Jainism advocates a lot of vrats as part of an involved spiritual life. Rohini Vrat is one such vrat very popularly observed by the women in Jain households. Rohini Vrat is observed when the Rohini Nakshatra rises in the sky once in every 27 days. The procedure for observing Rohini Vrat is very simple since it is meant for women who cannot undergo rigorous sadhana.
On the day of Rohini, the women wake up early in the morning and take a holy bath. They set up an idol or photograph of one of the Jain Bhagwans namely Vasupujya. An elaborate puja is performed with a holy bath to the idol and offerings are made. At the end of the puja, the ladies start the fasting process that stretches up to the rise of next star namely Margashirsha Nakshatra.
Lord Mahavir lived the life of an ascetic. He advocated non-violence as the primary duty of all men and women. Being heralded as the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavir was preceded by twenty three holy men called as Tirtankaras or path finders who all lived the lives of ascetics and were engaged in severe spiritual sadhana. Lord Mahavir strongly advocated that only when an individual crosses his attachment to the physical body, can he attain self-realization, which is the final culmination of human birth.
Jainism advocates a very severe ascetic life of complete renunciation for those who give up worldly pleasures and commit themselves to spiritual life. For those in the regular household life, strict observances are not a mandate. They can follow the commandments of Jainism and live a normal life however without giving themselves away to over indulgence. Amidst this background, Rohini Vrat is prescribed for the women in the Jain community as a spiritual practice.
The ultimate benefits of Rohini vrat are considered to be the happiness and prosperity of the household and the inmates of the family, long life of the husband and relief from the troubles of life. It is said that if the women in the Jain households observe this vrat with all sincerity and diligence, then peace and tranquility will rule over the household.
A large number of devout Jain women observe Rohini Vrat continuously. They also give out many things in charity during the vrat to please Bhagvan Vasupuja and win his blessings. In many households, the women alone observe this vrat while the normal life goes on for the others in the family.
The Nakshatras system in the Hindu and Jain astrological systems are very much same. In a typical year, one comes across twelve Rohini vrat days. The observance of Rohini vrat is advocated continuously for three, five or seven years. Therefore, once they take up, the women in Jain households continue this vrat for such a long period. The ideal duration advised for the observance of Rohini vrat is five years and five months. At the end of the Rohini fasting, the recommended Udyapana (the mode of conclusion) is feeding the poor, visiting the temple of Bhagvan Vasupuja and performing charity deeds.