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eBook Hindu Festivals

eBook Hindu Festivals

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Published by: sujit balwadkar on Oct 29, 2010
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11/05/2011

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YOU ARE all familiar with Narada Rishi. He is the Triloka Sanchari—the one who moves
about in the three worlds. When he once visited the earth plane, there was great misery. He was
unable to find a way to relieve human suffering. He at once approached Lord Narayana and related
to Him the sad state of affairs on earth.

Lord Narayana said to Narada, “O venerable Rishi, let people observe the Satya Narayana
Vrata in the evening of Shankranti or Purnima. Let them all hear the story (Katha) of Satya
Narayana. All miseries will come to an end. There is no doubt of this.”

Rishi Narada thereupon returned to earth and preached the glory of the Satya Narayana
Vrata. Many observed the vow without taking any food during the course of the day and attained
what they desired. All were happy and prosperous.

The observance of the Satya Narayana Vrata does not cost much. You need only give a
small gift to the pundit who comes to read the story and then distribute some prasad which also
neednotbeverycostly.Somewheatflourandsugarwillmakeuptheprasad.Alittlecurdandsome
fruit are required. Even the poorest man can observe this Vrata.

In North India the vow is observed by the vast majority of people. It takes about three hours
to complete the whole observance. It is generally observed on the full moon day, particularly the
Kartik, Vaisakh, Sravan and Chaitra Purnimas and the Shankranti day. It can also be done on new
moon days.

FivestoriesareconnectedwiththisVrata.TheyspeakaboutthegloryofLordNarayanaand
HisGrace,Hisprasad,andoftheincalculablebenefitderivedbyobservingtheVrata.Hewhohears
these stories with faith, devotion and one-pointedness of mind derives considerable benefit. The
first of these is the story of Narada, narrated above. The other stories have great moral lessons in
them concerning truthfulness, fulfilment of promises, etc.

2. The Story of a Poor Brahmin

There was a very poor Brahmin. He was living on alms. Lord Narayana appeared before
him in the form of an old Brahmin, asked him to observe the Satya Narayana Vrata and gave him
His word of assurance that he would be free from poverty, by observing this Vrata. The Brahmin
acted accordingly. All his desires were fulfilled.

64

PRADOSHA VRATA

3. The Story of a Wood-cutter

The same Brahmin then did the Vrata on a grand scale. A poor wood-cutter entered the
compound of the Brahmin to drink some water. The Katha of Satya Narayana was going on. The
wood-cutter, attracted only by the skill of the story-teller, sat down and heard it with rapt attention.
He also was inspired to observe the Vrata in his house. He took some prasad and ate it.

Then he went to the market-place and sold his bundle of fuel. He received double the usual
amount for his fuel. He immediately purchased the things that were necessary for the Vrata and
observed it along with his family members, with intense faith and devotion. All his desires were
fulfilled. He enjoyed everything that was possible on this earth plane. After death he attained the
supreme abode of Satya Loka where Truth alone prevails.

4. The Story of a Merchant

Once upon a time King Ulkamukha reigned over the earth. He was a devotee of Lord Satya
Narayana. The queen, too, was very pious. One day they observed a fast and performed the Satya
Narayana Vrata on the banks of the holy Bhadrasheela.

A merchant named Sadhu came to the king and asked him what he was doing. The king
explained to the merchant all about the Satya Narayana Vrata. When Sadhu returned home he
narrated to his wife, Lilavathi, the glory of the Satya Narayana Vrata as he heard it from the king.
Thereupon, both resolved to observe it, provided they were blessed with a child. Lilavathi soon
brought forth a girl whom they named Kalavathi.

SadhunowthoughtthathewouldpostponetheVratatillafterhisdaughterwasmarried.The
wedding of Kalavathi took place in course of time, but Sadhu had entirely forgotten his resolve.
After some time he went to foreign countries for trade along with his son-in-law.

Lord Narayana felt it was high time He reminded Sadhu of his resolve. One night, while
Sadhu was at a place called Ratnasarpur, he was suddenly arrested and imprisoned along with his
party by the royal police. The police suspected them to be thieves. At the same time, thieves had
robbed the property of Sadhu in his native place.

Meanwhile, poor Lilavathi and Kalavathi were leading a miserable life in the streets. One
day Kalavathi went to get alms and it so happened that she received some prasad of Lord Satya
Narayana from a temple. She came back to her mother and pleaded that they, too, should observe
the Vrata. They thus observed the Vrata and worshipped Lord Satya Narayana.

That very day, the king of Ratnasarpur dreamt that Sadhu and his party were not really
guilty of any theft and that they should be released else he would be destroyed along with his
relatives. The king at once released Sadhu and his party from prison, giving them double the value
for their merchandise.

SadhuwasonhiswaybacktohisnativevillagewhenLordSatyaNarayanaappearedbefore
him in the guise of a mendicant and asked him what he had in the boat. Sadhu suspected that the

65

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS

mendicant might ask him for some money. He therefore replied that there were bundles of leaves
only in the boat.

The mendicant replied, “Your words will come true, O merchant!”

That night, while Sadhu was on his usual round of checking the contents of the boat, he
found that the jewels had indeed all turned into leaves! He realised that this was due to uttering
falsehood to the mendicant. He quickly went out in search of the mendicant, found him in a
secluded spot and begged his pardon.

The mendicant sternly said, “You have not kept up your promise of observing the Satya
Narayana Vrata.” Then he revealed his true identity to the merchant, gave him words of solace and
disappeared.

Sadhu came back to his boat and found that all the bags contained jewels again. He
worshipped Lord Satya Narayana with intense faith and devotion.

After five days, Sadhu reached his native place. He sent a message to inform his wife and
daughter of his arrival. At the time when the messenger arrived to give the news, Lilavathi and
Kalavathi were hearing the Satya Narayana Katha. When they had finished the worship they went
to meet Sadhu, but, alas! they had forgotten to take the prasad of the Lord.

Lord Satya Narayana wanted to point out their carelessness in not taking the prasad. The
boat with its wealth and their son-in-law sank. The son-in-law struggled in desperation for his life.
Sadhu who was on the shore prayed and worshipped the Lord. A divine voice was heard in the sky:
“Kalavathi has not taken My prasad. So this has happened.” Kalavathi hurried back to her house
and ate the prasad. She returned, and with sheer joy on her face, beheld both her father and her
husbandwhowasmiraculouslysavedthroughtheGraceofLordSatyaNarayana.Eventheboatand
the jewels were recovered miraculously. All rejoiced. Sadhu narrated all that had happened during
his travel and how he was saved by the Lord when in distress.

Thenceforth, thecouple, Sadhu and Lilavathi, regularly observed theSatyaNarayanaVrata
during Purnima and Shankranti, and lived happily ever after. They attained the blissful abode of
Lord Narayana.

5. The Story of King Tungadhwaja

One day King Tungadhwaja went out hunting. After walking a long distance he was
overcome by fatigue. He sat under a banyan tree. Some boys of the cowherd class were performing
the Vrata of Satya Narayana in the vicinity of the banyan tree. The boys came to know that a king
wasrestingunderthetree.Oneofthemrespectfullytooksomeprasadandplaceditbeforetheking.

The king did not want to attend the function, nor prostrate before the Lord. He did not take
theprasadeither.Infact,hecastalookofdisgustattheoffering,andproudlyreturnedtohiscapital.

66

SATYA NARAYANA VRATA

The Lord wanted to teach the king a lesson. The king was given the news that his sons and
daughters died and his whole property was destroyed. He inwardly understood that this was due to
the disrespect he had shown to the Lord and His prasad. He repented very much for his wrong
doing.

With a sore but repentant heart, he made his way to the banyan tree where the boys had
worshipped the Lord. He himself now performed the worship with intense faith and devotion. Lord
Satya Narayana showered His Grace upon the king. He got back his lost property and his children.
The king thereafter regularly worshipped the Lord and lived happily.

He who observes this Vrata, which is even being observed by the gods themselves, with
faith, devotion and self-surrender; he who hears the sacred story of Lord Satya Narayana with faith
and devotion; he who attends the worship and eats the prasad—he certainly attains health, wealth
and joy. He is uplifted from the mire of worldliness and the clutches of death. He finally abides in
the Truth.

IntheKaliYuga,worshipofLordHarithroughtheSatyaNarayanaVratamakesonehappy,
peaceful and prosperous. This is the truth described in the ancient epics.

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