THE Sun God or Surya Bhagavan was worshipped regularly by an old woman. Every morning she would get up, clean her house, plaster it with cow dung, take a bath, offer water to Surya and then have her meal. She used to collect the cow dung from her neighbour’s shed which was built outside the house.
The neighbour’s wife did not like this and so she tied the cow inside her house, so that the old woman would not be able to collect the cow dung to plaster her house. The old woman saw this the next morning and did not know how to attend to her daily chores. She could not get cow dung to plaster her house and thus could not take a bath till she had cleaned her house. She did not have her meal without taking a bath and thus had to keep a fast. In a way it helped her to do penance to Sun God.
The Sun God, pleased at the old woman’s penance, tied a cow and a calf inside her house. The neighbour’s wife noticed that the old woman now had a cow and a calf and what is more, the cow laid dung made of gold, which glittered till her house. She picked up the gold dung and rushed to the king’s court to tell him that the old woman’s cow laid gold dung. When the king heard of this, he ordered his soldiers to bring the cow to his castle and give her another cow in its place.
At night time, the Sun God appeared to the king in a dream and told him, “I gave this cow to the old woman for her devotion to me and as she is a very pious lady, why have you stolen her cow away? She could have bought something for the house with that gold dung.”
The next morning when the king’s men went to collect the dung laid by the cow they had stolen, in the hope of finding gold dung, they were surprised to see instead, foul-smelling and dirty cow dung. They went and told the king about it. The king realised his mistake and retuned the cow to the old woman and punished the neighbour’s wife for her devious act. He told the people to worship and fast on that day and once every following week to offer worship to the Sun God.
It is said that we should fast on every Sunday which is the day of the Sun God.