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Broadly speaking,Vrat means to accept some rules of restrictive discipline.In spiritual field,Vrat means to apply control over our sense organs,with a solemn vow to observe regulatory discipline.
Vrat is keeping some goal in mind, and making a resolution about it,as a special undertaking.Devotees refrain themselves from food and water,on the day of Vrat,to please the God.The fasting aspect of Vrat makes the mind strong and increases its firmness.
Vrat is a resolution with a special purpose in mind and a massive will power exists within such resolution.The rock steady Vrat and vows adds power to the internal consciousness and that is the reason,the followers of Vedic culture,influence upon their children such culture by performing the thread ceremony.
The word Vrat means to move near to the almoghty God.The devotees who observes a Vrat is called a Vrat-Dhari.
Fasts of different Gods or Goddesses are observed on particular days as mentioned below-
*Fasting is done till the sunset*
*Meals are taken once,at night*
*Lord Shiva and Parvati are worshipped*
There lived a rich trader who had no issue.Inspite of all the luxuries,he always remained depressed.He observed the Vrat of Lord Shiva and Parvati on every Monday and fasted with the hope that his desire would be fulfilled one day.
Mata Parvati asked Shiva why his disciple was not blessed with an issue.Shiva told her that the trader would get what he deserved as per his Karmas(deeds) Later on,Shiva blessed the trader with a son,who had a short life of 12 years only.The trader heard all Shivas words and was happy as well as sad.
Later,his wife delivered a baby boy.The child grew up and when he was 11 years old, his mother wanted him to get married, but the trader refused and sent the boy to Kashi with his maternal uncle to regularly perform yagya and worships of Shiva.
While on the way, a King's daughter was getting married, but the bridegroom had only one eye,which was hidden from the King.When the bridegrooms's father saw the traders son,who was good looking, the bridegrooms father thought of getting the marriage ceremonies conducted by him, instead of his own son.
The trader's son and his uncle agreed to this proposal . and after the marriage was over, the bride came to know about the reality. She refused to go to the palace.
When the boy grew up to 12 years old and was in the middle of a Yagya,he died.
His maternal uncle started crying loudly when Lord Shiva and Parvati were passing by there and recognised the trader's son.Parvati pleaded with Shiva to bring him back to life.Shiva agreed and did so.
When the boy was returning back to his native place , he passed the place, where he had got married to the King's daughter. He was brought to the palace by the king's people,who recognised him.The King united his daughter and the trader's son and gifted them with valuables.
At this time,the trader and his wife were praying to Lord Shiva to protect their son.He vowed that if the boy did not return, they would commit suicide.But on seeing their son healthy and happy,the trader was very happy.
It is therefore believed that those who worship Lord Shiva and Parvati, keep fast on Mondays and recite this story to others, will be relieved from all their worries.
* This Vrat is for getting success and prosperity and also destroys all evils and obstacles*
* The food of wheat and joggery (gud) should be consumed only once during the whole day*
* The fast should be observed for 21 weeks*
* Red flowers should be used for the pooja*
A Brahmin couple had no children.They aspired for a child and therefore worshipped Lord Hanuman and his wife kept a Vrat on Tuesdays.
Once the Brahmin went to the jungle to pray to the Lord Hanuman,by leaving his wife behind.But for some reason she could not worship Lord Hanuman and decided to fast. She fasted for 6 days following which she collapsed.
The Lord was pleased with her devotion and blessed her with a son.On return,the Brahmin saw a sweet boy playing in the courtyard and the wife explained the entire story.But the suspecious Brahmin thought otherwise on her character and did not believe her story.
The Brahmin who was restless, went to the well to get water with the boy and pushed him into the well and returned home.When his wife inquired about the boy he kept mum but suddenly the boy appeared at the door and the Brahmin was stunned to see him.
Soon,Lord Hanuman appeared in his dreams and settled all his doubts when the Brahmin felt very guilty and apologised.The parents continued their fast on Tuesday.
It is believed that those who worship Lord Hanuman on Tuesdays and narrate this story to others,will be relieved from all the evils and will lead a happy life.
* This Vrat is observed for peace and to fulfill all desires*
* Lord Shiva is worshipped*
* Meals are eaten only once*
* One should wear green clothes and eat green vegetables etc*
There was a couple who led a happy life.Once the wife was in her parents place and after some days her husband reached there to take her back.However,the in-laws requested him not to travel, being Wednesday and it was inauspicious to do so.
The firm husband did not listen and proceeded back home with his wife.While travelling the wife was thirsty and requested him to get some water.On return the husband was stunned to see a man seated beside his wife,who was his look-alike.
The man said that he was the lady's husband and there were heated arguments.Soon the royal police force came to arrest the real husband,who soon started praying to the God for solution.
An Akashwani(voice from the skies) was heard ,that on wednesday, he travelled by taking his wife back from her native house,which was inauspicious.He realised his mistake and requested the Lord for apology.
The Lord appeared before him and finished the other man in disguise.The couple returned home safely.
Further the couple observed the Wednesday Vrat regularly without fail.
* Worship of Lord Vishnu*
* Chana daal without salt is the food,once a day*
* Wear yellow clothes and offer yellow flowers*
* Banana is also worshipped on this day*
A very generous,god fearing King used to worship and perform Vrat on every Thursday.His wife resented his giving donations and performing pujas and observeing Vrats.
Once the King went to jungles for hunting and the queen was back home.Lord Vishnu,appeared there,in disguise of a Monk (Sadhu) and asked for alms.The Queen said that she was fed up of all their wealth,which was not giving any happiness, and wished that all the wealth be taken away.
The surprised Lord advised her that if she possessed surplus wealth,she would do charity.However the Queen was firm that her wish be fulfilled.The Monk finally blessed her to be it so.He told her that to make her wish come true, she should cover the house with cowdung, wash her hair, ask the King to shave, eat and drink etc. for seven Thursdays.
The Queen observed the Vrat and her life became full of poverty,hunger and misery.The King got a job of a woodcutter and lived from hand to mouth.The maids advised the Queen to approach her wealthy sister for help.
A maid approached the sister but the sister was busy listening to the story of Thursday Vrat and did not acknowledge her presence.Later when she visited the Queen and saw her condition,she advised her to perform the Thursday Vrat.
The Queen observed the Vrat and prayed to Lord Vishnu for some weeks and finally the God blessed her and reinstated all her wealth.As her desires for wealth got fulfilled,the Queen discontinued the Vrat.But the maids cautioned her that what she was doing was very ungrateful which may lead to severe problems.
The Queen realised her mistake and continued her uniterupted Thursday Vrat.
* This fast is done to remove all obstacles*
* Fast till evening and have meals only at night*
* Food should include white coloured food like rice, pudding (kheer) or milk*
There lived three friends belonging to different castes - Kayastha, Brahmin and Vaishya. They were married,but the Vaishya did not bring her wife home after the marriage.
On request from his friends,the Vaishya decided to bring his wife home.The Brahmin friend cautioned him that, it was setting Friday and was not an auspicious time. However the Vaishya was very firm and did as per his wish.
The girl's parents were surprised to see him and tried to convince him that it was inauspicious to travel during that period.However,the Vaishya took his wife and continued his journey back home.
On the way,the wheel of his chariot broke down,injuring his wife and the nearby dacoits looted him of all the valuables and cash he had.Further, near to his house, a poisonous snake bit him and he became unconscious.
The wife was depressed to know that her husband would live only for three days.The Brahmin friend came to know about how it happened. He sent the couple back to the in-laws house.
As the couple reached the house,the boy came back to his senses. Having realised their mistake, when the period was the rise of Friday, the couple were sent back home.Thereafter their life was very happy and joyful.
* God Shani is worshipped onthis day*
* Black Teel (sesame oil),Oil, Urad( black gram whole)*
* Meals only once in the evening after the puja*
* Food cooked should be without salt*
* Black clothes*
Once there was an argument between all the nine planets about who was the supreme among all of them. Lord Indra advised them to approach King Vikramaditya on Earth for an appropriate answer.
The planet-Gods approached the king with their question which led him in a big dilenma.However,he came up with a solution.The king ordered to make thrones of gold, silver,bronze, copper, glass, iron etc. and arranged them in the proper order,like gold in front and iron be the last.
Then he requested the Planet-Gods to occupy them. He said that the throne that is in front would occupy the highest place among them. Since iron was at the end, the Lord Shani understood that the King had chosen him to be the weakest.
Lord Shani was very much angry and he warned the King of dire consequences.
After a lapse of time, came the period of 'Saade Saati' ( a period of 7 years) of King Vikramaditya.Lord Shani in disguise of a horse seller approached the King who chose a beautiful horse.As he sat on the horse,he ran far away into the jungle and disappeared.
The King got lost in the forests and finally reached a town,where he took a rest outside a shop.Surprisingly on that day,the shopkeeper got a roaring business and thought that this man brought him luck.The shopkeeper took him to his house and fed him.
But,while he was in their house, an expensive ornament got lost and he was arrested and brought to the royal court, who ordered that all his four limbs be executed from the body.
Later on,the King earned his living by pulling a bullock cart with his teeth. After the 'Saade Sati',the Shani period of the King got over, he went on singing loudly. On hearing this,the royal princess was so impressed that she vowed that she would marry this singer and no one else.
On her insistance,her parents got her married to the King.On the same night,Lord Shani came in King's dreams and told him that his present state was because he had announced Lord Shani to be the weakest among the planets.
King Vikramaditya apologised and the God excused him, and made him normal with his limbs restored.The King told Lord Shani about his sufferings and requested him that he should not give so much misery to anyone. Lord Shani agreed and proclaimed that whosoever listens and narrates his stories will be relieved from all evils and miseries.
The trader whose necklace was lost came to know the facts and rushed to the King Vikramaditya and apologised him and took him for meals at his place.As the King was having meals at his house ,miraculously the lost necklace reappeared.
The trader was so much pleased that he got the king married to his daughter.The King Vikramaditya returned to his native town,with his wives and lot of wealth.
Next day the King announced that Lord Shani was the Supreme among the planets and no one will ever undervalue the strength of Lord Shani.
The King observed the Vrat of Lord Shani,on Saturdays.
Those who worship Lord Shani on Saturdays and observe Vrat will have no worries and will lead a happy life.
The Lord Hanuman is also worshipped on Saturdays because devotees of Lord Hanuman are never influenced by the Shani sign. As per the epic Ramayan, Ravan had arrested Lord Shani when Lord Hanuman freed him from his captivity,during the burning of Lanka.The grateful Lord Shani promised Hauman, that Shani would not affect those who will worship Lord Hanuman.
* This fast is done to fulfill all desires*
* Consume food once during the daytime before sunset*
* Oily and salty food is prohibited*
There was a god fearing old lady who was very poor and could not afford to buy a cow.She collected cowdung from neighbourhoods,for performing puja,every mornings.She had her meals,only after the pooja.
One day,the neighbour decided to lock the cow inside the house,so that she would not get the cowdung.The lady, unable to get the cowdung, could not perform the puja and fasted for the whole day.
God,who witnessed the happenings, came in the old lady's dreams and told her that he was pleased with her devotion and was presenting her with a Cow.The lady woke up to find a cow standing in her courtyard.
Before the lady woke up, her neighbour had seen the cow and was surprised to see that instead of cowdung, the cow was excreting gold. Out of jealousy, she picked up the gold and substituted it with cowdung.
One evening the God created a storm.Seeing this the old lady locked her cow inside her house. When she woke up, she was surprised to see the gold and realised what her neighbour was upto. Thereafter she made it a practice to lock the cow inside and collect the gold.With the time she began to prosper.
Out of jealousy, the neighbour informed this to the king when the king ordered to get the cow in his custody.The old lady protested but the king's men brought the cow to the palace.But in the morning, instead of gold, the entire palace was full of cowdung.
The God came in the King's dreams and asked him to return the cow to it's rightful owner. The King realised his mistake and promptly sent the cow back to the lady and punished the neighbour.
There after the King ordered that on Sundays, all should observe a Vrat for a peaceful and happy life.