Chhath Puja; thanksgiving to the sun; herbs for mood
The Adiveda Weekly #24
Hari Aum Sadhakas!
Today we celebrate the festival of Chhath Puja. It is the only festival that is solely devoted to the worship of the solar orb. Here’s a little bit about it and we’ll get into a lot more detail in the blog.
Chhath Puja is an ancient festival that has its origin in the Vedas and used to be celebrated all over Bharat at one time. However, with the passage of time it decreased in popularity and became confined to the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and the Madhesh region of Nepal. Chhath Puja is celebrated on the Shashti Tithi or 6th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Kartika, six days after Diwali.
The Hindu way of life
Chhath Puja is dedicated to the worship of Surya – the deity of the sun and his sister Chhathi Maiyya, who is worshipped as the goddess of the festival. The whole puja is performed as a thanksgiving to Surya, the sun god, for supporting life on earth and to seek the divine couple’s blessings. Worship of the sun has always been given a unique position in Hinduism from Vedic times. Though our physical eyes cannot see the creator, we can see the sun which is the source of both light and life. In fact, life on this planet would cease if there was no sun. So in Hinduism the sun is called pratyaksha devata – the god that is visible to the eyes.
This festival is one that demands a lot of tapas (austerity) from its devotees. There is a rigorous routine of bathing in holy rivers or water bodies, abstinence from food and water, offering arghya (water scented with cardamom and dhruv grass) to the setting and rising sun and meditating on the sun while standing in water! So it’s a festival which demands great faith and dedication on the part of the devotee.
Reflection of the week
“Just as the shadow cannot live without the sun so also the jivatma is only the shadow cast by the glory that is the Brahman. It has no independent existence.”
For your everyday practice
Thanksgiving to the Sun God.
The earth is a solar-powered planet. Life cannot exist without the sun. So the least we can do is to show our gratitude by chanting a mantra to the sun.
“Aum Suryaya Namaha!”
“Salutations to the Sun God – Surya.”
For your health and well-being
Herbs for low mood.
Recently, research has indicated that certain herbs like ginseng, schisandra berry, and rosemary can benefit mental health through their interaction with the gut microbiome. Other herbs like saffron have been used in Ayurveda for centuries, with a known benefit to mood. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate such herbs into your diet, consider a post-dinner drink and a warm glass of spiced milk/dairy-free milk with a few strands of saffron (look up saffron milk recipes for ideas on how to make this)!
By Dr. Poorna Menon, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
From Vanamali Mataji’s desk
As has been said many times before, all Hindu festivals have a scientific and utilitarian reason hidden behind the outer, elaborate rituals and the Chhath Puja is no exception to this rule. The scientific significance lies in the fact that the sun has the power to cure various ailments and ensure longevity. The whole process undergone by the devotees during the rituals ensures solar infusion into the body. When the physical conditions of the body are in a specific state, the absorption and conduction of solar bio-electricity increases.
According to astronomy, the date of the Chhath Puja is also very important. The sun is in the southern hemisphere during the month of Kartika. At this time, there is an upsurge of ultraviolet rays to the earth. This is very harmful to people’s skin, eyes and stomach. That is why during Chhath Puja, arghya is offered to the sun many times both in the morning and evening to protect us from the harmful effects of these rays.
Important dates this week
Skanda Shashti today, 30th October
Chhath Puja today, 30th October
Ekadashi on Friday, 4th November
That’s all for now. What would you like to see more of? Let us know! Thank you very much for reading.
At your service,
The Adiveda Team