Karva Chauth is that festival where Indian wives fast for an entire day praying for the health, long life and success of their husbands. The Chandogya Upanishad says that when Brahma is worshipped in the male form ensconced in the ‘Chandrama’ or moon, it helps one to overcome all evil and misdeeds. Traditionally those who observe this fast worship Shiv, Parvati, Ganesha, Kartik and Moon. The puja starts after the moon rises on the horizon and after the puja is completed, the mother-in-law gifts the daughter-in-law, who was fasting, clay karvas filled with rice, urad daal, cosmetics and other bridal necessities. Karva essentially means big earthen pots.
According to the Mahabharata, Arjun had once gone for an intense meditation session to the Nilgiris and the other Pandava brothers had to face a major crisis in his absence. Their wife, Draupadi, desperate to help, asks Lord Krishna for a solution. He opines that if she can fast on the fourth day after full moon in the month of Kartik, the brothers will be able to overcome all their misery. Draupadi did as advised and the Pandava brothers were able to overcome all their problems. For generations now these instances have continued to highlight the significant of this fast and puja in modern times.
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It is now time to understand the ritual that comprises of this puja and fast. First of all here is your complete guide on what all you need for this puja:
- Incense Stick
- Mehendi or Henna
- Sacred Ganges water
- Sandalwood paste
- Mahavar or the red lac solution used by women to adorn their feet
- Earthen pots with cover
- Clay lamps
- A vessel full of water
- Yellow clay to make Gauri’s image
- A wooden seat
- Seive to see the moon
- 8 Puri (A typical type of fried Indian bread)
- Halwa (A type of sweet made at home)
- Money to give as gift
It is always advisable to gather all the required ingredients a day in advance. On the day of the fast, women who are going to perform the rituals need to take bath at the allocated auspicious hour and wear clean clothes. The kind of intense meditation and suffering that Parvati underwent to attain Lord Shiva as her husband is represented in the form of Shiva-Parvati puja on this day. This puja hold great significance both from religious as well astrological aspects.
According to hindu traditions, the best time to perform Karwa Chauth Puja is during evening aftern the sunset. Karwa Chauth Puja is performed to seek blessing of Goddess Parvati. Women use the idols or pictures of Gaura and Chauth Mata to worship godess Parvati. Goddess Gaura and Chauth Mata are two incarnations of Goddess Parvati.
The Mantra which should be recited during Parvati Puja is –
"Namah Shivaye Sharvanyai Soubhagyam Santati Shubham Prayach Bhaktiyuktanam Nareenam Harwallabhe"
Which means "O beloved consort of Lord Shiva, bless the husbands of these lady devotees with long life and provide them with healthy offsprings".
Usually women perform Puja in a group and narrate the Story of Karwa Chauth Mahatamya. After Puja, the Karwa or earthen pot should be given as charity to the Brahmin or the needy.