Shani Dev Kee Mahimaa
Vrat Kathaa-Som or Shiv Jee
Taken from http://www.indif.com/nri/kathas/somvar/somvrat.asp
Som (Chandramaa or Shiv Jee) Vow
This story is connected with Monday fast. Monday fast is practiced to
propitiate Lord Shiv and Paarvatee. The Panchaakshar Mantra "Om Namah
Shivaaya" should be repeated on this day. This Vrat is normally done up to
4-5 pm. There is no restriction of eating Pha;laahaar (fruits only) food, but the food
should be taken only once in one day and night. All people can observe
this fast. Married women observe the fast for a happy and long married
life. Unmarried women observe it for getting good husbands. Men observe it
for a happy and peaceful life. Those who observe fast eat only a single
vegetarian meal. There are four types of Monday fast. The rituals are same
for all the four fasts. After doing the Shiv Poojaa the story must be read
or heard. The stories of Pradosh fast and 16 Mondays are separate and are
also given here
(3) Mondays in the Hindi month of Shraavan (July – August) is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Hindus in North India observe Shraavan Maas Som Vaar Vrat. In this month, Shiv Ling is bathed with holy water from River Gangaa or water mixed with a little raw milk in the absence of Gangaa water and offer Bilva or Bel flowers and leaves to the Shiv Ling. People also worship Goddess Paarvatee, Ganesh and Nandee Jee along with Shiv Jee. Fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset on all Mondays in this month. The importance of Shraavan Som Vaar is because it is believed that the Samudra Manthan (Churning of Ocean) took place in this month and Lord Shiv drank the poison, Halaahal Vish, to save the world during this period, otherwise this fast can be observed on all Mondays.
(1) Kathaa for Simple Monday Fast
There lived a rich man. He had everything but he did not have a child. He was worried for this all the time. He used to keep fast on every Monday, worshipped Shiv Jee on that day and light a lamp before the Shiv Ling in the evening. One day Paarvatee Jee said to Shiv Jee - "Naath, This man is your great devotee, you should fulfill his wish." Shiv Jee said - "Paarvatee, This world is Karm Kshetra. As a farmer sows seed in his farm and reaps its results, in the same way in this world also people do whatever Karm, they reap them." Paarvatee Jee again said - "Still he is your great devotee. You should help him. If you will not fulfill his wish then why people will worship you?" Seeing Paarvatee Jee so compassionate for him, Shiv Jee said to her - "He doesn't have any son, that is why he is always worried. Although he doesn't have a son in his fate, I bless him with a son but he will survive only for 12 years. I cannot do anything more than this for him."
That rich man was overhearing this conversation between them. Hearing this conversation neither he was happy nor he was sad. He continued to worship in the same way for some more time. After a while that man's wife got pregnant and she delivered a beautiful boy at appropriate time. Everybody was very happy to see the child in the house, but the man neither showed any happiness at this event, nor he told anything to anybody about his child's 12 years of age.
When the child became 11 years old, the mother asked the father to marry him, but the father clearly refused this and said - "I will send him to Kaashee to study." He called the child's Maamaa (maternal uncle), gave him some money to take him to Kaashee and put him to study there. He directed his son that while going to Kaashee you should do Yagya and feed Braahman on your way. So both Maamaa and the nephew set off to Kaashee and were doing Yagya and feeding Braahman all the way.
On the way they happened to be in a city in which its King was marrying his daughter to a Prince who had only one eye. The groom's father was very much worried lest the bride refused to marry his son if she sees his son. So when he saw this beautiful young boy of the rich man, he got an idea that he should replace this boy at the "bride's door" ceremonies. He talked to the boy's Maamaa and Maamaa got ready for this. So the boy put on the groom's clothes, rode on the mare and completed all the "bride's door" ceremonies.
When all this was over comfortably, the groom's father thought that if the boy could be replaced in marriage ceremony also, it will all so be better; so he talked to his Maamaa again about it. He promised him to give lots of money in exchange of this favor. Maamaa got ready for this also. So all the marriage ceremonies were also completed comfortably. After the marriage ceremonies, when the boy set off to Kaashee, he wrote on the cloth of his wife - "You are married to me, but with whom they will send you, he is with one eye only, and I am going to Kaashee to study." After he had left, the bride read that message and refused to follow the other Prince saying - "He is not my husband, I am not married to him. My husband has gone to Kaashee to study." So the Princess' father did not send her with other Prince and the groom's family went back.
Now the boy and his Maamaa came to Kaashee. The boy started his studies and Maamaa started his Yagya. When the boy came to the age of 12 years, his Maamaa was doing Yagya. The boy said - "Maamaa, Today I am not feeling well." Maamaa said - "Go and sleep inside." The boy came inside and lay down. After a while he died. After a while his Maamaa came to see him and found him dead. He got very sad. He thought if I will start crying now then my Yagya will remain incomplete, so when the Yagya was completed and Braahman went away, he started crying.
By chance Shiv Jee and Paarvatee Jee were passing from that side. They heard the cries, so Paarvatee Jee said - "Naath, Some sad man is crying, please remove his grief." So they went to Maamaa where they saw a dead boy lying on the floor. Paarvatee Jee said - "Oh, He is nobody else than the son of that rich man who was born by your blessings." Shiv Jee said - "Paaravtee, His age was only this much, so he has already spent." Paarvatee Je got compassionate with him, so she said - "Mahaaraaj, Give this boy his life, otherwise his parents will die in his separation." After requesting several times, Shiv Jee gave him life and he became alive again.
Now Maamaa and the nephew again started their journey back to their home in the same way - doing Yagya and feeding Braahman. They arrived in the same city where the boy was married. They started their Yagya there also. The boy's father-in-law recognized him, took him to his palace, showed him every kind of hospitality, and bade him farewell along with his daughter and lots of things in dowry. They came back to their own place. The boy's parents were sitting on the roof of their house. They have thought that if their son had come well and alive, they would come down otherwise they will die by jumping from that roof.
At that time the boy's Maamaa informed them that "Your son has come". They could not believe their ears. Then the Maamaa said "Not only he but his wife has also come with him." The man welcomed both his son and daughter-in-law pompously and they all lived happily ever after.
(2) Kathaa For Pradosh Fast
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. When it coincides with Monday, it is called Som Pradosh. It is practiced to propitiate Lord Shiv, 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. It is believed that on this day all Devtaa and Devee go to Kailaash to worship him. Take bath an hour before Sunset and then worship Shiv Jee. After the formal worship is completed, the story is told and then Mahaa Mrityunjaya Mantra is recited 108 times.
Once upon a time, there was a Braahman widow who started begging after becoming widow. She used to observe Pradosh Vrat very regularly. She went out with her son in the morning and entered her house in the evening only. Once she met the Prince of Vidarbh Desh. In fact his father's enemies beat him and exiled him from his kingdom. That is why he was wandering here and there. So she brought him to her house and he started growing with her son. One day the Braahman boy was taking a dip in a river that he saw a pitcher full of gold. He brought that pitcher home. The mother asked him to divided between both the boys, but the Brahman boy clearly refused it saying that this pitcher is because of your Poojaa an Vrat, so you should keep it."
One day both those boys saw some Gandharv girls while playing in a forest. The Braahman boy did not go to them but the Prince wanted to talk to them so he went there. The Prince talked to Anshumati named Gandharv girl, and the widow's son came back to home. Anshumatee had got attracted to him so she asked him about him, he told her everything to her and asked her about her. She said - "I am the daughter of Vidravik Gandharv and my name is Anshumatee." Next day the Prince went again to that forest and found Anshumati with her parents.
After a while Anshumati's parents asked him - "Are you the Vidarbh Prince Dharmgupt? We are the parents of Gandharv girl Anshumatee. By the order of Brahmaa Jee we ish to marry her to you. And they got married. Later with the help of Gandharv he obtained his kingdom back from enemies. He appointed that widow's son as his Minister. This was all because of that Braahman widow's observance of Pradosh Vrat.
(3) Shraavan Som Vaar Vrat
When all the Som Vaar Vrat are kept in Shraavan Maas it is called Shraavan Som Vaar Vrat. They are normally 4 or but sometimes they may be 5. On this day also girls and women worship Shiv Ling at about 12.00 noon, and then take Phalaahaar (fruits only) food.
(4) Kathaa for 16 Som Vaar Vrat
These 16 Mondays should be started from Shraavan month, if possible, and should be done continuously for 16 Mondays. Its Kathaa is like this : Once Mahaadev was wandering in Mrityu Lok with his wife Paarvatee Jee. Wandering around they came to Amaraavatee named city in Vidarbh Desh. There was a beautiful Shiv temple in that city, so Mahaadev Jee started living there with Paarvatee Jee. Once Paarvatee Jee proposed to Shiv Jee to play Chaucer with her just for fun. So they started playing Chaucer.
At the same time, the priest of that temple came there to do his daily worship. Paarvatee Jee asked the priest "Tell me, who will win in this Chaucer?" As if destined, the words came out from his mouth - "Mahaadev Jee will win." But after a while Paarvatee Jee won and Mahaadev Jee lost. At his lies Paarvatee Jee filled with rage and she got ready to curse him. Although Mahaadev Jee tried to convince her that he was not at fault, still she cursed him to be a leper. Now he became a leper and started suffering with various kinds of afflictions.
Thus a lot of time passed for the Priest suffering like this. One day some Apsaraa came to worship Shiv Jee in that temple. They saw the Priest suffering with leprosy. Compassionately they asked him his story,. He told them all what happened. They said to him - "Now you need not to suffer for long. You observe 16 Mondays Vrat." The priest asked the method of doing it. Apsaraa said - "On Monday, after taking bath, put on clean clothes, make Panjeeree of half kilo wheat flour (roast wheat flour with enough Ghee, and when it gets cool, mix ground sugar of equal quantity in it). Divide it three parts. Worship Shiv Bhagavaan in Pradosh time with as many things as you can. Distribute one third of the Panjeeree to people present there as Shiv Jee's Prasaad and take the Prasaad himself also. Thus one should do 16 Mondays. On the 17th Monday, take 1/4 kilo wheat flour and make Baatee (round shaped balls roasted in ashes or oven). Mix equal quantity of sugar and a little Ghee to make its Chooramaa. Offer it to Shiv Jee and distribute it to the people present there, take it yourself also. The priest did this for 16 Monday and he got cured. And he started living happily.
One day, after some time, Shiv Na Paarvatee Jee visited that temple again, and they found that priest quite normal and healthy. She asked the Braahman how he got cured. The Braahman told her all that what he did - 16 Som Vaar Vrat. Paarvatee got very happy to hear about this Vrat. She also did this Vrat and because of this Vrat her son Kaartikeya came back home and became obedient to her. Kaartikeya wished to know how his mind got changed like this. Paarvatee Jee told him the same 16-Som Vaar Vrat method. Kaartikeya got very happy to hear this.
Kaartikeya's one Braahman friend had gone to far lands for very long time, so he kept this Vrat to meet him. After the completion of the Vrat, he came back from foreign lands and met him. He also asked the secret of this type of meeting him. Kaartikeya said - "I did 16 Som Vaar Vrat that is how we could meet." Hearing that that Braahman also did this Vrat with the desire of being married. So once he went to a city where its King was in the process of marrying his daughter. Many princes came there with the desire to marry that Princess. The King also promised that in whoever's neck this she-elephant put the Varmaalaa, he will marry his daughter to him only. That Braahman also came there curiosity sake. Fortunately the she-elephant put the Varmaalaa in his neck and the King married his daughter to him.
One day the Princess asked the Braahman - "What Punya you did that the she-elephant put on the Varmaalaa in your neck only leaving all other princes?" He said - "Priye, I did 16 Som Vaar Vrat at the advice of my friend Kaartikeya, and because of that I got a qualitative Lakshmee like bride like you." The Princess got very impressed hearing this Vrat so she also started it with the desire of having a son. At the appropriate time she gave birth to a beautiful boy. Parents started bringing him up with lots of love. When the boy had grown up, he asked his mother - "Maa, What did you do that you got a son like me?" She told him the same - 16 Som Vaar Vrat.
Hearing this that boy also started doing it with the desire of getting kingdom. At that time some old King was looking for a groom for his daughter, so his people considered that boy appropriate for her and informed to the King about him. The King happily married his daughter to him. When the King died, he became the King of that kingdom, because the King had no son. Even after getting kingdom, that Braahman boy continued to do his Som Vaar Vrat.
One day when the 17th Som Vaar came, he asked his wife to come along with him to Shiv temple with the Poojaa materials. But his wife did not take them herself, but sent them through her maids. When the Braahman boy completed his Poojaa, an Aakaashvaanee said - "You send your wife out of the palace, otherwise she will destroy you. The Braahman boy got very surprised as well as sad to hear this. After coming home he told all this to his courtiers. The courtiers also got very sad to hear this that because of which Princess he has got this kingdom he is sending the same Princess away from the palace. But the Braahman boy sent her out of the palace.
The Princess arrived in an unknown city wandering hungry and thirsty. There an old woman was going to market to sell her home made cotton thread. As she saw the Princess, she asked her to help her in selling the thread. So the Princess took her basket of the thread and kept it on her own head. She hardly went a few yards that a strong storm came and threw the thread many yards away. Seeing this the old woman cried a lot and asked her not be with her again. Then she went to a oil presser's house. As she reached there, his all oil pitchers cracked and oil started dripping from them. Oil presser also asked her not to come there again considering her unfortunate. Then she went to a river, all water of the river dried up. Then she went in a garden where she found a beautiful pond. As she bent to drink water from it, countless worms started crawling in it and the its water got dirty. Cursing her fate she drank the same water and went to a tree to lie under its shade. As she came under its shade its all leaves fell off the tree. Now to whichever tree she went to, all trees fell its leaves.
Seeing this people went to their priest who used to work in temple there. He understood that this woman comes from a good family, so he said to her - "Dear Daughter, You come with me, live with me. I will keep you like my daughter. You won't have any problem there in my Aashram. So she started living in his Aashram. But whatever she cooked, or water she brought, everything got worms in it. Seeing all this the priest also got very surprised, he asked - "Dear Daughter, Whose wrath is on you that you are in such a condition?" She told him the story of Shiv Poojaa. The Priest prayed Shiv Jee in several ways and asked her to do 16 Som Vaar Vrat. He will surely give you relief.
She did 16 Som Vaar Vrat and from the 17th Som Vaar The Braahman's boy started thinking about her. Where she would be, let us look for her. So he sent his people all around in search of his wife. They came to this priest's house also found her there. They asked the priest's permission to take her home, but the priest did not send her. They told all this to their King. The King himself came there and took her to his palace.
So whoever does this fast, he gets all kinds of comforts and pleasures and his all wishes are fulfilled.