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Bhishma Ashtami is dedicated to Bhishma Pitamaha and is celebrated on the eight day of the Shukla Paksha of the Hindu month Magh. Bheeshma Pitamaha is the most revered and impressive character of the Epic, Mahabharata.He was the youngest son of King Shantanu and Mother Ganga Devi. It is believed that his soul was departed on this day and is remembered as the day of his Niryaana.
Bhishma was known for his faithfulness, sincerity and devotion to his father. Bhishma was an ancestor to Kauravas and remained a bachelor throughout. He was blessed with boon to select the period of his death by his own choice. According to Epic, Mahabharata, Pitamaha laid himself on the bed of arrows on Magh Shukla Ashtami day. Being injured in Mahabhart Battle, he didn’t left his soul and selected Magh Shukla Ashtami to give up his soul. This was the period when Surya moves in Uttarayana (Northward direction).
Bhisma Ashtami Vrat Significance
As per Hindu Lunar calendar, Bhishma Ashtami occurs on the eight day (Ashtami) in Magha Month (around February month). Important part of this auspicious day is the worship of the ancestors (the Pitris). Observing the Vrat on this auspicious day gives us freedom from Putradosh. Person observing this fast (vrat) should do Tarpan for the peace ofthe Supreme Soul of Bhisma Pitamah. By the blessings of Bhisma, person observing vratis blessed with a child having value as of Bhisma.Childless couples who look forward to having a child consider Bhisma Ashtamito be most favourable to observe vrat (fast).
Bhisma Ashtami Ritual
On this day believers take early morning bath,perform the Puja and observe the fast from till sunset. To pacify his soul and in his honour all the devotees gather together and make offerings of Ganga-water, to his great soul.The boiled rice and sesame seeds are offered to his noble soul.These religious rituals compensate the sins of the complete year.
Say the Sankalpa" Bhishmashtamipunyakale BhishmaTarpanamkarishye"