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‘Fasting’ refers to abstaining from food or certain kind of food items as a prayer or tribute to the divine. Fasting can offer you both spiritual and physical benefits and gives you an opportunity to connect with your favorite deity. It purifies both your external and internal impurities. Also called as Upavas or Vrat, it can also help cleanse your system and improve your body metabolism.
Each of the 7 week days represents a planet and is named only after them, as per the Hindu system. Thus, Monday represents the Moon; Tuesday, Mars; Wednesday, Mercury; Thursday, Jupiter; Friday, Venus; Saturday, Saturn; and Sunday, the Sun. The days of the week are also dedicated to specific deities. Offering your sincere prayers to that particular deity and the planetary god on his or her special weekday is believed to please the deity and help receive their blessings in abundance.
Wednesday, also known as Budhavar, is the day of Budha or Mercury, who is regarded as the wisest and youngest of planets and considered as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom and wealth. Lord Vishnu is the ruling God of this planet and hence, Wednesday is dedicated to him.
There is an interesting story that narrates the significance of Budhavar Vrat. Once there lived a well-to-do moneylender. Once, he went to his parents-in-law’s house to bring back his wife, who was staying there for some time. That day happened to be a Wednesday and her parents were reluctant to allow their daughter to return with her husband immediately, as Wednesdays are not regarded auspicious for undertaking travels. But the man was in a hurry and so, he pressurized his wife to accompany him back on that day itself. While they were returning in a bullock cart, the wife felt thirsty midway in the journey. The man had to go looking for water and when he returned, a shock awaited him. There was another man who looked so very similar to him, sitting in the cart along with his wife. When questioned, the new man replied nonchalantly that he was the real husband of the lady, while the lady sat thoroughly confused about the two similar looking husbands! But as the harassed husband was at his wit’s ends, an old man who came to the scene and hearing what actually happened, advised him to take refuge in Budha. The man realized his mistake of starting that travel on a Wednesday, prayed earnestly to Budha, promising the God that he would undertake his worship and fasting on Wednesdays and pleading with him to save him from the predicament. Budha being a merciful deity, listened to the hapless man’s plea with compassion, forgave his mistake, made the duplicate disappear as mysteriously as he had appeared and ended his misery in no time. The grateful man understood the significance of prayers and kept his word by observing Budhavar fasting and worship.
Budhavar Vrat or Wednesday fasting begins right from early in the morning on that day, and continues for the next 24 hours. Some people take a single meal in the afternoon on that day. Sometimes, the husband and wife observe the fast together. Devotees spend the day in constant prayers to Lord Vishnu, chanting hymns like Vishnu Sahasranamam (1000 names of Lord Vishnu) in his praise, singing bhajans (songs), reading and hearing stories about him and offering Tulsi (basil) leaves.
During Wednesday fasting, people also offer prayers to Budha. Mercury is fond of green color and hence, people make offerings of green moong dhal (green gram), grapes, green vegetables and green cloth, along with cooked rice, curd, jaggery (cane sugar), sweets etc. to Budha. Some people wear green clothes and feed the cows with fodder and green gram. Some others feed the poor and needy. This fast is generally begun on the first Wednesday of Shukla Paksha, the waxing phase of the Moon and is continued for as long as 21 successive Wednesdays.
Budhavar Vrat or Wedbesday fasting would please both Lord Vishnu and the planetary deity Budha, and bestow you with the following blessings:
The sacred scriptures prescribe fire ceremony, Abishekam (hydration ceremony), Pooja/Archana (Light and Sound ceremony), Yantra and Mantra (special sounds) as the ways to offer your prayer to the divine. Out of these, fire ceremony is the most evolved spiritual technology on earth to connect with the divine beings. Participate in the remedial services to clear your karma and receive the blessings.