Chhath is a Hindu festival, celebrated extensively all over India. It is the only Vedic festival that is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. It is also referred to as Surya Purnima. Surya refers to the Sun in ancient Hindu mythology and has been worshiped as holy and observed as an all-encompassing, omnipotent entity.
The Sun God is worshiped during the Chhath Puja to help bring prosperity, success, and happiness in life. Photo from Flickr
Various offerings are made to the Sun God for prosperity and well-being. The Sun in thanked for sustaining and providing for life on earth and also requested for the grant of certain wishes. The Sun God is worshiped during the Chhath Puja to help bring prosperity, success, and happiness in life. The rituals are observed for four days and it involves fasting, bathing and praying. These traditions have traveled down the generations of Indian society and these beliefs are been maintained without questions. The Chhath puja is celebrated on Kartika Shukala Shashti, which is the sixth day of the Kartika month of the Hindu calendar. Shashti, quite literally means ‘six’. This is typically the period in October-November. The festival is celebrated in the Mithila regions of India and Nepal.
The rituals are observed extensively during the four days of the Chhath puja. The first day involves a holy bath in the Ganga and carrying the holy water back home. The second day brings in the ritual and concept of fasting for offering to the Sun God. This fast is broken a little after sunset. After this, delicious delicacies are served to end the fast and this is done without the use of sugar. Delicacies and offerings are typical of any Hindu celebration. Then comes the third day, when the edible offerings (Prasad) is made and offered to the Lord. This occasion is almost like a carnival, with the prevalence of folk songs, depicting an undying dedication to the Sun God, or Surya. Devotees spend it with family and closest acquaintances. The festival of Chhath comes to an end, on the fourth day. This day is celebrated by the devotees, by going to the riverside, before sunrise and making their offerings. It is a spectacular sight to witness the rituals of the festival being carried out near the river, demonstrating their undying love for nature and their desire to please the higher powers. A sense of unity and divinity encompasses the city. This is followed by the devotees visiting each others’ homes to receive the Prasad for the puja.
Even though the rituals are observed without questioning the authenticity of them, the festival of Chhath also has a huge Yogic significance. All the rituals of the festival have some scientific reasons to back them and this provides optimum benefits. According to the Yogic philosophy, the bodies of all living organisms are energy conducting mediums. The human body allows the transmission and flow of solar bio-electricity through it, when it is exposed to solar radiations of certain wavelengths. The absorption and activity of this solar bio-electricity by the human body, increases under certain conditions. The rituals of the Chhath puja are such that they prepare the body of the devotee for the process of cosmic solar energy infusion!
How is Chhath Puja Benificial?
The retina of the human eye is a photoelectric material, emitting energy when exposed to light. This energy is sent to the pineal gland and it harnesses the energy to activate itself. This energy generated starts having an impact on the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, owing to its close proximity to the glands. This ensures good health to the worshipers Moreover the ritual of fasting ensures detoxification of the human body and mind and prepares the body to receive cosmic energy! Standing in the water of the Ganges allows the psychic energy to move up the spine, cleansing the human body. A kind of polarization in the spine helps the body to be transformed into a comic energy powerhouse and the body of the devotee or Vratti becomes a medium for the conduction, transmission and distribution of energy to the entire universe. During the four days of the Chhath puja, the body functioning is heightened and a change takes place in the system.
Yogis Significance of Chhath Puja
Even though the rituals of the festival of Chhath puja are celebrated out of pure traditional beliefs, but the processes have a strong Yogic base for support. The scientific objectives behind the puja help the devotees in acquiring a more prosperous life, ensuring health to one and all. The festival assures you both physical and mental benefits. On the whole, the puja helps improve the immunity of the human body, provides an antiseptic effect to the body of the devotee and speeds up the healing process. The rituals help the flow of blood and stimulate a balanced secretion of the hormones for proper functioning of the body. The mental benefits range from calming the mind of the devotees to reduction of negative feelings and emotions, like jealousy, hatred, fear and anger. The festivals also help build up the strong foreground of intuition and telepathy. The significance of the worship of the Sun God, during the periods of sunrise and sunset lies in the fact that human beings can obtain optimum energy from the sun during these periods and safely harness it.
There is a certain belief that all wishes of the devotees will be granted during the festival of the Chhath puja. A sense of peace and serenity prevail in the city during this time. The people celebrate this puja with full dedication and loyalty to the Sun God, expecting most beneficial effects and praying for good health for one and all. Purification of the human body and soul is what is guaranteed in the festival. With scientific importance, this festival affects the glands and organs of the human body, leading to a healthy body and mind. The spirit of the festival is un-matchable. Chhath is just another of the many festivals celebrated in India, but the rich Yogic significance is what makes it stand out among all the others.