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Somwar (Monday) Vrat (Fast) Katha
Once there lived a wealthy merchant in a city. He always had immense wealth and prosperity. But despite all the worldly possessions, he remained sad because he had no son. He regularly observed Monday fast to have a son. He used to go to the Shiva temple and worshipped there Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati with full faith. Goddess Parvati was pleased at his devotion. She implored Lord Shiva and said, My Lord, this wealthy merchant is your faithful devotee. He regularly observes Monday fast but still he has no son. Please fulfill his desire. Hearing the imploring of Parvati, Lord Shiva said, Let your desire be fulfilled. I grant him a boon. He will be the father of a son, but he will live for twelve years onlyĒ. Fortunately, this wealthy merchant could hear their conversation.
As time passed on, the merchantís wife gave birth to a beautiful son. He celebrated his sonís birth with great pomp and show and distributed food, clothes and money among the poor. All prayed for his sonsí long and happy life. But the merchant was still sad because he knew that his son would not live beyond twelve years. Yama, the god of Death, spares none.
Knowing what the situation was, the merchant started observing the Monday fast with greater zest and there was no let up in the worship of Lord Shiva. He practiced all the rites of worship.
At the age of eleven, the merchantsí son looked quite smart and mature. All desired that he should be married to a beautiful girl. The merchantsí wife also wanted her sonsí marriage. She insisted for it again and again. The merchant did not agree to this proposal. He sent for his brother-In-law and said, Accompany my son to Kashi. Arrange for his best spiritual knowledge. Take enough money from my treasure. Arrange devotional gatherings on your way to Kashi at every halt and distribute alms among the beggars.
The merchantís son started his journey for Kashi with his maternal uncle. They arranged devotional gatherings and distributed clothes at every halting camp. They also arranged best eats for the Brahmans and made enough offerings to them.
One day they made a halt at a capital of a king. The kingsí daughtersí marriage was to take place that day. The marriage party had already reached the city. The bridegroomís party was terribly disturbed because the bridegroom was blind, of one eye. They were in search of a beautiful boy to replace him. The bridegroomís father sent his men in search of a beautiful boy. The men spotted the merchants son who was camping in an inn with his maternal uncle. The bridegroomís father was a rich person. He said to the merchantís maternal uncle, my prestige is at stake. I need a handsome bridegroom in place of my one-eyed son. I shall give enough wealth if your ward agrees to have a temporary marriage with the kingsí daughter. He shall be free immediately after the marriage ceremony is over. The merchantsí brother-in-law convinced his sistersí son for a temporary marriage. The bridesí party praised their luck when they saw a handsome bridegroom with the marching band at the head of the marriage procession.
The merchantís son and the kings daughter were married around the holy fire. At the time of departure, the merchantsí son picked his brides scarf and wrote; now we are husband and wife. I am not the son of a king. I am the son of a rich merchant. I was on way to Kashi for spiritual studies. Your real bridegroom is blind of one eye.
The bride noticed her bridegroom writing something on the scarf. She could not read his message at that time. When the marriage party was about to depart, the bride read the message. She was shocked to know the reality. She refused to accompany with the one-eyed bridegroom. The marriage party returned without a bride.
The merchantsí son reached Kashi and devoted himself fully to the spiritual studies. His maternal uncle arranged devotional gatherings and gave donations everyday for the well-being of his sistersí son. On the last day of the twelfth year, the merchantsí son felt pain in the chest. His maternal uncle was performing the religious rites as per his routine. As he went inside the room, he found the boy dead. He was full of grief, but kept silent as the Brahmans would not accept food from such a house. With courage, he completed his routine. When his routine was over, he started crying. Many people gathered around him and shared his grief.
Fortunately, Lord Shiva and Parvati were also passing by that house. When Parvati heard the cries and beating of breast, her motherly compassion got aroused. She was a mother, after all. Having known the facts, she said to Lord Shiva, My dear Sire, please ask Yama to return his life. Yama is always at your command. Please do this favour to me. You are the protector of all creatures.
Lord Shiva agreed and sprinkled Ganga water on the dead body. The boy got up as if he was making an excuse for sleep. The spiritual education of the merchantsí son was over. They started their journey homeward. They arranged spiritual discourses and distributed aims among the needy throughout their way.
Now, they were back in the city where this boy was married. The king recognized the boy immediately. He took him to his palace with full honour and on an auspicious day, he arranged to happy departure for his daughter. He also gave adequate dowry. The merchants son reached his city along with his bride.
His father could not believe it. He was sitting on the roof of a big mansion with his wife, waiting for his son. They had decided that they would not come down until their son supported them himself; otherwise they would commit suicide by jumping down the roof. So the merchantís son along with his bride went up to the roof. They touched their feet. The merchant and his wife were very happy to see the couple.