Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Shukravar Vrat Katha

Friday fasting in Hinduism is dedicated to Shukra, or Venus. Those people who believe in astrology and horoscope worship and pray to Shukra on the day for wealth and prosperity. Those observing Shukravar Vrat listen to a popular story associated with fasting. The story of Friday fast varies from region to region and this one of them.

Once there was an old woman who used to observe Shukravar Vrat for the welfare of her family. She worshipped an idol of Shukra. On all Fridays, she used to wash the idol and perform a holy dip of it and used to offer the best food available in the house as ‘Prasad’ or Bhog.

One day the old woman decided to go on a pilgrimage. She asked her daughter-in-law to continue the rituals and observe Friday fast. The daughter-in-law wanted to get rid of the mother-in-law and was not at all happy with her Friday rituals so she agreed to take care of the idol and perform the rituals.

Soon the old lady left for pilgrimage. For few Fridays, the daughter-in-law sprinkled some water on the idol and gave some remains of left over food as Bhog. But she never observed the Shukravar Vrat. Soon she got fed up with this ritual too and threw away the idol as she found it a waste of time and energy.

A poor lady who passed by saw the idol of Shukra lying in the garbage and she took it to her home and performed Friday fasting and pujas. Without fail she bathed the idol and offered the best food available with her.

Soon there was change of fortune and the poor lady became rich. The old woman’s family started to have ill luck and they lost their wealth and became poor. Soon the family found it hard to even have a proper meal a day.

A year later the old woman returned from her pilgrimage and was surprised by the condition of her home. She noticed that the idol of Lord Shukra was missing from home.

On inquiry she came to know what had happened. She was astonished by her daughter-in-law’s behavior. The old lady went around searching for the idol and finally she found the idol in the poor lady’s home who had now become rich.

The old lady told what had happened and the pious lady who got the idol from the garbage was happy to return to its real owner.

The old lady brought back the idol and started worshipping it. She observed Friday fast and rituals and the family was soon blessed with wealth and prosperity.

    Story   Process   Importance
Prayer to Santoshi mata’s father Ganesh, mother Riddhi Siddhi. Prayer to wealth, gold, silver, pearl, and other gems. Prayer to Ganapati to fulfill all our wishes. To have success in business, to remove poverty, destruction of evil. Let there be peace and happiness and light. Let there be a house full of children, profit in business and huge earnings, fulfillment of one’s desires destruction of evil, removal of sorrow and worry. The name of Santoshi mata gets all the work done smoothly. Say Jai [salutations] to Santoshi Mata.

During this katha one should hold jaggery [gur] and roasted gram [channa] in their hand. The listeners should keep saying “Santoshi Mata ki Jai” “Santoshi Mata ki Jai” “Santoshi Mata ki Jai” all the time. At the end of the story the jaggery and gram, which is held in their hand, should be collected and given to the mother cow to eat.

The jaggery and gram kept in the vessel should be distributed as prasad to one and all. Before starting the narration of the story, fill water in the vessel [kalash], and on top of the kalash keep a small bowl filled with gram and jaggery. After the katha finishes that is after the aarti, the water in the vessel should be sprinkled in every corner of the house and the remaining water should be poured into the Tulsi [basil] plant. One should buy jaggery and gram worth Rs. 1.25np and do the fasting. There is no problem if one does it with only 25 paise. If there is jaggery in the house, take that, do not worry because the mother sees to the sentiments, more or less does not concern her. Therefore as per your capacity with devotion you can make the prasad and offer with love and do the fasting.

On the Udayapan [last day] you distribute 2-½ kg. Khaja [cashews], poori, kheer, gram curry, sweets. Light the lamp of ghee and keep saying “Santoshi Mata ki Jai” and break the coconut. On this day there should not be any sour item in the house. Do not eat any sour item yourself nor offer anyone. On this day, feed eight boys food. If the children are there in the immediate close family – elder or younger brother-in-law’s children, then do not call from outside. If there are fewer children from close family, you can call children from the Brahmins, relatives or neighbor’s children. Do not give them any sour item and as per one’s capacity give them gifts. Do not give money but give them any item. The person doing the fast after listening to the story should have the prasad and only one time meal. This way the Mother is very happy, and sorrow, poverty will be removed and wishes will be fulfilled.

    Story   Process   Importance


    Story   Process   Importance
In Hindu religion, each day of a week is dedicated to a particular God or Goddesses. Friday or Shukrawar is dedicated to Shakti – the Mother Goddess in Hinduism – and Shukra or Venus. One of the most important Vrat or Upvaas (fast) on the day is dedicated to Santhoshi Matha (an incarnation of Shakti) & Maariamma. The fasting is also known as ‘Solah Shukravar Vrats because a devotee fasts for 16 consecutive Fridays. White color is given importance on Friday.

Another deity that is propitiated on the day is Shukra, who is known to provide joy and material wealth. The period of Shukra in one’s astrological chart is considered to be most productive and luckily period.

Worship of Shakti – Durga, Kali and other forms – on Friday is considered highly auspicious. Shakti temples in India attract large number of devotees on this day.

Devotees wear white colored dress on this day. The fasting on Shukravar begins at sunrise and ends with sunset. The person fasting only partakes in the evening meal. White colored food like kheer or milk is the most preferred.

Fast is kept for various reasons which include removal of obstacles, for a child, happy family life etc.
There are numerous stories associated with Shukravar. In almost all the stories, Lord Shukra or Venus is dishonored in the beginning and the devotee later realizes his/her folly through numerous untoward incidents. Then the devotee realizes the mistake and propitiates Shukra and is finally rewarded. 

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