Satyanarayana vrat is the easiest and most inexpensive way of self-purification and self-surrender at the lotus feet of Hari. One who observes it with full devotion and faith is sure to attain his heart's desire. Our shastras state that during the 'Kalyug,' the fruit that one gets by hearing the 'Satyanarayan Katha' is enormous. The katha is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his manifestation as Lord Satyanarayan. 'Satya' means truth, 'Nar' means a man and 'Ayan' means a place. Thus the place where truth resides in man is called Satyanarayan. The 'Satyanarayan katha' and the 'vrat' help us overcome vices like lust, anger, greed, attachments and ego.
The Satyanarayana Puja is usually done on the Purnima day of every month (the day of the full moon) or a Sankranti. It is also done on special occasions and during times of achievements as an offering of gratitude to the Lord. These occasions include marriage, graduation, and the purchase of a new home to name a few. In addition, it is said that a devotional performance of this pooja will bear children to couples trying to start a family.
Once upon a time while travelling the three worlds, Yogiraj Narad Muni reached Mrityulok(Planet Earth), he saw the human beings suffering immensely. He visited the abode of Lord Vishnu, who alone can relieve the mankind from the sufferings.
There he met the Almighty Lord Vishnu with four arms having Shankha, Chakra, Gadha & Padma, wearing Tulsi Mala (garland) in his neck. He started to pray & requested "Oh Lord!!! You are the supreme power, nothing can touch you, not even wind or mind can get you, your power is limitless, you know everything, you help your devotees to overcome their sufferings & sorrows." Hearing all the pleadings of Sadhu Narad Muni, the Almighty Supreme Lord Vishnu, knowing everything asked Narad Muni "Oh Narad! Why have you come to me & what do you want from me, tell me, I want to hear the same from you."
Yogiraj Narad Muni replied, Oh Lord! I just went to Mrityulok, where I saw all kinds of human beings suffering in sorrow due to their previous karma. Oh Lord! the Almighty, is there no way that their suffering becomes less or is it possible that they get complete moksha (relief) from their sufferings. If so, please let us know. The Lord, at once replied "Oh Narad! you have asked a very good question for the benefit of all human kind."
To free man-kind from all sufferings, & to ultimately reach Heaven , there is one virt (fast), & today I will tell you all about it. Anyone who does Shri Satyanarayan's Virt & Puja (prayer) in the right way; will get all the pleasures on earth & will reach his goal.
Yogiraj NaradMuni then asked, "Oh Lord!, has anyone kept this fast before? This virt is done on which day & how exactly is it done? Please do let us know all the details."
Whosoever does Bhagwan Shri Satyanarayanji's Katha with Brahmin & with his family with full rites will be relieved of his sufferings & sorrows, will be bestowed with increase in wealth & wisdom; will be blessed with children; get overall victory & increased devotion.
For this prayer, one requires riped bananas, ghee, milk & choori (made with wheat flour, ghee & sugar). After the prayers, all present must have the prasad & then take their meals together, & then sing, praise, & chant mantras of Lord Satyanarayan. By doing this, their wishes will be fulfilled. This virt in kalyug gives the boon (reward) very quickly.
The Lord said "Oh Narad! Now I will tell you about the first person who did this fast. In a place named Sunder Kashipur, there used to live a very innocent brahmin. In hunger & thirst; he used to roam for his daily bread. When the loving Lord saw the Brahmin in sorrow & begging daily; he took disguise of an old Brahmin & asked him, "Oh Dear!, why are you so sad. Please tell me all about your difficulties. Is there any way I could help you out?"
The Brahmin told the Lord, "I am a poor Brahmin & I roam daily for bread. Do you know if there is any way to come out of all this sorrow?"
The Old Brahmin (ie. the Lord ) said "Lord Satyanarayanji grants all the wishes of all the people. Dear Brahmin, that is why if you pray to him & keep his fast you will overcome all your sorrow & get moksha."
After telling him all the details of the prayer & the fast; the old Brahmin ie. the Lord disappeared.
The brahmin could not sleep that night. He kept thinking of the fast & the prayer which the Lord had asked him to do. In the morning, he woke up with the thought that anyhow he must do the prayer & went out for his biksha. On that day the Brahmin got a lot of money from which he bought all the necessary things for the prayer; called his family & did Lord Satyanarayanji's prayer. By doing so, the Brahmin overcame all his sorrows & became rich. From that time onwards, he used to do the prayers every month without fail.
In this way, whoever does Lord Satyanarayanji's prayer will get moksha. Anyone on earth who does this prayer will be relieved from all sorrows.
When Narad Muni noticed that the people on earth were eager to know about the other people who kept this fast; he narrated another story.
The same Brahmin now a rich person used to do the prayer every month without fail with his family. Once he was doing his prayer, a wood-cutter passed from there. After keeping the bundle of wood outside the brahmin's house, he went in for some water. The thirsty wood-cutter saw the brahmin doing his prayers. He bowed down to the Brahmin & asked him, "Oh Brahmin, what are you doing, please tell me all about it." The Brahmin replied, "To grant all the wishes of human-beings, this fast & prayer is useful. I have acquired all the wealth & fame by doing this prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji." After hearing about the prayer & drinking the water, the wood-cutter felt happy, he ate the prasad & left for his house.
Thinking of Lord Satyanarayanji in his mind, he said "Whatever today, I get from selling the wood, I will also do this prayer." So thinking, he kept the bundle of wood on his head & left home-wards. On the way home he went roaming in Sunder Nagar for selling the wood. On that day, he got four times more money than usual, for the wood. Feeling happy, he went & bought all the things necessary for the prayers (ie. ripe bananas, sugar, ghee, wheat flour, etc) & proceeded home-wards. On reaching his house & after cleaning it, he called his family & did the prayer with due respect.
The reward of the fast was that, he became rich & had all the pleasures of life on this earth & in the end of his life he went to heaven.
Chapter 2 :
Sadhuraj Narad said, "Oh Dear People!, Now let me tell you another story. There was a king named Ulkamuk. He was very wise. He would go daily to the temple & give donations to the Brahmins. His wife was a pious & beautiful lady. At the banks of Madhushala river, one day, when they were doing Lord Shri Satyanarayanji's prayer, a wealthy business-man was passing from there. He anchored his boat, & went up to the king & asked him, "Oh King, what are you doing with so much bhakti? I wish to know- please tell me all about it."
The king replied, "Oh merchant! , I am praying to the great Almigthy, the boon-giver Lord Satyanarayanji for a son. The merchant on hearing this, requested the king to tell him all about the fast & prayer as he was childless too. The king told him the full details of the prayer & fast. After hearing all the details, he decided in his mind to keep this fast. The merchant then left home-wards. On reaching home, he told his wife Leelawati all about the fast & prayer & said, "We will do this fast when we get a child."
One day, with the grace of Lord Satyanarayanji his wife became pregnant. In ten months time, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter. They named her Kalawati. Days passed by; one day, Leelawati slowly & sweetly reminded her husband about the prayer & fast & requested him to fulfil his promise. The merchant told his wife that during the time of Kalawati's wedding it would be easy to observe the same; for at the moment he was busy in his business; so saying he left for his business trip to various villages.
Kalawati grew up to be a beautiful girl. When the merchant saw that his daughter was of marriageable age; he called the match-maker & requested him to search an equal match for his daughter. Hearing the merchant's request, the match-maker reached Kanchan Nagar. From there, he brought the proposal of a young handsome boy.
The merchant liked the proposal, for the boy had all good qualities too. He then spoke to the boy's parents & fixed his daughter's marriage. The marriage was done with all the religious ceremonies & rituals. Unfortunately, the merchant forgot all about his promise to do Lord Satyanarayanji's prayer & fast. The Lord got angry at the false promise made by the merchant.
The merchant, after a few days, left for his business trip with his son-in-law. They anchored their boat in a beautiful village, named Ratanpur. In those days, King Chandraketu used to rule the village. The Lord was angry with the merchant for the false promise made by him, & so he wanted to teach him a lesson.
One day, the thieves robbed the wealth of the king & they went & stayed where the merchant was staying. Seeing the guards following them, they left all the loot over there (where the merchant was staying), & hid themselves. When the guards reached the merchant's place, they saw all the king's wealth. Thinking them to be robbers, they hand-cuffed the merchant & his son-in-law & took them to the king & told him that they wer responsible for the theft. The king, without questioning or listening to them ordered to put them in a dark cell. Due to Lord Satyanarayanji's maya, nobody heard them. Even their wealth was confiscated by the king.
At the merchant's house, the thieves robbed all their wealth & his wife & daughter had to beg for their daily bread. One day, begging for food, Kalawati reached a Brahmin's house where at that time Lord Satyanarayanji's puja was going on. After listening to the prayer & taking the prasad, she left for home. By that time, it had become dark.
Leelawati was worried. She asked her daughter Kalawati, why are you so late? To which Kalawati told her mother, "Oh Mother, today in a Brahmin's house, I heard a prayer. By doing this prayer & fast, all your wishes get fulfilled." On hearing this, Leelawati started doing all the preparations for the prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji. She did the fast & prayer & asked the Lord for forgiveness & prayed that her husband & her son-in-law should return home safely.
Lord Satyanarayanji was pleased with the prayer & the fast. One day, he told King Chandraketu in his dream, "Oh King, Yoy must release the merchant & his son-in-law from the dark cell, tomorrow morning. Give them their wealth & set them free. If you do not do so, your kingdom will be destroyed." In the morning, the king called the court people & told them about the dream.
The court people after hearing about the dream, came to the conclusion to free the merchant & his son-in-law.They asked the guards to bring the prisoners from the dark cell. King Chandraketu gave them good clothes, all their wealth & plus some more & set them free. The king told them that due to their wrong-doings, they had to undergo this suffering, but now there was nothing to fear & they could go back home. They bowed down to the king & left home-wards.
Chapter 3 :
Sutji said, "The merchant prayed first & then gave some wealth to the Brahmin before starting his journey home-wards. When they went little further, Lord Satyanarayanji wanted to test them. He took the disguise of an old man & went upto the merchant & asked him, "What is in your boat, give me little from there." In his ego & pride, the merchant replied, "Oh Old man, we have nothing in our boat except hay & leaves." On hearing such harsh words of the merchant, the Lord said, "Your words will be true". So saying, he went from there & sat on the bank of the river.
When the Lord went away, the boat started to rise higher in the water. The merchant was surprised at this. When he went to check in the boat, he saw that his boat was filled with leaves & hay only. Seeing this he fainted. When he came to his senses, he was very much worried. He said "How could this happen?" At this, his son-in-law told him, "Do not cry over this. All has happened because you spoke harshly to the old man & lied to him. Still, nothing is lost. You could go back to him & ask for forgiveness & he will set everything right.
The merchant, after hearing the words of his son-in-law went in search of the old man. He bowed down before him & with respect said, "Oh Lord, please forgive me for the false harsh words that I have spoken to you." So saying, he bowed down with tears of sorrow in his eyes. When the Lord, saw the merchant in his state of sorrowness & crying for forgiveness, he said, "Do not cry. Listen to me. Oh foolish person, due to your false promise, you have seen all this sorrow & suffering." On hearing the Lord say this, the merchant said, "Oh Lord, Nobody can recognize your maya. Not even the Gods or Brahmins know your ways & forms. I promise that I will pray to you", so saying he asked for forgiveness. He said, "Please forgive me, & let my boat be filled with wealth once again, like before."
On hearing the merchant's words filled with bhakti, the Lord was happy & he fulfilled his wish. When the merchant mounted his boat & saw it full with wealth again, he thanked the Lord & said, "With Lord Satyanarayanji's grace, my wish is fulfilled. When I reach home, I will do his prayer & fast", so saying he left home-wards.
When the merchant saw that his home-town Ratanpur is nearing, he sent a messenger in advance, to his house to inform his wife & daughter of his home-coming. The messenger, on reaching the merchant's house, bowed down to the merchant's wife & gave them the most awaited news that the merchant & his son-in-law have reached Ratanpur.
Leelawati had just finished doing her Satyanarayan Puja. She told her daughter to finish doing the prayer & then come & receive her husband & her father. Kalawati finished doing her quickly & without taking the prasad left to meet her husband. The Lord got angry at her behaviour, so he drowned her husband with the boat. When Kalawati did not see her husband; she was shocked & she fainted on the floor.
On seeing his daughter in this state of affairs & the sudden disappearance of the boat, the merchant was shocked. He prayed to Lord Satyanarayanji, asked him for forgiveness & prayed to the Lord to take them out of this difficulty. The Lord then made an annoucement, "Oh merchant, your daughter, in a hurry to meet her husband has left my prasad; hence you cannot see her husband. Now, when she goes back & takes the prasad with due respect & then returns; only then she will see her husband." On hearing the voice, Kalawati ran home, ate the prasad & came back & met her husband. When the merchant saw this, he was very happy.
The merchant then did Lord Satyanarayanji's prayers & fast with his family every month. Finally, he had all the pleasures of life & after death, he went to heaven.
Chapter 4 :
Sutji said, "Oh people, listen further to another story."
A king named Tungdhwaj was famous for his generosity to his subjects. But he had to suffer a lot, due to the disrespect he had shown to the prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji & his prasad, which he did not accept when it was offered to him.
One day, when hunting in a forest, he sat down under a tree. There he saw a few villagers doing the prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji. The King saw all this but due to his false ego, niether did he join them nor bowed down to the idol of the Lord. When the villagers gave him the prasad, he did not accept it & went away from there.
When the King reached his Kingdom, he saw that everything was destroyed & all his 100 sons were lying dead on the floor. The King realised that this had happened all due to his false ego. So thinking, he started walking towards the place where the villagers were doing their prayers. There, with them, he did the prayers of Lord Satyanarayanji & had the prasad & the charna-amrit (ie. milk, sugar, curds, tulsi leaves & honey mixed together) & put it in all his son's mouths. By doing this, all his sons became alright. He got back all his wealth & comforts of life & finally in the end, after he died, he went to heaven.
Anybody who keeps this fast with full faith & recite the prayers of Lord Satyanarayanji; all his wishes will be fulfilled. With the grace of the Lord, he will get eternity; the wealthless will receive wealth; & will go to heaven & finally will come out of the circle of birth & death.
The names of the persons who kept this fast & took re-birth are as follows :--The Brahmin took birth as Sudama & in his entire life he served the Lord Krishna & attained moksha. King Ulkamuk took birth as King Dashrath, & in that life he became the father of Lard Rama & attained eternity. The merchant took birth as King Morad, who cut his son in half & offered to the Lord & got moksha. King Tunghdwaj took birth as Kewat, who took Lord Rama across the river, served him & got moksha.
In this way, whoever does Lord Satyanarayan's prayer will be free from all sorrows & will ultimately reach heaven & get moksha.
" May all those who have followed me up to this last letter, and also those who read at least part of this message with reverence, have all their wishes fulfilled and meet up in Satyaloka (Heaven) as is the promise, assured by the Satyanarayan katha. "