Chhath Puja – A festival dedicated to Sun

Courtesy: Bihar Tourism

When I watched this video 2 years ago, My eyes were in tears.Let me admit this, I played this ad so many times that I felt so bad that I couldn’t go to my home due to my work. Now, I realize that life can’t be more important than the emotions, togetherness, love and family. It was my mother’s first chhath. My garndmother(we used to call “mama”) was getting old and my mother took a step to do it even though she was not so well. One of my friends brought the prasad for me and it was so sweet. I have so many fond memories of chhath puja with my family.  I have never been so attach to something in my life than few things and one of those are Chhath puja. But during recent years, I haven’t got many chances to celebrate this with my family which I miss a lot.

What does Chhath mean? 

To tell you about Chhath, The word chhath means “sixth” and it derives from sanskrit. It is celebrated on 6th Day of Kartika Month of Hindu Calender. Chhath Puja is considered one of the oldest festival from vedic hindu religion.

Chhath is a festival which is dedicated to Mother Nature and is celebrated with purity and cleanliness.

What is historical Significance behind Chhath?

This festival finds it root in Rigveda, one of the vedas where rishis of yore used this method to remain without any external intake of food as they were able to obtain energy directly from the sun’s rays. This was done through the Chhath method.

One of the most historical significance of why Hindu celebrate Chhath puja right after Diwali (exactly after 4 days)  because When Ram and Sita came back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile then they kept fast and offered puja to God Sun during shukla paksha of Kartika month. From that time, Chhath puja is integral festival in culture of Hindu who lives around Bihar, Uttarpradesh and Nepal.

We worship God sun but why do we say Chhathi Mayya? (source- wiki)

The Goddess who is worshipped during the famous Chhath Puja is known as Chhathi Maiya. Chhathi Maiya is known as Usha in the Vedas. She is believed to be the beloved younger wife of Surya, the sun god. Usha and Pratyusha are wives of Surya and Aditi is his mother.

Usha is the term used to refer to dawn– The first light of day. But in the Rig Veda she has more symbolic meaning. Symbolically Usha is the dawn of divine consciousness in the individual aspirant. It is said – Ushaand Pratyusha, wives of Sun are the main source of Sun. Both Usha and Pratyusha are worshiped along with Sun in chhath parva. Usha (literally-the first morning sun-ray) is worshipped on the last day and Pratyusha(the last sun-ray of day) is worshipped in the evening by offering water or milk to the rising and setting sun respectively. This is the only parva which signifies rising sun as well as setting sun both.

What do we pray for in chhath puja?

The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank God Sun for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.The Sun, considered as the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress. In Hinduism, Sun worship is believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy, and helps ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders.

Why do children/kid love chhath puja very much?

We used to get lot of things to eat. Specially, Pakwaan(thekuaa) and Rice pudding(Gud ka kheer). I used to eat lot of Ghaghar, Sugarcane and dry fruits. Most of the family members would be at home so we used to play with each other- cricket.We used to burn our leftover crackers during chhath puja dusra aragh and pahla aragh.

You can listen this song which shows how badly a bihari guy misses chhath festival when mother can’t do chhath puja. Yes, I miss it too. 😦

[This post is dedicated to my Grand Parents whom I lost this year. I miss you a lot].

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Visit to the Ganga Ghat @ Darbhanga House

Finding a calm place in Patna is not so difficult when you live so close to the Holy Ganges. Yesterday one of friends (I will keep the name as a secret because he doesn’t want to be revealed on public forum) called me at 10:30pm and asked if I could meet him. I said yes by dropping the phone and pulling up my jeans. And I was with him in next 5 minutes.

It was a night with full of dust in the air because of so many marriages. During this time, you could easily get a glance of “Barati Dance” on the tune of Bhojpuri songs. My friend and I were just looking around but we were clueless on where to go so my friend (who was driving) moved the steering of his Alto K10 (which he thinks that it is the best car for roads of Patna) toward the banks of the Holy River Ganga. It was more than a decade when I saw the Ganga River very close therefore I was excited. We reached the Darbhanga House and walked to the banks. No one was there and it was barren except for few dogs who were barking on each other. But when you sit near the bank then you wouldn’t realize the barking noise. Because you would involve yourself with Ganga and the peace. The place was too calm and wind was moving slowly by touching our body. You could see clear sky and there were no lights to the horizon. The Ganga has now almost disappeared. As usual we had lot of interesting conversation on what’s going with each other. Apart from our conversation, I was feeling very relaxed there because of so many reasons. Last couple of weeks were full of mixed emotions. My grandfather was not well but thanks to god and now he is well enough to talk and walk. The second thing is we all are now safe from terrifying Earthquake on last Sunday (I pray to god for all people whose life destroyed due to this.

After spending almost an hour, I realized that it was too late and I had to rush back home as I had to have dinner. So we moved from the bank after praying to the goddess Ganga. ). If you visit Patna then I would recommend to do an Aarti at Ganga Ghat(Near NIT) which is an auspicious believe.

Yesterday was the last day from my one of the longest visit to Patna when I left here for my studies in 2005. I wish I would come back here someday to find the same calmness in life.

What Makes Nitish Kumar VVS for Bihar!!

“If even Bihar can change, then anywhere in India can change,” said Shaibal Gupta of the Asian Development Research Institute, an independent think tank here. “With good governance, good policy and law and order anything is possible.”

It was a very hot day for British High Commissioner Sir Richard Stagg who visited Patna last week to see the development made in to BIHAR administration backed by the fund given by UK Government. In answering one of the question asked by reporter regarding why UK Government is investing a lot in Bihar State, he replied as “because we find the approach of Nitish Kumar right. He is the man who has the vision to govern a state like Bihar”.

Sir Stagg was very confident about the way PMC has implemented many reforms for the benefits of the residents. This shows the believe and faith of others in Nitish Kumar.

We can see how BIHAR has come across from such a Jungle Raj perception to a new emerging market for the foreign investors. This is not only the case where Bihar Government is being funded by the foreign countries .Japan, China and Singapore is investing in the magnificent reform of the great University Nalanda University. Apart from this, Buddhism countries like china, Srilanka, Japan and Bhutan helping Bihar to develop Gaya on a more large scale.

I lived in Patna for almost all my childhood. My mother says the medical facilities where really good when I was born but after 10 years it was all collapsed due to the corruption and irresponsibility of RJD Government. People at that time feared to go to Government hospital. Now days the scenario is reversed by the current government because of tighten belt on management authorities.

Nitish Kumar, who belongs to a village Bakhtiyarpur and an electrical Engineer by degree from NIT, Patna has done several reforms during the last 6 years of his leadership. I am listing few of those*:

  1. Bihar developed an electronic version of the Right to Information Act. In addition, he launched the E-Shakti NREGS program, by which rural people can get employment information by telephone. He is credited with improving infrastructure, and reducing crime, widely felt to be serious problems in the state.
  2. Under his governance Bihar has had a record number of criminal prosecutions through fast track courts. His government initiated a mandatory weekly meeting with all District Magistrates to monitor progress at the grassroot level.
  3.  His government has generated employment in police services and teaching. Bihar recorded record construction work during his five year mandate, surpassing the national average.
  4.  Nitish Kumar government also initiated bicycle and meal programs – the government gave bicycles to girls who stayed in school – which saw Bihar getting huge number of girls into schools and fall in school dropout rates. Women and extremely backward castes were given 50% reservation in electorals for the first time ever in India.
  5. Health schemes were launched to improve village hospitals and the free medicine distribution system.
  6.  Loan schemes for farmers were improved by involving national banks.
  7. The state witnessed steep hike in GSDP growth, the second highest in the country. Bihar was recorded as the highest tax payer state in eastern India.

What I feel that  he  understands the intricate socio-political alignments and aspirations of the  people of state. That knowledge has helped him to not only earn the trust of the people by lifting the standard of governance in the state but also rewrite the equations of identity politics in the state, the combination effectively crushing the political power of rivals Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan. RJD got only 22 seats in last state assembly election. You would be surprised that to be an opposition party you have to get atleast 25 seat.

In Between all the development, what I feel need to be improved is electricity, Employment and migration of talent. Employment rate still very low in Bihar, which has to be increased.

Literacy rate has gone up by few % still it is 28th from the top. Education reform needs to be taken care very seriously.

When I left Bihar for my study, the Nitish Kumar had just started. Now many engineering colleges are getting opened in the state (BIT Patna). The national institute of fashion technology, IIT Patna, Chandragupta Institute of management, these are the few highlight of education reform on very high level. The literacy rates in villages are still very low.

Nitish Kumar is getting all the supports from Biharis all around the globe. I wish, I could be a part of such a turnaround on my motherland.

Please give your valuable comments.

*Wikipedia