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Sun Worship by Chhath Hindu Ritual, Know more about it!

 pooja puja chalk n duster GIFChhath is a Hindu festival, the most multifaceted Hindu ritual of Sun worshiped. This festival is celebrated on the sixth day of Chhath-Kartik-Shukla.

This rare and complex ritual of God-Sun is celebrated mainly in the lowlands of Bihar, Jharkhand, Easter Uttar Pradesh and Nepal in eastern India.

Chhath festival of Hindu ritual has become popular and famous all over the world as well as the diaspora Indians gradually.

The most difficult and important night of this four-day fast is the Kastik Shukla Shishthi. Chhath is celebrated immediately after the Diwali festival of the new moon of Kartik month.

Chhath-ritual is a four day festival of Hindus. It starts with Kartik-Shukla-Chaturthi and ends with Kartik-Shukla-Saptami. Chhath-ritual devotees fasting for 36 hours. Devotees, who are on fasting, do not even drink water during this period.

On the first day of Kartik-Shukla-Chaturthi is celebrated as ‘Narav-Khay’. On this day devotees cleaned the house to make it holy home for the Chhath-ritual.

After this, devotee (Chhath-vrati) takes a bath and have a pure vegetarian diet before started the fast and then all other house members take food. This food is made from pumpkin-pulse and rice.

On the second day of Kartik-Shukla-Panchami, a devotee has a meal in the evening after fasting throughout the day. This meal is called as 'Lohand-Kharna-Prasad'. This Lohand-Kharna-Prasad is offered to all the people of neighborhood. 

This Lohand-Kharna-Prasad is made of rice with the molasses of sugarcane juice, milk, rice pitcher along with Chapatis of Pure Ghee (Ghee-ki-Roti). This Prasad is being restricted to use salt or sugar. During this time, the special care is being taken to keep clean kitchen and the whole house.

The Third day of this ritual is called Kartik-Shukla-Shashthi. Devotee makes Chhath-Prasad on this day. Chhath-Prasad used to call ‘Thekwa’ which is also called ‘Thikree’ in some areas. Apart from this, the rice-laddus too added in this Chhath-Prasad.

After completing all the arrangements, devotees prepare for Chhath ritual in which they arrange their material in bamboo baskets and starts for final ‘Pooja’ for unstable sun towards River Bank (Ghaat) with their families and neighbours.

All devotees (who are on fasting) along with their relatives collectively reach to any pond or river bank for Chhatt-rituals at a particular time in the evening. They do Ardha-Dan of Water and Milk to Sun during this ‘Pooja’. This collectively funded charity to the sun, seems to be a colorful fair like scenic beauty near the bank of rivers during this ritual.

On the fourth day on the morning of Kartik-Shukla-Saptami, the rising Sun is given Ardha. The vow is re-established there, where he gave an Ardha-Dan in the evening.

Again the process of the previous evening is repeated. At the end, Devotee (Vrati) drinks the juice of raw milk after completing a little Prasad of Chhatt-fasting-vow.

There is a Chhath-Vrat in the center of the Chhath festival, which is like a hard penance. It is often done by women, but some men also keep this fast and ritual.

The woman who is fasting is also called ‘Parvatine’ (devotee). This Chhath ritual has been a little tough being in fasting for days.

The person who is fasting and doing Chhath-ritual has to sacrifice his/her comfortable sleeping bed along with regular normal food for four days during fast. People who attend this festival always wear new clothes, but devotees (Vratis) wear such a clothes, in which there is no stitching.

Women wear saris and men wear Dhoti during these four days Chhath-ritual. Once this chat fasting is being started by someone, then this has to be done for years until a married woman from the next generation is prepared for it. But this festival is not celebrated if someone dies at home.

It is a general believe that women who are in fasting on the Chhath-festival are blessed by Son. Also, women keep this fast for the son’s wishes and ability to do better in Life. But men are also keeping this fast and perform Chhatch-Pooja with full devotion.

Worship of Sun’s Wives, ‘Usha’ and ‘Pratyausha

The Chhath-rituals are basically the festival of the Sun worship, which has a special place in Hinduism. In the deities of Hinduism, the sun is such a God, which can be seen in the embodiment.

There is a belief that the main source of the powers of the sun is his wives name ‘Usha’ and ‘Pratusha’. In Chhath, the combined worship is to be performed for two powers (Sun’s both the wives) is accompanied by the Sun. These two powers are symbolic to sun in a way that in the morning, the first ray of the Sun is called ‘Usha’ and in the evening, both of them are bowed to the last ray of the Sun is called ‘Pratyusha’.

Chhath Tradition Story

Worship of the Sun is from Rigu-Vedic period. The Sun worship is mentioned and discussed in Vishnu-Purana, Bhagwat-Purana and Brahma-Vaivarta-Purana.

The Chhath-ritual of the Sun has become a systematic festival in Hindu culture till medieval period, which is still going on. This ritual is compulsory to be performed near the bank of any river or pond.

The sun in the form of deity is found in the Rig-Veda for the first time. But the rituals and worship of the Sun use to perform in a different form in every civilization.
After Rig-veda, all other Upnished and Vedas have mentioned and discussed prominently about the Sun. Autor Yask has also mentioned about the Sun in the Hindu-Vedic-texts, Nirukta's. He placed the Sun in the first place in comparison of other Gods and Goddesses.  

The practice of Sun worship became more and more prevalent during the mythological era. 
At the end of a North-Vedic era, people imagined the human form of the Sun. Then the same belief took the form of idol worship of the Sun. Due to this the Sun's temples were also built in this Mythological Period (Era). Also, the Sun was considered to be the God of health in the Era. 

Probably this is the beginning of the Chhath festival. As per one story that 
Lord Krishna's grandson had leprosy. To get rid of this disease, the special rituals have been performed by the Shakya Island Brahmins.

Dr. Shanker Adawal
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