This story is related to Friday. The devotees wear white clothes on this day and consume white food, like kheer, only once at night. Sour dishes are avoided. It is believed that all the afflictions due to Shukra get pacified if one observes a fast on this day. One gets all sorts of joys and happiness. Shukra is Venus Planet. Shukra’s idol is worshipped with white flowers and rice. In good old days, there lived three friends. They belonged to Brahman, Baniya and royal families. They were fast friends. All the three were married but the Baniya’s son had not brought home his wife after his marriage ceremony.
One day, the three friends were together gossiping. They talked about their wives. The Brahman’s son and the prince praised their wives and said, “A home without a wife is a devil’s abode”. They asked the Baniya’s son to bring his wife as soon as he could. The Baniya’s son went to his house and said to his mother, “I will go to my in-laws to bring back my wife”. His mother sold, “My dear son, the Venus Planet is still set. It is not visible in the sky. Wait for a couple of days. Venus is the planet of love. If you go and bring back your wife now, your married life may not be happy”.
The son did not agree and insisted on going to his in-laws. The parents permitted reluctantly. The young Baniya reached his in-laws’ house and told them about his mission. His in-laws said, “The planet Venus is still setting. It will be visible after a couple of days. Parents do not send away their daughters during this period. It is inauspicious”. The boy did not agree. The parents parted with their daughter reluctantly. The couple had hardly crossed the town when the wheel of their bullock cart got damaged. The bullock’s legs also got injured. The young lady was badly wounded.
Still, the young man continued the journey despite all the adversities. As they went ahead, they encountered some dacoits. The dacoits robbed the bride of her ornaments and beat up her husband. At last, they reached home after facing many set-backs. To make matters worse, the young man was bitten by a poisonous snake and he became unconscious. The young wife wept bitterly. The Brahman’s son came to know of the incident. He went to his friend’s house and said to his father, “Arrange return journey for them. They should not have started their journey during the forbidden period. The Venus is invisible in the sky. They will be out of danger if they go back to the in-laws”.
The businessman arranged their return journey. When the young man reached his in-laws’ house, he came back to himself and recovered from his illness after an ordinary treatment. He stayed there till the Venus became visible in the horizon. Afterwards, he returned to his house with his wife and lived a happy life. He started observing Friday fast regularly thereafter.
Shukravar ki Kahani - II
Once there was an old woman. She used to observe Friday fasts regularly. She worshipped Shukra’s idol. She gave holy dips to the idol and offered best food to it as bhoga. One day, she decided to go on a pilgrimage. But how could she leave the house? Who would give holy dips to Shukra’s idol? Who would offer bhoga to it? She conveyed her anxiety to her son’s wife. Her son’s wife, that is her daughter-in-law, was not a religious lady. She wanted to get rid of her mother-in-law for some time. She agreed to worship Shukra’s idol in her absence. The old lady felt happy and left on the pilgrimage.
Her daughter-in-law, being what she was, after taking her bath, would squeeze a few drops of water from her wet sari and considered it as a dip for the idol. She would prepare best dishes in her mother-in-law’s absence and place some crumbs or remains before the idol as bhoga. Even this was heavy for her. One day she decided to get rid of the idol. She put it in a waste paper basket and threw it on a heap of garbage. A wise lady passed by. She noticed Shukra’s bright idol lying on the garbage. She picked it up with great respect and brought it to her house. She gave it holy dips and offered best bhoga. She also observed fast in the name of Shukra. The lady became very rich. On the other hand, the old woman’s family became poorer and poorer.
The family could hardly make both ends meet. The old lady returned from her pilgrimage. She noticed the changed conditions of the family. She asked the daughter-in-law, “Where is the Shukra’s idol? The daughter-in-law kept mum”. She repeated the question, but the lady would not speak. She repeated her question for the third time. The daughter-in-law replied, “I was fed up with Shukra’s worship. I had no time to spare. I threw it on a heap of garbage some weeks ago”. The old lady was astonished at the reply. She went to the garbage heap and searched for the idol, but had to return disappointed. She decided to go from door to door to enquire about it. She knocked at the door of a rich lady and said, “Have you seen my Shukra’s idol?”
The rich lady gazed at her from head to foot and said, “Are you insane? Why did you throw the idol on the garbage? You have no regards for deities. You should be punished for it”. The old lady narrated the whole story to the rich lady and felt sorry for her daughter-in-law. The rich lady said, “If it is so I shall return the idol to you. Lord Shukra has blessed me with health and wealth. I do not want to keep others things with me. Take back this idol with full respect”. The old lady brought back the idol and placed it at the worshipping dais. She observed Shukra’s fasts as a penance. Lord Shukra again blessed them with health and wealth. The family enjoyed a happy life again thereafter.