Vrat observed by women for longevity of their husband
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Kokila Vrat (08-Jul-2017)
Kokila Vrat is a sacred fast observed mostly by Hindu women in India. This auspicious Vrat is usually celebrated on the full moon day (Purnima) of Ashada or Ashara Month (June – July). Kokila Vrat falls on July 9 in the year 2017. In most parts of North India, Kokila Vrat is observed on the intercalary month or Adhika Mas based on Ashada. Women undertake the Kokila Vrat by offering worship to Goddess Sati and Lord Shiva. The Vrat is widely observed on the day of Ashada Purnima (full moon day in the month of Ashada) in most parts of Southern and western India.
According to legends, Kokila (or cuckoo) is associated with the legend of Goddess Sati (Goddess Parvathi). It is believed that Goddess Sati self immolated herself in the Yagna fire and spent nearly 1000 celestial years as a cuckoo due to a curse by Lord Shiva. She is said to have got back to her original form later and had merged with the Lord.
Kokila Vrat is predominantly observed by married women in India, seeking longevity of their husband’s lives. The vrat is observed for one whole month in some parts of India, starting from the Ashad Purnima to the Shravan Purnima falling in the subsequent month. Those observing this venerated fast usually wake up early in the morning and have a holy bath. They then make a cuckoo idol out of clay or have its picture for which prayers are offered. This image of cuckoo is considered as Goddess Sati herself. The person fasting must mandatorily eat only one meal per day during the entire month until Shravana Poornima. It is widely believed that women who observe this Vrat by following all the austerities would be blessed with the Akhand Saubhagyavati status (their husbands wouldn’t meet death). They are also believed to go to the heavenly abode of Maa Sati (Parvati) upon their death. One another version of the legend also reveals that worshiping a cuckoo idol made of clay on the occasion of Kokila Vrat bestows a woman with an ideal life partner.
Legend behind Kokila Vrat
Goddess Parvati is said to have taken numerous forms (avathar) during different periods of time and was known by several names in this world. Goddess Sati is one such form of Goddess Parvathi who once incarnated as the daughter of King Daksha Prajapati. Upon attaining womanhood, Sati chose to marry Lord Shiva in the royal Swayamvar. This was completely against her father Daksha’s wish, as he detested Lord Shiva. He looked down on Lord Shiva and considered him to be a bad match to his princess daughter. He called Lord Shiva a barbarian and the Lord of evil elements like Bhooth and Predh (ghostly beings).
Sometime later, Daksha Prajapati happened to perform a Mahayagna for which he invited all the Gods and Goddesses except Lord Shiva and Sati. Lord Shiva felt angry and humiliated at not being invited for the Yagna. However, Sati decided to attend the ceremony despite her husband’s strong disapproval.
During the yagna, Daksha received all his Godly guests with utmost respect and gratitude while he threw abuses and contempt on Lord Shiva. Sati who could no longer hear her husband being humiliated, jumped into the sacrificial fire and ended her life.
Lord Shiva who came to know of this incident, became totally enraged that he ordered his attendant Veerbhadra to destroy Daksha’s Yagna. The obedient Veerabadra did as instructed and thus the Yagna came to an halt. Those Gods who tried to resist Veerbhadra got their limbs broken in the clash. Few even suffered grave injurious. Lord Vishnu who wanted to put an end to the chaos, rushed to the scene. He pacified the angry Lord Shiva and requested him to cure the lesser gods from their deformities. Shiva yielded to Lord Vishnu’s request and hence brought back Gods got back to their original form. However he couldn’t forgive Sati who attended the Yagna against his will. Therefore, he cursed Sati to take the form of a female cuckoo. For several years, Sati stayed in the heavenly garden called the Nandan Kanan as a cuckoo, after which on she was reborn as Parvati, the daughter of Himalayas. In her rebirth, Parvathi is said to have observed this month-long Kokila Vrat and thus got Lord Shiva back as her spouse.
From then on, this sacred Kokila Vrat started gaining immense significance in Hinduism. Till this day, married women in India worship Kokila’s idol decorated with ornaments and jewellery. They offer it to the Brahmin with the belief that this would bring good health and abundant wealth to her husband. It is advisable that at least one married woman from each family perform this Kokila Vrat , which in turn ensures the safety and prosperity of not only their respective husbands but also to their family as a whole.
Radhika T V
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