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Religious Fasts

(Sun and the Divine Cow)

(This story of the Sun God, is related on the occasion of Sunday fast. It depicts the importance of cow and cow dung and suggests the victory of innocence over jealousy.)

Once there was an old lady. She would get up early in the morning and took her bath. She kept her house clean by plastering it with cow dung, and took her meals only after offering food to the Sun God. She lived a happy life.

This lady used to collect cow dung from her neighbour's house. The neighbour's wife was jealous of her. She tethered her cow inside the room so that the old lady could not collect the dung.

And as she could not plaster her house with cow dung, she did not cook her food. She did not even offer food to the idols. She remained on fast throughout the day and slept with empty stomach.

The Sun God appeared before her in her dream. He said, "Why did not you take your meals? Why did you not offer food to the idols?"

The old lady said politely, "My neighbour's lady did not allow me to collect cow-dung from her house. I could not clean my house. I have no cow of my own."

The Sun God said, "I am happy with you because you kept fast on Sunday. I am pleased with your worship. I shall give you a beautiful cow."

The god disappeared. The old lady opened her eyes. A beautiful milch cow with a calf was there in her courtyard. She was surprised to see them. She arranged hay and water for them.

When the neighbour's lady saw the cow in the old lady's house, she became jealous of her. She also noticed that the cow's dung was of gold and not an ordinary dung. She took the gold dung and replaced it with the ordinary dung of her cow. She continued the replacing practice for a number of days.

The Sun God noted that the old lady was being cheated by her neighbour. He caused a storm at sun-set. The old lady tethered her cow inside her room for its safety. She was, however, surprised to see that her cow gave her gold dung instead of an ordinary one. She could see through her neighbour's trick.

The neighbour's lady was constantly jealous. She thought of a plan to deprive her of the wonder cow. She went to the king and said, "My Lord, a poor old lady in our neighbourhood has a divine cow. The cow gives gold dung. It would be befitting for your graciousness if this cow is with you. She keeps it inside her room. No one can have even its glimpse."

The king was a greedy person. He told his courtier, "Go immediately and bring the cow."
The old lady was about to offer food to the Sun God's idol when the courtier reached her house. He untied the rope from peg and took away the cow. The lady prayed and wept, but all in vain.

The old lady missed her meals that day. She prayed to her God for the safe return of the cow. She could not sleep at night.

The king on the other hand, was highly pleased to have that divine cow. That night, he had a dream. The Sun God was there who said; "I offered this cow to the old lady as a token of my affection for her worship of me. You do not deserve this cow."

The king woke up. He was badly shaken. He saw that the entire palace was full of cow dung. There was bad smell all around.

In the morning, the king sent for the old lady with due honour. He returned the cow to the old lady and also gave her some wealth. The neighbour’s lady was suitably punished which was a cause of relief to all.

The king proclaimed order that all his subjects should observe fast on Sundays if they wanted their desires to be fulfilled. Now, all his people were prosperous. Illness never visited them. They never faced any natural calamity. Everyone enjoyed happiness.

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