Satya means "truth" and Narayana means "The highest being" so Satyanarayan means "The highest being who is an embodiment of Truth". The Satya Narayana Vratam and Puja are very popular all over India. There is a temple for Sri Satyanarayana Swami at Annavaram, near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh where this vratam is performed every day.
This puja is first mentioned in Skanda Purana, Reva Kanda by Suta Puranik to the rishis in Naimisharanya. The details are part of the Katha/"Story" that is usually read along with the puja.
This puja is usually performed on the Purnima day of every month. It is also performed on special occasions and during times of achievements as an offering of gratitude to the Lord. These occasions could include marriage graduation, start of a new job, and the purchase of a new home to name a few. In addition, the performance of this most auspicious puja generally confers a child to couples trying to start a family.
The Satyanarayan puja can be performed on any day except on New-Moon. It is not a puja confined to any festivities, but Purnima (full moon day) is considered specifically auspicious for this puja. Performing this puja in the evening is considered more appropriate. However one can perform this puja in the morning as well.
History of Satyanarayan Pooja
The Satyanarayan Puja, or Satyanarayan Vrata as it is commonly known, is an auspicious Hindu religious observance. A ritual that is performed by people on several major occasions like housewarming, marriage etc., and this puja can be done at home on any day regardless of reason. It is the first mentioned ritual in the Skanda Purana of Hindus. The Satyanarayan Puja is generally done on the day of Purnima, or Full Moon, which is believed to be really fortunate.
Belief of Satyanarayan Puja
Satyanarayan puja and Vratanusthana is usually narrated in Skandapuana. This puja is performed in the evening to welcome good omen to the household and improve health of family members. It is also marked as a puja for fulfilment of heartfelt desires.
Satyanarayan puja is done in reverence to Lord Satyanarayan - a form of Lord Mahavishnu. In this form, the lord is considered to become the embodiment of truth. The puja is a ritual performed to make sure that abundance, prosperity, general happiness as well as wellbeing prevails in the family. The most vital offering to the lord during this puja is the apada nivedya, which is basically a sweet treat made of sugar, wheat rava, kadali banana, cow’s milk and ghee.
The belief of Satyanarayan puja started several thousand years ago. In the earlier times of Kalyug, a poor Brahmin boy having faith on God despite poverty was wandering in search of food. It was then that the Lord Satyanarayan appeared before the poor boy, in disguise of an aged person, and the story began. This is believed to be the Satyanarayan katha, which is read out to devotees as a part of the ritual. The belief is still strong and worshipped.
Benefits of Satyanarayan Puja
- Performing Satyanarayan puja at home can bring in success. People who do this puja can achieve their goals and fulfil their aspirations.
- It can also improve physical and mental health of individuals drastically.
- It can help devotees enjoy a fulfilling material life and increases overall familial prosperity too.
- It can remove all sins from the past life.
Procedure of Satyanarayan Puja
The Satyanarayan puja starts by offering a prayer to Lord Ganesha so that all obstacles that could probably occur if the puja is performed incorrectly is removed successfully. This can be achieved by chanting different names of Lord Ganesha and offering him prasada (food served to Lords that consist of their favourite foods). Lord Ganesha is fond of modak, which is a mixture of coconut and sugar, or he may be offered laddoo too. Showering the lord with flower petals is the final procedure.
Another important part of this prayer involves praying to the Navagraha - or the nine significant celestial beings in this universe. They consists of the following names:
- Surya - The Sun
- Chandra - The Moon
- Angaraka - Mars
- Buddha - Mercury
- Brihaspati - Jupiter
- Suka - Venus
- Sani - Saturn
- Rahu - North Node, or the head of Svarbhanu
- Ketu - South Node as the body with the tail of Svarbhanu
The remaining ritual consists of offering prayers and worshipping Satyanarayan, one of the most benevolent forms of Lord Vishnu. The first step is to clean the place where the deity is to be placed. Once the deity is placed in correct position, Satyanarayan Swami can be worshipped. Names of Lord Satynarayana can be chanted along with various offerings like prasadam in the form of fruits, sweets etc.
Another important requirement for this puja is the story of Satyanarayan, which is to be heard by all devotees taking part in this puja. This story entails the involvement and origin of the ritual, potential mishaps that could occur if any step is forgotten, and the benefits of this puja. Stories on Satyanarayan Vrat, provided in detail from the next page onwards.
The prayer is concluded with Arati, a ritual consisting of revolving a fire-lit lamp within close vicinity of Lord Satyanarayan's image. Followed with Pooja, all assembled join singing bhajans, chanting glories of the Lord. Finally, everyone present there are asked to ingest the prasada that was offered to the Lord and seek Lord's blessings.
Shri Sathyanaranayan katha is from Skandha puran, Reva kaanda, Suta Puranikji narrated these stories to the rishis, in Nimisha Aranya, who were performing a 1000 year yajna for the benefit of mankind,lead by Sage ShounaK. Shounakaji and others asked Suta Puranikji, If a man has some desire, how can he fulfill it? Whom he has to worship and by which pooja ?
Sutaji said once the same question also asked by Devarshi Narad to Lord Narayan and he started narrating that story. Once Naradji making round all over the worlds, stepped into Bhuloka. Found to his dismay everyone suffering on account of their past Karmas and alas! they all ignorant on getting relief out if this un-ending plight. Without any further delay he reached Vaikuntha and approached Lord Narayana to find the right answer for getting the people out of their problems.
As he saw the grace of the Lord, he forgot his purpose and started praising the Lord. Pleased by the devotion of Naradji, Lord Narayana asked the purpose of his visit. Naradaji explained him the facts and asked the way to get relief to the misseries of mankind.
The Lord was happy to notice Naradaji's concern for the welfare of the universe and ready to provide the right answer. The Lord said: Yes, there is one Vrat by name 'Sri Satyanarayana Vrat Katha' which by then not known to the the Bhuloka and I shall narrate you this Vrat Katha. This can be performed by anyone.
One who does this, will get all the benefits and the pleasures of this world and will eventually get liberation (Moksha) too. Now Narada eager to know more about this Vrat.
The Lord says, this can be done any day, any time. Invite friends, relatives and perform this Vrat with faith and devotion. Followed by Pooja, all in unison should sing glories of the Lord. Finally all attendees should be given food and Prasada with love. Thus not only the host but all who attend this Vrat Katha will get benefits with desires duly fulfilled.
Shri Narayana continues telling story to Narada -
There lived an old and poor Brahmin in the city of Kashi. He was a man of virtue and yet extremely poor and was always begging for meals. Lord Narayana with compassion and loving heart, he came in the guise of an old Brahmin and asked him what ailed him?".
The brahmin explained, "I am an old and very poor man and I shall be grateful if you can tell me how to get rid of my poverty which does not seem to diminish". The Lord advised him to observe Satyanarayan Vrat and also explained him the procedure.
The poor man now with a sincere wish to do that Vart and went to bed. He could not sleep on account of these thoughts. Again in the morning he had same thoughts and he says to himself, "whatever I earn today thru begging, shall use it to perform the Vrat". The same day, he earned good sizable amount from beggings and purchased the Pooja items and performed the Vrat.
Very soon he became rich and had all the things in the world which was eluded him before. Thereafter he started performing the Vrat every month and had slowly all the pleasures of the world. Finally he attained the ultimate, Moksha. Shaunakji and other rishis wanted to know how this Vrat spread all over the world and how the listeners of the story were benefitted.
Sutaji replied -
Once the brahmin was performing Shri Satyanarayan Pooja, a woodcutter watching it and asked him about it. The brahmin said, this is Shri Satyanarayan Pooja and whatever desires you have in your mind will be fulfilled by performing this Vrat.
On hearing this, the woodcutter decided to perform the pooja the next day. He thought in his mind, "Whatever amount I get from the sale of the wood tomorrow, I will use it for the Vrat-Pooja". Accordingly he performed the pooja and was relieved of all his worries and became happy.
Suta Puranikji continues -
Once there was a noble king called Ulkamukh. He was married to truth and sense- control. He always helped the needy people. Once he was performing Shri Satyanarayan Vrat on the banks of a river, one rich merchant arrived at the scene with valuable goods just off-boarded from a ship.
He asked the king about the pooja and its fruits. The king told him that he was worshipping Mahavishnu and explained him everything on the same. The merchant urged, "Please guide me the details on this Vrat, so that I can also perform and wish for a child as I am desperately seeking for the same for a long long time". The king told him all about the Vrat and then merchant came home. He and his wife performed the pooja and soon his wife Lilavathi delivered a baby girl.
Lilavathi reminded her husband about the Vrat but he was postponing it, till his daughter was ready to be married. Later on he got his daughter married and still postponed the pooja-vrat. The Lord now wanted to teach him a lesson.
The merchant and his son-in-law went to a city called Ratnasara and rested under a tree. There was a theft in the palace of the king and the burglars were chased by the police. The eloping burglars saw these two merchants under the tree, so they left the booty next to them and ran away.
The police caught the two merchants with the stolen booty and sent them to the jail. The merchant suddenly realized that it happened because of his breaking the promise to the Lord. At the same time, at home both his wife and daughter Kalavati, lost all their belongings due to thefts and became beggers.
Kalavati while begging for food saw Shri Satyanarayan Pooja being performed at one house. She heard the story and told her mother about it. Lilavathi came to know their mistakes which created all those problems. The very next day she performed the pooja and apologised the God. The king had a dream that the merchants were innocent and he released them after inquiry by giving them lot of wealth.
Suta Puranik continues -
On release from the jail, the merchants were returning home when they reached the outskirts of their town. The Lord appeared there in the form of an old Sanyasi and inquired about the contents of the ship. The merchant lied that it contained dried leaves.
The sanyasi said "Tathasthu"(be it so). When the merchant returns to the ship he found dried leaves there. On regaining his consciousness he realized that those were the blessings of the Sanyasi whom he had given a lie. He traced him soon and begged for apology.
The God again forgave him. Then the merchant sent a message to Lilavathi to let her know that they are on their way home. Lilavathi told her daughter to complete the Satyanarayan poola and go meet her husband. Kalavathi performed the pooja, but forgot to take the prasada, in a hurry to meet her husband.When she approached the anchorage, she saw neither the ship nor her husband. It looked to her that they both drowned and decides to die.<
The merchant felt that due to some fault, the Lord had punished them and he performed pooja and apologised. The Lord soon revealed to him that it was the daughter's oversight in not accepting the prasad that has created this problem and now if she goes and takes the prasad, everything would be all right.
Kalavathi returned to the altar and took prasad with all faith and reverence. And her husband returned and from then onwards, they all performed Shri Sathyanarayan Pooja regularly till the end of their life and finally after death, they reached Satyalok.
This chapter is important to us as we too tend to behave like the King in this story, in respect of pooja/worship/religion of other people. In the woods of Nmisharanya, Suta Puranikji continued the story narrating the greatness of this Vrat to Sage Shounak and other Rishies. In ancient times, there lived a King called Angadwaj who was kind and righteous. Once he ignored the prasad of Shri Satyanarayan Pooja and had to suffer very severely.
Once the king was returning from a hunt. He rested under a tree for a while. A group of cowherd boys had gathered near there to perform Shri Satyanarayan Pooja. They did not have anything except their daily bread. One of them became their priest and they performed the pooja. They offered the prasad to the king who, because of his ego left it untouched.
Soon all his wealth was lost and his hundred children died. He realised that it was all due to his insulting the children's pooja. Immediately the king went to that very spot and performed the Satyanarayan Pooja with full devotion and belief. The king was relieved of all his losses.
Suta now tells the Rishis that this Vrat is especially effective in Kaliyug. This Lord of Lord is called Ishwara, Satyadev, Shri Satyanarayan and by many other names. He alone has taken names and forms. One who reads this story or hears it, will get rid of all anxieties and difficulties in life.
Thus ends the Satyanarayan Katha.
May all beings live happily forever.
"Samasta lokah sukhino bhavantu"
Monthly Samuhik Vrat Katha at NESSP
Every alternate month, and definitely during the Karthika month, NESSP conducts a Samuhik Satyanarayan Vrat, since January 2017, where all pooja materials and Prasad are supplied by the temple, and there is no fee or charge involved. We only request that you signup using the link provided, to help our planning purposes.