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Jun 26, 2023
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Satyanarayana Vrata: An Internal Cleansing

Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy is an incarnation of Vishnu and the main deity of the famous Annavaram temple in Andhra Pradesh. 

Rishi Narada is said to have preached the glory of the Satyanarayana Vrata, to relieve human suffering, after he learned it from Lord Narayana himself. 

Satyanarayana Vrata is popularly performed with marriage and housewarming ceremonies.

In this article, we will touch upon some often-overlooked aspects of the Satyanarayana Vrata.

 

Historical Origin

Lord Kumaraswamy heard about Satyanarayana vratha from Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati and passed it on to Agastya Muni.

From Agastya Muni, others learned it and Ved Vyasa wrote about it in the Reva khanda in eight Adhyayas, which is now told as 5 stories.

Then Ved Vyasa’s student Sutha Muni learned it from him and passed it on to several of his disciples.

 

How this Vrata is related to Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga

Maharshi Patanjali divided the practice of Yoga into eight parts known as Ashtanga Yoga, and Vrata is a part of one of these eight called Niyama. 

A Vrata basically means to take resolve. 

For example, a resolution can be to become completely truthful. 

A strong resolve will lead to a stable mind. 

 

If your Resolve is Strong, the Universe will support you: Story Lesson No. 1

In the city of Kasi, a poor Brahmin, advised by Lord Vishnu in disguise, resolved to perform the Satyanarayana puja, a ritual believed to grant wishes and alleviate sorrows. 

With unwavering determination, he collected alms, bought the necessary items, and conducted the puja, ultimately shedding his poverty and living a fulfilled life. 

Inspired by witnessing this, a woodcutter vowed to undertake the same puja with his day’s earnings from selling firewood. Through the grace of Lord Narayana, the woodcutter acquired immense wealth, leading a comfortable life and attaining Moksha. 

This story showcases the power of strong resolve, demonstrating that when we pursue our goals with unwavering faith, the universe conspires to support and manifest our desires.

 

Don’t Manipulate the Divine: Story Lesson No. 2

Just taking a resolve is not enough, fulfilling it is equally important.

In one of the stories of Satyanarayana Vrata, we come to know about a businessman, who prayed to Lord Satyanarayana for a child.

And instead of performing the Satyanarayana Vrata immediately, he promised to perform the puja after the child was born. 

After the child was born, he told his wife that he would do the puja at the time of the daughter’s wedding and got busy with his work.

He then forgot to do the puja even at the time of his daughter’s marriage, for which he later faced many hardships. 

This story teaches us to be cautious about not having such a mindset of carelessness. 

We must always aim to uphold our promises. 

 

Truth is the Highest Authority: Story Lesson No. 3

Two businessmen were returning from their business trip with a lot of wealth given to them by the king. On the way, lord Satyanarayana took the form of an ascetic and asked them what they were taking in their boat. 

The businessmen mocked the ascetic, and said, “Were you thinking of stealing our things? We do not have any valuables in this boat except vessels.” 

After which Lord Natyarana replied, “Oh, so be it.” 

The ascetic then departed and went to the seashore to meditate.

When Sadhu went into his boat, he discovered to his horror that his boat was filled with vessels just as he had falsely told the ascetic. 

The two merchants then went to the seashore where the ascetic was meditating and begged for his forgiveness.

In the Satyanarayana Vrata, Satya and Narayana are one and the same. Truth is the highest authority.

 

Pride Has a Price: Story Lesson No. 4

Once there was a king called Thungadhwaja. One day, after hunting, he was resting under a tree. 

Some cowherds who performed Satyanarayana puja nearby offered the King some prasad.

The King, in his excessive pride and Ego refused the prasad that they offered. 

He ignored the ritual performed by cowherds because they were using clay idols and clay pots and he did not think much of them or their ritual.

When the King returned to his palace, he found that his kingdom, his sons, and his wealth were all destroyed. 

After realizing his mistake, he went back to the cowherds and performed the puja along with them with devotion. The King regained everything he had lost earlier. 

We should guard against our tendencies of arrogance, ego, pride, and belittling of others.

 

Vrata: A Descipline to Achieve Yoga  

Ashtanga Yoga is a systematic approach to Yoga. This approach has 8 steps, which are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dhyana, Dharana, and Samadhi. 

These steps sequentially prepare a person to achieve the final state of Samadhi, where they are able to maintain a calm and equanimous mind.

A Vrata is a part of the step called Niyama in this approach. Niyama is a set of values like purity, contentment, persistence, self-reflection, etc. Building up these values prepares one to become meditative in the final steps of Ashtanga yoga.   

 

Conclusion

Here, we have discussed that Satyanarayana Vrata is about resolving to become truthful, keep our promises, and to guard against the tendency to become prideful and arrogant.

We view these values as a form of internal cleansing, required to prepare us to achieve the goal of Yoga.   

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