S h r e e   G u r u   C h a r i t r a - Chapter No : 8
Shani Pradosha Vrata Mahatmya

Siddha Yogi continued his narrative. From Gokarna, Sripad Srivallabha went to Sai Sailam and did the Chaturmasa there (the 4 months stay at a fixed place during the rainy season, by the monks who otherwise are forbidden from staying at any one fixed place for more than 5 days). From there he went to Navratri (Bivruthi) Sangam. After spending some time there, he finally came to Kurvapur (near the present Raichur). His spiritual fame spread far and wide, and devotees used to pour in for his Darshan all the time. His spiritual power was such that with his mere Darshan, people used to be relieved from all distress. He always radiated peace and love. The ailing used to be cured instantly; spiritual seekers coming to him used to feel highly uplifted, their doubts clearing off like fog and darkness before sunrise. His mere glance would transport people to higher realms of consciousness and fill their hearts with supernatural joy and transcendental peace.

At that time, there lived in Kurvapur a learned Brahmin, His wife's name was Ambika. She gave birth to many children but, except the last one, none of the others survived. Unfortunately, that boy who survived, was dull headed. All efforts of his father to teach him were of no avail, as the boy had no grasping power at all. This was a cause of frustration and anxiety to the parents. The father died in dejection. Having no support, the son and mother were thrown into penury and had no means of livelihood. They had to take to begging and had to leave a very hard and miserable life. They were disgusted with their life, and both of them decided to end their lives by throwing themselves into the river. As they approached the river bank with the object of putting end to their lives, the woman saw Sripad SriVallabha who came there for his bath. Seeing the Halo around his face and divinity in his looks, her aching heart was soothened, and her fatalistic desperation was overcome by newborn peace, hope and joy in her heart. The compassion and love in Sripada's looks - love surpassing even that of a thousand mother's instilled and charged new life in her depressed and broken heart. She fell at his feet and vented out the anguish in her heart, and said, "How I wish I will have a son like you in my next birth at least." "So be it, mother!" said Sri Vallabha. He added, "But you will have to observe a particular Vrata; you will have to worship Lord Maheswara in the evenings on Trayodasi Thithi days coinciding with and coming on Saturdays, which is called as Sani Pradosha Puja. It is a powerful Vrata, and if dutifully performed, it will certainly endow you a son like Lord Krishna Himself." He narrated the following ancedote;

Once upon a time, there lived a king named Chandrasen in Ujjain. He had a friend by name of Manibhadra, an ascetic and who was deeply devoted to Lord Maheshwara. Lord Maheshwara, very pleased with Manibhadra's devotion, gave him the celestial gem in the shape of Marakatha Linga. This gem, by its mere touch, could turn iron into gold, and fulfill any wish of the person who wore it. Manibhadra gifted the gem to Chandrasena, which bought prosperity to his people and kingdom. All the kings and people of other regions came to hear about the gem. Some of the neighboring kings wanted to get possession of the gem, and they plotted and invaded Ujjain. That day happened to be Sani Trayodasi day, and the king, was his wont, was engaged in worship in the Siva Temple. Although he was told about the invasion of his kingdom by the enemy kings, he remained unperturbed and unmoved, and did not leave from his place of worship. One of the cowherd boys saw the King's worship, and he also was seized with a desire to worship likewise. He picked up a round stone and started worshiping it as Shiva Linga. It was getting late in the night , but the boy remained totally absorbed in the Puja. As the boy did not return home, while all his companions returned to their homes, his mother felt worried. She came searching for him, and found him doing his worship. She asked him to stop the Puja and return home along with her instantly. But the boy refused to move from there. The mother got furious and threw out 'the stone', which he was worshiping as Shiva Linga. The boy felt very unhappy and distressed at the sacrilege committed by his mother in her anger. He though he should atone for it by giving up his life. Lord Shiva was very much moved by the anguish and sincere and deep devotion of the boy and appeared before him in the Linga form, dazzling with a million Sun's effulgence. It was the manifestation of the Jyotirlinga, emerged by itself a magnificent temple - the Mahakaleshwar Temple. The boy prayed to Siva to pardon his mother for the sacrilege she had committed. Lord said the boy's mother had already earned great merit as she had witnessed the Puja which he (the boy) was doing and with such great devotion, and because of that she would be having God himself as her child in her next birth. Meanwhile the brilliance of the light, emanating from the JyotirLinga was spreading far and wide, far upto the horizon in all directions. The Kings who attacked Ujjain saw the marvel and realised that divine protection was there on Ujjain and it's King, and it was suicidal on their part to enter into a fight against such a King. They made peace with the king and returned to their Kingdoms. Thus Ujjain remained safe, the king and the people remaining unscathed by the enemies attack, and all due to the power of Shani Pradosha Puja.

The king made the shepard boy the ruler of the shepard community and gifted him many villages to rule. The shepard's mother felt very penitent for the sacrilege she had committed by casting away the 'stone', which her son was worshipping with such great devotion. Having witnessed the emergence of the JyotirLinga as a fruition and reward for worship done by her child, she was also filled with great devotion. In her next birth she was born as Yashoda. As foretold by Lord Shiva, she became the foster-mother of Lord Sri Krishna. This was the merit she earned by merely witnessing the Sani Pradosha Puja being done by her son.

Had she done the Puja herself, Lord Krishna would have been born to herself as her own son.
Sripada Sri Vallabha finally said to Ambika, "if you do the Sani Pradosha Puja devotedly and regularly, you will certainly bear God himself as your child in your next life."

Sripada Sri Vallabha then blessed Ambika's son. With the mere touch of Sripada, the boy became fully enlightened. All wisdom and knowledge dawned on him. He became proficient in all the scriptures, making the mother happy all measure.

Thus ends the Eight Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra, describing "the Sani Pradosha Mahatmya".
 
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