Satyanarayan Pooja is the best way to seek blessings of Lord Vishnu.It is performed before and/or after the fulfillment of one's desires.It is also performed every year, to maintain the general happiness, prosperity and well being of the family.
Satya Narayan is the form of Lord Vishnu. The Lord in this form is considered an embodiment of truth(Satya). Satyanarayan is worshipped at home with family and friends by reciting the miraculous story of Lord Satyanarayan.
This story was originally told by Lord Vishnu himself to Devrshi Narad for the benefit of mankind. Satyanarayan Pooja can be performed on any day in consultation with priest(Panditji).However,the best day to perform this Pooja is on the day of Poornima (full moon day) or Sankranti.
Performing the pooja in the evening is considered more appropriate. On the day of the pooja, the devotee has to fast.On this auspicious day friends and relatives are invited to enjoy the Prasad(holy food).
A book on the Pooja (Inconsultation with a Brahmin), a square platform(Chaurang),mango leaves, two new cloth pieces, kalasha, lord's idol or a photograph, turmeric, kumkum, panchamrut, six coconuts, prasad, four oil lamps, sandal paste, incense sticks, betel leaves, two garlands, areca nuts, turmeric pods, dry dates or almonds, camphor, offerings in form of cash or coins, tulsi leaves and flowers.
Pooja Procedure -
The pooja consists of five parts. The first one deals with the timing of the vrat and the procedure.The other four parts describe stories of the greatness of the God. The stories convince the importance of the pooja.On the day of the pooja, it is required to fast and perform the pooja in the evening.
In a clean room, a new clean cloth is spread on an elevated platform(Chaurang) and rice-grains,about a kilo are spread on it,in the centre. A kalash(Copper pot) capped with a new cloth piece is placed and a small idol of the Lord Vishnu is positioned on it.
The pooja begins with the lighting of the lamp and praying the God Ganesha, Lakshmi,Dikpaalakaas,Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Parvathi, Sun,the nine planets and Lord Indra.
Lord Ganesha and Panchaloka Paalakaas should be positioned to the north of the Kalash and can be worshipped through areca nuts or almonds or turmeric pods or dry dates.Then,the nine planets should be worshipped by placing areca nuts on betel leaves followed by Lord Indra and other Dikpaalakaas.
Later the Lord Satyanarayana's idol or image on betel leaf should be worshipped by Panchamrut (a mixture of ghee, milk, sugar, honey and curds) abhishek(sprinkle).At the end of the pooja, there is udvaasana, a formal way of concluding the pooja.
Shri Sathyanaranayan katha is from Skandha puran, Reva kaanda, Suta Puranikji narrated these stories,to the rishis, in Nimisha Aranya ,who were performing a 1000 year yajna for the benefit of mankind,lead by Sage ShounaK. Shounakaji and others asked Suta Puranikji, "If a man has a desire, how can he fulfill it?Whom he has to worship and by which pooja ?
Sutaji said "once this question was also asked by Devarshi Narad to Lord Narayan .Listen to that story.Once Naradi ,while traveling all over the worlds,came to Bhuloka,and found everyone suffering on account of their past Karmas and were not knowing how to relieve themselves from it.Immediately he reached Vaikuntha, to Lord Narayana to find the right answer for getting the people out of their problems.
As he saw the grace of the Lord, he forgot his purpose and started praising the Lord.Pleased Lord Narayana asked the purpose of his visit. Naradaji explained him the facts and asked for the way to give relief to the misseries of mankind. The Lord was happy at this question of Narada for benefiting the world by seeking the right answer.The Lord said:Yes, there is a Vrat called Sri Satyanarayana pooja-vrat which is not known to the the Bhuloka.I shall narrate to you this Vrat.
This can be performed by anyone.One who does this, will get all the benefits and the pleasures of this world and will eventually get liberation(Moksha)too. Now Narada wants to know more details of this Vrat. The Lord says, this can be done any day, in the evening.Invite friends and relatives and perform this Vrat with faith and devotion. The night should be celebrated with Bhajans and all those attending Pooja should be given food and Prasada. Thus the observer of this Vrat will get all desires fulfilled.
Shri Narayana tells Narada the further story-
There lived an old and poor Brahmin in the city of Kashi. He was a man of virtue and yet extremely poor and was always begging for meals.Since Narayana loved Brahmanas,he came in the guise of an old Brahmin and asked him what ailed him?".
The brahmin explained, "I am an old and very poor man and I shall be grateful if you can tell me how to get rid of my poverty which does not seem to diminish". The Lord advised him to observe Satyanarayan Vrat and also explained him the procedure.
The poor man now desired to do that Vart and went to bed. He could not sleep on account of these thoughts. Again in the morning he had same thoughts and he says to himself, "whatever I earn today by begging I shall use it to perform the Vrat".The same day, he earned good beggings and purchased the pooja articles and performed the Vrat.
Very soon he became rich and had all the things of the world and thereafter he started performing the Vrat every month and thus he enjoyed all the pleasures of the world and finally reached the Moksha too.Shaunakji and other rishis wanted to know how this Vrat spread in the world and how the listeners of the story were benefitted.
Once the brahmin was performing Shri Satyanarayan Pooja,when a woodcutter saw the pooja and asked him about it. The brahmin said, "This is Shri Satyanarayan Pooja. Whatever desires you have in your mind will be fulfilled by performing this Vrat.
On hearing this, the woodcutter decided to perform the pooja the next day. He thought in his mind, "Whatever amount I get from the sale of the wood tomorrow, I will use it for the Vrat-Pooja".Accordingly he performed the pooja and was relieved of all his worries and became happy.
Suta Puranikji continues-
Once there was a noble king called Ulkamukh. He was married to truth and sense- control.He always helped the needy people. Once he was performing Shhri Satyanarayan Vrat on the banks of a riverwhen a merchant came in a ship with valuable goods.
He asked the king about the pooja and its fruits. The king told him that he was worshipping Mahavishnu" and explained him everything .
The merchant urged, "Please guide me the details of this Vrat, cause I am issueless till now." The king explained him the details and the merchant went home. He and his wife performed the pooja and soon his wife Lilavathi delivered a girl.
Lilavathi reminded her husband about the Vrat but he was postponing it, till his daughter was ready to be married.Later on he got his daughter married and still postponed the pooja-vrat.The Lord now wanted to remind him.
The merchant and his son-in-law went to a city called Ratnasara and rested under a tree.There was a theft in the palace of the king and the burglars were chased by the police. The eloping burglars saw these two merchants under the tree and they left the booty next to them and ran away.
The police caught the two merchants with the stolen booty and sent them to the jail.The merchant suddenly realized that IT was all on because of his breaking the promise to the Lord. At the same time, at home both his wife and daughter Kalavati, lost all their belongings due to thefts and became beggers.
Kalavati while begging for food saw Shri Satyanarayan Pooja being performed at one house. She heard the story and details and told her mother about it.Lilavathi came to know their mistakes which created all those problems. The very next day she performed the pooja and apologised the God.The king had a dream that the merchants were innocent and he released them after inquiry by giving them lot of wealth.
Suta Puranik continues-
On release from the jail,the merchants were returning home when they reached the outskirts of their town. The Lord appeared there in the form of an old Sanyasi and inquired about the contenets of the ship. The merchant lied that it contained dried leaves.
The sanyasi said "Tathasthu"(be it so). When the merchant returns to the ship he found dried leaves there.On regaining his consciousness he realized that those were the blessings of the Sanyasi whom he had given a lie. He traced him soon and begged for apology.
The God again forgave him.Then the merchant sent a message to Lilavathi to let her know that they are on their way home. Lilavathi told her daughter to complete the Satyanarayan poola and go to meet her husband. Kalavathi performed the pooja, but forgot to take the prasada,in a hurry to meet her husband.When she approached the anchorage, she saw neither the ship nor her husband. It looked to her that they both drowned and decides to die.
The merchant felt that due to some fault,the Lord had punished them and he performed pooja and apologised. The Lord soon revealed to him that it was the daughter's oversight in not accepting the prasad that has created this problem and now if she goes and takes the prasad, everything would be all right.
Kalavathi returned to the altar and took prasad with all faith and reverence. And her husband returned and from then onwards, they all performed Shri Sathyanarayan Pooja regularly till the end of their life and finally after death, they reached Satyalok.
This chapter is important to us as we too tend to behave like the King in this story, in respect of pooja/worship/religion of other people.In the woods of Nmisharanya, Suta Puranikji continued the story narrating the greatness of this Vrat to Sage Shounak and other Rishies.In ancient times, there lived a King called Angadwaj who was kind and righteous.Once he ignored the prasad of Shri Satyanarayan Pooja and had to suffer very severely.
Once the king was returning from a hunt.He rested under a tree for a while. A group of cowherd boys had gathered near there to perform Shri Satyanarayan Pooja.They did not have anything except their daily bread. One of them became their priest and they performed the pooja.They offered the prasad to the king who, because of his ego left it untouched.
Soon all his wealth was lost and his hundred children died.He realised that it was all due to his insulting the children's pooja. Immediately the king went to that very spot and performed the Satyanarayan Pooja with full devotion and belief.The king was relieved of all his losses.
Suta now tells the Rishis that this Vrat is specially effective in Kaliyug. This Lord of Lord is called Ishwara, Satyadev, Shri Satyanarayan and by many other names. He alone has taken names and forms. One who reads this story or hears it, will get rid of all anxieties and difficulties in life.
Recipe Of Prasad (Shira)Quantity about 10 Plates
3 Vati Rava (Sooji), 2 Vati Sugar, 3/4 Vati Ghee,Banana, Manuka (Resins), Badam (Almonds), Charoli, Keshar (Saffron),
1) Roast Rava,in ghee, in an utensil till the color becomes brownish.
2) If it is fine Rava,then add water equal to quantity of Rava.
3) If it is thick Rava,then add water equal to 1+1/2 quantity of Rava.
4) Stir well till the water dries up.
5) Add sugar and heat again.
6) Add pieces of almonds,banana, saffron,ilaychi powder and if any special flavour.
7) Stir it well and see that there are neither lumps formed nor very pasty. After cooling down distribute on banana leaves.