Skanda Shasti or Kanda Shasthi Vratam is an important observance dedicated to Lord Muruga. It is observed in the Tamil month of Aippasi and most devotees fast during the 6-day period.
There is no common method of Skanda Shasti fasting. Different devotees observe it differently. But there are some basic rules followed by all the devotees.
- Non-vegetarian food is completely avoided during the period.
- Some people also avoid garlic and onions.
- Those who are observing the fast make it a point to read scriptures related to Lord Muruga or recite the Kanta Shasti Kavasam or Subramaniya Bhujangam.
- Most devotees also visit Skanda temples during the period.
- When it comes to Kanda Shasti fasting, some devotees only take a single meal a day.
- Some take the meal at noon and others at night.
- Some devotees confine to fruits and juices during the 6-day period.
- There are several Skanda devotees who see the Vratam as an opportunity to clean the body and get rid of unwanted toxic elements. Such devotees confine to water, coconut water and other fruit juices.
The fasting ends on the Sixth day.
It must be noted that ‘Vrata’ or ‘Vratam’ in Sanskrit means ‘vow.’ Vratam should not be misunderstood as mere fasting. By observing a Vratam a person is trying to purify his mind through meditation, worship and by sticking to some ‘vow’ that he/she has taken. Now, this vow can include fasting, not telling lies, not getting anger etc. A vratam should be seen as a deliberate attempt on your part to bring back discipline into your life.
Fasting should be voluntary and it should not be done unwillingly. If you are taking medicines, do not observe intense fasting and stick to the routine suggested by your doctor.