Nirjala : Fasting without food and water.
Machh : Fish
Marua : A crop considered to be of very low standard.(Ragi)
Ongthan: (From Ongthal) Sitting on the ground with back supported by wall.
| This is an
important festival of Mithilanchal for Sadhwa women of all castes and is
performed for the well being and longevity of their sons. It is performed
on Aswin Krishna Ashtmi prevailing in Pradosh time. They observe
Nirjala fast on this day and break the fast next day on the expiry of
Ashtami. At times when Ashtami begins in afternoon, they may have to fast
for two days. Since nothing, even a spec of grass, is put in mouth, the
fast is also called Khar Jitia. Those who escape severe accidents are
believed to have the blessings of their mother having performed this brat.
It is custom to take Fish and chapatti made of ragi (Marua) the previous
day, unlike other fasts when Ekbhukta may be done. In the night
prior to fast they take a meal just before the beginning of Ashtami. This
is peculiar to this fasting only. Often children are awoken and fed the
preparations. This is known as Ongthan. There is a
Near the sea on the bank of river Narmada there was a city named Kanchanawati which was ruled by the king Malayketu. There was a desert called Baluhata on the western side of river. There was a Pakar tree on the branch of which lived a she-hawk and in the hole of the trunk lived a she jackal. They were fast friends. Once they, like the women folk of the place, observed the fast and performed the pooja of Jimootbahan son of Shalibahan. That day the son of the richest trader of that city died. he was cremated nearby. In the night there was terrific rain and thunderstorm. The jackal could not resist the temptation of eating the remains, but the hawk continued with her fast. Next day after the women folk broke the fast, she also broke the fast.
In the next birth, they were born as sisters in the house of a Brahmin, Bhaskar. The elder, hawk in previous birth, was named Sheelwati and was married to Buddhisen and the younger, jackal in previous birth, was named Karpoorawati and was married to the king, Malayketu. Due to the blessings of Jimootbahan, Sheelwati was blessed with seven handsome sons. But all the sons of Karpoorawati died just after birth. She was very sad.
When the seven sons of Sheelwati came of age, they applied for and got service with the king. When Karpoorawati saw them, she turned blue with envy. With her wicked design, she persuaded the king to get the seven youths killed and sent the heads in seven containers covered with red cloth to her elder sister. Jimootbahan knew about this and he made heads of clay, fixed them on the torso and sprinkled "amrit" to make them alive. The sons returned to their home. The wives had received the heads but they turned to palm fruits.
Karpoorawati, all the day, waited to hear the wails of the women folk of the house of Buddhisen. When nothing happened, she sent her maid to that house. The maid reported that the sons are all rejoicing in their house. The queen first suspected her husband of duping her, but he told he that there must be God's blessing on that family.
Karpoorawati went to her sister and told her every thing and enquired how her sons could not die. Sheelwati, due to her penance, remembered every details of previous life. She took Karpoorawati to the tree and narrated the events of previous life. Hearing all these Karpoorawati fell unconscious and died. The king performed her last rites.