The Matsya Purana (critical study)

by Kushal Kalita | 2018 | 74,766 words | ISBN-13: 9788171103058

This page relates ‘Nakshatrapurusha-vrata’ of the English study on the Matsya-purana: a Sanskrit text preserving ancient Indian traditions and legends written in over 14,000 metrical verses. In this study, the background and content of the Matsyapurana is outlined against the cultural history of ancient India in terms of religion, politics, geography and architectural aspects. It shows how the encyclopedic character causes the text to deal with almost all the aspects of human civilization.

Part 4.2d - Nakṣatrapuruṣa-vrata

Nakṣatrapuruṣa is a form of lord Nārāyaṇa and Nakṣatrapuruṣavrata is the worship of Nārāyaṇa.[1] In the 54th Chapter of the Matsyapurāṇa, the Nakṣatrapuruṣavrata is discussed. Here in the form of Nakṣatrapuruṣa, Nārāyaṇa is conceived as the person comprising twenty seven (27) nakṣatras in his body. According to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā, the Mūlā nakṣatra dwells in his feet, Rohiṇī in his thighs, Aśvinī in his knees, Pūrvāṣāḍhā and Uttarāsāḍhā in his chest etc.[2] The worshipper of this vrata attains all his desires and gets happiness. This vrata washes off all sins of the devotee as well as of his deceased ancestors commited in their lives.[3]

The Vāmanapurāṇa also tells about the fruits of this vrata. It says that by performing it Bhṛgu washed off all his sins.[4] Revatī also observed it for getting son, Rambhā did it for radiance and beauty, King Pururavā had accomplished Nakṣatrapuruṣavrata to please Lord Viṣṇu and attained the charm of the Moon and got back his kingdom. Being pleased by this vrata Lord Viṣṇu bestowed sweet voice to Tilottamā.[5]

In this vrata the devotee prepares an image of Vāsudeva made according to the instructions of the brāhmaṇas and then it is worshipped in the month of Caitra at the time when the moon is in the nakṣatras like Mūlā etc. Mūlā, Rohiṇī, Aśvinī, Pūrvāṣāḍhā, Uttarāṣāḍhā, Pūrvāphālgunī, Uttaraphālgunī, Kṛttikā, Pūrvabhādra, Uttarabhādra, Revatī, Anurādhā, Dhaniṣṭhā Viśākhā, Hastā, Punarvasu, Aśleṣā, Jyeṣṭhā, Śravaṇa, Puṣyā, Svāti, Śatabhiṣā, Mghā, Mārgaśirā, Citrā Bharaṇi and Ārdrā are honoured in connection with the limbs, viz., feet, ankles, knees, thighs, organ of generation, waist, ribs, arm-pits, chest, back, forearms, hands, tips of the finger, nail, throat, ears, mouth, teeth, gullet of the mouth, nose, eyes, forehead and head respectively of the Nakṣatrapuruṣa.[6]

After completion of the vrata the devotee donates a mace filled with pearls and jewels as also cows, bedstead the pious brāhmaṇa and thereafter, the devotee prays to lord Viṣṇu for the fulfilment of his desires thus:

“O thou! having the form of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva fulfill all my cherished desires[7] the image of Viṣṇu along with the goddess Lakṣmī is given to a worthy brāhmaṇa and his wife along with wooden bedstead.”[8]

Then he prays to Viṣṇu for health, beauty and wealth. The image of the Nakṣatrapuruṣa is given away along with other clothes to the brāhmaṇa who is well versed in astronomy.[9] During the 27 days of this vrata the devotee should take food without salt and oils.

A devotee who worships Lord Viṣṇu according to the rituals enjoined in these śāstras attains liberation. Worshipping Lord Viṣṇu's different limbs helps in attaining good health and a diseasefree life. This way, whoever performs this vrata, his desire is fulfilled with the blessings of Viṣṇu. We have not found any mention of Nakṣatrapuruṣavrata being observed now-a-days.

Footnotes and references:


ṣ ṣ ṃ ā ṃ ā ā ṇā nak atrapuru a n ma vrata n r ya tmakam/ pādādi kuryādvidhivat viṣṇūnāmānukīrtanam // Matsyapurāṇa, 54.7


ṛ ṃ ā ū ā ā ḥ Cf., B hatsa hit, R pasatr dhy ya, 1-5


Matsyapurāṇa, 54.29


nakṣatrapuruṣākhyaṃ hi vratānāmuttamaṃ vratam/ pūrva kṛtam hi bhṛgunā sarvapātaka nāśanam// Vāmaṇapurāṇa, 80.30


Ibid., 80.36-37


Matsyapurāṇa, 54.9-19


manoratham naḥsaphalīkuruṣva hiraṇyagarbhācyutarūdrarūpin// Ibid., 54.23


ṣ ī ā ā ā ṃ ṣ salak m kamsabh ry ya k ñcana puru ottamam/ śayyāṃca dadyānmantreṇa granthibhedavivarjitam// Ibid., 54.24


evaṃ nivedya tatsarvaṃ vastramālyānulepanam/ ṣ ṣ ā ā ā nak atrapuru ajñ ya vipr y tha visarjayet// Ibid., 54.27

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