The Power of Karva Chauth

Today is Karva Chauth, a symbol of bond, sacrifice and love.

The word Karva Chauth, is composed of Karva - meaning a clay pot - and Chauth (from char meaning four) corresponding to the fourth day after the Full Moon in Kartik month (of Hindu calendar) following the Autumnal Equinox.

The Origin of Karva Chauth?
The exact origin and reasons for Karva Chauth are not known. With time, and based on the male-dominated society, this festival has come to signify a prayer for the long life of husband.

As per my research on this subject there is also another reason for Karva Chauth to have started. Many websites mention it as following -

"The origin of this festival was based on a very sweet and noble idea. Though this idea has lost its true sense as today the whole outlook of this festival has changed.

In the ancient time, girls used to get married at a very early stage, and had to go and live with their in-laws in other villages. After marriage, if she faces any problem with her in-laws or her husband, she would have no one to talk to or seek support from. There used to be no telephones, buses and trains long ago. Her own parents and relatives would be quite far and unreachable. Thus the custom started that, at the time of marriage, when bride would reach her in-laws, she would befriend another woman there who would be her friend or sister for life. It would be like god-friends or god-sisters. Their friendship would be sanctified through a small Hindu ceremony right during the marriage.

Once the bride and this woman had become god-friends or god-sisters, they would remain so all their lives and recognize the relation as such. They would also treat each other like real sisters.

Later in life, if she faces any difficulty related to her husband or in-laws, she would be able to confidently talk or seek help from each other. Thus, Karwa Chauth was started to as a festival to celebrate this relationship between the once-brides and their god-friends (god-sisters). Fasting and praying for husband came later and is secondary. It was probably added, along with other mythical tales, to enhance the festival. The husband would always be associated with this festival, because the day of starting this holy friendship between two god-sisters was essentially the day of bride's marriage to him"

Additional benefit of Karva chauth?

The festival provides an opportunity for all married women to get close to their in-laws. Possessing a tremendous social and cultural significance, this festival is celebrated by keeping fast, applying henna and exchange of gifts. Mother-in-laws buy 'sargi' for their daughter-in-laws. This 'sargi' consists of various types of sweetmeats, and sometime clothes. All these items are supposed to bring good luck to the women.

Popular Stories related to Karva Chauth?

The Story of Queen Veervati

A beautiful queen called Veervati was the only sister of seven loving brothers. She spent her first Karva Chauth as a married woman at her parents' house. She began a strict fast after sunrise but, by evening, was desperately waiting for the moonrise as she suffered severe thirst and hunger. Her seven brothers couldn't bear to see their sister in such distress and created a mirror in a pipal tree that made it look as though the moon had risen. The sister mistook it for the moon and broke her fast. The moment she ate, word arrived that her husband, the king, was dead. Heartbroken, she wept through the night until her shakti compelled a Goddess to appear and ask why she cried. When the queen explained her distress, the Goddess revealed how the queen had been tricked by her brothers and instructed her to repeat the Karva Chauth fast with complete devotion. When Veervati repeated the fast, Yama was forced to restore her husband to life.

In a variant of this story, the brothers build a massive fire behind a mountain instead and trick their sister by convincing her that the glow is the moon. She breaks her fast and word arrives that her beloved husband has died. She immediately begins running to her husband's house, which is somewhat distant, and is intercepted by Shiv-Parvati. Parvati reveals the trickery to her, cuts her own little finger to give the wife a few drops of her holy blood, and instructs her to be careful in keeping the complete fast in the future. The wife sprinkles Parvati's blood on her dead husband and, coming back to life, they are reunited.

The Legend of Mahabharata

The belief in this fast and its associated rituals goes back to the pre-Mahabharata times. Draupadi, too, is said to have observed this fast. Once Arjun went to the Nilgiris for penance and the rest of the Pandavas faced many problems in his absence. Draupadi, out of desperation, remembered Lord Krishna and asked for help. Lord Krishna reminded her that on an earlier occasion, when Goddess Parvati had sought Lord Shiva's guidance under similar circumstances, she had been advised to observe the fast of Karva Chauth. In some tellings of this legend, Shiva tells Parvati the story of Veervati to describe the Karva Chauth fast. Draupadi followed the instructions and observed the fast with all its rituals. Consequently, the Pandavas were able to overcome their problems.

The Legend of Karva

There was a woman named Karva, who was deeply devoted to her husband. Her intense love and dedication towards him gave her shakti (spiritual power). While bathing at a river, her husband was caught by a crocodile. Karva bound the crocodile with a cotton yarn and asked Yama (the god of death) to send the crocodile to hell. Yama refused. Karva threatened to curse Yama and destroy him. Yama, afraid of being cursed by "Pati-vrat" (devoted) wife, sent the crocodile to hell and blessed Karva's husband with long life. Karva and her husband enjoyed many years of wedded bliss. To this day, Karva Chauth is celebrated with great faith and belief.

The Story of Satyavan and Savitri

When Lord Yama, came to procure Satyavan's soul, Savitri begged him to grant him life. When he refused, she stopped eating and drinking and followed Yama who carried away her dead husband. Yama said that she could ask for any other boon except for the life of her husband. Savitri asked that she be blessed with children. Yama agreed. Being a "Pati-Vrat" (devoted) wife, Savitri would never let any other man be the father of her children. Yama was left with no other choice but to restore Savitri's husband to life.

Dr.Hemant Mittal (Neuro-Psychiatrist, Motivational Speaker and Counselor)
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address- 15, shreeji plaza, next to ice n spice restaurant, opposite seawoods station, seawoods (east)
Navi Mumbai

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