Sonia Sumitra Thakar
The ancient scriptures tell us that there are approximately 3 crore Hindu gods and goddesses. And though there are so many deities, they are all manifestations of one Supreme Being known as Brahman. We are free to choose the name and form that appeals to us. Each god or goddess has specific powers and they can grant us different wishes. While there are annual festivals dedicated to all the major gods and goddesses, for regular worship we have different days of the week dedicated to specific deities. Each day of the week is also said to be governed by a particular planet.
Sunday (Ravivar) is the day dedicated to the Sun God or Lord Surya. People fast on Sundays to appease Suryanarayana. Those who fast avoid salt, oil, and fried food and only eat once in the day, before sunset. The Sun god is worshipped to fulfil one’s desires and those with skin problems find relief by keeping the Ravivar vrat.
Red is the colour associated with this day. Red flowers are offered to Surya devta in worship, red clothes, are worn and red colour sandalwood paste is applied as tilak.
Sunday is also a good day on which to give alms to poor people.
Monday or Somvar is the day of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. The all-powerful ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ is the mantra of the day and Shiva bhajans can be sung on this day. The Shree Shiv Nitya Aradhana which comprises of some powerful mantras dedicated to Lord Shiva can be chanted on this day with favourable results. The celestial body associated with this day and Lord Shiva is the moon (Chandra) and, hence, white is Monday’s colour.
Many devotees fast on Mondays to appease Lord Shiva. He is the bestower of wisdom and a happy and prosperous family life. Unmarried women pray to him to find a suitable partner.
Tuesday or Mangalvar is the governed by the planet Mars (Mangal). This day is dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god. In the southern part of the country, Skanda or Kartikeya is worshipped on Tuesdays. Lord Ganesha, Durga, and the goddess Kali are some of the other deities that are prayed to on this day of the week.
Chanting the Hanuman Chalisa on this day is an effective way to invoke the blessings of Lord Hanuman. Hanuman and Devi temples are visited on Tuesdays. As Mars (Mangal) is considered to be the trouble-maker, many people fast on Tuesdays to escape misfortune. Since the day is associated with Hanuman, red is the colour of Tuesday.
Mercury is the planet associated with Wednesday or Budhvar. Lord Krishna and his avatar Vitthala are worshipped on this day of the week. In some places, Lord Vishnu is prayed to on Wednesdays.
Green leaves especially Tulsi leaves are used in worship of Lord Krishna on this day. The Krishna Chalisa is a powerful and efficacious prayer to chant on Wednesdays. Many undertake fast on this day and just eat a single meal, in the afternoon.
Since Mercury is considered to be compassionate and generous, Wednesdays are good days to start new ventures or educational activities. It’s also a good day to give alms.
Thursday (Brihaspativar) is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Brihaspati (Jupiter) also known as the Guru of the Devas. Thursday is also known as Guruvar. Ghee and milk are used in poojas conducted on Thursdays. The Srimad Bhagvat Purana is read on this day.
Some people worship goddess Lakshmi on Guruvar and devotees of Sai Baba consider Thursday the most sacred day for worship of their chosen deity.
Yellow is the traditional colour of Lord Vishnu. Devotees wear yellow clothes and eat yellow food items like channa dal and milk products after breaking their fast in the evening. Bananas and yellow flowers are offered to the deity.
Friday or Shukravar is dedicated to the goddess Shakti and the planet Venus (Shukra). The Mother is worshipped as Durga, Mahalakshmi, and Annapurneshwari on this day of the week.
Temples dedicated to the goddess in her various manifestations are visited on Fridays and many devotees fast from morning to evening. The Shree Durga Nitya Aradhana can be read to appease the Mother.
The deity of Shukra is propitiated as she is known to bestow joy and material wealth on her bhaktas. Shakti is worshipped to obtain her blessings to remove obstacles and grant a peaceful and happy family life.
White is the colour associated with Fridays and white food items like kheer and milk are given preference on this day.
Saturdays are dedicated to Lord Shani. To those who believe in Hindu astrology, the mere mention of Shani (Saturn) brings a sense of fear and dread. Thus, this deity is worshipped on Shanivar to negate the ill-influences this planet brings.
Temples dedicated to Shani and the Navagraha are visited on this day of the week. The Navagraha Chalisa can be chanted on this day to appease Shani.
Legend has it that Hanuman rescued Shani from Ravana and so bhaktas of the monkey god escape the wrath of Shani. Hence, Hanuman Chalisa is also chanted on Saturdays.
Black is the colour associated with Shani; in fact, all Shani idols are black in colour. Devotees wear black clothes and black food items like sesame seeds and black gram are offered and consumed after fasting throughout the day.
All forms of worship and the rituals laid down in the scriptures are means to one end – the realisation of the Self. Ultimately, one’s own faith reigns supreme when it comes to all God-related matters. If we pray with heartfelt devotion to our chosen deity, we are pleasing the one and only Supreme Power.