Essay on Shitalashtami
Many festival is celebrated in our country for the whole 12 months. Most of the festivals are celebrated especially in Hindu religion. People who believe in Hindu religion usually start preparing for another festival after one festival is over. Be it any festival, the special attraction of all the festivals are the dishes and sweets made on the festival.
Delicious and fresh dishes are prepared on every festival. But today we are going to talk about such a festival in which stale dishes are offered instead of fresh dishes, that is, instead of the day of the festival, the dishes prepared the day before that. Moreover, there is a tradition of not lighting even the stove in the kitchen on the day of this festival. Yes guys. Today we are going to talk about Shitalashtami i.e. the festival of Basoda.
Eight days after Holi, that is, on the Ashtami of the Krishna Paksha of the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar, the festival of Shitalashtami is celebrated. On this day Mata Sheetla is worshipped, and stale bhog is offered to Mata. In Skanda Purana, there is a mention of a mythological story related to Mata Sheetla. It is told in this that Sheetla Devi was born from Brahmaji. Goddess Sheetla is considered to be the form of Mother Shakti, the wife of Lord Shiva.According to this story, Goddess Sheetla came to earth to live in the kingdom of King Virata along with Jwarasura, created from the sweat of Lord Shiva. But King Virat refused him to stay in his kingdom. Due to this, Goddess Sheetla got angry and red pimples appeared on the skin of the people of King Virata’s kingdom. His skin started burning. Then the king apologized for his mistake and offered raw cold milk and curd to Mother Sheetla. Mother was pleased with this and cured her subjects. Since then, cold dishes are offered to the goddess.
When is Shitalashtami celebrated:
According to the scriptures, there is a law to worship Sheetla Ashtami on the Ashtami of the Krishna Paksha of the month of Chaitra, Vaishakh, Jyeshtha and Ashadh. By fasting on Krishna Ashtami for these four months, one gets relief from diseases caused by cold. On this day, devotees pray to the mother to protect themselves and their family from these diseases by worshiping the mother.The festival of Shitalashtami is celebrated at different times in different regions of our country. In many places this festival is celebrated on the Krishna Ashtami of Chaitra month, at some places in the month of Vaishakh and Jyestha and at some places on the Krishna Ashtami of Ashadh month.
Of these four Ashtami, it is specially celebrated eight days after the festival of Holi i.e. the Ashtami of Krishna Paksha of Chaitra month. This festival is celebrated in many parts of the country including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh in northern India. The preparation for this festival starts from the Saptami of Krishna Paksha of Chaitra month. Dishes are prepared for Sheetla Ashtami on this day. This Saptami day is also known as “Randha Pua”. On the day of Randha Pua, dish i.e. Basoda is prepared to offer stale bhog to Mata Sheetla. That is why Shitalashtami is also called Basoda in northern India.
Importance of Shitalashtami:
Our festivals take us towards spirituality. Along with this, the purpose of removing our physical and mental diseases is also contained in them. The purpose behind Sheetla Ashtami is also hidden here. Mata Sheetla has been considered one of the many forms of Shakti. Sheetla Maa is also considered to be identical to Kali Maa. Just as Mata Kali destroyed the demonic powers, in the same way Mata Sheetla also destroys the demons in the form of diseases. The summer season begins after Sheetla Ashtami. Due to the change of seasons, there is an outbreak of many diseases such as smallpox, smallpox, bigpox, eye disease, foul-smelling boils, etc. Eating more cold and stale things has been considered beneficial in these diseases. Worshiping Mata Sheetla gives relief from these diseases.
Shitalashtami has also been considered a scientific reason behind offering stale bhog to the mother and eating stale food. After this festival, the heat starts to intensify. It is considered beneficial to eat cold food during summer. It has been scientifically told that food and drink should be specially taken care of during summer. During this, there is a danger of weather-borne diseases, which can be overcome only by taking cold food. Along with this, eating cold food in summer also keeps the digestive system healthy.
It is believed that fasting on Sheetla Ashtami does not cause the wrath of the younger mother. Mata Sheetla has been considered as the goddess who gets rid of diseases like measles, smallpox, chicken pox, jaundice etc. Hot and scalding things are harmful in these diseases, so stale food of Mata Sheetla is offered on Shitalashtami. In Ayurveda, small pox has been addressed by the name Sheetla
Amazing Beauty of Mata Sheetla:
First of all, the mention of Mata Sheetla is found in Skanda Purana. Mata Sheetla is worshiped as the goddess who removes diseases. Mother’s form has also been described as wonderful, which makes us aware of cleanliness. According to the form of Mata described in the Puranas, Mata has a broom in one hand and an urn of cold water in the other hand.Mata is wearing neem leaves as ornaments. This form of mother is considered a symbol of health and coolness along with giving message to people to be aware of cleanliness. Mother’s vehicle has been described as Gardabh i.e. donkey. According to the Skanda Purana, the god of sixty-four diseases, Ghentukarna the god of skin diseases, the goddess of cholera and Jwarasur the demon of fever are the companions of the mother.
Method of worshiping Mata Sheetla:
On Sheetlashtami, the soft things of Mata Sheetla are offered as bhog. Waking up early in the morning before sunrise and retiring from the daily routine of bathing, water is offered to Lord Surya. After this, the temple is cleaned and an urn is installed in it. Chowki is prepared for the worship of Mata Sheetla, in which stale bhog like curd, pua, puri, rabri, sweet rice, etc., offered to Mata, are kept.Turmeric, rice, cold milk, water etc. are kept in the pot in the worship of the mother. On this day, housewives apply ghee on the wall of the kitchen with all five fingers of their hands. After that offering cool water to the mother and worshiping her with Roli and rice, the aarti of Mata Sheetla is performed. Apart from this, water and bhog are also offered at the crossroads near the house. At the time of worship, the mantra “Vandeham Sheetalan Devi Rasabhasthan Digambararam, Marjanikalshopetam Shurpalankritmastakam” should be chanted.
By fasting and worshiping Mata Sheetla, the devotees pray that she keeps her devotees away from weather-borne diseases such as chicken pox, mumps, fetid boils, eye diseases, etc. Reciting Sheetlashtak on Sheetlashtami is also considered beneficial.
According to Skanda Purana, Shitalashtak was created by Lord Shiva which is as follows-
शीतले त्वं जगन्माता, शीतले त्वं जगत् पिता।
शीतले त्वं जगद्धात्री, शीतलायै नमो नमः।।
Shitala Mata Katha :
As such, many stories of the incarnation of Mata Sheetla are prevalent. Today we are going to tell you about the popular story about the temple of Mata in Sheel ki Dungri located at Chaksu in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Long time ago. Mother thought that who all worships me on earth. To know this, Mata came in the form of Budhi Mai to Dungri village located in Jaipur (Rajasthan) Chaksu. It is believed that this day was the Ashtami day of Krishna Paksha of Chaitra month. Mother saw that there is neither her temple here nor anyone worships her. When Mata was roaming in the streets of the village, someone by mistake suddenly threw down boiled water (mand) of rice which fell on Mata. Due to this, burning sensation started burning in the whole body of the mother. Mother asked people to help her but no one helped her. Then the mother sought help from a potter woman sitting outside a house.The potter saw that the old mother was very burnt and she was in a lot of pain, so she made her sit in her house and poured cold water on the old mother’s body. Mother felt very relieved by this. Then the potter gave her the roti, rabri and buttermilk-curd prepared at night. Due to this the mother started feeling cold. Mother was pleased with the service of Kumharin and said that I am Sheetla Devi. I have come to see my devotees on earth. By saying this, the mother appeared to the potter in her real form. The four-armed mother was wearing diamond-jewelry ornaments and was wearing a golden crown on her head. The potter was very poor, she thought that my house is very small, where should I make my mother sit. Seeing the distraction of the potter, the mother said, “Daughter! In what thought have you fallen?” She said, “Mother! My house is very small. There is no seat here, no post. Where should I ask you to sit?‘‘ So Mata Sheetla was pleased and sat on the donkey standing in the potter’s house and took a broom in her hand and turned the broom into a luxurious house full of wealth and grains. Mother said, “Daughter! I am pleased with your devotion, ask me for a groom. ”””” The potter said, ′′ Mother! I want you to sit on this dungri and just as you cleaned my poverty with your broom, in the same way remove the sorrows and pains of the devotees who come here.‘‘I will fulfill all the wishes of the devotees who worship me on Krishna Ashtami of Chaitra month and offer me cold water, milk, curd and stale food. It is believed that since then there is a tradition of offering cold food and stale food to the mother. That’s why on this day, devotees visit the place of people of potter caste in their respective areas and also offer bhog to the mother.Mata’s temple was established on the hill of this Dungri village and since then this village is also known as “Sheel ki Dungri”.
Famous Temples of Mata Sheetla:
Sheetla Devi has many temples across the country. The details of the major ones are given below:-
- About 800 years old ancient miraculous temple of Mata Sheetla is located in Pali district of Rajasthan. There is a pitcher kept here which has not been filled for 800 years. This pitcher is covered with a stone. Twice a year, on Krishna Ashtami of Chaitra month and Poorniya of Jyestha month, the lid of this pitcher is removed in which devotees pour water. For about 800 years, many devotees have poured lakhs of liters of water in this pitcher, but this pitcher is not yet full. A wonderful mythological story is told behind the establishment of this pot and pouring water into it. It is said that 800 years ago there was a demon named Babra. The villagers were suffering from his terror. If there was a marriage in some house, that demon used to kill the groom. When the marriage of the daughter of a Brahmin living there was decided, she worshiped Mata Sheetla. The mother appeared to him in a dream and said that on the occasion of marriage, the mother would be present in the form of a girl and her daughter’s marriage would be completed smoothly. At the time of marriage there was a war between the mother and the demon. Mother caught the demon by her feet. The demon prayed to his mother that he would leave from here. He asked for a boon from his mother that he feels very thirsty. That’s why the villagers kept giving him water. Since then, by the grace of the mother, the urn was established there. The villagers pour water into that urn twice a year. Since then this tradition is going on.
- The ancient temple of Sheetla Mata is located in Chaksu town, about 70 km away from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. This ancient temple, about 500 years old, is situated on a hill, in which devotees come to visit the mother throughout the year. Lakkhi fair is organized here on Shitalashtami. This place is also known as Sheel Ki Dungri. Here the fair lasts for two days. Mata’s temple is situated at a height of about 300 meters on Sheel ki Dungri. It is known from an inscription attached here that Gangasingh and Gopal Singh, sons of Maharaja Madho Singh of Jaipur, had smallpox. By the grace of Mata Sheetla, when the illness of her sons was cured, she got this temple constructed. Since then, even today the first bhog is offered here with the prasad sent by the royal family. This temple is the main center of faith of the people of this region.
- About 500 years old ancient temple of Sheetla Mata is situated in Gurugram (Gurgaon) of Haryana. This temple is one of the major faith centers of the devotees of Mata. A fair is organized here twice a year. It is believed that in the Mahabharata period, Sheetla Mata is worshiped here in the name of Guru Kripacharya’s sister Sheetla Devi (Guru Maa).
- There is about 300 years old temple of Sheetla Devi in Jagdhauli village located in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. An annual fair is organized here for many years.
- There is an archaeological ancient temple of Sheetla Mata on the Ghamapur Sheetlamai road in Palan village near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. It is believed that this is the only temple of Sheetla Mata of archaeological importance.
- A 250-year-old temple of Sheetla Mata is situated on the VIP road on the banks of Badi Lake in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Ancient idols of Sheetla Mata and Veer Maharaj are situated here.
- The ancient historical temple of Sheetla Mata is located in Mohalla Mehdiganj of Bazarkhala in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Here on Shilta Ashtami the famous “Fair of Eights” is held.
Festival of Sheetla Ashtami in the year 2023:
According to the Hindu calendar, Randha Pua is celebrated on the Saptami of Krishna Paksha of Chaitra month and Shitalashtami on Ashtami. This time the festival of Sheetla Saptami (Randha Pua) will be celebrated on March 14, 2023 and Sheetlashtami on March 15, 2023. On March 14, devotees will prepare bhog for the mother and on March 15, stale food will be offered to the mother. On March 15, the devotees will not prepare any fresh food in the kitchen. Food will be prepared in the kitchen on the next day i.e. March 16 only.
The festival of Shitalashtami is different from all other festivals celebrated in Hinduism. Where in other festivals, fresh bhog is offered to God and devotees eat fresh food, on the other hand, on Sheetlashtami, there is a law of offering stale bhog and eating stale food. Whose special purpose has also been told. According to the Puranas, only stale bhog is offered to the mother. Along with this, according to scientific opinion, this festival is also important for the purpose of eating cold food in summer to stay away from seasonal diseases. Along with this, this festival also gives us the message of keeping our house and surrounding areas clean. So come on! On this Sheetlashtami, let us worship Mata Sheetla and pray to her to shower her blessings on all of us and keep us away from diseases and sorrows.
Shitla Mata ki Jai.