Vaitarani


Also found in: Wikipedia.

Vaitarani

November-December; 11th day of the waning half of the Hindu month of Margashirsha
Vaitarani is the river that, according to Hindu belief, runs between the earth and the underworld, which the dead must cross to reach the realm of Yama, who is the ruler and judge of the dead. It plays much the same role in Hindu mythology that the River Styx plays in Greek mythology. Because this river is said to be filled with all kinds of filth, blood, and moral offenses, Hindus believe that it can only be crossed with the aid of a cow. It is for this reason that cows are given in charity to Brahmans where there is a death in the community.
On the day known as Vaitarani, devout Hindus observe a fast and other prescribed rituals. In the evening they worship a black cow, who is bathed in fragrant water and has sandal paste applied to her horns. Brahmans are given gifts of food, clothes, and a cow made out of gold or silver.
SOURCES:
DictHindu-1977, p. 318
RelHolCal-2004, p. 180
References in periodicals archive ?
59) It then predicts that while Dhanvantari will be reborn in hell, Vaitarani will be reborn as a monkey who uses his memory of past medical skills to heal a wounded Jaina monk and eventually attains liberation under the monk's influence.