In Hindu calender each day belongs to a god and Mondays are considered to be Lord Shiva’s days. Many people observe fasts or Vrats on these days. Lord Shiva, the supreme oneness is also referred to as Bhole Bhandari. Bhole means innocent and easily pleased and bhandari means the treasurer. Lord Shiva is a treasure of innocence & love. With deep devotion if one calls upon the supreme power, it is assumed he comes to their rescue every time. Monday fasts are of three types:
- The simple fasts
- Som Pradosh Vrats
- Solah Somvar Vrats
This article will talk about the solah somvar vrats. Women and even men observe this form of Monday fast with a desire to meet their perfect match or people who are facing delays in the marriage. But this is incomplete information as these fasts can be kept with any wish in mind. Anyone can perform the fasts from the first Monday of Krishna Paksha, which falls every month. As every ritual in Indian mythology has an interesting tale behind it, these fasts also have a mythological story attached to them. And that is as follows:
Solah Somvar Vrat tale
Once Mahadeva Shiva along with his wife Mata Parvati was visiting the material realm and they came across a blessed town called Amravati. The king of the town was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and he had a splendid temple of Lord Shiva in his town. Both Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati decided to stay in the temple for a while. Once Mata Parvati saw Lord Shiva in a good mood and she requested her beloved to play dominoes. Lord Shiva agreed and as they started with the game, the temple’s priest arrived. Mata Parvati saw him and asked that who would win the game. Without giving it a second thought, he said that Lord Shiva would win, but actually Mata Parvati won the game. She was offended and she cursed the priest to suffer from leprosy and both of them left. After sometime due to the curse, the priest started suffering from leprosy.
Once the angels came to the temple and they saw the priest suffering from the dire disease. They asked him the reason and the priest narrated the entire incident. With compassion in their heart angels suggested the priest to perform solah somvrat vrat with devotion. He agreed and understood the procedure. After performing the 16 fasts on 17th Monday he got rid of all his ailments and diseases. Once again Mata Parvati with Lord Shiva came to the temple and she asked him the reason for the disease free state. He told the entire procedure of fast to her. She was moved by the procedure and decided to perform the fasts herself to make amends with her son, Kartikiya Ji. After finishing the fasts, her son had a change of heart and he came back to her mother.
Kartikiya ji was confused about this sudden change of heart towards his mother and he asked her the reason. She told her son the procedure of solah somvar vrats. He thought of performing the fasts to meet one of his friends again. On 17th Monday, he once again met his friend. The friend was amazed to meet Kartikiya ji after so long all of a sudden and asked the reason or the meeting. He told him about the solah somvrat vrat and how he performed these fasts and met him. This friend was also moved by this wish fulfilling procedure and performed them to find a perfect match for him.
As he finished the fasts he went to a foreign land. There the king was getting her daughter married through a swaymbar, where the king pledged that whosoever would get the garland from the wish fulfilling elephant, he will be chosen for the princess. Princes and kings came from different parts in the hope of getting married to the beautiful princess and even Kartikiya ji’s friend joined in. The elephant chose him and as per the promise he got married to the princess. He also received gold and treasures from the king. The young man felt lucky and celebrated his union with his wife.
On asked by his wife, how the elephant chose him and not all the other princes. The man told his wife about the solah somvar vrats and they fulfilled his wishes. She was delighted at the thought of these magical fasts and decided to perform them to get a blessed son. With the procedure in due course of time, a son was born to them who wise, lucky and beautiful. As the son grew older, he too performed the fasts to get a kingdom and his wish came true when he was chosen to be married to a rich king’s daughter. When the king died, the son was chosen to as the new king. He continued to perform his fasts and one day asked his queen to come to the Shiva temple to perform Shiva worship. The queen refused to perform the ritual of worship. Lord Shiva got angry and in the form of an announcement from heaven above, he told the king to renounce his queen otherwise he will lead to a devastating end.
The king got worried and renounced the queen. The queen was very depressed and she went to many people for help. But wherever she went, she brought in bad luck to the people. Even the water, she touched converted in algae, worms and dirt and the trees, she sat under for shade, shed all of their leaves. The nearby villagers saw her plight and took her to a temple where the priest was very kind and wise. He saw the queen and understood she suffered from some curse and asked her to stay at the ashram in the temple. Queen readily agreed, but the curse continued. Whatever she did or even touched turned into a disaster. Even the priest got worried and asked, which God has cursed her. The queen told her the entire incident of not going to worship Lord Shiva. The priest told her that Lord Shiva is great & kind he will forgive her if she performed the solah somvar vrats. She did the fasts and on 17th fasts the king thought about the queen and how he should look for her.
He went in search of the queen and reached the temple. He asked the priest to allow the lady to come with him as she was his wife. The priest agreed and the queen once again returned to the kingdom. Both the king and queen celebrated their union by donating gold and jewelry to the masses and they continued with the solah somvar vrats for an entire lifetime. And eventually they died and their soul found abode in Shivapuri (Lord Shiva’s town). It is believed since then that who so ever performed these fasts religiously meets his heart’s desire.
Procedure: If you wish to perform these fasts the procedure is as follows: After taking a bath, go the temple to worship Lord Shiva. Take along with you milk (A packet), milk in glass, fruits, kumkum or sindoor, chandan or sandalwood paste, white & yellow flowers, bel patras, some roses, diya with clarified butter and cotton bud (jot). Drop water on Shiva Linga, starting from Lord Ganesha, Shiva, Mata Parvati, Kartikiya ji and Nandi bael. Then offer milk in the glass, tikka (kumkum to Mata Parvati and sandal wood to all the other deities). Offer flowers, milk packet and fruits and some money. Light the diya and read the tale and then perform the mantra song or aarti.
We hope this article will help you in performing the fasts in the best possible way.