Tulasi or Vrinda or Tulsi is the hallowed name of Srimati Vrinda Devi who is the worshippable plant which can be seen flourishing in any home who are following Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism. One can always find her growing nicely in the courtyards of the houses.
Shaligrama is a sanctified stone form of Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna who appeared as a form for his devotees. This form of lord is found in the Gandaki river which flows in the Indo Nepal border. One who takes a dip in the holy river can find these Shaligrama shila in their hands.
This Vivaha ceremony is performed in Bheeshma panchaka of the month of Kartik. Out of the five days, it can be celebrated on any of them which is decided as per the auspicious constellations.
The legend behind Tulasi-Shaligrama Vivaha
As per Padma Purana, Tulasi devi was known as Vrinda in her past life. He was the utmost chaste wife of Jalandhar. Jalandhar was born out of Lord Shiva’s anger. Lord Shiva, who once became extremely angry opened his third eye and let his krodhhagni come out which was then dumped into ocean.
From this, Jalandhar was born who tried to claim his right over the 14 gems which came out of ocean during the churning. He was the husband of Vrinda, who was devotedly dedicated to service of her husband. She had a blessing indicating that her chastity was the cause of her husband being invincible.
In order to restore the peace in the celestial planets, Lord vishnu came is disguise of her husband to supposedly dismantle her purity. When she came to know that it was Lord Vishnu in disguise, she was angry at him and therefore cursed him to become a black stone since he performed an act done by stone hearted people.
And Lord Vishnu gave her the blessing that she would be his greatest devotee and she would take her next life in the form of tree worshippable by everyone. No offering to the lord shall be complete without her presence.
Procedure of marriage
Bhishma panchaka or Vishnu panchaka are the five days of the last month of Chaturmasya i.e. the four months of austerities to be practised by spiritual seekers. They are the last five days of the auspicious month of Kartik. They are Kartik Shukla Ekadashi, Dwadashi, Trayodashi, Chaturdashi and Purnima.
As per Mahabharata, Bhishma deva observed a strict fast during last five days in order to prepare for his death. As a result of his austerity, Lord Krishna became very pleased with him and blessed him with pure devotional service.
Benefits of Fasting
For the one who is observing chaturmasya vrata for the four months should intensify the austerities or these five days and one must observe fast from grains for the last five days.
Karwa Chauth or Karak Chaturthi derives it’s name from Kartik Chaturthi which is the fourth day from the beginning of the pious month of Kartik, the month most dear to Lord Sri Krishna, the supreme personality of godhead.
Since Kartik month represents Srimati Radharani, it is most dear to Lord Madhava, her husband. This festival falls on the fouth day of Krishna paksha of Kartik month, hence it becomes more auspicious.
It falls nine days before the festival of lights, Deepawali. This fast is kept as a prayer for the longevity of the husband and an ever lasting loving relationship.
The Karwa chauth Vrat
On this day, the married women of the household keep a fast for their husband. At some places, the fiancee also keeps a fast for her would-be-husband.
They rise up early in the morning and take sargi which is sent by her mother-in-law. It comprises of sweets and milk items.
The whole day is kept as a complete fast, even from water and they become busy in decorating the house and themselves by putting all types of ornaments and colouring the handa with mehandi which is considered very auspicious for them.
They purchase all the items of Sringar a day before and get them ready to be worn in the evening time.
In afternoon, ladies of the house assemble to listen to the katha of Karwa Chauth Vrat and keep some earthen pots with them in which they keep on putting turmeric rice.
When the moon rises, they offer water to the moon, light a lamp and take blessings of the Lord and her husband.
After that, they all enjoy the sumptuous feast being cooked by her and thus, the fast comes to an end.
The story of Karwa Chauth
“A long long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Veeravati. When she was of the marriageable age, Veeravati was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karva Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents’ house.”
“After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen was too delicate and couldn’t stand the rigours of fasting. By evening, Veeravati was too weak, and fainted. Now, the queen had seven brothers who loved her dearly. They couldn’t stand the plight of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. They made a fire at the nearby hill and asked their sister to see the glow. They assured her that it was the moonlight and since the moon had risen, she could break her fast.”
“However, the moment the gullible queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was dead. The queen was heartbroken and rushed to her husband’s palace. On the way, she met Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati. Parvati informed her that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the goddess granted her the boon that the king would be revived but would be ill.”
“When the queen reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, the queen managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. Next year, on the day of Karva Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king.”
“The queen observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the karva for the puja , her maid removed the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness, and mistook the maid for his queen. When the real queen returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid.”
“However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the Karva Chauth vrat . Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked the real queen (now turned maid) if she wanted anything. The queen asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and the queen kept singing a song ” Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi ” (the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen).”
“On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Goddess Parvati.”
As soon as the rainy season arrives by the commencement of the month of Shravan (July-August), we all find the genuine sages and hermits who are on the way to achieve perfection in their relationship with the supreme personality of godhead or have already achieved perfection in same, to pause their wanderings and see them staying in huge numbers in temples and ashrams, giving opportunity to the general masses to serve the lord and get them blessed by their blessings.
Chatumaas, the word comes from two separate words, Chatur and Maas. It means a collection of four months, Sharavan (July-August), Bhadrapada (August-September), Ashwin (September-October) and Kartik (October-November). These four months are specifically chosen since it involves the complete rainy season and the autumn season. These seasons, the sages stay at a particular place and perform austerities of body, speech and mind.
As per Ayurveda, these four months are described as the months of highest weakness in the body since the sun changes it’s course. It becomes more prominent in the southern hemisphere and the withdrawal causes generalised weakness. And since the weather is moist and humid, the body is depleted of many nutrients via bodily secretions.
In these months, the shastras enjoin that people must restrain from somethings from their diet and well as daily routine.
The rainy season, carries along with itself a plethora of pathogens and insects who move out from their residence inside the ground in order to find shelter somewhere else as their homes are flooded with water.
Also, due to cool weather, humid climate and availability of water makes the pathogens grow in an accelerated manner. These pathogens become the cause of diseases and hence, to avoid the contact with pathogens, one must observe cleanliness and must restrict movement.
Certain food items must not be consumed. One must not consume
- Green leafy vegetables in Shravan
- Yogurt in Bhadrapada
- Milk in Ashwin
- Non-veg, Urad and Masoor Dal in Kartik
The reason for the same is:
In Shravan, due to fresh arrival of monsoon, all the small organisms living inside the ground come out and try to find shelter. Green leafy vegetables being the best in nutrition as well as space give them the best opportunity. Hence, they enter the leafy vegetables
In Bhadrapada, the season becomes too much cold and wet. Hence, taking yogurt will cause respiratory diseases.
In Ashwin, the mammals whose milk we drink have been enough poisoned by eating the leafy vegetables. For two months, they have been doing so and hence, their milk becomes indigestible and we have the weakest strength at that time due to high humidity and clear sky.
In Kartik, the body starts to recover and welcome the winter season. Since the season is about to change and dryness is to come, consuming foods which are dry and take long time to digest is not considered wise.
The ultimate way to offer thanks to the ultimate source of energy ‘Surya Devta’ is a unique festival in this incredible India. Chhath is no more a regional festival of Biharis and Terai region Hindus, but is widely accepted by hilly origins and almost throughout India. Let us explore this Hindu thanks giving ceremony to God Sun.
- The auspicious tradition of Chhath puja was initiated by son of Surya, Karan who ruled over the Anga Desh (Munger district of Bihar) during the time of Mahabharata.
- Lord Rama and Mata Sita offered special prayers to lord Sun ad fasted after returning to Ayodhya from exile and begin the ritual of celebrating Chhath puja.
- The special powers were bestowed to Draupadi by Surya devta, which helped the Pandavas to regain back their kingdom of Hastinapur.
- To receive immense blessings and prosperity from Surya, Chhath is celebrated lively for four days period during the Hindu month of Kartik.
- First day is Nahai Khai i.e. ‘Nahai’ means ‘bathing’ and ‘Khai’ means ‘to eat’; the devotees take a holy dip in river or lake and holy water is taken at home to cook prasadam (offering food).
- The second day is Kharna, on which the worshippers perform ‘nirjalahaar’ vrat for about 8 to 12 hours. By the end of the day, the fast is eneded by adoring lord Sun and eating Prasad. Then another 36 hours fast is begins.
- The third day is the main festival of Chhath called Sandhya Argha. The devotees clad themselves in yellow coloured attire and offer the specially prepared food offerings to Surya Devta at the riverbank in the evening.
- The last day is Suryodaya Argha on which the devotees gives the early morning offerings at the riverbank and break their fast by having Chhath Prasad.
- This festival is a morning and evening affair on all the four days as the sunrise and sunset rays are most beneficial for human body and consists of low intensity of ultra violet rays.
- The traditional festival of Chhath showers you with positivity by detoxifying the mind, soul and body; and removes the negative energies by adoring the powerful Sun.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja