Stories Related to Navaratras
A long time ago, there was a household comprising a mother with three married sons. Two of the sons were working but the youngest was not able to, since he was not as bright as the others. He was, in fact, a little mentally retarded. Since marriages were arranged in childhood itself, and as luck would have it, he got the most beautiful and talented wife! Her named was Gorajari. As the couple had no money, they had a difficult time in getting food and clothing. This situation hurt Gorajari very much, but women could not go out and work in those days, so she had to be content with eating the leftovers of her sisters-in-law. Her husband tried to go out and earn something, but people just threw him out even before he could do a day's work. Poor young things! They had a very hard time, and everyone was nasty to them, except, of course, the old mother. As she was under the watchful eyes of the two elder daughters-in-law, she could not even give a sari or blouse to Gorajari, or a kurta-pyjama set to her son. To add to their woes, Gorajari and her husband did not have any children. So their days were very miserable and unhappy. Sometimes, the mother, when she found something very tasty served to her during a meal, would hide it in her sari and when no one was looking, she would slyly take it for her youngest son and his wife. Sometimes, the elder daughters-in-law would get suspicious, but the mother would keep them content by saying: 'No bahu, I only wanted to sit out and eat these delicious preparations that you have made for me'. And she would try to gulp down each morsel in front of them.
It was a very bad situation indeed. It got so bad that these young people decided to live separately in a hut outside the main house, so as not to see the lovely goings o, of which they could not be a part.
Soon Durga puja arrived, and everyone in the family began preparing for the festivities. Everyone performed the puja with great pomp and show, but our poor little young wife just did the puja with whatever she was able to obtain by begging. This annoyed her so much that she decided to go and sit in dharna (sit-in) in the temple of the goddess. She went and lay down at the back of the temple, and did not eat or drink for the whole day. Durga Ma soon became aware of somebody's presence in the back, so she called her langoora and asked him to go and have a look and find out why her hair felt heavy as if somebody was sitting on them. The langoora went to check and came back to state that a very poor woman with torn clothes, who looked thin and miserable, was lying there, and was adamant that she would not budge until Deviji herself spoke with her. Durga Ma asked him to bring Gorajari to her. When Gorajari arrived, Durga Ma asked her why she was so distressed. Soon Gorajari related all her woes to Durga Ma. Durga Ma then asked her langoora to give Gorajari the leftovers of the food from the bhandaras. This annoyed Gorajari tremendously, and with tears in her eyes she said 'I always get leftovers at home and even in Devi's temple, I am being given leftovers'! (Ghar jhooth bahar jhooth, Devi ke dwar bhi jhooth). She started to cry, uttering heart-breaking sobs. Deviji then said, 'O girl, there is a lot of difference in the leftovers of others, and mine; go home, and share it with your husband, and enjoy this food to your heart's content'. Gorajari thought to herself that since it was Durgaji saying so, she would take the leftovers. Moreover, she had had nothing to eat for two days, and was extremely hungry and knew that her husband would also be as hungry as herself. So she picked up the food in her jholi (a part of the sari), and went to her jhopari (hut). There her husband was waiting for her, not knowing where she had disappeared for so long.
Both of them started to eat the food, none happily But lo behold! As they ate they noticed that the food turned delicious and fresh as if it had just come from the kitchen. The ordinary utensils became gold and silver, and their own clothes changed to fabulously rich garments. Both looked at each other and then at themselves, and stood up in amazement. As their gaze went to their hut, it had become the most beautiful palace one could imagine. They were overcome and fell prostrate, and thanked Durga Ma again and again for the bountiful prasad she had given to them.
Not able to contain herself, Gorajari rushed over to her mother-in-law to tell her about her good fortune, but before she could do so, her sisters-in-law saw her in all her finery. They came out with stunned and angry looks, and asked: 'Whom have you stolen from? Whom have you snatched from? How could you get these grand clothes and jewellery, O Gorajari?' The mother-in-law came out running as well. Seeing her youngest daughter-in-law so radiant, she was very happy, but could not say anything because of fear of the elder daughters-in-law. Touching her feet, Gorajari declared: 'I have robbed no one, I have snatched nothing from any one. It is Devi Bhawani who has showered all these good things on me.' One sister-in-law declared: 'We pray with pomp and show, and spend so much for Devi Bhawani, but she has not shown such generosity to us. Then how could you, who has nothing but dust to eat and dust to offer, be the recipient of such generosity? You are a liar, O Gorajari'. Not so, not so', cried Gorajari. 'Let us go to the darbar of Devi Ma and you can ask her yourself'. So they all went to the main temples of the town, and Gorajari fell prostrate before the Devi, and asked her: 'Tell them the truth, O Great Mother, for they do not believe me. Come to my rescue, or else every one will think me a thief'.
Durga Ma spoke to all of them and said: 'She speaks the truth - this Gorajari, whom you have all ill-treated. She is pure of heart and action, therefore I have given her this treasure'. The daughters-in-law said: 'We have prayed to you for eight days, and kept the fasts and also done the "Ashtami pujan" with grandeur, but not sincerity, and you have not been kind to the poor and the needy, and most of all to your kith and kin. You have been nasty and cruel. How could I bestow, on such people my blessings? Go and be good and kind to all, specially the needy and those close to you, and see my kindness then. Just now you are arrogant, and it is mercy on my part not to take away the wealth you possess'. The two sisters-in-law got the fright of their lives, and realised in their heart of hearts that what Durga Ma said was very true, and they were ashamed and filled with regret. Durga Ma forgave them and told them to mend their ways and thoughts, and then blessed them all. The other brothers and their mother also arrived, and bowed in shame before the goddess. They were also blessed likewise. All the three brothers and their wives, along with their mother, went home happily and vowed to be good to each other, and tell no lies, nor have any jealousy towards each other, and so they lived happily every after!