Chath Puja- Thanksgiving to Sun

“The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creator’s hand”. …..George Bernard Shaw

Image: Geettanjali Rai

Indian culture is incredibly rich and vibrant. People have been praying and thanking five tattvas called, Sun, Fire, Vayu (wind), Prithvi(earth) and Akash (sky) in many ways. Probably Sun, among all the worshipped lords, has been worshipped since long as he is the one who helps human life to flourish, helps in the human body growth and food as well.

Since ages, Indian people had been observing fast and celebrating festivals which is not only colourful and blissful but also have a positive effect on human bodies.

Chhath Puja

One among them is Chhath puja, which is related to offering prayer to the Sun and his two wives Usha(morning) and Sandhya (Evening). Sun, being the main source of energy especially for agriculture and for the health of a human being, people offer praying through “Araghya” with complete dedication.

Scientific Significance of Chhath Puja

Chhath is the addition of two words. One is ‘Chah’ refers to six and ‘Hath’ means the science of austerity (hath yoga). Hence, together, Chhath means the process of obtaining solar energy through six stages of Conscious Cosmic Solar Energy Infusion Technique (Conscious Photoenergization Process).

Image: Geettanjali Rai

Stage 1:
The traditional practice of being pure through Cleaning and Fasting helps in detoxifying mind and body.

Stage 2:
Standing in the river, dipping half of the body helps to minimize the leak of energy. As a result, the prana or psychic energy travel up to the Sushumna or psychic channel in the spine.

Stage 3:
When the Cosmic Solar Energy enters into the devotee pituitary, pineal and hypothalamus glands through optic nerves and retina, Triveni complex gets activated.

Stage 4:
Because Triveni complex gets activated, Devotee gross and subtle bodies are transformed into a cosmic powerhouse. As a result, polarization takes place in the spine.

Stage 5:
Furthermore, Kundalini Shakti or latent psychic energy becomes conscious.

Stage 6:
Devotee’s body becomes a channel of energy going inside, getting recycled and goes out into the cosmos.

Chhath Rituals are designed for the optimum absorption of Calcium and Vitamin D due to which it is beneficial for women. Puja helps improve the immunity of the human body. Taking bath in the river and directly towards the rays of Sun provides an antiseptic effect on the body.

History related to Chhath Puja

Chhath puja is observed twice in a year.

1. Choti chhath or Chaitra Chhath is celebrated in the month of April-May.
2. Kartik Chhath is the main festival celebrated in North India in the month of November.

References in Vedas

1. It is believed that Lord Rama & Mata Sita had kept fast and offered puja to the Lord Surya in the month of Kartik in Shukla Paksha.

2. A reference is there in Mahabharat that Surya Putra Karna was offering prayer to Sun.

3. Likewise, Yudishtir and Draupadi, on the advice of sage Dhaumya, performed the Chhath rituals and in return, they get Akshay Patra, which is always filled with food.

4. A long time ago, sages used to refrain from any intake of food and channelize the energy of sun towards them and survive.

The process of Chhath Puja

Day 1 – Nahay Khay: First of all, this festival starts with Cleaning of house and devotees themselves. This day Vratti/ devotees take a bath in any water body adding Ganga water and cut their nails.  In the evening, they prepare the meal without using ginger and garlic with pumpkin/bottle gourd and moong– chana dal with rice.

Day 2- Lohanda/ Kharna:

On Panchami/the fifth day as per the Hindu calendar after Diwali, the devotees observe fast for the whole day. They do not drink a single drop of water or eat anything. People go shopping of all the necessary things required for the preparation of prasad. Later in the evening, people prepare prasad with Gud ki Kheer (a sweet dish made with the help of rice, jaggery, and milk) and chapattis. The devotee offers the kheer, fruits like sugarcane, banana along with betel leaves, cloves, cardamom, and radish to the god on banana leaves.

Preparations

After the puja, that ladies sing songs, prepare dishes like Thekua (made of flour and jaggery), Khajuri(semolina, all-purpose flour, wheat flour, and sugar) and Khaja(all purpose flour and sugar) for next day. Above all, purity and cleanliness are a very important factor in this fast. Hence, there is no use of plastic material.

Image: Geettanjali Rai

Day 3- Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings) :

This day starts with fast without any food and water. For the whole day, people prepare Daura/dala (basket made of the bamboo stick) by keeping all the prasad one will offer. It includes thekua, khaja and 5 types of seasonal fruits. A number of Daura or dala depends on the number of offerings. People usually keep one for one family member. Family members decorate the Ghat using sugarcane, flowers and other decorative materials. The man in the house keeps that dala on his head and take it to the ghats. Later in the evening, devotee offers sandhya Argya to the sun by standing in water. They lit the lamp at the ghat for the whole night.

Day 4.Usha Arghya (morning offerings) :
Finally, in the morning, Devotee takes a dip in water and stand towards the sun to make an offering.  They sing songs and worship Chhati Maiya. After offerings, everyone takes blessings from the sun and the devotee and the from elder one. Then Devotee distributes the Prasad among the family members. Hence, devotee breaks her 36 hours long fast with water and delicious food prepared for her (also known as Paran).

In this way, the four-day-long Chhath Puja concludes.

Chhath Puja is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival and also mentioned in Vedas. Moreover, it is totally eco-friendly. It is not only about the faith or thanksgiving to nature, but also about family terms. The whole family stays together throughout the puja, takes part in all preparation and perform rituals and because of it, the bond between the family also gets stronger. Therefore, this is getting even more popular day by day.

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