered him help. But Bheema refused to accept any money and continued to worship Vishnu in his own way. His piety moved the king. From that day, the king began to make his offerings to Vishnu in a clay pot. Even on the days when a grand feast is offered to the deity, devotees make sure to keep a clay pot of curd rice as one of the offerings in memory of Bheema’s devotion.
Purattasi and Mercury
In the month of Purattasi, Budhan or Mercury enters the house of Virgo. Budhan is fond of vegetarian food, so Hindus avoid eating non-vegetarian food during this month.
Apart from the avoidance of non-veg food in Purattasi month, many devotees also observe a fall fast for Purattasi Viratham (fast). Since Saturday is associated with planet Shani or Saturn, which can cause many problems in life when afflicted, it is believed that such fasting will nullify or minimize the negative effects of the planet and remove obstacles in life.
Also, fasting on Purattasi Saturdays will help invoke the blessings of Lord Vishnu. In fact, this fast is equivalent to fasting on every Saturday and performing Pooja to Vishnu for the whole year. This is why Purattasi Saturdays are so special and sacred for Vishnu devotees.
The Science behind Purattasi Fasting
Purattasi 2022 begins on September 18 and ends on October 17. During this time, there will be seasonal rains, and people often fall ill with cold, cough, and fever. Eating meat at this time can make things worse. On the other hand, vegetarian food is healthy and has a detoxifying effect.
Purattasi masam 2022 has 4 Vishnu Saturdays – 24 Sept, 1 Oct, 8 Oct, and 15 Oct.