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   Religious Fasts
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Religious Fasts

(Surya Narain)

(People keep fast on Sundays in the name of Surya Narain or the Sun God. They take food only once a day, generally fruit, before sun-set. Saltish and fried items are avoided. It is believed that a fast on a Sunday saves one from skin diseases like leprosy, ringworm, and eye sores. Sun God is worshipped with red sandalwood and red flowers. This story is related with Surya Narain)

Once the Sun God or Surya Narain ruled this world. He looked after both the world and his family. He fed one and all from the same spoon. He gave half a Spoon to all the creatures on the earth and the other half to his family.

The members of Surya Narain's family did not work hard washed away his blessings. Once Surya Narain's wife said to her mother-in-law, "your son does not give enough food to us. You go and tell him that he should give us more food."

Surya Narain's mother went to her son and said, "Your wife says that the food given by you is not enough for us. Increase the supply."

Surya Narain smiled and said, "Dear mother, I give half a spoon of food to all the creatures and the remaining half to your family. I have no more food to give."

The mother came back and said, "He is helpless in increasing the supply. Better you go yourself and convince him."

Surya Narain's wife made for her husband's court. The courtiers welcomed her. Surya Narain made her sit by his side and listened to her difficulties.

Surya Narain's wife insisted on larger supply for her family. Surya Narain smiled and said, "Your family members do not work hard. They do not even clean the house properly. Take these five dices and play with your neighbours. You will find surplus food for your family."

Surya Narain's wife returned home with the dices. She was happy that she would show the dices to her neighbours and play with them.

It was Sunday morning. She took the dices to her neighbours, but found to her great surprise that they were busy at work right from the sunrise. Some of them were cleaning or dusting their houses. Others were milking their cows or doing petty household work. None talked with her.

She took courage and entered one of the houses and requested the people there to play with her. The lady of the house said, "I am on Sunday fast. I am to clean my house and prepare food for worship."

Surya Narain's wife said, "How does this fast help you?"

The lady said, "Because of it, I have developed a habit for early rising, keeping the house clean, behaving well with every body and remembering God."

Surya Narain's wife said, "What is the way for keeping this fast?"

The lady told her that it was simple. She advised her to take rice before the sun-set and avoid salty and fried dishes.

Surya Narain's wife decided to keep fast on all Sundays. In a short period, she became prosperous.

Once Surya Narain decided to test his wife's integrity. He disguised himself as an old Pandit and visited his house. He asked for some food. His wife said, "I am on fast. You will have to wait till evening." The Pandit agreed.

By evening, the food was ready. The Pandit said, "I shall take my meals in the same dish in which Surya Narain used to take."

Surya Narain's mother became angry. But his wife agreed to serve him in the same dish. It was night. The old man said, "I shall sleep on the same bed which Surya Narain uses. Surva Narain's wife will press my feet also."

Although Surya Narain's mother became angry, his wife agreed to press his feet. As the night advanced, the old man asked her to share bed with him. She sensed the reality and shared the bed with him.

From now onwards, the Pandit visited her house every Sunday. The lady became pregnant. Everybody talked ill of her. She gave birth to a child. It was too much for her mother-in-law.

Her mother-in-law said, "This is lechery. This is impious and immoral. Your husband will not forgive you."

The lady said, "The old man who visits me at night is no one else but Surya Narain himself."

The mother-in-law said, "You will have to undergo a test. Are you ready for it?"
The lady agreed.

The mother-in-law brought an unspinned, kachcha, thread. She tied its one end to a tree and hung the other end in a deep dingy well. She asked Surya Narain's wife to go to the brink of the well. Surya Narain' wife caught hold of the thread and put her legs inside the well. It was too much for the onlookers.

All of a sudden, Surya Narain appeared on the scene. He caught hold of her hand and narrated the whole story to his mother. The onlookers were pleased.

Surya Narain now led a happy and prosperous life with his family members.

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