Bhishma Ashtami or ‘Bhishmashtami’ is a Hindu festival dedicated to ‘Bhishma’ of the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. It is believed that Bhishma, also known as ‘Ganga Putr Bhism’ or ‘Bhishma Pitamaha’ departed from his soul on this chosen day. This occurred during the propitious ‘Uttarayan period’ that is, the daytime of Devas. Bhishma Ashtami is observed on the ‘ashtami’ (8th day) of the Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight of moon) of the month of ‘Magha’ in the Hindu calendar. It corresponds to the month of January-February as per the English calendar.
Bhishma Ashtami is observed by Hindus in different parts f the county and abroad. In the state of Bengal special puja and rituals are held during the day. Bhishma Ashtami is observed as the death anniversary of the most prominent character of Mahabharata, Bhishma Pitamah. He was the most revered character of Mahabharata. This day is celebrated with great dedication and fervour in ISKCON Temples and Lord Vishnu temples all over the country.
Bhishma Ashtami 2018 was on January 25 Thursday
Rituals during Bhishma Ashtami:
- On the day of Bhishma Ashtami, people observe ‘Ekodishta Shraddha’ in the honour of Bhishma Pitamah. It is mentioned in the Hindu scriptures that this ‘shraddha’ can only be performed by those whose fathers are not alive. However some communities do not follow this and believe that any individual can perform the ‘shraddha’ irrespective of their father being dead or alive.
- Devotees perform ‘tarpan’ on this day on the river banks. This ritual is dedicated to their ancestors and Bhishma Pitamah. This tarpan ritual is meant for the peace of King Bhishma’s soul.
- Bhishma Ashtami Snan is an important ritual during this day. Taking a bath in the holy rivers is believed to be highly meritorious. While taking bath, there is a tradition of offering boiled rice and sesame seeds in the Ganga River. It is a belief that by performing this act all the sins will be removed from one’s life and the person will be freed from the cycle of birth and death. After taking bath, most of the devotees observe a strict fast on this day. This fast is undertaken to pay tribute to King Bhishma. In the evening, the observer of this vrat takes a sankalp and performs an ‘Arghyam’. During the Arghyam, the devotees chant the ‘Bhishma Ashtami Mantra’.
Important Timings On Bhishma Ashtami
|Sunrise||25-Jan-2018 07:13 AM|
|Sunset||25-Jan-2018 18:05 PM|
|Ashtami Tithi Begins||24-Jan-2018 16:16 PM|
|Ashtami Tithi Ends||25-Jan-2018 15:13 PM|
|Place : Ujjain [ India ]|
Significance during Bhishma Ashtami:
Bhishma Pitamah was known for his celibacy and he observed it all through his life. Owing to this persistent devotion and loyalty to his father, Bhishma Pitamah was bestowed with a power to choose his time of death. When he got injured during the great war of Mahabharata, he did not leave his body and waited for the auspicious day of Magha Shukla Ashtami to meet the supreme soul. In Hinduism, the period when Suryadev (Sun God) moves in the south direction, is considered ominous and all the propitious activities are postponed till the time Sun God moves back in the northern direction. During the ashtami of the Magha month, this northern movement is initiated, known as the ‘Uttarayan’ period. The day of Bhishma Ashtami is considered favourable to perform any auspicious activity all day long.
The day of Bhishma Ashtami is also important for people to get rid of ‘putra dosh’. Childless couples as well as newly married couples observe a strict fast on this day, in order to be blessed with a son soon. It is believed that by getting the blessings of Bhishma Pitamah on this day, couples will be blessed with a male child, who will possess the qualities of Pitamah.
Bhishma Ashtami festival dates between 2015 & 2025
|2015||Tuesday, 27th of January|
|2016||Monday, 15th of February|
|2017||Saturday, 4th of February|
|2018||Thursday, 25th of January|
|2019||Wednesday, 13th of February|
|2020||Sunday, 2nd of February|
|2021||Saturday, 20th of February|
|2022||Tuesday, 8th of February|
|2023||Saturday, 28th of January|
|2024||Friday, 16th of February|
|2025||Wednesday, 5th of February|