Pankajnath Tiwari :-
Santoshi Mata is a Hindu goddess considered to be the embodiment of Mother Earth and an incarnation of the divine feminine energy. She is known as the Goddess of Contentment and is revered for her ability to bring happiness, fulfillment, and peace into the lives of her devotees. The story of Santoshi Mata originates from the epic known as the “Santoshi Mata Vrat Katha,” which gained popularity in the early 1960s.
According to the legend, Santoshi Mata is the daughter of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that once, when Goddess Parvati’s two sons, Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha, were teasing her for not having any daughter, she decided to create a daughter herself. She molded the divine energy from her body and created Goddess Santoshi Mata.
Santoshi Mata is usually depicted as a fair and benevolent goddess with four arms. She holds a trident, a lotus, a mace, and a bowl of divine nectar in her hands. She is often portrayed sitting on a lotus flower.
The worship of Santoshi Mata is primarily performed through a ritual known as the Santoshi Mata Vrat (fast). The Vrat is usually observed on Fridays, which are considered auspicious for the worship of the goddess. Devotees who wish to observe this fast can follow the steps below:
Begin the fast by taking a bath or shower and wearing clean clothes.
Set up a sacred space or altar in your home with a picture or idol of Santoshi Mata.
Light incense sticks or lamps and offer flowers, fruits, and sweets to the goddess.
Recite the Santoshi Mata Vrat Katha, a sacred story that narrates the glory and blessings of the goddess.
Offer Prasad (devotional food) to the goddess, usually consisting of chickpeas cooked with sugar, jaggery, and ghee.
Throughout the day, abstain from consuming any form of food or drink. Some devotees observe a partial fast by consuming only specific fruits and milk.
Chant Santoshi Mata mantras or hymns, such as the Santoshi Mata Aarti or the Santoshi Mata Chalisa.
Spend the day in prayer, meditation, and reading the Santoshi Mata Vrat Katha.
In the evening, gather with family and friends to perform an aarti (ritual of waving lamps) for the goddess.
Break the fast by consuming the Prasad and sharing it with others.
Observing the Santoshi Mata Vrat is believed to bring happiness, peace, and fulfillment into one’s life. It is considered a way to seek the goddess’s blessings for the well-being of the family and the fulfillment of desires.
Significance of Fridays: Fridays are considered especially auspicious for the worship of Santoshi Mata. Devotees often observe a weekly fast on this day to express their devotion and seek the blessings of the goddess.
Santoshi Mata Vrat Katha: The Santoshi Mata Vrat Katha is an important part of the worship. It is a sacred story that narrates the miraculous powers of Santoshi Mata and the fulfillment of devotees’ wishes through her blessings. The Katha is typically read or listened to during the fasting period.
Fasting rituals: During the Santoshi Mata Vrat, devotees observe a strict fast. Some people observe a complete fast without consuming any food or water until the evening when the fast is broken. Others may follow a partial fast by consuming fruits, milk, or specific food items allowed during the fast.
Chanting and Mantras: Devotees chant Santoshi Mata mantras and hymns to invoke her divine presence and seek her blessings. One popular mantra is the Santoshi Mata Mantra:
“ॐ ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं महालक्ष्म्यै स्वाहा॥ ॐ ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं संतोष्यै नमः॥”
This mantra is chanted with devotion and sincerity to invoke the blessings of Santoshi Mata.
Offerings and Prasad: Devotees offer various items to Santoshi Mata during the worship. These offerings may include flowers, fruits, coconut, sweets, incense sticks, and lamps. Devotees prepare a special Prasad for the goddess, usually consisting of chickpeas cooked with sugar, jaggery, and ghee. This Prasad is distributed among family members and guests as a blessed food.
Group worship and Katha gatherings: In some communities, devotees come together to perform group worship and recite the Santoshi Mata Vrat Katha. These gatherings often take place in temples or devotees’ homes. It creates a sense of community and shared devotion towards the goddess.
Annual Santoshi Mata Vrat: Apart from the weekly Friday fasts, there is also an annual festival known as the Santoshi Mata Vrat or Santoshi Mata Jayanti. It is celebrated on the sixth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Jyeshtha (May-June). Devotees observe a day-long fast and offer special prayers to honor the goddess on this auspicious day.
Nine-week Vrat: Some devotees observe an extended vrat (fast) dedicated to Santoshi Mata that lasts for nine consecutive Fridays. This vrat is known as the Navratri Vrat or Santoshi Mata Nine-Week Vrat. Each week, the devotee performs the regular rituals and fasting practices, culminating in the completion of the vrat after nine weeks.
Devotional Songs: Singing devotional songs dedicated to Santoshi Mata is a common practice among her devotees. Bhajans (devotional songs) and kirtans (devotional chants) praising the glory of the goddess and expressing devotion are sung during the worship. These songs often depict the stories and virtues of Santoshi Mata.
Maa Santoshi Temple: There are numerous temples dedicated to Santoshi Mata around the world. The most famous one is the Maa Santoshi Temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Devotees visit these temples to offer their prayers, perform rituals, and seek the blessings of the goddess.
Vrat Udyapan: At the completion of a vrat, devotees perform a ritual known as Vrat Udyapan to conclude the observance. It involves offering prayers and thanks to Santoshi Mata for her blessings throughout the vrat period. Devotees often invite friends and family to share in the joyous occasion and offer them a meal as part of the Udyapan.
Seva and Charity: Devotees of Santoshi Mata often engage in acts of seva (selfless service) and charity as a way of expressing gratitude and devotion. They may distribute food, clothes, or other essential items to the less fortunate, contribute to charitable organizations, or participate in community service activities.
Faith and Devotion: The worship of Santoshi Mata is rooted in faith and devotion. Devotees believe that with unwavering faith, sincere prayers, and steadfast devotion, Santoshi Mata fulfills their desires, removes obstacles, and brings happiness and contentment into their lives. It is believed that she blesses her devotees with peace, prosperity, and well-being.
Holy Water (Panchamrit): During the worship of Santoshi Mata, devotees often offer Panchamrit, a sacred mixture of five ingredients – milk, curd, honey, sugar, and ghee. The Panchamrit is prepared and used to bathe the idol or picture of Santoshi Mata as a symbol of purification and divine blessings.
Sacred Thread (Raksha Sutra): Devotees may tie a sacred thread, known as Raksha Sutra, around their wrists or wear it as a necklace during the worship. The thread symbolizes protection and acts as a reminder of the devotee’s connection with Santoshi Mata.
Daily Prayers: Apart from the weekly Friday fasts, devotees may also choose to offer daily prayers to Santoshi Mata. They may set aside a specific time each day to perform rituals, chant mantras, and offer prayers to the goddess. This regular practice strengthens the devotee’s connection and devotion to Santoshi Mata.
Sankalp (Devotional Intention): Before beginning the Santoshi Mata Vrat or any specific prayer, devotees take a solemn vow or sankalp. They make a heartfelt intention to observe the vrat with devotion, purity, and gratitude towards the goddess. This sankalp is an important aspect of the worship process.
Saptahik Bhajan (Weekly Bhajans): Some devotees organize Saptahik Bhajan, which is a gathering where devotional songs and bhajans dedicated to Santoshi Mata are sung for a week. The gathering usually takes place in a community hall, temple, or devotee’s home. It allows for collective worship and singing in praise of the goddess.
Pilgrimage: Devotees may undertake pilgrimages to sacred places associated with Santoshi Mata, such as the Maa Santoshi Temple in Jodhpur or other temples dedicated to her. These pilgrimages provide an opportunity for devotees to deepen their connection with the goddess and seek her blessings in a spiritually charged environment.
Online Devotional Services: In the modern era, online platforms and apps provide virtual devotional services related to Santoshi Mata. Devotees can participate in live-streamed rituals, access digital versions of sacred texts, and join online communities to connect with fellow devotees and share their devotion.