Shukravar Vrat India is a holy country and millions of Indians believe in the powers of devotion and worship. Therefore, they perform different rituals, observe fast to receive divine blessings of their favorite God or Goddess. Shukravar Vrat is one of such auspicious ritual where mostly Hindu women observe Vrat to please Goddess Santoshi and to seek Her blessings. According to Hindu religious books; Santoshi Mata is referred to as the goddess of contentment, Santoshi means contentment, and considered as the kind and softest form of Goddess Durga. She is the daughter of Lord Ganesh and Devi Riddhi- Siddhi.

Friday fast is dedicated to propitiate the brightest planet Venus. The popularity of this Vrat initially spread through word of mouth, articles, literature, and poster art in the early 1960s and became a household name after the grand success of the Hindi film Jai Santoshi Maa in the year 1975. It is believed that a devotee who performs Santoshi Maa Vrat on 16 consecutive Fridays wins the goddess' favor. Maa Santoshi not only provides wealth and joy, but she also protects Her devotees from negative powers, with sword in Her left hand and Trisula in the right.

Procedure for Friday Fast: Hindu devotees, mostly women observe this vrat on Fridays to pay tribute to Santoshi Mata. By adhering to fasting rules and procedures, they observe a fast for sixteen consecutive Fridays to complete their vow (Sankalp). Anyone can begin this Vrat from a Friday of the Shukla Paksha in any lunar month.

• The first and foremost rule of this fast is that nobody in the house should eat or touch anything sour on this day.
• Rise before sunrise then take a bath and wear clean clothes.
• Clean your house and sprinkle Ganga Jal (water) in the temple area.
• Then place an idol or picture of Santoshi Mata and light a lamp and incense stick.
• Place a Kalash filled with water and place a coconut on top of it, then place a bowl consisting of raw jaggery (gud) and roasted chickpeas (black chana) in front of the idol.
• Offer Kumkum, Haldi, flowers, chunri (a piece of red cloth), coconut, and bananas.
• To begin the puja, chant different names of Santoshi Mata and read Her Vrat Katha.
• In the end, perform the aarti and offer flowers to the lotus feet of the Goddess.
• After the puja distribute the Prasad (gud and chana) to all family members.
• The observer of this Vrat can have one meal on this day.
• Throughout the day do not eat anything sour. Make sure that you neither cook anything sour nor consume it in any form.

Complete 16 consecutive fasts while following the strict rule of refraining from all the sour eatables and on the sixteenth Friday known as udyapan day, offer kheer, puri, jaggery, and chickpeas as Prasad to the deity. And at the end of the Vrat puja distribute this prasad to eight children with some cash as dakshina.

Prayer to Santoshi Mata (Aarti):
Jai Santoshi Mata, Maiya Jai Santoshi Mata।
Apane Sewak Jana Ko, Sukha Sampatti Data॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Sundar Cheer Sunahari Maa Dharan Kinho।
Heera Panna Damake, Tana Shringara Kinho॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Geru Laala Chhata Chhavi, Badana Kamal Sohe।
Manda Hansata Karunamayi, Tribhuvana Man Mohe॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Swarna Sinhasana Baithi, Chanvar Dhure Pyare।
Dhoop Deep Madhumeva, Bhoga Dhare Nyare॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Gud Aru Chana Paramapriya, Tame Santosh Kiyo।
Santoshi Kahalai, Bhaktana Vaibhav Diyo॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Shukrawar Priya Manat, Aaja Diwas Sohi।
Bhakta Mandali Chhai, Katha Sunat Mohi॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Mandir Jagamaga Jyoti, Mangal Dhwani Chhai।
Vinaya Kare Hama Balaka, Charanan Sira Nai॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Bhakti Bhavamaya Puja, Angikrita Kijai।
Jo Man Basai Hamare, Ichchha Phala Dijai॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Dukhi Daridri, Roga, Sankat Mukta Kiye।
Bahu Dhana-Dhanya Bhare Ghara, Sukha Saubhagya Diye॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥

Dhyana Dharyo Jisa Jana Ne, Manavanchhita Phala Payo।
Puja Katha Shrawan Kar, Ghara Ananda Ayo॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Sharan Gahe Ki Lajja, Rakhiyo Jagadambe।
Sankat Tu Hi Niware, Dayamayi Ambe॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥
Santoshi Maa Ki Aarti, Jo Koi Jana Gave
Riddhi-Siddhi, Sukha-Sampatti, Ji Bharakara Pave॥
Jai Santoshi Mata॥

Significance of worshipping Santoshi Mata

• Regular chanting of Jai Santoshi Mata aarti or chanting 108 names gives peace of mind, happiness and helps to develop the confidence to battle evil.
• As per religious beliefs, observing fast and chanting a mantra as well as reading the Vrat Katha increases wealth, attracts life partner, and bestows joyful life.
• It is believed that the observance of this Shukravar Vrat consecutively for 16 Fridays, will please the Goddess and that She will destroy all difficulties and sorrows of devotees, fulfill their honest desires and bless them with wealth, happily married life, and progeny.

Friday Fast story / Shukravar Vrat Katha: This story starts with an old woman who used to live in a village with her seven sons. The youngest son of that lady was an irresponsible person and used to spent his time doing nothing. So, she served him the leftovers of his brother's meals as his daily meal. The wife of the youngest son named Gita, got to know this and narrated the same to her husband and then requested him to earn some money and fame for his own. Knowing this, he felt sorry for himself and left the house overnight to a faraway place to seek his fortune. After some time, he acquired work with a merchant and became rich with his hard work, but forgot about his wife. His wife Gita was living a painful life because of the ill-treatment of her in-laws. Once, Gita came to know about the 16-week Shukravar Vrat and its fruitful results. She completed 16 Friday fasts. As a result, Santoshi Mata appeared in her husband's dream and informed him about the painful life of his wife Gita. He returned home with a lot of money and started a prosperous life with Gita in a separate house. Peoples of his village and the nearby area came to know the whole story and started observing Shukravar Vrat with full faith and devotion. Day by day the popularity of this Vrat spread like wildfire and many people started observing 16-week Shukavar Vart knowing the power of the benevolent Maa Santoshi.

Summary: Santoshi Mata is considered as the Goddess of satisfaction and a manifestation of Goddess Durga. There are several temples dedicated to Santoshi Mata all over India and She is worshipped in many parts of the country and by Hindu devotees abroad. Shukravar Vrat or Santoshi maa fast is a household name in India with a strong belief that She accepts all the afflictions, problems, and ill fate of all Her devotees and blesses them with wealth, progeny, prosperity, and happiness.

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