Once there was a Brahman, who used to guard against evil spirits at the king's main gate palace. One day he heard a strange voice at night and was afraid. He heard that voice for several days. He did not mention anything about the mysterious voice to his wife but was gradually losing his health. His wife noticed it and asked the reason. The Brahman kept mum for sometime but finally told his wife that he hears a strange voice every Saturday, which says that it wants to cause great distress to the king. The duration of the affliction would be either seven and a half years or two and a half years or two and a half months or two and a half days or atleast for two and a half prahar i.e seven and a half hours. The strange voice also said that king could opt for any period but the punishment of distress is a must.
The Brahman's wife smiled and suggested the Brahman to accept two and a half prahar's affliction on him on behalf of the king to save him from the trouble. Next time when the spirit again visited the palace and repeated the same massage the Brahman offered him with his proposal as was decided earlier. The spirit was very pleased at this offer. The Brahman went to the riverbank and decided to pass the time of affliction by meditation. He saw two watermelons were floating on the surface of the river water. Brahman caught the water melons and placed them under his thigh.
In the meanwhile the princes who went out for hunting did not return to the palace for two days.The king was in extreme tension and sent his messengers in various directions to search for the princes. Incidentally a messenger met the Brahman sitting on the bank of river with two watermelons under his thigh. But the messenger saw that he was hiding the cut heads of the princes under his legs. He came back and reported the matter to the king. The king was so angry that he ordered the Brahman to be imprisoned or hanged. The king asked the Brahman about his last desire. The Brahman urged to keep him alive for two and a half prahars.
The king granted his pray. At the specified time all arrangements for the killing of the Brahman were made ready. The Brahman was to be beheaded with a red-hot iron spear. But as the slaughter man attacked Brahman with the spear it was broken into pieces. The slaughter man then took a red-hot iron spear to kill the Brahman. This spear was also broken into pieces before it touched the Brahman's neck.The slaughter man tried third time with a golden spear but that also had the same fate.
The spectators were surprised at the sight of such a miracle. Suddenly, the two princes appeared in the scene. The King embraced the princes and understood his mistake. He wanted to know from the Brahman the mystery of the whole event. The Brahman replied that the Saturn wanted to afflict the king but the Brahman took that affliction on him to save the kingdom. It was Saturn god who made the watermelons to appear like the human head. He also stated that he could not kill the princes under any circumstances and he had always been the savior of the kingdom. The king did not believe his words. He wanted to see the Saturn by his own eyes. He also threatened that if the Brahman could not show him the Saturn, all of his family members would be crushed in the grinder. The Brahman was so frightened that he began to tremble. He begged for a week's time and went home. When his wife wanted to know the reason why he was so afraid he narrated everything to her.
The Brahman's wife suggested him to wait with patience. She was sure that god was going to help them.She also said the Brahman to ask the king to wake up early in the morning in the next Saturday. Saturn will be riding a black horse under the black mountain and will be covered with a black blanket all soaked in oil. The King could easily have his glimpse.
Next Saturday the Brahamna took the king to the black mountain where he could see a black shadow riding a black horse. The king asked him who was he. The Saturn gave self introduction and added that he caused affliction to the poor as well as to the kings.The king then asked how to avoid this affliction? The Saturn replied the rich must donate a black horse or one and a quarter maunds of gold on Saturday. The middle-income group should donate iron and black blankets. The poor can give oil-touched loaf to a black dog. Those who are even poorer can water a Peepal tree, place some gur there and wrap the tree with a piece of 'kuchcha' thread. The Brahman said to the Saturn that if he decides to cause affliction on the king again in the future the Brahman is ready to take the afflictions on him.
The Saturn then disappeared suddenly along with his black horse. The King was very pleased with the Brahman. The Brahman returned home, narrated the story to his wife and they lived a happy life thereafter.
The second story was related to the famous historical king Vikramaditya. It is also related to Saturday fast. People eat parched grams on this day to keep away the distressful influence of Saturn. They massage their body with mustard oil and also give oil as donations.
Once seven gods who were the lords of seven days of a week were having their wit exchanged for their amusement. Rahu and Ketu also joined their company. They posed an important question that who was most powerful god among them? They could not decide the issue by themselves and went to the king of the god, Indra. Indra was baffled at the question. He thought that if he chose one god it would displease others. Better he had a way out and sent the quarrelling gods to the planet earth. He indicated that king Vikramaditya rules in the earth who is very judicious, wise and righteous at his decisions. So the gods went to King Vikramaditya.
When king Vikramaditya saw the seven gods he showed his respect to them and begged for any service. The gods told the king their problem. Vikramaditya listened to the whole thing. Though it was a very tough job, Vikramaditya accepted it gracefully because he was a dutiful king. The wise king decided that he would not give the verdict directly. Therefore he arranged for seven beautiful thrones made of gold, silver, bronze, brass, tin, zinc, mica and iron respectively. The gold throne was placed at number one and iron was the last one. King Vikramaditya then asked the seven gods to grace the thrones according to their choice. Sun seated on the Golden chair while Saturn occupied the iron one.
After the seven gods have chosen the chairs of their own choice, king Vikramaditya said them that they have decided their position by themselves by choosing the thrones. Saturn was angry as he was marked the lowest rank among the gods. He said that Vikramaditya could not understand his power. Saturn said that while others like Mars, rahu ketu etc can stay on a zodiac or rashi for one month and the two quarter part of the day it is Saturn who only is capable of reigning on a zodiac for two and half years to seven and half years.
Even powerful gods tremble out of fright when they see Saturn. When Saturn was angry with Rama, he got exile and lost the throne. Ravana's family was also destroyed by him. Now Saturn warned king Vikramaditya that it was his turn.
After a while, the inauspicious period of seven and half years occupied by Saturn god started on king Vikramaditya's zodiac. Saturn visited Vikramaditya's kingdom as a horse trader. He had very attractive black horses with him. When the king came to know about the beautiful horses, he sent his Ashavapal (groom of the horses) to buy the best horse for him. The groom selected one horse. The king was very pleased to see the horse. He could not resist himself from riding the powerful horse. After he rode the horse and started with kicking it the horse disappeared with a great speed. Within a short period, the horse took the king in a deep, dense forest. The king was completely unaware of the situation. He loitered here and there but found nobody. He then met a cowboy, who gave him some water to quench his thirst. The king gave him his golden ring.
Then king Vikramaditya reached a nearby city and took shelter of a respectable businessman. The businessman felt pity on his condition and arranged food for him. The businessman earned high profits in his business by the grace of Saturn and took Vikramaditya as a lucky visitor though he did not know the proper identity of the king. He employed the king as a head cashier. Next day the businessman took the king to his house. The king saw there a precious necklace hanging from a peg. To his great surprised he noticed the peg to engulf the necklace. The businessman thought the king to be responsible for stealing of the necklace and represented him before the court as a thief. The king could not explain what had happened in reality. The court ordered to cut Vikramaditya's hands and legs by one stroke of the sword. An executor carried out the order of court.
King Vikramaditya was now without hands and feet. A 'Teli' or oil seed crusher took pity on his wretched condition and took him to his house. He dressed his wounds and when he recovered employed him in a job. The job was to drive the bullocks around the grinding machine with loud voice. Time passed on and the inauspicious period of seven and a half years was about to be over. One day the king started singing the 'Malhar' Raga on a rainy day. His powerful voice spread far away in the silence of the night. In the palace the princess was enthralled by hearing the voice. She got fascinated towards the singer and decided to marry the man.
The princess sent her personal attendant to know about the singer. The attendant found that the singer was Teli's assistant and he was without hands and feet. The princess was determined to marry the man even he was without hands and feet and took resolution to remain unmarried if she could not marry him. She conveyed her decision to her parents. The king and queen resented the decision and tried to pursue the princess. But the princess was strict in her plan. She put on ordinary clothes and move to an ordinary chamber called 'Kopa Bhawan' to lay in the ordinary carpet in protest. The king and queen had to bow down ultimately before their daughter and took it as their fate.
The king sent his men to the Teli and asked him to arrange for the marriage of the handicapped man with the princess. The Teli could not believe his ears and thought that they were making some joke. But the King was very upset with the Teli and asked him to do as he was told. Finally the marriage was arranged on the day, which was the last day of seven and a half inauspicious years.
After the marriage was over, in the honeymoon night when the king was asleep, Saturn visited the king in his dream. He told the king that as he ranked him the lowest among the gods, he had to suffer these seven and a half years for his misjudgment. The king begged his pardon and also begged him not to impose such sufferings on anyone in the future. The Saturn accepted the King's request and disappeared. When the king opened his eyes, to his great surprise his hands and feet were all in shape. The princess was full of joy and happiness to see her husband in perfect shape. When the king of that country came to know the whole story and knew that his son-in-law was no one other than King Vikramaditya he was overwhelmed with joy.
The businessman got the news and felt guilty over his behavior towards the mighty king Vikramaditya. He invited him for dinner. Vikramaditya wanted to dine in the same room where the peg swallowed the precious necklace. The businessman agreed and arranged the dinner in the same room. When the invitees were dining they saw with great amazement that the necklace was slowly emerging from the peg. The businessman was so overwhelmed at this sight that he offered Vikramaditya to marry his daughter.
King Vikramaditya returned to his kingdom with his two queens and got a huge welcome. The king asked his courtiers to make a proclamation by beating the drum that Saturn is a powerful god and the people should keep fast on Shanivar as a mark of honour to Saturn. Also, they should feed the ants, both in the morning and evening.The name Shanivar is remarkable
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