Bhishma panchaka or Vishnu panchaka are the five days of the last month of Chaturmasya i.e. the four months of austerities to be practised by spiritual seekers. They are the last five days of the auspicious month of Kartik. They are Kartik Shukla Ekadashi, Dwadashi, Trayodashi, Chaturdashi and Purnima.
As per Mahabharata, Bhishma deva observed a strict fast during last five days in order to prepare for his death. As a result of his austerity, Lord Krishna became very pleased with him and blessed him with pure devotional service.
Benefits of Fasting
For the one who is observing chaturmasya vrata for the four months should intensify the austerities or these five days and one must observe fast from grains for the last five days.
The fast should begin by remembering Bhisma deva on the Ekadasi day and should end on Purnima [the full moon]. One should eat only vegetables or fruits and should worship Lord Gauranga and Krishna. If he needs to eat, he should do so only in the evening. A woman can also observe this fast by the suggestion of a twice-born, and if a widow observes this fast, she can also attain liberation and happiness.
Srila Suta Goswami says in the Padma Purana, Uttara khanda, ‘This liberating fast is unknown even to the demigods. If one listens to what I have said and fasts on these five days, even if he had sex his sister, daughter, mother, etc. he becomes free from that sin. Even if someone attentively listens to this narration, he also achieves happiness. I tell you the truth again and again that one should keep this fast secretively, and continue performing it unceasingly – such a person surely achieves liberation.
Way of fasting
The fasting started today on Ekadashi and will continues until the the Rasa Purnima day. The fasting is broken at moon rise on Purnima day. It is recommended to do full fast on Ekadasi and then the following four days fruits and roots fasting Or five day fruits and roots fasting.
Various Levels of fasting:
One can consume the following products:
Ekadashi day: Cow dung (Gomaya)
Dwadashi day: Cow urine (Go-mutra)
Trayodashi day: Cow milk (Kshiira)
Chaturdashi day: Cow yoghurt (Dahi)
Purnima day: All products of the cow mixed (Pancha-gavya)
If one can’t follow type then please take take fruits and roots fruits with lots of seeds should be avoided like guava, pomegranate,cucumber etc. Boiled potatoes, raw banana and sweet potato can be taken. We can use sea salt for taste.