The panchami is the fifth day, the next day after Chaturthi day.So Rishi Panchami falls on the next day to Ganesh Chaturthi.This is a day of 'Vrata' ie a fast.The tradition of observing this Vrata, is to express respect, gratitude and remembrance of the great deeds of those ancient Rishis, who devoted their life for the welfare of the society.However, the real worship of the Rishis and Munis lies in obeying and complying with their commandments.
The four vedas which is the rich tradition of Hindu culture are- Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharva veda.They were written by the rishis and the work was in progress for almost 500 years.
For that one can remember the Rishis like - Atri,Kashyap, Bharadwaj, Gautam.Vishwamitra,Janadagni and Vashishtha.Near the North Pole there are seven ‘Nakshatras’, which are popularly known as ‘Saptarshi’. They are called so, purposely to remember permanently the names of the Rishis.
This fast is to be observed by women.It is beleived that any ill deeds which the women might have committed and the mistakes done, can be pardoned by doing this Vrata. Any woman who has violated the rules ordained by the scriptures in regards to the days of menstruation or unknowingly had darshan of a Rishi during menstrual periods, thereby committing an act of sacrilege, should observe this fast for washing away of that sin, thus seeking forgiveness.
The Hindu women believe that the fast of Rishi Panchami not only ensures their fedility towards their husbands but also showers blessings upon themselves and upon their family members. They believe that every member of their family would be granted long life, enough courage and wisdom because the fast not only purifies the women folk but all the members of her family from their sins, which otherwise would have adverse effect on all members of their family if their sins are not cleaned through Rishi Panchami Fast. In short, Rishi Panchami Fast is a festival for repentance and deleverance from the sins women commit during their menstrual period.
The story associated with this customary fast of Rishi Panchami is quite interesting.
Once, a woman called Jayshree neglected all norms and barriers to be observed during menstrual cycle and did everything that were forbidden for a woman during the period. She ate all that were supposed to be avoided and touched everyone and walked even in restricted areas of the house. Thereby she committed a great sin, the effect of which, not only fell upon her but also upon her husband. As a consequence, they were reborn as a bitch and an ox in the house of their son Sumati after their death.
One day Sumati was performing Shrada. He had cooked khir to offer to his dead parents. A snaked crowled in and poisoned the khir without being seen by anyone except the bitch. The bitch, who in actual was the mother of Sumati in her previous life, thought that if she lapped the khir than nobody would eat it and the poisonous food would be avoided. The son who knew nothing about the intention of the bitch took it otherwise and gave her a good thrashing. At night the bitch narrated the sad story of the day to her husband who also lamented about his poor feeding on that day and opined the uselessness of their son’s Shrada of that day. The wise son, however, knew about the grudge of the two animals and later on fed them properly.
Next day was the day of Rishi Panchami. Both of them visited the ashram of rishis and begged them to explain the reason of their rebirth as animals. The rishis told them that due to their sins they have been born as animals. They suggested them to observe Rishi Panchami List in order to be liberated from their pitiable life of animals
How to Celebrate
On this auspicious day, the devotees use 108 pieces of upmarga, a kind of medicinal plant, to brush their teeth after relieving their bowels early in the morning. They use upmarga because it is very beneficial which in sanskrit means destroyer of diseases. After cleaning their teeth they apply clean soil all over their body before they take bath. After bath they consume a drop or two of Panchagabya, a kind of potion prepared by mixing milk, curd, butter, excreta of cow, kush and dubo kept in a copper container, panchagabya is considered very sacred by the Hindus and they believe that the potion thus prepared cures tuberculosis and skin diseases which are infections. All the ingredients used in preparing panchagabya are in proportion.
Now after having purified both the body and the mind the devotee offers prayer to diyo, kalash and Lord Ganesh and either through sixteen or five mediums offer their heartfelt prayers to rishis like Kashyap, Arti, Bhardhog, Biswamitra, Gautam, Jamdagni Basista etc and finally end their fast by properly feeding and generously donating the brahmin that conducts the day's puja .
Rishi Panchami Vrat (Fast)
(To get rid of Physical, verbal and mental sins)
It is believed that by observing this fast one gets rid of materialistic, supernatural, and spiritual sorrows or troubles. Sins get eradicated. Juvenility of a woman remains intact by observing this fast. She enjoys all sorts of comforts, happiness and happiness from children. This fast is observed to receive the blessings of 7 Rishis – Kashyap, Bhardwaj, Gautam, Attri, Jamdagni, Vasishtha and Vishwamitra.
Method of Observing Rishi Panchami Vrat
This fast is observed on the Shuklapanchami of Badrapada month. On this day avoid food, milk, salt, sugar etc. You can have only fruits and vegetables. Practice Bramhcharya on this day. Perform Shodashopchar Puja of Arundhati and 7 Rishis. Offer food to Brahmins and read Rishi Panchami Vrata Katha.
Aarti Saptarishi ji ki
The Seven Rishis mentioned in the Shatapatha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (2.2.4) are
"Om Saptrishibhyo Namah"
1) Om Kashyapay Namah
2) Om Bharadvajaay Namah
3) Om Atri Rishye Namah
4) Om Gautamay namah
5) Om Jamdagni Rishye Namah
6) Om Vashistay Namah
7) Om Vishvamitray Namah