Ahoi Ashtami, a significant Hindu festival, falls on the 5th of November in 2023. This day holds immense importance for women, as they observe a fast dedicated to the well-being and longevity of their children. The heart of this vrat (fast) lies in the sacred Katha (narrative) associated with it, reminding us of the miracles that can happen against all odds.
Ahoi Mata, the divine mother, is the focal point of devotion on Ahoi Ashtami. Women rise early, offer prayers to her, and later in the evening, present Arghya (puja offerings) to the stars or the moon, following their cherished customs. Yet, the soul-stirring Katha is what truly defines the essence of this fast.
The Ahoi Ashtami 2022 Katha takes us back in time to a village where a wealthy moneylender, the Sahukaar, lived with his seven sons and one daughter. Each year during Diwali, the daughter returned to her parental home. During one such visit, while the seven daughters-in-law of the moneylender went to collect soil for house renovation, the daughter accompanied them. Tragedy struck when she accidentally killed a baby Syahu (porcupine), invoking the mother’s wrath. The furious Syahu Mata declared that she would tie the daughter’s womb.
In a heart-wrenching turn of events, the youngest daughter-in-law willingly offered her womb instead. Her sacrifice led to the curse that any child she bore would die within seven days. Desperate and grief-stricken, she sought the guidance of a wise pundit who advised her to serve the Surhi cow. With unwavering devotion and prayers, the Surhi cow granted her a wish – the untying of her womb.
In a fascinating journey, Surhi cow and the daughter-in-law encountered challenges, including a snake threatening Garuda Pankhni’s child. Her quick action to save the bird’s offspring earned her another boon, which allowed her to reach Syahu Mata beyond the seven seas.
Syahu Mata, initially reproaching her for lice, soon recognized her devotion. With compassion, she promised the daughter-in-law seven sons and daughters-in-law. Amazed, the young woman pointed out her childless state. Syahu Mata, bound by her word, conceded, and the daughter-in-law returned home to find her house filled with seven sons and daughters-in-law. Overjoyed, she performed rituals and meditated on Ahoi Mata.
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