Rishi Panchami or Bhadrapada Shukla Panchami is observed two days after Hartalika Teej and one day after Ganesh Chaturthi. As per the current English calendar, Rishi Panchami day occurs in August or September.
Rishi Panchami is a fasting day observed by women folk to pay respect to the Sapta Rishis (the Seven Sages) and to get purified from Rajaswala Dosha.
As per Hinduism purity has given highest priority and there are strict guidelines to maintain the body and the soul pure. In Hinduism, women are believed to be unclean during their menstrual cycle and hence during this period women are not allowed to enter in the kitchen for cooking, or participate in any religious activities. Neglecting these guidelines will result in Rajaswala Dosha. It is advised to perform Rishi Panchami fasting to get rid of Rajaswala Dosha.
Rishi Panchami is more popular in Nepali Hindus. In some places, the three days Hartalika Teej fasting ends on Rishi Panchami.
Rishi Panchami is also known by the name Rushi Panchami.
How to Perform Rushi Panchami pooja:
On the day of Rishi Panchami, Devotees perform ritual bath in holy rivers or other water bodies. They clean their hands 108 times, the mouth 108 times. Lord Ganesh, Navagraha – nine planetary Gods, Saptarshis – seven Sages and Arundathi are worshipped. Woman offer the prashad to Gods and wash her husbands feet.
Then, women again perform sacred bath. They rub the special red mud for several times on different parts of the body. They sprinkle water over head and brush the teeth for 360 times with Dantiwan, a sacred plant. With taking ritual bath once again in sacred water devotees feel blessed that their all sins are cleansed away.
Story of Rishi Panchami:
Let us know about the legend related to this festival while celebrating Rishi Panchami. Rishi Panchami is such an auspicious day that if the fast is observed and rituals are performed, a person is relieved from all the sins of his or her present or past life. Lord Brahma himself is the one who narrated the story of Rishi Panchami. According to him, there was a simple Brahmin named Uttank who used to live with his wife Sushila. Their daughter, who was a widow, also lived with them. One night, several ants covered the body of the daughter and the parents were astonished to see this. They became extremely worried and immediately called a sage, so that he could mend the situation.
The Rishi whom they called was a learned sage and he explained the reason behind the trouble. He made them aware of the sin that their daughter committed in her previous life. He told them that their daughter had entered the kitchen during her menstruation. The rishi advised the daughter to perform certain rituals on the day of Rishi Panchami to purify her body and soul, so that this way, she would be relieved of the sin that she has committed. Following the instructions given by the sage, the daughter performed all the customs with absolute devotion. This set her soul free from the dosha. Therefore, this little yet powerful story becomes a platform that explains the significance of Rishi Panchami. Rishi Panchami is the road to peace and sanctification of the soul, mind and body.