Chhath, Bestow to the Sun
Chhath – festival for bestowing the gratitude to the sun, is an important festival celebrated to worship and thank the Lord Sun (Surya) and his sister Chhati Maiya . Goddess Usha ( rays of the sun ) is worshipped during Chhath along with Lord Surya. They are worshipped for granting the rays to survive for the precious life on earth and sustaining life. Instead of the idols, the sun is worshipped during Chhath. There are many other names such as Chhath parva, Chhati, Chhath puja, Dala chhath and Dala puja.Chhath is a predominant festival that carries both the scientific and religious significance
According to the Nepali Calendar, Chhath is celebrated in the month of Kartik. It lies in the month of October or November according to the english calendar. It is celebrated on the sixth of Kartik according to Bikram sambat and this is the reason behind the name Chhath ( means six ). Besides this, Chhath is celebrated at another time of the year i.e during the Summer which is celebrated after Holi and is known as Chaiti Chhath. Chhath is celebrated majorly in the mithila region of Nepal and India whereas nowadays it is celebrated in many countries including Nepal and India. According to the science, Sun is the major source of energy for the existence of life on earth and according to the Hindu religion, the sun is believed to grant better health and heal various kinds of health condition.
Chhath is celebrated for four days and the devotees who performs the puja keeps fast by maintaining purity ( purity means residing away from the family members and eating the food without tomatoes, onions or garlic ). The first day is Naha Kha, the second day is Kharna/ Lohanda, third day is Sanjhiya Arghya and the fourth/ final day is Bihaniya Aragh .
Naha Kha :
Usually women keep fast during Chhath but men also observe this festival. The women who keep the fasting are known as Vratin. This day the preparation for the Chhath Puja. They take baths and bring the holy water from the river to cook food.
Kharna / Lohanda:
It is the second day of the puja. This day, they take a bath and do the further preparation. They prepare the sweet dishes and other varieties of prasad that they distribute to their family members. Then in the evening, they have a sweet dish and keep the fast without water for 36 hours afterwards.
It is the third day of Chhath. Sanjhiya Arghya means that the offerings is done at the time of evening. On this day, the devotees prepare the offerings and the prasads such as puri, kheer and thekuwa are prepared. After the preparation of the prasad, the family members also go to the bank of the river for the offerings to the Sun along with the devotees.
Bihaniya Arghya :
Bihaniya Arghya is the fourth and final day of chhath puja which means the offerings in the morning. As in the third day, the devotees and other family members gather in the bank of the river in the early morning. Then they offer the offerings to the sun by dipping their half body part outside the river and half inside the river. After the offerings, they break their fast by having some sweets or gingers and other prasad they have made.
In Kathmandu, Sanjhiya Arghya and Bihaniya Arghya are done in Ranipokhari by the majority of the people while others perform the Chhath puja in any river.
Stories related to the origin of Chhath :
There are many stories that dates back to the origin of Chhath Puja. The stories are related to the Mahabharata and Ramayana . In Ramayana, it is said that Lord Ram and Sita kept fast and prayed the Lord Sun at the time of evening after the arrival of Ram and Sita in Ayodhya. In Mahabharata, Karna – sun of Lord Surya and Kunti, prayed the Lord Sun by dipping his half body into the water and half body outside the water at the time of morning and in the evening. And another story is related with the Five Pandavas and their wife Draupadi where Draupadi prayed the Lord Sun while she could not serve the Sadhus who visited her house. The Pandavas and Draupadi also gained their kingdom back that they have lost, after praying the Lord Sun.
Significance of Chhath:
Chhath carries a lot of significance religiously or scientifically. The Sun is considered to heal and cure various kinds of diseases religiously. Scientifically, all the steps that are involved during the puja is beneficial to health. Chhath carries an importance according to the yoga physiology. It plays a great role in conscious photo energization process.
There are six stages involved in the Chhath which are :
- The first stage involves the detoxification of both the mind and the soul.
- The second stage is essential for the Sushumna which means the psychic channel in the spine. This step takes place when the devotees stand in the water by dipping their half part of the body in the water and half above the water.
- The third stage involves the entrance of the solar energy into the body by Triveni Complex.
- The fourth stage involves the activation of Triveni Complex. The Triveni complex means the three endocrine glands which are Pineal. Hypothalamus and Pituitary gland.
- The fifth stage involves the awakening of the Kundalini Shakti through Triveni Complex. Kundalini Shakti is a form of psychic energy.
- The sixth stage involves the transfer of energy from the body of the devotees. The energy gets recycled and transformed and hence the body, mind and the soul of the devotees gets purified.
Significance Chhath Parva
Chhath does not involve any kinds of idols to worship due to which it is an eco-friendly festival. The Sun is the major source of energy that sustains life on the earth. So, it is a great way to confer our gratitude to the sun.
Symbolically, the Chhath puja is very beneficial in terms of health. The Sun is the rich source of Vitamin D due to which the absorption of Vitamin D takes place on the body of devotees during Chhath. Vitamin D is very essential for the assimilation of Calcium in our body. So, the calcium gets assimilated on the body of the vratins or the devotees. The Chhath puja is also beneficial for the absorption of proper and adequate amount of solar energy. The very famous Surya Namskar of Yoga, is involved during Chhath Puja. The entire Chhath Puja carries a lot of significance in terms of the yoga physiology.
During the entire process of Chhath Puja, both the mind and the body is purified. Not only the purity in food and body is maintained, but moral purity is also maintained and hence the devotees gets healthier as they become away from negative energy. Chhath Puja involves the Conscious Photo Energization Process which detoxify and purify the body, mind and the soul of devotees. The Chhath puja is also beneficial for the absorption of proper and adequate amount of solar energy. Furthermore, the immunity power of the devotees are also increased which helps them to fight with various kinds of diseases.
Hence, there are various benefits of Chhath puja including detoxification and purification of mind and body and the absorption of the energy.