On Friday the 12th of August 2005
falls ‘Sheetla Saptam’i.
During this festival Mother
Sheetladevi is worshipped. The Pandit informed me that most people pray to
Mother Sheetladevi to ward off measles, chicken pox, small pox…for a happy
marriage and to perform 'mundan' cutting of the hair,(tonsure) of the children.
There are various legends
connected with the Sheetla Devi Temple.
A poor carpenter had a beautiful daughter. A Mughal Emperor wanted to
marry her. The poor carpenter was upset as he did not wish that his daughter
should marry, someone from a different religion. The carpenter asked the prince
of Bharatpur to help. The prince started his journey, but on the way, the horses
refused to move. An elaborate worship of the goddess was arranged. The horses
moved. The prince promised to build a temple of the goddess, if he returned
victorious. The prince won and a proper temple was built.
As two queens proceeded to a pilgrimage to Pushkar, they got into an
argument as to who would take the first dip. The kings entered into the quarrel.
King of Bharatpur attacked the king of Ajmer. King of Bharatpur won the fight,
and built the temple.
A Brahmin woman broke the rules of ritual worship, and her family died.
Frantic, she ran. In a forest, she saw an old woman in flames. The Brahmin woman
got some curds and extinguished the fire, on the old woman (Sheetla Devi).
Sheetla Devi asked the Brahmin woman to apply the curd to her husband and
children. The Brahmin woman did as she was told. All of them were brought back
These stories have moral value.
Maybe they instill faith.On Sheetla Saptami, food(cooked the previous day) is
Maybe eating cold food and not
lighting the kitchen fire, is not done for a day, to give the housewife a good
reason to rest. Maybe eating cool food,9for a day) is good for the digestive
system. Maybe not lighting the kitchen fire is cooling for the ailing child
(suffering from measles, chicken pox). We are asked not to give antibiotics to a
child suffering from chicken pox, measles…Today we know that these are viral
infections. And I marvel at the Elder Hindus, making every facet of life, even
an illness, into a spiritual experience.
Do you agree?
Dadi Ma Nani Ma