Vagh Baras or Govatsa Dwadashi 2022: A Festival to Worship Cows

Diwali the festival of lights is celebrated in India and around the world with great pomp and vigour. Symbolically, the festival denotes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Festivities of the season extend through 5 days, from Dhanteras to Bhai Dooj. Vagh Baras is the dark fortnight of the twelfth day of the Ashwin month, of Krishna Paksha Dwadashi, that is dedicated to the Cow. It is believed that Shri Vallabha, the incarnation of Lord Dattatreya disappeared in the Krishna River on this day. Hence it is also celebrated as Guru or Govatsa Dwadashi in a few places. ‘Go’ means ‘cow’ while ‘Vatsa’ means a calf.

Vagh Baras 2022: Auspicious Date and Time

Vagh Baras or Govatsa Dwadashi is celebrated a day before Dhanteras in Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is a significant day where cows and calves are worshipped and fed with wheat products. In 2022, Vagh Baras will fall on Friday, Oct 21, 2022, as per the given Muhurta.

Vagh Baras 2022Muhurat Timings
Vagh Baras 2022 DateFriday, Oct 21, 2022
Pradosha Kala Vagh Baras Muhurat06:09 pm to 08:39 pm on Oct 21, 2022
Duration02 Hours 30 Mins
Dwadashi Tithi Begins AtOn 21 Oct, 2022 at 05:22 pm
Dwadashi Tithi Ends AtOn 22 Oct , 2022 at 06:02 pm

Vagh Baras Observance

Vagh Baras is a religious Hindu festival that marks the commencement of Diwali festivities. It is an auspicious thanksgiving day dedicated to cows for their help in sustaining the human race. Devotees believe that observance of the day helps in fulfilling all their wishes. They comply with rituals mentioned in the Bhavishya Purana that emphasises the importance and holiness of the Cow in Hinduism. The festival is known as Vasu Baras in the state of Maharashtra. In Gujarat, it is observed as Vagh Baras or Aso Vad Baras and as Sripada Vallabha Aradhana Utsav in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. In some parts of India, the festival is called Bach Baras while northern states celebrate the day as Govatsa Dwadashi. The followers of Shaivism, a sect within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as its supreme being, celebrate the day as Nandini Vrat, as both Nandini (Divine Cow) and Nandi ( Sacred Bull) are considered holy.

Vagh Baras Meaning

The word ‘Vagh’ implies the repayment of financial debts while ‘Baras’ refers to the financial year. Thus, businessmen clear their accounts on this day and make no further entries in new ledgers until the day of Labh Pancham.

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Vagh Baras Story

The Holy scriptures relate to a legend that mentions the importance of Vagh Baras. It is believed that at the time of Samudra Manthan or Churning of the Sea, five wish-fulfilling cows or Kamdhenus emerged. Among them appeared a Divine cow named Nanda. The day gained religious importance of worshipping the sacred cow Nanda and gradually came to be celebrated as Vagh Baras.

Vagh Baras Significance

The Vagh Baras celebration honours Nandini, a holy cow revered in Hinduism as a source of food for all life on Earth. Nandini is revered by Hindus as the sacred cow who bestows milk and prosperity. On Vagh Baras, devotees follow a day-long fast, abstaining from dairy items such as milk and curd, as well as items prepared from wheat.

Vagh Baras also hold a lot of significance for childless couples who can worship Nandini, the holy cow, and keep a fast. Women follow a fast for the prosperity and growth of their offspring. To honour cows, ‘anaaj’ and sprouting moong daal are served. Married women perform a puja for their family’s health, which is known as ‘Gau Pujan.’ Everyone celebrates the festival with zeal for their family’s success and growth.

Vagh Baras Puja Rituals

Vagh Baras is a day to honour the Holy cow and calves. Following rituals followed on this day:

  • Cows and calves are bathed and draped in colourful clothes.
  • They are decorated with beautiful garlands.
  • Vermillion and turmeric paste tilak is applied to their foreheads.
  • In rural areas, people make mud replicas of cows and calves and adorn them as symbols of motherhood as they are their chief source of livelihood.
  • They believe doing Gau Puja or cow worship on this auspicious day is said to wash away sins and is equivalent to bathing in the holy Ganga.
  • Women longing for a male child perform special Puja rituals on this day.
  • Holy hymns or Artis are sung while feeding the animals with wheat products, gram and mung bean sprouts.
  • Devotees sing songs praising the love of God Shri Krishna for cows, and being their benefactor.

Vagh Baras Fast

Vagh Baras or Govatsa Dwadashi is observed by devotees who revere and worship the Holy Cow. On this day, married women observe the fast of one day for the well-being of their children. They abstain from water and eatables. These women follow complete abstinence from one meal, either the morning or the evening one. The day emphasises refraining from wheat and milk products that are considered the cow’s principal diet. The festival is celebrated on Dwadashi after one day of Ekadashi, and one day before Dhanteras; therefore, it is worshipped at godhuli Bela or dusk time.

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Wrapping Up

It is believed that cows have the maximum capacity to absorb the divine rays of God. People across India consider a cow as ‘Gaumata’ and believe that Vagh Baras is the day that provides an opportunity to cherish traditions and keep our culture preserved religiously!

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