Hindu mythology dedicates every single day of a week to a particular deity or the celestial body. The divine scripture “Muhurt Shastra” dedicates Guruvar or Brihaspativar (Thursday) to Lord Brihaspati, the Guru of all Gods and Lord of the largest and simmering planet Jupiter. India Hindus observe a fast on this day to worship Lord Brihaspati to receive His gracious blessings.
Astrologically speaking, planet Jupiter is the teacher of the science of light, which is astrology and astronomy. This supreme planet (among NavGraha) is directly associated with the principles of growth, success, healing, vision, intellectual, knowledge, spirituality, possibilities, prosperity, financial stability, good fortune, and miracles. Many devotees from the Hindu religion observe a Guruvar fast to please Lord Brihaspati with a faith that He is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
When to start this Thursday Fast?: A devotee can start the Thursday fast, Vrat, from the first Thursday falling in the Shukla Paksha (the rising-waxing phase of the moon) of a lunar month except for the month of Paush. This auspicious ritual begins at dawn and ends in the evening. It is believed that observing 16 continuous Thursday fast or for a period of 3 years brings desired results to that person.
Procedure for Thursday fast, Vrat:
• The Thursday fast, Vrat, begins from sunrise, so a devotee must finish his/her morning routine before the sunrise. As per sacred books, devotee should not wash their hair-head, clothes and do not shave on this holy day.
• Wearing yellow-colored clothes and using yellow-colored foods and flowers are considered auspicious because yellow color is associated with the planet Jupiter.
• Place the idol or pictures of Lord Vishnu and Lord Brihaspati in a neat and clean place after sprinkling water from a holy river.
• Thereafter offer some yellow-colored flowers, garlands, yellow rice, and food items like banana, yellow-colored sweets like Laddu, Besan ka halwa as Prasad to the deities.
• Light a Diya with cow ghee and incense sticks in front of the Idols. Applying a yellow Tilak-mark on the forehead is also considered auspicious.
• Sit in a meditative position then chant Guru mantras and recite Guruvar Vrat Katha to praise Lord Brihaspati.
• Perform the aarti and prayer to conclude the puja.
• The observer of this Vrat may opt for a complete fast or can have one meal after completion of the puja with some yellow colored fruits and foods made of gram dal or gram flour, however, the food-eatables should not have salt.
• Donation of yellow items like clothes, foods, and turmeric in the temple or to the poor is considered most auspicious on this day.
Mantras to recite:
• “Om Brim Brhaspataye Namah”
• “Om Gram Grim Graum Sah Gurave Namah”
Significance of observing Thursday Fast:
• A man could earn health, wealth, and fame. Observing Guruvar Vrat helps to develop knowledge and wisdom with the blessing of Lord Brihaspati as He is the epicentre of wisdom and Guru of all gods.
• Hindu sacred books describe that Lord Brihaspati is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, so, observing this fast with pure heart fulfils all the desires of a devotee.
• Vedic literature and ancient Hindu texts advocate that celebrating Guruvar Vart and offering prayers to planet Jupiter, destroys all accumulated sins of a devotee and tranquilizes his greed and fluctuating mind with wisdom.
Guruvar Vrat Katha / Thursday Fast story:
Once upon a time, there was a rich man called Dayavan. He had a big bungalow; he used to observe fast every Thursday and offer worships. This was something his wife named Natasha detested very much. Neither she observed fasts nor did she give a single rupee in charity. She used to argue and forbid her husband also from doing so. Once it so happened; When a saint came to her house and asked Natasha to give alms. she said. “O Saint! I am fed up with making regular charities tell me some way by means of which all this wealth comes to an end and I will live peacefully”. God Brihaspati in the disguise of a saint said “O lady you are a very strange person; no wise person on Earth ever considers her children and wealth as the cause of their plight? If you have a lot of money, it is easy for you to perform a number of auspicious deeds and to live happily. Hearing this, Natasha said, “I don’t want such wealth which I may have to give to others in charity and to waste all my valuable time on such activities”.
The saint said “If this is your final wish then, do as I say, On Thursdays wake up late after sunrise, apply yellow clay on your hair while washing, cook your food without cleansing your kitchen, eat meat and wine during meals, give your clothes to washerman for washing and if you do this for 16 consecutive Thursdays, all your wealth will be destroyed” saying this God Brihaspati vanished from that place.
Natasha started acting on the advice of the saint and hardly within 7 consecutive Thursdays all of her wealth destroyed. The rich man’s family became poor and the family lived in starvation. Once Natasha and Dayavan had no food for seven continuous days, and the lady went to neighbours’ place begging for food. It was Thursday.
The owner of the neighbouring house called his wife, Bhagyalaxmi, a virtuous lady who was busy worshiping Lord Brihaspati and listening to Vrat Katha (story) at that time. After completion of the puja, Bhagyalaxmi spoke to Natasha and came to knew about her painful story. Bhagyalaxmi donated a lot of food to Natasha and suggested her to observe Vrat, fast for 16 consecutive Thursday with complete faith and devotion to regain all her wealth and fame. And she advised her, the rules and procedures for Guruvar fast.
Natasha started worshiping Lord Brihaspati with a fast every Thursday and Dayavan started getting new business offers from his old friend circle. Thereafter, both Dayavan and Natasha observed Guruvar fast regularly, and lived a happy life with the divine blessings of Lord Brihaspati.
Summary: Rigveda the oldest among Vedas describes Lord Brihaspati as a sage born from the first cosmic light, the one who drives away darkness, and is pure and sattva. Astrologically, Brihaspati is the Lord (Swami) of planet Jupiter and is part of the Navagraha in the Hindu zodiac system, considered auspicious and benevolent. Hindus worship Lord Brihaspati and Lord Vishnu every Thursday as per the teachings of sacred scriptures. Observing Guruvar Vrat, fast is considered auspicious to have the divine blessing of Lord Brihaspati.