Importance of performing Rishi Panchami Vratha
Rishi Panchami is the fifth day of the waxing phase of the Moon in the month of Bhadrapada or the shukla paksha panchami of Bhadrapada. The next day after Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaviti is Rishi Panchami. On this day the seven sages famously known as Sapta Rushulu are worshipped along with Arundathi.
The following Rishi Panchami Vrat Katha explains all the reasons of worshipping Sapta Rushulu and Arundathi during Rishi Panchami.
Once there lived a Brahmin by the name of Sumitra. He was a learned scholar. He had a wife by the name of Jayashri. It is a common practice in Indian culture, that women are restrained from any physical contact with anyone during the menstruation period and they are also not allowed to do any Kitchen related work. It is believed that Indra has shared one fourth of his Brahma Hatya Patakam to ladies and they suffer from it for three days in the form of Menstruation. Hence these three days women are not even to be touched.
Jayashri never used to follow the above rules and used to be doing all the activities even during menstruation time. Sumitra being learned, should have warned or corrected her, but he never stopped or advised her not to do the work during menstruation period. Due to which slowly Sumitra was losing his intelligence, the glow in his face etc.
They had a son by the name of Sumati. After few years both Sumitra and Jayashri were dead and due to their misdeeds reborn. Sumitra was born as an Ox as he knowingly never stopped his wife from doing the wrong things and Jayashri was born as a prostitute. The Ox was with the son Sumati. Sumati was also married and his wife was Chandrawali. The prostitute was also living in the backyard of Sumati. Both the Ox and the prostitute had the sense of their previous birth and hence were living near to their son.
Once while during her menstruation period, the prostitute enters the kitchen of Chandrawali, who immediately sends her out beating with a stick. That night the prostitute comes to the Ox who was her husband in the previous birth and shares her sorrow as to how the daughter in law had beaten her with a stick. The prostitute narrates the whole story to the Ox. The Ox consoles her. This conversation is over heard by Chandrawali and tells the same to her husband Sumati.
Learning that the Ox and the prostitute are his parents, Sumati is keen is saving them from this sorrow and approaches a Rishi by the name of Sarvtapa. The Sage listens to Sumati carefully and closing his eyes comes to understand the reason of why the parents of the Sumati are suffering in this birth.
He explains Sumati that his mother had not followed the rules that were laid down for women during their menstrual cycle and that his father never objected her. Therefore both of them are in this state. He advises Sumati and his wife to observe the Rishi Panchami Vrat and then donate the Virtue or Punya they attain to the Ox and prostitute. By attaining the virtue they will be relieved from this painful living.
On the next Rishi Panchami, Sumati and Chandrawali observed the fast for the whole day. Made a platform and placed seven beetle nut on a beetle nut leaves and invited the Sapta Rishis one into each beetle nut and another one beetle nut and beetle nut leave for Arundathi. Worshiped them and ate fruits in the night.
By observing this Rishi Panchami Vrat they attained a good virtue and that they donated to the Ox and the prostitute there by relieving them of the sins that were done by them in the previous birth.
The Rishi Panchami Vrat has to be performed by those who have knowingly or unknowingly have not followed the rules laid down for women during the menstruation cycle