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. An individual is able to overcome all types of hindrances, obstacles and pain. Traditionally those who observe this fast worship Shiv, Parvati, Ganesha, Kartike and Moon. The puja kicks off after the moon rises on the horizon and after the puja is completed, the mother-in-law or someone like her 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.
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.
We next tackle on the ways to perform this puja:
- It starts with chanting of initiation mantra
- Decorate the wall panel in your puja room with ochre painted rice paste
- Keep Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha in your mind and kick off the day’s fast
- In the evening seat Lord Ganesh on Parvati lap atop a wooden seat
- Offer water to the presiding deities in karva or earthen pots
- Women pray for the long life of their husbands and marital happiness
- The fast is broken after sighting of the moon in the evening
The story behind Karwa chauth
According to our Mythology, this fast though kicked off by Draupadi first, it gained prominence after the near death experience of Rani Veeravati’s husband and how her true fast and devotion helped revive the dead King’s life. In today’s world, mythology aside, it has come to be seen as a symbol of the love between couples and celebration of their bond.