Seven Days of Worship: Significance in Spirituality

      Navagraha's or nine planets of which the first seven (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter; Venus, Saturn) give names to the days of the week: Sunday to Saturday respectively. The other two Rahu (Ascending node) and Ketu (Descending node) are also fabled as planets: the former as a planet with a head and no body and the latter as a planet with a body and no head. In the Puranas, they are all represented as deities borne in cars. These nine luminaries, in the eyes of every Hindu, constitute a most formidable group of deities, whose power over every living person's career, from the first moment of his coming into the world, and over the whole course of mundanes events, no one doubts. They are propitiated because of their sinister effects (Saturn, Rahu and Ketu) and for their favourable influences (Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mars, the Sun and the Moon). The favour of all must be conciliated before marriages and other auspicious events, can be successfully accomplished.

They are propitiated because of their sinister effects (Saturn, Rahu and Ketu) and for their favourable influences (Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mars, the Sun and the Moon). The favour of all must be conciliated before marriages and other auspicious events, can be successfully accomplished.
7 Days Worship Significance

      In addition to the nine planets, twenty seven nakshatras (constellations) through which the moon passes and twelve signs of zodiac of the sun, regarded as deities, are consulted at births, marriages and on all occasions of family rejoicing, distress or calamity. Graha Shanti (Peace) propitiation ceremony is held to appease any unfavourable constellation.

Sunday (Sun - Surya)

      Taking fast on Sunday is good for health, remedy against leprosy and for liberation from world by distress and calamities. The fast is in honour of Surya - Bhaskar or Sun god. On this day salt and oil should not be consumed. If the fast can be undertaken throughout the day; till sun set, it is ideal, or other wise fruit may be consumed before sun set. No salt, once in a week, can be attributed as a scientific factor against high blood pressure (Hypertension). After worship at sunset, legend related to this fast is recited there was a wife and her mother-in-law. The husband of the daughter in law was an incarnation of Sun god, for a while he came home and then disappeared. Whenever he came home he used to give a diamond to his wife and mother. One day the mother told the son that the wealth given by him was not enough to meet their expenses. The son in anguish said "Except for eating and wearing garment, you do nothing else. You do not care for your duties and so you are discontented."

      Then both the mother and daughter in law started going for a bath in Kartik (October-November) regularly. After twelve years, the mother prayed to Surya (Sun god). The result was plenty of food and other requirements. The daughter in law also worshipped Surya, who on appearance asked her to demand a boon. She said, "My husband remains away from me. I request him to be near me!"

      At night the husband said to his mother that he would sleep at home in the night. The wife was happy and on a decorated bed, the husband lay. The whole world plunged into darkness. All gods came and requested the mother to awaken her son. On the appearance of the son, he asked gods that as long as his wife and mother take bath in Kartik regularly, till then the mother Ganges should flow by the side of their house and that Riddhi and Siddhi (consorts of Ganesa denoting wealth and prosperity) should reside in this house.

      Since then Kartik bath has gained importance, by which sins are excused and in the end, the devotee goes to heaven. The Sun (Surya) worship exerts favourable influence on the devotees.

Monday (Moon - Chandrama)

      Monday is the day of Shiva and Parvati, the fasting devotee can take food in the third span of the day after worship of Shiva and Parvati. The fast is preferably undertaken in Kartik (October-November) or Sawan (July-August). The legend narrated on this day is almost like the one recited on Amavasya Monday. Pipal (Pippala-Asvattha-ficus religions) is worshipped and circumambulation is done for 108 times by the women. Married women, in beautiful garments and jewelleries, make an offering of one fruit, dry fruit after each circumambulation. The washer woman offers vermilion to all and in return gets sweets and money.

      In one family there were three women, mother, daughter and daughter in law. One beggar came everyday for alms and was given the same by the daughter or the daughter in law. The beggar gave blessing to both. The blessing to the daughter was, "May you be religious and be pure as the Ganges", to the daughter in law, he blessed, "May you live in peace and get sons."

      The mother asked the beggar one day; "Why do you give two type of blessings every time?" The beggar replied, "your daughter has a bad luck so if she goes every day and sweeps at the washerman's donkey den, then she will be blessed with a lucky husband." The washer woman said to the mother that on the day of marriage of the daughter, she should call her.

      The washer woman came at the time of the marriage, leaving the instructions in her house, "In case my husband dies, in my absence, do not carry out his cremation." On the other hand, when the washerwoman remover vermilion from her hair and filled that in daughter's (brides) her husband died. On the other hand the relatives of the washer woman thought that the woman would weep and lament on her return, so they cremated the husband's body, before her return.

      When the washer woman was returning home, she saw her husband's dead body being carried to the cremation ground. She stopped them; put the body under a Pipal tree, worshipped Shiva and Parvati, circumambulated for 108 times and cutting her finger, she sprinkled a few drops of blood on her husband's carcass. The husband got up alive. Since then the tradition of getting vermilion from the washer woman, is observed, as lucky for a bride.

Tuesday (Mangal - Mars)

      If one observes the fast on Tuesday for 21 times, the unlucky influence of Tuesday (Mangal) can be got rid off. Red sandal wood powder garland, red flowers, wheat and jaggery preparations, red clothes are used in worship and food is taken as only one meal.

      An old woman used to observe fast on every Tuesday. Her son was named Mangaliya. Mangal deity in disguise of a Brahmin came and asked her "I am hungry. I shall prepare my own food but you plaster the ground with cow dung! The woman said, "Today is a Tuesday; I do not plaster cow dung on this day. I shall sprinkle water and you can prepare food. "The Brahmin said, "I shall only cook on a cow dung plastered surface! The woman refused and said that she could do anything else except cow dung plaster! The Brahmin said, "Let your son lie upside down, I shall cook on his back. "After some thought, the woman called her son and the disguised Brahmin lit the furnace on his back and cooked food! After cooking, the Brahmin asked the woman to call her son so that he could take the auspicious food. The woman, in grief, said why he cut jokes and that after your cooking on his back, he would have died. The Brahmin explained and insisted her to call the son. When insisted the woman called, and the son came running. The Brahmin said, "Old woman, your fast is successful. With kindness, your mind is also full of devotion and faith. May you be ever happy! The deity (Mangla) in disguise disappeared.

Wednesday (Budh - Mercury)

      Mercury is thought to be a special source of knowledge and wisdom. Mercury rides upon an eagle. 

      The woman after a bath early morning, worship Buddh Devi (Mercury), and Shiva with white flowers and green tilings. Water is kept filled up in golden, silver, brass or earthen pots. Meals are taken once a day. The legend is then recited.

      Mercury used to go to different places for the sake of business. Once, when he was away, his wife gave birth to a son on a Wednesday. After a long period, when he came back, laden with wealth, his boat struck in the mud. He tried his level best to pullout the boat, but did not succeed. Then the Brahmin priests advised him that if a Wednesday bom child touches the boat, it would come out. On reaching home, he learnt that his own son had been born on a Wednesday, so he went back with him. On the child's touch, the boat could be pulled up. All were happy and since then, the women worship Buddha Devi, in order to get a son like him.

      Husband after living for a long time at the house of his in laws, sought their permission to go home, the in laws said that because of that day being a Wednesday, they could not permit him to go that day. But he insisted and so was allowed; on the way, the wife felt thirsty, stopped the chariot and requested her husband to fetch water. The husband went away; but when he returned, to his great surprise, saw that a man, of his own resemblance and clad in the same garments was sitting by the side of his wife and behaving as her husband. The real husband challenged the prototype. One enquiry from the wife, she also could not recognize the real one. The real husband, then prayed to god for the injustice being done to him. A heavenly voice there announced that was all due to the curse of Wednesday (Mercury) deity, so he worshipped him and sought his pardon; The prototype disappeared and the real husband came back home happily and without any further hazard. Since then Wednesday (Mercury) fast and worship was done regularly by the couple. By his blessings, no obstacles come forth even if a journey is undertaken on a Wednesday. 

Thursday (Brihaspati - Jupiter)

      Jupiter is also a special source of knowledge and wisdom. His chariot is drawn by eight pale horses. He rides a boar. Yellow has a great importance on this day of fast. Gram pulse, sweets of besan (ground grams) and gud (jaggery), yellow flowers, yellow garments are used.

      One time meal is taken. Women should not wash their clothe or their heads on this day. Applying oil or dressing hair is also to be avoided. After worship, a Brahmin should be fed.

      There was a certain king who had seven sons and their wives. Two Brahmins used to come there to beg alms but the wives returned them, empty handed. Therefore Jupiter deity was displeased with them, which affected adversely the prosperity and wealth of the king. When their was devastation in the kingdom and the king neared poverty; the youngest wife sought excuse from the Brahmins and started giving them alms but still the elder six denied alms to the Brahmins. The youngest wife asked the Brahmin the remedy for getting over the bad days.

      The Brahmins advised to keep a fast for Brihaspati; to feed Brahmins. If any one's husband has gone to a foreign country, then that woman should make two human figures behind the door; that would result in early safe return of the husband. If the family is stricken with poverty then those figures should be made on a box. The king's seven sons had already gone on a foreign tour.

      The youngest wife observed the ritual as advised. Her husband had gone to a place, the king of which died. The king had no son. To find a suitable successor, a garland was hung on the horn of a female elephant; so that
whosoever is garlanded by it, he shall be the king as per the tradition of that kingdom. The elephant went all around and ultimately put the garland round youngest son's neck. He became the king. He searched for his brothers, but in vain. For the sake of public welfare, the new king decided to construct a tank. Thousands of labourers were engages, among whom his brothers also came. He called all of them took them to his palace and all started living peacefully, the worship and alms by the youngest wife brought prosperity back to the family. Then all other wives, also started Brihaspati fast and worship. No one was ever refused alms by them, anymore.

Friday (Shukra - Venus)

      Like Jupiter and Mercury, Venus is also a special source of knowledge and wisdom. He rides a camel. The fast on Friday is observed with the aim of getting wealth and for the award of long life. The fast in is reverence to goddess Lakshmi (consort of Vishnu). White flowers, white garments and offerings of ghee sugar sweets are made. An old woman had a son, whose wife was not well treated by her mother-in-law. The son under depression, asked his mother that he wished to go abroad. The mother agreed. Then he told his wife and asked her for a token symbol. As she had nothing to give, she fell at his feet and there appeared a hand mark because of cowdung-smeared hands. The wife, terrorized by her mother in law, went to a temple, there she saw many women, who were on fast and were worshipping Santhoshi Mata (goddess) and she learnt that Santhoshi Mata could remedy all ills. Santhoshi Mata is believed to be the daughter of Ganesa and the mother Riddhi-Siddhi, the family of wealth, jewels and gems. She was advised that on a Friday, after bath, she should have a jug full of water and with the offering of jaggery and black grams, she should worship Santhoshi Mata. Nothing sour should be consumed, meals should be taken once. The woman commenced the fast and worship in the proper ritual. By the blessings of the mother goddess, she received a letter and money from her husband. She went to the temple and in gratitude narrated her pleasure to other women and advised them to observe fast in respect of Santhoshi Mata.

      On the other hand, her husband in a dream, was advised by the mother goddess to go home but he said that unless he sold all goods of the masters, he could not go. He told the dream to his master but the master did not permit him to go back. Fortunately all goods were sold, the debtors returned master's money. He permitted the husband to go home. When he reached home, his wife said that she wanted to celebrate Santhoshi Mata worship.

      The celebration was arranged, everyone from nearby was invited. A jealous neighboured woman instigated his children that while eating, they should demand sour pickles. The wife gave them money, from which they bought sour tamarind. The king's men arrested her husband in default of paying tax for the property earned. The wife worshipped Santhoshi Mata again, undertook the fast and thus appeased the mother goddess. After nine months, she was blessed with a son. The fast of Santhoshi Mata is usually undertaken by unmarried girl, so as to get a good husband. The bliss gained from this fast is that it curies poverty and laziness; Lakshmi gives wealth; Worries of the mind are overcome; happiness and peace prevails in the house; the one, without a son, get a son, the husband on an outstation tour returns soon; unmarried girl gets a desired husband; any pending law suit is settled soon; the disputes and misery are solved; comfort prevails; accumulation of wealth and gain of property and fulfilment of cherished desires, are the results of Santhoshi Mata fast. 

Saturday (Sanichar - Saturn)

      The influence of Saturn is supposed to be sinister and therefore most propitiated: The mount of Satun is a slow elephant. His chariot is drawn by eight pie bald horses. At Varanasi, there is a temple sacred to Saturn. To get rid of the sinister influence of Saturn, a fast is observed on Saturdays. If the fast is commenced from the month of Shravan (July-August) it is considered more auspicious. After the fast, god Sani (Saturn) is worshipped. The oblations consist of black sesames, black clothes, iron and oil as essential elements. This fast awards protection against all obstacles. The legend recited after worship pertains to king.

      The king invited merchants from far arid wide and proclaimed that all unsold goods would be purchased by the king himself. The merchants were happy. Once a blacksmith brought an iron image of Saturn for sale, which ultimately was purchased by the king, who installed that in his palace with reverence. Other gods became unhappy on this action of the king. At night, the king saw a brilliant woman going out of the house. On king's enquiry, he learnt that, that was Lakshmi. She said that where Saturn is, she could not stay there. After sometime a male image went out and was told to be Bhairava. Similarly all other gods Dharma (Religion), Dhairya (Patience), Khama (Pardon) and all others went out. When the last Satya (Truth) was going out, the king protested and said that because of faith in you, I did not object to the others from going out. Feeling the sentiments of the king, Satya stopped. All other deities were waiting outside for Satya, but when he did not come out, Dharma (religion) said that he could not remain without Satya; so he returned in. Similarly all others followed suite and all gods and attributes came back inside the palace. They told the king that only because of his devotion to the Satya (truth); they all had to return and that such a king could never be unhappy. Because of devotion to Satya (truth), Lakshmi (wealth) and Sani (Saturn) came to live together, to the benefit or the devotees.

      Saturday legend has been narrated in a different version in another scripture, which runs as: Once there was a dispute between the nine planets as to who is superior among them. When they could not decide, they all went to Indra the king of gods, who was also nonplused to decide such an issue. So he advised that they should go to the just and benevolent king Vikramaditya. The latter, after great thought got seven seats spread out, the first of gold and the last of iron. He then requested the deities to take their seats. Shani (Saturn) knew that his seat was an iron seat viz. the last and as much, he was recognized as inferior to all. Therefore he cursed Vikramaditya and said "Surya stays on one Zodiac for one month, the moon for two days, Mangal (Mars) for one and a half month, Brihaspati (Jupiter) for thirteen months, Buddh (Mercury) and Shukra (Venus) for one month each and Rahu, Ketu for eighteen months only; but I (Saturn) stay at one Zodiac for thirty months. I have made many a gods suffer because of my power and influence. Due to my influence Ram and Lakshman were exiled and Ravan suffered a defeat and his dynasty destroyed, so O king, you beware of my wrath. The king said; whatever be in my luck, I shall face it.

      After some time a merchant of beautiful horses came to Ujjain, the capital of Vikramaditya. The courtiers praised the horses and requested the king to visit. When the king came, he took a fancy for a particular horse and to try the same, he got on the saddle. The horse took to hells try however he may; but the house flew into the forest, with none to accompany or follow the king. In the far off, where no one knew him desperate with hunger and thirst, he sought refuge in the house of a rich merchant. The merchant judging the person as a good person allowed him (king) to stay in his house. At night, he saw that a pearl necklace, hung on a peg, was being swallowed (Edgerton: Vikrama's adventures) in, when, next day the merchant found the necklace missing, he reported the matter to the Kotwal who got his hands and legs cut; the king was then helpless. An oil crusher, took pity on him and employed him to sit on the crusher and see to the proper movement of the bull while sitting, handicapped and helpless. Vikramaditya used to sing. One day, the princess heard the son and was charmed hy it. She sent her maidens to find out the singer and she made up her mind to marry him. Her parents tried their best to make her select any other but she did not agree. She was married to the handicapped person (Vikramaditya). At night on the nuptial bed, the king in a dream saw Shani deity who said that all his sufferings were because of his (King) having decided Saturn as Inferior. The king asked his pardon, worshipped him and sought his blessings. The king (Vikramaditya) narrated his story of woe to his bride. Saturn deity blessed the couple so that they would lead a happy married life. His limbs were restored. The rich merchant, invited them to his house and there in the presence of everyone, they saw that the lost necklace was oozing out from the peg. All were surprised. The merchant felt ashamed and asked his pardon and offered his daughter to Vikramaditya in marriage. Then Vikramaditya and his two brides, went in procession to a rousing reception in Ujjain.

      Such is the influence of the curse and the blessings of Shani (Saturn). This legend is recited after worship on Saturday fast.

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