By Swami Harshananda
Bahulā is also known as Bahulā-caturthi and is one of the minor festivals observed in the northern parts of India on the fourth day of the dark fortnight (krṣṇa-caturthī) of the month of Bhādra (September). It is generally observed by women who have children.
Method of performing Bahulā
After the usual fasting and prayers as prescribed for such festivals, a cow with a calf is worshiped in the evening and offered some sweets in an earthen pot. The fast is broken only after the puja with cooked barley. An observance of this festival with its vows is said to confer children and wealth on the votary.
Tales associated with Bahulā
This festival is connected with two folk tales:
- A cow was caught by a hungry lion. Cow begged the lion to allow it to feed its little calf at home and then return. The lion obliged and the cow returned, true to its promise. Moved by its devotion to truth, the lion let it go. It was on this day that the truthful cow was liberated by the lion.
- A lady named Vipulā took the dead body of her young husband on a raft by a river called Bahulā to the world of the serpent goddess Manasā. She got him revived on this day. Hence listening to this story on this day gives religious merits.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore