Rishi Panchami is the day when the Sapta Rishis or the seven sages are traditionally worshipped. It is observed in the Panchami in the Shukla paksha in the Bhadra pada month according to traditional Hindu calendar.

As per the Gregorian calendar this observance falls in the month of August or September. The Rishi Panchami is observed a day after the Ganesh Chaturthi and 2 days after the Hartalika Teej and this day is the last day of the Teej. In 2019, the Rishi Panchami is going to be observed on the 3th of Sep, Tuesday.


Rishi Panchami – tribute to seven sages

The Sapta Rishis or the seven sages are Kashyapa, Atri, Bharadhvaja, Vishvamitra, Gauthama, Jamadagni and Vashishtha. These seven sages had given up their lives for the betterment of human kind and for garnering knowledge which would improve the human conditions. Thus through this vrat people pay their respect, gratitude to these seven saints and also remember them for their immense contribution.


Connection of Rishi Panchami with Rajaswala Dosha

However this fast is to be only observed by women as it is believed that observing this fast makes women get rid of their Rajaswala Dosha. Rajaswala Dosha. Is what women get by not observing the guidelines laid down by Hinduism. For example during menstrual cycle a woman is neither supposed to cook, nor touch any family members nor participate in any religious activities. When someone avoids these activities they are afflicted with the Rajaswala Dosha.. Thus the Rishi Panchami is the best way to get rid of this affliction. It is believed that in her previous birth the daughter had committed the crime of entering the kitchen on the day of menstruation.  On the first day of menstruation a woman is known as Candalini  or a demon, on the second day Brahmdhatini  or a wizard, on the third day a washer woman and on the fourth day only after a purifying bath does she become pure again. The Rishi Panchami fast ensures that a woman does not have to suffer from these attacks by worms and other difficulties.


Legend of Rishi Panchami

Brahma had recounted the virtue of Rishi Panchami to King Sitasale. He had narrated the tale of the Brahmin Utank of Vidharba region. He had a son and a daughter. The daughter was married off but very soon became a widow. The Brahmin and his wife made a hut near the Ganges and started staying there. However one day they saw their daughter’s body covered completely with ants.  The Brahmin kept praying and called sages to know the reason for his daughter’s plight. The sages determined that the daughter had committed sin by entering the kitchen during menstruation.


Observations on Rishi Panchami

Women observe fast on this day and worship Lord Shiva. They have a holy bath using a special herb called Datiwan, which is supposed to have a cleansing effect. Devotees also install pure and sanctified kalash in their homes and also visit Lord Shiva temples to pray to him. Lord Ganesha ,  Saptarshi, Navagraha and Arundhati are all worshipped. Women rub a special red mud on their body and have ritual bath. Then water is sprinkled over their head and teeth are brushed for 360 times.