By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Ananta-caturdasi, Ananta-caturdaZI, Ananta-caturdashi
Vratas (religious vows) and utsavas (celebrations) have become an integral part of religious, cultural and social life. If vratas stress the need for personal religious vows and discipline, utsavas provide an opportunity for rejoicing with the other members of the community.
One of the several such vratas is Ananta-caturdaśī vrata, which is celebrated on the caturdaśi (14th day) of the bright fortnight in the month Bhādrapada (August- September).
In this vrata, Lord Viṣṇu is worshiped as Ananta (‘the Infinite One’). It is done after wearing a holy strap of thread dyed in saffron on the hand (on the right hand in the case of men and on the left in the case of women). The thread should be of cotton or silk and should have 14 knots. It should be worn after keeping it in a jar of water duly established on a maṇḍala (ritual diagram) and after worshiping it.
The Agnipurāna gives the mantra to be recited on this occasion. It is an individual vrata which is normally performed on the bank of a river. Salt is forbidden in this vrata. Gaining happiness is the result promised. It is believed that if it is performed regularly for 14 years, one can reach the abode of Viṣṇu.
- Agnipurāna 192.9
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore