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About Bhishma Panchaka Vrata

Bhishma Panchaka Vrata is observed during the last five days of the waxing phase of moon (Shukla Paksha) of Kartik month. Bhishma Panchak begins on Kartik Suddha Ekadasi day. The Vrata gets it name from Bhishma of Mahabharata as it was he observed it first after hearing about it from Lord Krishna.
Some devotees in Mayapur (Brahmacaris, Grhasthas alike) fast from grains during these 5 days. The strictest way of doing this fast is to take only the five products of the cow (pancha gavya) on each of the five days(!). I didn't hear of anyone doing this. But usually those who do this fast restrict their eating like during ekadasis: no grains and beans.
As an example and observation, HH Jayapataka Swami was drinking only fruit juices and taking his medicines as his Bhishma-panchaka vrata! Still HH Jayapataka Swami was going on with his work and meeting with devotees, management, early morning programs, late resting, and everything as he does normally.

Bhishma Panchaka Vrata Story

Karthika Shudda Ekadashi to Karthika Shudda Hunnime (Kartik Purnima).Bheeshma did the upavasa for five days from Karthika Shudda Ekadashi to Karthika Shudda Hunnime, lying on Sharapanjara – bed of arrows. On the tenth day of the Mahabharata battle, Bheeshma was hit a volley of arrows from Arjuna and the arrows pierced through the body of Bheeshma and it formed a bed. Since Bheeshma had got the boon that he can decide the time of his death he chose to see the end of the battle lying on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. While lying on the Sharapanjara on the battle field he did various advices like Vishnu Sahasranama, etc to Pandavas. During one such conversation Shri Krishna explained about the importance of Bheeshma panchak vrat which gives health, wealth and progeny. Bheeshma performed the Vrata and as it was first performed by Bheeshma it came to be known as Bheeshma Panchaka.

Bhishma Panchaka Vrat Procces

Who can do this Vratha?
Any body can do this vratha - Women, Men, Widows.
Purpose of this Vratha
This is a Kamya Vratha (not a compulsory vratha like Ekadashi). Observing this Vrata is believed to bring health, wealth and luck. Those who do not have children also perform it for getting children. Some people perform it for redemption of sins.
One should get up before Sun rise and take bath with water remembering the Holy Rivers and if possible mixing Til (Sesam).
After Bath, give Argya to Bheeshmaji, if possible by mixing Chanda and Til in the water, and saying "Gangaji ke Su-putra, Aajivan Bramhcharya Palan Karnewale Pitamaha Bhishma ko yeah Argya Arpan hain, Hame Bramhacharya mein Sahayta Karna" .

BhishmatilatOya mantra: vaiyaagrapaadagOtraaya saankRutipravaraaya cha | gangaaputraaya bhIShmaaya pradaasyEham tilOdakam | satyavrataaya shuchayE gaangEyaaya mahaatmanE | bhIShmaaya cha dadaamyarGyam Ajanma brahmachaariNE | tilatOyaanjalim tasyE pradadaami mahaatmanE ||

Bhishma jalaarGya mantra: savyEnaanEna mantrENa tarpaNam saarvavarNikam | dyuvasOravataaraaya shantanOraatmajaaya cha | arGyam dadaami bhIShmaaya AjanmabrahmachaariNE | vaiyaagrapaadagOtraaya saankRutya pravaraaya cha | aputraaya dadamyEtat jalam BIShmaaya varmaNE |

Deepadaana - On all the five days throughout the day the lamp must be burning unfailingly. Every day deepa daana to be given to brahmana-suvasiniyaru.

Brahmana bhojana -
Except on Ekadashi on all the other days, we have to prepare bhakshya, bhojya, do naivedya and after srihari samarpana, Theerthaprasada to be arranged for Brahmana-suvasiniyaru. The one who is doing the vratha must take Theertha only. He must do the fasting. In exceptional cases when he is not able to sustain the Fasting, then he can take Milk, Fruit, like light items that too for jeevadhaarane purpose only. He has to observe fasting as long as possible and only when it is impossible he can take some light food.

Naivedya –
During Bheeshma Panchaka, Naivedya must be done with pancha vidha bhakshya

Panchagavya prashana –
Daily he must take panchagavya

Theertha-Gandha-akshate –
This is a kamya vratha. He has to take Theertha thrice and put Gandha-akshate as usual (except Ekadashi)

Duties during Vratha –
Pratha: snaana, he must not talk about the loukika vyavahara, tila tarpana to bheeshmacharya, daily pooja, suvarna daana, deepa daana, Shastra shavana, etc. He has to observe Brahmacharya during the period.

Udyapane –
Those who are doing Bheeshma Panchaka must do the sankalpa on Dashami itself and do the udyapane same day. Then five upavasa from Ekadashi to Hunnime. Next day on Padya after pooja, brahmana bhojana he has to take the theertha prasada. That is how the vratha comes to an end.
This is an edited version of the article send by Narahari Sumadhwa.

Bhishma Panchaka Vrat Sankalp

Achamana, chaturvimshati namasmaraNa kEshavaaya……….
shrIkRuShNaaya nama: |
praNamasya parabrahma RuShi:
paramaathmaa dEvataa. …
chaandramaanEna ….samvatsarE,
dakShiNaayaNE, sharadRutu, kaartIkamaasE,
shuklapakShE, dashamyaam,
shubhatithou, …vaasarE, …nakShatrE, ……yOgE, ..karaNE,
EvanguNa vishEShaNa vishiShThaayaaM,
shubhatithou, bhaaratIramaNa muKyapraaNa antargata,
shrIlakShmI narasiMha/ vEnka
TEsha prEraNeya, ..prItyartham,
putraabhilaasha kaamyartham/
dhanaabhilaasha kaamyartham, putrivivaahaartha kaamyaartham,
AyuraarOgya aishvarya kaamyaartham,
bhIShmapanchaka vRatam kaartIka shuddha
Ekaadashim aarabhya pUrNimaaparyantam,
braahmaNa suvaasini pUjaa muKEna,
mayaa upavaasaacharaNa muKEna,
bhIShma panchaka vratam aham kariShyE.

Bhishma Panchaka Images