Significance ,Legend and History of Sheetala Ashtami Vrat

Significance of Sheetala Ashtami

 
Sheetala Mata is known to cure ailments such as chicken-pox and small pox and measles. The Goddess seated on a donkey is seen holding neem leaves, broom, soup and a pot. Her magnificence has been mentioned in several religious scriptures. In the Skanda Purana, the benefit of worshipping Goddess Sheetala has been explained in details including Sheetala Mata Stotra or Sheetalashtak which was written by Lord Shiva. The day is dedicated to worshipping Goddess Sheetala. By worshipping the Goddess, devotees can prevent the outbreak of epidemic diseases, especially among children. 

Legend of Sheetala Ashtami


 

A king named Indralumna was ruling Hasthinapur. His daughter Shubhakari was married to prince Gunvan. Once, the king invited them to observe Sheetal Ashtami. The couple left for a lake and performed the vrat with devotion. Pleased with their dedication, Goddess Sheetala appeared before them and granted a boon to Shuhbakari. On their way back, Shubhakari saw a family of priest grieving over the death of the priest due to snakebite. Shubhakari used the boon to revive the priest from death. Locals realised the power of the Sheetal Ashtami vrat, and they too observe the vrat with great faith.

History of Sheetala Ashtami 


One story says Goddess Durga has incarnated as little Katyayani, the daughter of sage Katyayan to destroy all arrogant evil demonic forces of the world, in her real form as Durga, she killed many demons that were sent by Kaalkeya.

A demon named Jwarasur, the demon of fever, started spreading incurable diseases to Katyayani's childhood friends, such as cholera, dysentery, measles, smallpox etc. Katyayani cured the diseases of some of her friends. To relieve the world from all fevers and diseases, Katyayani assumed the form of Shitala Devi. Each of her four hands held a short broom, winnowing fan, jar of cooling water and a drinking cup. With her power, she cured all the children's diseases. Katyayani then requests her friend, Batuk to go out and confront the demon Jwarasur. A battle ensued between the young Batuk and demon Jwarasur. Jwarasur succeeds in defeating Batuk. Then, Batuk, lying dead, magically faded into dust. Jwarasur was shocked that Batuk disappeared and wondered where he went. Then, what he doesn't know that Batuk has assumed the form of an awful male figure. This person was three-eyed and had four arms. He held a battle-axe, sword, trident and demon head. He was pitch-black in color. His hair was flowing. Eyes blazed with fury. This figure wore a tiger-skin and a garland of skulls. Batuk assumed the form of Lord Shiva's ferocious form, the terrible Bhairav. Bhairav reprimands Jwarasur and tells him that he is the servant of Goddess Durga (Katyayani). A long discussion ensued but then converted into battle. Jwarasur created many demons from his powers but Bhairav managed to destroy all of them. Finally, Bhairav wrestled with Jwarasur and killed him with his trident.

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