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SatyaNaryan

SatyaNaryan


The Satyanarayan Puja is a Hindu (Devanāgarī: हिन्दु) religious observance. It is a ritual performed by Hindus before/on any major occasion like marriage, house warming ceremony etc. It can also be performed on any day for any reason. The Satyanarayana Puja is unique in that it does not require a Brahmin to perform.It is believed the ceremony originated in Bengal as Satya Pir ritual performed by all communities (Hindu, Muslim and buddhists) and later in 1800s morphed into Satyanarayan puja.[1],[2],[3]

The Satyanarayana Puja is usually done on the Purnima day of every month (the day of the full moon) or a Sankranti. It is also done on special occasions and during times of achievements as an offering of gratitude to the Lord. These occasions include marriage, graduation, new job, and the purchase of a new home to name a few. In addition, it is said that a devotional performance of this puja will bear children to couples trying to start a family.

The puja starts by a prayer to Lord Ganesha, to remove all obstacles that may occur as a result of incorrectly performing the puja. This is done by chanting all the names of Lord Ganesha and offering prasad (a food offering, usually consisting of one of Lord Ganesha's favorite foods - modak, a sugar and coconut mixture, or lhadu) and the showering of flower petals.

Another part of the prayer involves a prayer to the Navagraha's - the nine important celestial beings in the universe. They consist of Surya (the Sun), Chandra (the moon), Angaaraka/Chevaai (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru aka Bruhaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu (the head of the Demon snake), and Ketu (the tail of the Demon snake).

The rest of the puja consists of worship to Satyanarayana, an extremely benevolent form of Lord Vishnu. First "panchamritam" is used to clean the place where the deity is placed. After placing the deity in the correct position, Satyanaraya swami is worshipped. Names of Satyanarayana are chanted along with offering of a variety of prasad (including a mixture of milk, honey, ghee/butter, yogurt, sugar) and flower petals.

Another requirement of the puja is that the story of the puja be heard among all those observing and partaking in the pooja. The story involves the origin of the puja, the benefits of it, and the potential mishaps that may occur with the careless performance of the puja.

The prayer concludes with an Aarti, which consists of revolving a small fire-lit-lamp in the vicinity of an image of the Lord. After the puja is over, participants and observers of the pooja are required to ingest in the prasad that was offered and blessed by the Lord.

It is told that Satyanarayan Katha is in REVA volume of Skanda Purana. But this volume is devoted to pilgrimages on the valley of river REVA. In Satyanarayana there is no Reva river. In original Skanda Purana there is nothing like Satyanarayana. Recent Skanda Puranas added it with clear note of its new addition in Skanda.

The Satyanarayan Puja is performed in reverence to the Narayan form of Lord Vishnu. The Lord in this form is considered an embodiment of truth. This puja is conducted to ensure abundance in ones life. Many people carry out this puja immediately after or along with an auspicious occasion like a marriage or moving into a new house or any other success in life. It is believed the ceremony originated in Bengal as Satya Pir and was later adapted into Satyanarayan puja.

The Satyanarayan puja can be performed on any day. It is not a puja confined to any festivities. But Poornima (full moon day) or Sankranti are considered to be most auspicious day for this puja.

Performing this puja in the evening is considered more appropriate. However one can do it in the morning as well. On the day of the puja, the devotee has to fast. After bathing the person can begin the puja.

Materials needed for the puja
Satyanarayana Pooja Preparation

* 'Sinni': A special type of food offering, which is prepared by mixing unboiled milk, flour, sugar, smashed bananas, and other flavours like cinnamon etc., or optional garnishing like groundnuts, cashews, cherries, crushed coconuts/fruits etc.
* Kumkum powder, turmeric powder, rangoli
* Incense sticks, camphor.
* Thirty betel leaves, thirty betel nuts, two coconuts.
* Five almonds,
* Flowers to offer
* One thousand tulsi leaves; banana tree as a canopy[2]
* One square shaped wooden platform
* Two copper jars, two plates.
* One shawl
* A mixture of milk, curd, honey, sugar, ghee to make the panchamrita, Sandal paste.
* Akshat (rice grains) with kumkum powder.
* Attar, Indian perfume.
* Two flower garlands, conch shell, bell, a cloth, a ghee lamp and an oil lamp.

Shri Satyanarayan Katha

Shri Satyanarayan katha (narrative) comes from the Skandha purana, Reva kaanda. Suta Puraanikji narrated these stories, in Neimishaaranya to the Rishis who were performing a 1 ,000 year yajna for the benefit of mankind lead by Shounakji .

For those who observe the fast religiously and regularly, there are some great lessons to be learned from the 'katha' (narration)

This is shown by characters who ignored their promise to perform the puja after their wish had been fulfilled. They suffered as a result. Therefore one is to deduce that one must stick to the promise given to the Lord in exchange of the desire fulfilled by His Grace. One is not to ignore or/and forget the Lord's Grace. Prasad is symbolic of God's Grace which Kalavati ignored as she learned of her husband's safe return.

One can understand her eagerness in wanting to be re-united with her beloved, but one must understand that if one forgets to be thankful for gifts received from the Lord, one would have to go through another test until one remembers to remember.

When the rich merchant is asked what the boat contains, he untruthfully replies 'Only dry leaves' and the Mendicant says 'So be it' The above incident tells us that the spoken word has power. What you speak, manifests. Hence one must not speak an untruth. Especially an inauspicious untruth.

In the last story one learns that no one is higher or lower in status in the eyes of the Lord. Hence one must accord respect to whoever it may be, who is taking the name of God.

Satyanarayana Katha (story)

Satyanarayana Katha

CHAPTER 1

Shri Sathyanaranayana katha is from Skandha purana, Reva kaanda. Sutha Puraanikji was the narrator of these stories, in Neimishaaranya to the rishis lead by Shounakji who were performing a 1000 year yajna for the benefit of mankind.

Shounakaji and others now ask Suta Puranikji an important question. "When a man has a desire, how can he fulfill that ethically sound desire? By worshipping whom, by what vrita, or tapas? Please let us know.

Sutaji was pleased to know that this question they asked, was for the benefit of the mankind and not for their personal benefit, for, they had abandoned their homes and all desires. Sutaji said " this question was also asked by Devarshi Naradaji once to Lord Narayana Himself; Let me tell you that story.

Once Naradaji was traveling all over the worlds and finally came to Bhuloka, where he found almost everyone was suffering one or the other misery on account of their past Karmas and were not knowing how to extricate themselves from their untold miseries which were multiplying everyday on account of their ignorance. Being a Satjana his heart felt their agonies and immediately he reached Vaikunta, to Lord Narayana to find the right answer for getting the people out of their miseries. But when he sees the Lord, being a great devotee of the Lord, he forgets his purpose and starts praising the Lord. The Lord Narayana smiles at him and asks the purpose of his visit, knowing that normally Naradaji does not visit Him without a purpose. Naradaji tells Him what he saw and requests Him a panacea for all such miseries. The Lord is now happy at this question of Naradaji because of Naradaji’s intention of benefiting the world by seeking the right answer. The Lord said:

Yes, there is a vrita called Sri Satyanarayana vrita which is not known to the inhabitants of the Bhuloka. This is a secret and yet since your interest is the benefit of the mankind, I shall narrate to you this vrita. This can be performed by anyone (anyone means it does not need an expert or a priest to worship the Lord - ANYONE of any caste, community, creed can worship the Lord directly) and very easily. One who does this, will get all the benefits and the pleasures of this world and will eventually get Moksha too. Now Narada wants to know more details of this vrita. The Lord says, this can be done any day, in the evening. Gather friends and relatives and perform this vrita with faith and devotion. The night should be spent in Bhajans and praise of the Lord. All those attending Pooja should be given food and respect. Thus the performer will get all his wishes fulfilled.

CHAPTER 2

Sri Lord Narayana tells Narada the further story:

There was 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 the next meal. Since the Lord is Viprapriya- (Brahmana priya means Lover of Brahmana- Brahmana means anyone on the devotional path ) - He came in the guise of an old Brahmin and accosted him " Tell me my friend, what ails you?". The brahmin replied "I am an old and very poor man and I shall be grateful if you can tell me how to get rid of this poverty of mine which does not seem to leave me". The Lord replied "Why don’t you perform Sri Satyanarayana Vrita", and He told him how to perform the Vrita.

The poor man now desires to do this vrita and thinking over these thoughts of the Lord he goes 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 vrita". Since the Lord likes such feelings, (Bhavena Devam - Lord does not want our material possessions, he is won by the genuineness of our feelings) that day, he got plenty of money while begging and thus pleased, he took the necessary articles and performed the vrita.

Very soon he became rich and had all the things of the world and thereafter he started performing the vrita every month and thus he enjoyed all the pleasures of the world and finally reached the Moksha too.

Now Shaunakji and other rishis want to know how this vrita spread in the world. Also those who have heard the story, what benefits they got.

Sutaji replies:

Once when this brahmin was performing the Sri Satyanarayana Pooja there came to his house a woodcutter. He saw the pooja and wanted to know what it is and what are its fruits. The brahmin said, "This is Sri Satyanarayana Pooja. Whatever desires you have in your mind will be fulfilled by performing this vrita. My own poverty and troubles all ended by my very decision to perform this vrita". On hearing this, the woodcutter prostrates to the Lord, takes prasad, and decides to perform this pooja next day. He thought in his mind, "Whatever amount I get from the sale of the wood tomorrow, I will use it for the performance of the vrita." That day he sold the wood for twice the price. Happily thinking of the Lord Satyanarayana he proceeds to do this pooja, inviting his friends and relatives. Thus performing regularly he became rich and happy and finally reached Satyaloka.

CHAPTER III

Suta Puranikji continues the story:

Once there was a good king called Ulkamukha. He was wedded to truth and sense- control. Everyday he used to go to the temple, worship the Lord, distribute alms to the needy. Once he was performing Sri Satyanarayana Vrita on the banks of a river. At that time there came a merchant in a ship loaded with precious goods. He approached the king and wanted to know the details of the pooja and also its fruits. The king said, "My friend, what we are doing is a vrita called Sri Satyanarayana Pooja. This is done with a desire to have progeny, wealth, property, etc. By this, we are worshipping Lord Narayana or Mahavishnu".

The merchant said, "Please tell me the details as to how to perform this vrita, because I would like to have children whom I have not been fortunate to have till now." The king tells him the details of the vrita and the merchant returns home. He tells the details to his wife and they decide to perform this vrita if they get a child. Sometime later his wife Lilavathi became pregnant and delivered a girl who was named Kalavathi. Lilavathi reminded her husband about the vrita and he kept postponing it, till his daughter grew of age and was ready to be married. The father finds a suitable groom and marries her off and again forgot to perform the vrita although he had decided to do so at the time of marriage of his daughtier. The Lord now wanted to remind him.

The merchant and his son-in-law were in a city called Ratnasara where king Chandrakethu was ruling. There was a theft at the palace and the burglars were chased by the police. The running burglar saw these two merchants resting near a tree and they left the booty with them and ran off. The police caught the two merchants with the stolen goods and they were straight away sent to the prison. The king himself overlooked to investigate. It is this time the merchant suddenly realized that this was all on account of his forgetting the promise to the Lord. At about this time, back home both Lilavathi and her daughter Kalavathi lost all their belongings due to thefts at home and were rendered beggars. During one such wandering trying to find some food Kalavathi sees Sri Satyanarayana Pooja being performed at one house. She goes in, hears the story and details and returns to tell her mother what had taken place. Lilavathi now knows that it is their forgetting to do the Pooja that had created all these problems. Next day she calls her relatives and friends and performs the Pooja, begs for forgiveness. Accordingly, the king had a dream that the merchants were innocent and he releases them on inquiry and gives them lot of wealth.

CHAPTER IV

Suta Puranik continues the story:

Thus released from the custody the merchants were returning home. They reached the outskirts of their town in their ship. The Lord in order to test them again comes in the form of an old Sanyasi and inquires as to what the load in the ship is. The merchant bluffs and says that it contains dried leaves. The sanyasi says "Tathasthu". When the merchant returns to the ship he finds that it does contain now dried leaves only. He swoons and when he regains his consciousness he realizes that these are doings of the Sanyasi whom he had cursorily dismissed earlier. He seeks him out and begs for forgiveness. The ever-merciful Lord again forgives him. Now that the merchant was near the town, he sends a messenger in advance to Lilavathi to let her know that they are on their way home. Lilavathi. tells her daughter to complete the Satyanarayana poola they were performing and goes ahead to meet her husband. Kalavathi does the pooja, but in a hurry to meet her husband, she neglects to take the prasad; and when she nears the anchorage, she does not find the ship nor her husband! It looked to her that they both sank/drowned. She swoons and now she decides to die.

The merchant thinks that this must be on account of some fault on their part in ignoring the Lord and then and there he decides to do the pooja as a part of expiation from his side for mistakes of omission or commission. The Lord now pleased makes him realize that it is 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 Sri Sathyanarayana Pooja regularly till the end of their life and finally after death, they reached Satyaloka.

CHAPTER V

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 Nemisharanya, Suta Puranikji continued the story narrating the greatness of this Vrita to Shounaka and other Rishies:

In ancient times, there was a King called Angadwaja. He was good and righteous king {like all of us, good and righteous}; and yet once he ignored the prasad of Sri Satyanarayana Pooja and had to suffer very dearly to that.

Once this king was returning from hunting the wild animals in the forests. He rested under a tree for a while. A few yards away a small group of cowherd boys had gathered to perform Sri Satyanarayana Pooja. They did not have anything except their daily bread they were carrying and a talkative among them became their priest and they played the game of doing a pooja. At the end of the pooja, they offered the prasad to the king who, out of contempt and pride, left it untouched.

Pretty soon all his wealth was lost; his hundred children died and he now knew, being a good king that this was all on account of his contempt for those children’s pooja. Without any delay the king goes to that very spot where the cowherd boys had done the pooja earlier, gathers them all around him performs the Satyanarayana Pooja with all shraddha and bhakthi.

Thus the king again got all his wealth and kingdom and kins.

Suta now tells the Rishis that this Vrita is specially effective in Kaliyuga. This Lord of Lord is called Ishwara, Satyadeva, Sri Satyanarayana and by many other names. He alone has taken names and forms.

One who reads this story and one who hears it will be rid of all woes and difficulties.


Types of Vishnu

Pauranikas consider Narayana or Vishnu as of four types based on the celestial world — 1. The Lord of Paradise (Vaikunta Nadha) 2. The Lord-lying on the ocean of celestial waters (Anantha sayana) 3. The inhabitant of the white Island (Sweta Dvipa), and 4. The Lord of Goloka (Golokanadha).

1. Jyotistoma is the region of light from the earth to 21st plane. It is full of fire. It is Vaikuntanatha–the first sacrifice. "This fiery and divine sacrifice (Swaha yajna) consists of 34 utterances and the 21st plane is its establishment (Pratista). Thirty three fire-deities related to Vishnu are its limbs. The whole of these deities is Vaikuntanadha Vishnu". He will be awake for eight months and sleeps for four months. During these four months, there will be dominating influence of water and the fire becomes recessive. So the sacrifices will be destroyed. This is what we call ‘sleep of Vishnu’.

2. Dwadasa yajna extends from 22nd plane to 33rd plane which is full of spiritual water (Apa) and essence (Soma). This is the Lord Vishnu lying on the Ocean. He is said to be having 34 utterances including Prajapati (Pridvi). He is the second Vishnu. Vishnu of the celestial ocean, always sleeps and often awakes. The Splendour of ignition (Agni) is the waking state. The ignition will be weak in the sea and hence the sacrifice will be slackened. The word ‘sleep’ denotes this condition.

3. Navaha yajna starts from 17th plane to 25th plane. The sacrificial Vishnu of this region will have white island as His habitation but is established at 21st level. He is the third Vishnu called Lord Satyanarayana. As Satyanarayana will always be in self-mortification, He is always awake. He never sleeps since Navaha yajna at 21st plane uniformly continues throughout the year.

4. Pancha Dasaha yajna extends from 22nd plane to 36th plane. It is uttered by Sama Veda. Here Gau spirits are born and hence is called Gosava or Goloka. It is established at 29th plane. This region is pervaded by the ocean, a form of spiritual water, air and essence. The spiritual waters are the form of cows (Gua Spirits). They are of spreading nature. This is the supreme world (Paramesti). Lord Vishnu of this world is called Govinda.

These four divisions belong to Pridvi that extends up to 33rd level. Thus they are the four dwellings places of the four types of Vishnu. The Lord of Goloka has two arms but the others are four-armed.

Lord Satyanarayana owing to utter blackness is white in complexion. The other three are blue in color. As Satyanarayana is an embodiment of Tapas, (self- mortification). He has no wife.

The others forms have wives. Govinda Vishnu’s wife is Radha. She is the splendour of Vak (Vagjyoti) and carrier of wisdom (Janana Vahini). Lakshmi is the consort of Samudra Seyana Vishnu. She should be considered as Padma (Pridvi) born of the sea having the quality of terrestrial atoms (mrit paramanu lakshana). Vaikuntanatha has five wives – Pridvi, Tulasi, Ganga, Saraswati and Lakshmi. .