Surya Shashti popularly known as Chhath, which is also called as “Daala Chhath” is a popular Hindu festival of worshipping Sun God. Sun is considered to be the only visible god. He is considered to be the caretaker of the entire universe. In Upanishads, Surya have been compared to the Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. In Shashtras, it has been mentioned that that if a devotee performs the daily rituals to Sun God, the miseries of life vanishes and he/she attains good health, healthy mind and salvation.
Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival and the only Vedic Festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God. The Chhath festival is performed as thanksgiving to Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.
There are numerous mythologies related to this festival.
1) The ritual of Chhath puja may even predate the ancient Vedas texts, as the Rig Veda contains hymns worshiping the Sun god and describes similar rituals. The rituals also find reference in the Sanskrit epic poem Mahabharata in which Draupadi is depicted as observing similar rites.
2) It is also believed that Chhath was started by Karna, the son of Surya (Surya Putra Karna). Karna ruled over the Anga Desh (present day Bhagalpur district of Bihar) during the Mahabharat Age.
3) It is also said that the Goddess that is worshipped during the famous Chhath Puja is known as Chhathi Maiya. Chhathi Maiya is known as Usha in the Vedas, beleived to be consort of Surya while some suggest that she is Surya’s wife. This legend also beleives that the son of Lord Shiva, Kartikeya was raised by Chhathi maiyya.
The word Chhath denotes the number 6 in Hindi and the festival begins on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik. Chatth celebrations carry on for four days as follows:
Day 1: Chhooti Chhath also known as Nahai Khai (Bath & Eat): The Vrati (devotees) take a bath preferably in sacred river Ganga and the devotees bring the holy water back home and cook the Puja Prasadam at their kitchen with the grains that are all pure, washed and cut from fields
Day2: Kharna: A whole day fast (without water) is observed by the vratis. The vratis end their fast in the evening after performing puja. Offerings (Prasad) comprisING of Rasiao-kheer (rice delicacy), puris (deep fried puffs of wheat flour) or chapatti and bananas are distributed among family, friends and visitors
Day3: Sandhya Arghya (Evening offering): Devotees observe fast without consuming water. The whole day is spent in preparing puja offerings. All the offerings are kept in tray made up of bamboo. Offerings comprises of Thekua, coconut, banana and other seasonal fruits.
Day4: Bihaniya Arghya (Morning offerings): This is the last and final event of the auspicious puja, the devotees again with their family, friends and relatives assemble on the bank of river or pond to offer arghyas (offerings) to the rising Sun. The devotees take special tea to break the fast, which contains ghee, so that it smoothens the dry throat and no harm is done while speaking and taking the food.
The Science and Yogic Philosophy behing Chhath
According to yogic philosophy, the physical bodies of all the living organisms are highly sophisticated energy conducting channels. The solar bio-electricity starts flowing in the human body when it is exposed to solar radiations of specific wavelengths. Under particular physical and mental conditions, the absorption and conduction of this solar-bio-electricity increases. The processes and the rituals of the Chhath puja aim at preparing the body and the mind of the Vratti (devotee) for the process of cosmic solar energy infusion.
In the fast lifestyle of the present times, it may not be possible to follow the Chhath process very often. The detoxification can be undertaken through pranayam, yoga, meditation and Conscious Photoenergization Process known as Chhath Dhyan Sadhana (CDS).
This holy and unique festival celebrated in India denotes and signifies the quest of joy of mankind towards the Mother Nature. Here, the children of Mother Nature show their love and gratefulness and offer whatever little they have as Prasad to the visitors. It is a great festival which unites several sects of society. It is a festival where people ‘love to take and and love to give’. The hymns of this puja purify the environment and energises mankind to face the upcoming winters.
Wishing all of you a very happy and fulfilling Chhath Pooja. Jai Ho Chhathi Maiyya Ki 🙂