Monday Fast Katha

Monday is usually dedicated to Lord Shiva. Upvass, or fasting, on Mondays begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. On the day, food is only eaten after evening prayer. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped on the day. Of course, no worship begins without remembering Lord Ganesha. The fasting on Mondays in the Shravan month is considered even more auspicious.

It is believed that those people who observe Upvaas on Monday will have their desires fulfilled and will be blessed with wisdom. In some areas, fasting on Mondays is observed by unmarried women to get an ideal husband.The reason for fasting on a day is usually traced back to a particular incident in one of the Hindu Puranas or folk tradition. There are numerous myths associated with a particular fast. The stories vary from region to region and from community to community.

Somvar Vrat, or Monday fasting, dedicated to Lord Shiva too has numerous stories. Among the several myths, three have gained popularity – the first is the story of a poor Brahmin gaining wealth due to Monday fasting, second is the story of a rich merchant begetting a son after long wait and the subsequent death of the son and his rebirth due to the grace of Lord Shiva and Parvati and the third story is the most famous involving the game of dice played between Shiva and Parvati.
Vrat (Fast) Katha
Once there lived a wealthy merchant in a city. He always had immense wealth and prosperity. But despite all the worldly possessions, he remained sad because he had no son. He regularly observed Monday fast to have a son. He used to go to the Shiva temple and worshipped there Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati with full faith. Goddess Parvati was pleased at his devotion. She implored Lord Shiva and said, My Lord, this wealthy merchant is your faithful devotee. He regularly observes Monday fast but still he has no son. Please fulfill his desire. Hearing the imploring of Parvati, Lord Shiva said, Let your desire be fulfilled. I grant him a boon. He will be the father of a son, but he will live for twelve years only”. Fortunately, this wealthy merchant could hear their conversation.

As time passed on, the merchant’s wife gave birth to a beautiful son. He celebrated his son’s birth with great pomp and show and distributed food, clothes and money among the poor. All prayed for his sons’ long and happy life. But the merchant was still sad because he knew that his son would not live beyond twelve years. Yama, the god of Death, spares none.

Knowing what the situation was, the merchant started observing the Monday fast with greater zest and there was no let up in the worship of Lord Shiva. He practiced all the rites of worship.

At the age of eleven, the merchants’ son looked quite smart and mature. All desired that he should be married to a beautiful girl. The merchants’ wife also wanted her sons’ marriage. She insisted for it again and again. The merchant did not agree to this proposal. He sent for his brother-In-law and said, Accompany my son to Kashi. Arrange for his best spiritual knowledge. Take enough money from my treasure. Arrange devotional gatherings on your way to Kashi at every halt and distribute alms among the beggars.

The merchant’s son started his journey for Kashi with his maternal uncle. They arranged devotional gatherings and distributed clothes at every halting camp. They also arranged best eats for the Brahmans and made enough offerings to them.

One day they made a halt at a capital of a king. The kings’ daughters’ marriage was to take place that day. The marriage party had already reached the city. The bridegroom’s party was terribly disturbed because the bridegroom was blind, of one eye. They were in search of a beautiful boy to replace him. The bridegroom’s father sent his men in search of a beautiful boy. The men spotted the merchants son who was camping in an inn with his maternal uncle. The bridegroom’s father was a rich person. He said to the merchant’s maternal uncle, my prestige is at stake. I need a handsome bridegroom in place of my one-eyed son. I shall give enough wealth if your ward agrees to have a temporary marriage with the kings’ daughter. He shall be free immediately after the marriage ceremony is over. The merchants’ brother-in-law convinced his sisters’ son for a temporary marriage. The brides’ party praised their luck when they saw a handsome bridegroom with the marching band at the head of the marriage procession.

The merchant’s son and the kings daughter were married around the holy fire. At the time of departure, the merchants’ son picked his brides scarf and wrote; now we are husband and wife. I am not the son of a king. I am the son of a rich merchant. I was on way to Kashi for spiritual studies. Your real bridegroom is blind of one eye.

The bride noticed her bridegroom writing something on the scarf. She could not read his message at that time. When the marriage party was about to depart, the bride read the message. She was shocked to know the reality. She refused to accompany with the one-eyed bridegroom. The marriage party returned without a bride.

The merchants’ son reached Kashi and devoted himself fully to the spiritual studies. His maternal uncle arranged devotional gatherings and gave donations everyday for the well-being of his sisters’ son. On the last day of the twelfth year, the merchants’ son felt pain in the chest. His maternal uncle was performing the religious rites as per his routine. As he went inside the room, he found the boy dead. He was full of grief, but kept silent as the Brahmans would not accept food from such a house. With courage, he completed his routine. When his routine was over, he started crying. Many people gathered around him and shared his grief.

Fortunately, Lord Shiva and Parvati were also passing by that house. When Parvati heard the cries and beating of breast, her motherly compassion got aroused. She was a mother, after all. Having known the facts, she said to Lord Shiva, My dear Sire, please ask Yama to return his life. Yama is always at your command. Please do this favour to me. You are the protector of all creatures.

Lord Shiva agreed and sprinkled Ganga water on the dead body. The boy got up as if he was making an excuse for sleep. The spiritual education of the merchants’ son was over. They started their journey homeward. They arranged spiritual discourses and distributed aims among the needy throughout their way.

Now, they were back in the city where this boy was married. The king recognized the boy immediately. He took him to his palace with full honour and on an auspicious day, he arranged to happy departure for his daughter. He also gave adequate dowry. The merchants son reached his city along with his bride.

His father could not believe it. He was sitting on the roof of a big mansion with his wife, waiting for his son. They had decided that they would not come down until their son supported them himself; otherwise they would commit suicide by jumping down the roof. So the merchant’s son along with his bride went up to the roof. They touched their feet. The merchant and his wife were very happy to see the couple.
Sixteen Weeks Monday Fast
Once Lord Shiva visited the famous city of Amravati . Parvati also accompanied him. On their way, they saw a beautiful Shiva temple and decided to spend some time there. One day, Parvati found Lord Shiva in a playful mood. She said to him, Oh my Lord, let us have a dice game. Lord Shiva obliged her and the game started. Meanwhile, the priest of the temple had come there. Parvati turned towards him and said Please foretell who will win this game? The Brahman gave no serious thought to her question and abruptly said, Lord Shiva will win the game. Incidentally Parvati won the game. She was angry because the Brahman had told a lie. Lord Shiva tried to pacify her, but she cursed the Brahman that he be a leper. In due course, the Brahman became a leper and spent a miserable life.
After some time a few fairies descended on the earth and pitied the fate of the priest. On asking him, the priest narrated the whole episode. One of the fairies said, You observe Monday fasts for sixteen weeks without break. On the seventeenth Monday, prepare some holy food or Prasaad with flour mixed with ghee and gur. Distribute this prasaad among the members of your family and take some yourself. You will be free from this leprosy. The fairies disappeared and the priest followed the instructions. Soon, he regained his normal health.

Once Lord Shiva and Parvati again visited that temple. Parvati was surprised to see the priest. He was his normal self. She enquired about this feat and the priest narrated the whole story. Parvati was happy; she also decided to observe Monday fasts for sixteen weeks. Incidentally, on the seventeenth Monday, when she broke her fast, her beloved son Kartikeya, who was displeased with her, appeared and said, 0 dear mother what is that power with which you have called me? What is the mystery? Parvati said, 0 my dear son, all this miracle is due to observing Monday fasts for sixteen weeks without interruption. Kartikeyas Brahman friend had been in a foreign land for quite some time. Kartikeya said, I shall observe Monday fasts for sixteen weeks for happy reunion with my friend. He observed the 16 weeks fasts as per rules and to his great surprise his friend returned hale and hearty. The friend enquired about the miracle and Kartikeya told him the modalities to be observed for Monday fast. The Brahman friend was very curious about his marriage. He decided to observe the Monday fasts for sixteen weeks.

On the seventeenth Monday, the Brahman friend went to a city. The ruler of the city decided to marry his daughter to a person on whose neck his well-decorated elephant would put the garland. The Brahman joined the show. Incidentally, the elephant garlanded him. The ruler of the city gave him his daughter and also a lot of money. The couple departed the next day and were back in their home. On the honeymoon night, the bride said, 0 my dear, how is it that the elephant ignored all the princes and garlanded you? How did you succeed on the auspicious moments? The bridegroom said, I observed fasts on sixteen Mondays. Monday is Lord Shivas day. It is due to his blessings that I got a beautiful wife like you. My friend Kartikeya revealed this secret to me. The bride too decided to observe fasts on sixteen Mondays for a beautiful son full of knowledge. Her devotion bore fruit and she gave birth to a beautiful son. As the son grew up, he said to his mother, 0 my dear mother, what is the mystery behind my birth? Please reveal it to me. The mother told him how she observed Monday fasts. The son also decided to observe the fasts to gain a kingdom for his parents. Incidentally, an old kings messengers from a nearby State came there in search of a beautiful and learned bridegroom for the princess. They proposed the princess hand for him and he readily agreed.

The king expired after sometime and the boy became the king. The newly-made king continued his fasts for the next sixteen Mondays. On the seventeenth Monday, he arranged a large prayer party at a temple. All the arrangements were made well in advance. The king requested the queen to accompany him to the temple for breaking the fast after taking prasaad from the priest. The queen refused to go with him. The king had to go alone. The king heard an oracle who echoed, 0 king, turn out the queen from the palace or destruction will fall upon you. The king returned to his palace. He summoned a conference of his ministers and told about the oracle. All of them were taken aback, as it was due to that princess that he became the king of the state. They agreed to his proposal only with a heavy heart. The queen was ultimately turned out. The queen left the palace bare footed and in worn-out clothes. She was thirsty and fatigued. She met an old lady who had a load of spinned spindles on her head. She was going to the city. She felt pity on her and asked to help her in selling the yarn because she did not know the art of selling. The queen took that load on her head. Incidentally, strong wind blew away the spindles which disappeared in the dusty wind. The queen felt sorry and the old lady asked her to go away. The queen went to an oilmans house and sought shelter. The oilman obliged her, but as she stepped in, all of his oil pots developed cracks and the oil began to flow on the ground. The oilman immediately turned her out. The queen was now disheartened. She went to the bank of a river to quench her thirst. As she touched the water, the water dried up. She then went to a deep jungle and saw a tank of water. As she went down the stairs and touched the crystal dear water, it became muddy. She cursed her fate and put a few drops of the muddy water in her mouth. She was now tired and wanted to take rest under a shady tree. As she went near the tree its leaves began to fall and soon it became leafless. The cowherds saw this incident and told the whole story to the priest of a nearby temple. The priest called for the woman. He was surprised to see that the woman had royal features. He consoled her and provided her with all the facilities. But after some days, he also got fed up with her because whatever the woman touched became impure — may it be milk, food or water. One day, the priest said, 0 lady, what curse has fallen upon you? You reveal the mystery.

The woman told him how she rejected a proposal to attend Monday fast prayer. The priest understood the whole thing. He knew it was Shivas curse. He said, 0 dear lady, you observe fasts on sixteen Mondays and Lord Shiva will absolve you of your sins. The woman realised her mistake and observed the Monday fasts for sixteen Mondays. On the seventeenth Monday, the king said to himself, My queen left my palace long ago. Her condition must be very miserable. He called for his courtiers and ordered them to search out the queen. The courtiers reached the temple where the queen was residing. The priest refused to hand over the queen to them and said, Let the king himself come to receive her. The courtiers went to the king and related the whole story.

The king was happy to hear the news. He went to the temple and requested the priest to return his queen to him. The king admitted that he deserted the queen to avoid Lord Shivas wrath. The priest trusted the kings words and the queen returned to the palace. She was given a royal welcome. The king distributed money among the needy and arranged food for the hungry. The king and queen now regularly observed fasts on sixteen Mondays each year and lived a very happy life. After their death they found abode in Lord Shivas city, Shivapuri. Since, then it is believed that a person who observes fasts on sixteen Mondays, gets all pleasures and enters Shivapuri after his death.
Somaya Pradosh Vrat Katha
Pradosh means the dusk of the early night or evening tide. This fast is observed in the evening twilight, and so it is called Pradosh Vrat. It is observed on the 13th day of each lunar fortnight.

The puja and worship is done in the evening. The Pradosha period can be loosely indicated as 1.5 hours before sunset and 1 hour after sunset.

The Shiva Purana states that one undertakes fasting on Pradhosha will be blessed with wealth, children, happiness and honor. The fasting and worship is specially undertaken by women who long to have children. It is said that those praying to Shiva during the auspicious time of Pradhosha will be freed from sins.

There are numerous legends associated with the Pradhosha Vratam. It is believed that Lord Shiva drank the Halahala poison that was churned up from the Ocean of Milk (Samudra Manthan) during Pradosham.

Another myth indicates that Lord Shiva and Parvati, the divine couple, are in a propitious mood during the evening twilight on the Trayodashi day and hence are easily pleased and grants whatever that a sincere devotee asks.

Offering Bael or Bilva leaves during the period to Lord Shiva is considered auspicious. There are Shiva devotees that observe fast on both Pradosha days in a month. Some only fast during the waning phase of moon. Staunch devotees opt for water only fasting and will only eat the ‘prasad’ offered in the evening. Such devotees only eat cooked from next day morning.

Another method of fasting is by eating fruits and such devotees eat cooked food on the day after the evening prayers. The strictness of the Pradosha fasting is usually decided by the devotee.

Some devotees do not fast but worship Shiva during the period or visit temples.

Since Monday is dedicated to Shiva, the Pradosha falling on Monday is referred as Soma- Pradosha and is considered highly auspicious. Pradosha falling on Saturday during the waning phase of moon is also auspicious.

Once upon a time, there was one widow living with her son. She lefts home daily with her son to gather food for her son and herself.

At the same time that religious woman was keeping Somwar Pradosh (means the dusk of the early night or evening tide) Vrat(fast) for her son and herself to be better off and happy. This fast is observed in the evening twilight, and so it is called Pradosh Vrat. It is observed on the 13th day of each lunar fortnight. It is practiced to propitiate Lord Shiva, in order to obtain his blessings and boons leading to fulfillment of one’s cherished desired and spiritual upliftment. Those who practice it with unflinching faith and devotion are bound to possess wealth, health, happiness.

One day she found one young man who running from his enemy. She gave shelter to that man. She bring her at home and find out that he was Rajkumar(prince) of ex-king.

One day she allowed her son and Prince to go out in the city to collect the food. In the evening only her son comeback home without Prince. Worried Brahmin woman asked about prince. Her son said he is with Gandharwa Kanya (Lady).On other side the father of Gandharwa Kanya found that his daughter is in love with unknown young man. He send his army to find out the reality of that young man. After investigation he has find out that he is actually a son of the King.

Soon after he arranged marriage with his daughter. After some days with the help of his father-in-law’s army he defeated the enemy and became king. He also appoint the bramin woman’s son, the main Mantri (Diplomate adviser) of his kingdom.This is all happened because of that Brahmin woman’s Somwar Pradosh Vrat.
Shravan (Sawan) Somvar Vrat
The month of Shravan, popularly known as Sawan, is the fifth month of the Hindu calender. Shravan is considered the holiest month of the year. Each Monday of this month, known as Shravan Somvar, is a special day in Shiva temples where the dharanatra hangs over the linga or the idol to bathe it with holy water, day and night. Devotees pile the linga high with Bel leaves and flowers and fast till sunset.

It is considered highly auspicious to wear a rudraksha in Shravan month. As, Mondays or Somvars of Shravan month are specially observed with austerity. All Mondays are devoted to the worship of Shiva as this day is sacred to Lord Shiva. No other Mondays of other months are so greatly honored.

The belief is that in Shravan month, offering milk to Lord Shiva earns a lot of punya.




3 comments:

  1. what is the write this meter i am total confused this story original ya face this story please prof this story anybody.

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