The mine from which the Moon digs out its silver
The depths at which the Sun finds all its gold
In your eyes I see my Moon and Sun glitter
Through the sieve, my Beloved, I behold..
As Karwa pours my brimming heart on you
My lips quiver with a silent prayer
You are mine, I am nothing but you
As one may we remain, forever
Once upon a time, there was a woman in the Bollywood films who broke out in a Bhajan to save the laaj (honor) of the family. The spotlessly - clean heroine had married the perfect man – who else but the hero- who was wrongly indicted for a misdemeanor. As the pativrata (devoted wife) she was supposed to stand by him –through the smooth and the rough protecting him and their family even if it meant pleading with the gods. And hence the bhajan.
But that used to happen a long time back.
Now with the advent of the NRI second generation, the target audience of ever younger people and the search for identity- the Indianness with all its concomitant religious festivals and rituals have taken on a new meaning. And as most magnum opus from Bollywood begins to resemble wedding videos- all marriage related rituals and activities have taken a more magnificent hue. After all the gaana bajaana, shaadi byah, holi, diwali and of course karva chauth, would be sorely missed by the 2nd generation NRI –especially all the colour and glitz of such festivities in an alien country
Not surprisingly, Karwa chauth has become the most important festival in any romance, marriage related film –i.e. approximately 99% of the films made here. Bollywood also takes considerable pains to think of ingenious situations to incorporate the Karwa Chauth.
Ever since Sooraj Barjatya packaged “The great Indian Wedding “ in all its magnificent colors in his sweet mega hit Hum Aapke Hain Kaun , Karwa chauth has been the festival to celebrate for any bride- or any girl at any stage of courting . Aditya Chopra made a commendable follow up in the form of the mega hit Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. So we had a Kajol- who was not married at that stage- dressed in the traditional sari kept the karva chauth vrat for her beau Shah Rukh Khan –of course keeping it under wraps –‘chori chori chupke chupke’ She pretends to keep it for the fiancé forced upon her by her tyrannical father. The scene in which she fooled everyone and ultimately broke the fast only for Shah Rukh Khan who offered her water to drink always manages the loudest claps .
After the film became a mega hit, karva chauth - the festival of wifely or even womanly devotion – was adopted by every other banners. Yes Boss had karva chauth sequences. In Pyaar Koi Khel Nahin, where poor Mahima Choudhary keeps the fast for her second husband Sunny Deol, But her powers returns her first husband Apoorva Agnihotri has returned from the dead, courtesy as she has kept the karva chauth fast. even an eminent director like Sanjay Leela Bhansali had to incorporate a karva chauth due to its mass appeal. The lovely Aishwarya Rai became nostalgic about her first love, Salman Khan (the song ‘Chand Chhupa’ became a classic ) while she is keeping the fast for her reel husband, Ajay Devgan in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. In David Dhawan’s hit Biwi0 No1, the Karva Chauth confusion where the wife and the mistress both fast for one man becomes a key element.
The power and sanctity of the karva chauth is making its depiction cut all boundaries. A teenybopper in "Ishq Vishq" fasts on 'karva chauth' (a fast observed by married women for their husband's longevity) to entice her boyfriend from the career-oriented independent 'other woman'. As a legal eagle in "Kanoon Ki Aawaz," JAYA PRADA sneaked in a Karwa Chauth number - this was part of her `item' numbers! In Chachi 420 the family is North Indian but must be reminded of Karva Chauth night by a 'Maharashtrian' Chachi. In Barsaat' the confusion of romantic inclinations of the protagonist is brought to clarity via transformation in his character through highlighting the richness of Indian values of karva chauth, the importance of marital vows and a husband’s commitment to his wife – all against the backdrop of festivities
Though Karva Chauth is essentially a North Indian festival for married women — who pray for the welfare and long life of their husbands on this day women of all communities and regions in India celebrate it .And Bollywood has influenced it all as they celebrate it in a ‘filmi’ manner, dressed in the typical Punjabi red and gold chunris worn over bridal ghagra-cholis or sarees. Recently even popular TV serials like “Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”, “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki” and ‘Kasauti Zindagi Kay” have also bowed to its power of making a woman portrayed as a savior and incorporated Karva Chauth celebrations.
SONGS OF KARVA CHAUTH
No Karva Chauth festival is complete without songs sung by women in North India or the Puja Song sung by Punjabi women, while they exchange thalis seven times. I t is sung after the 'Bayen' is placed in the thali....
"Veero Kudiye Karwada,
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
A Katti Na Ateri Naa,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Naa,
Gwand Pair payeen Naa,
Sui Che Dhaga Payeen Naa
Ruthda maniyen Naa,
Suthra Jagayeen Naa,
Bhain Pyari Veeran,
Chan Chade Te Pani Peena
Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara,
Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara....... (6)"
This Stanza is sung 6 times i.e. It keeps on repeating till the time Thalis have been exchanged and all women have their own thalis... it goes on six times, 6 feras or circles.
The seventh fera or circle meant for exchanging the Thali goes like this...
"Veero Kudiye Karwada,
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
Aye Katti Naya Teri Nee,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Bhee,
Aar Pair payeen Bhee,
Ruthda maniyen Bhee,
Suthra Jagayeen Bhee,
Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara,
Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara......."
A different song is sung while viewing the moon.
Karva Chauth song sung by women while offering water (Ark) to moon.
This song is sung at the night while offering water (Ark) to the moon. It needs to be sung 5 times. A parikrama of moon is done each time after offering ark. For parikrama, the lady turns a full circle standing at one place.
" Sir Dhadi,
SPECIAL RECIPES FOR KARWA CHAUTH
1/4 cup condensed milk
2 cups milk
2 bread slices
A few saffron strands
1/4 tsp elaichi powder
1. Cut up crusts from bread slices.
2. Grind these slices in a processor in order to prepare fresh bread crumbs.
3. Boil some milk in a pan.
4. Add bread crumbs, condensed milk and sugar at the same time.
5. Simmer on the mixture on high flame. It should be stirred continuously for about 10 minutes.
6. Once it gets to the correct density, remove it from the fire.
7. Add saffron and cardamom powder and stir till it mixes well.
8. Place it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
9. Now the Rabri is ready to serve.
Dum Aloo ( Spicy Potato)
Potato : 250 gm
Garam Masala : ½ tsp.
Tomato : 100 gm
Jeera : ¼ tsp.
Dhaniya powder : 1½ tsp.
Hing : 1 pinch
Red chilly powder and Haldi powder : ½ tsp. each
Oil for tadaka : 2 tbsp.
Salt : 1 tsp.
Coriander leaves : For flavor
Method: First boil and peel the potatoes. Cut them into small cubes. Grate the tomato and keep aside. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add Jeera and Hing together. Add tomato and cook till it turns brown. Add potatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add Dhaniya, red chilly, Haldi, salt and Garam Masala. Add two glassfuls of water. Cover it with lid. After one whistle, simmer the gas for 5-7 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl. Sprinkle some coriander leaves. Serve hot with Bedmi Puri.
Send Your Karwa Chauth Recipes
1/4 tsp green chilly paste
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
Salt as per taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp ginger paste
Oil for frying
Method: Boil potatoes for 7 minutes. Peel and smash the potatoes. Mix rest of the ingredients in oil except potatoes. Make small patties. Heat oil in a frying pan and deep fry the Tikkis till they turn golden brown. Serve hot with wafers and ketchup.
All purpose flour or Maida -2 cups
Salt 1/2 tsp
Ghee 4 tbsps
Orange -food color
Grated dry coconut(copra)
Oil for frying
For syrup (chashni / paka ):
Sugar 1 cup
Water 1 cup
Cardamom powder 1 tsp
Method: In a large bowl, combine flour, food color and salt. Add water and make a soft dough (like chapati). Keep covered for 20 minutes. Now prepare sugar syrup or chashni. Add 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar. Bring it to boil. Keep boiling till you get a thread like consistency. Add cardamom powder and keep aside.
Make small lemon size balls out of the dough and keep them covered. Dust the working surface with little flour. Take a ball and roll into round shape. Smear ghee on the surface. Now fold it into half and again half. It should look like a triangle. Then press lightly with the rolling pin. Follow the same procedure for the remaining balls.
After heating oil in a frying pan, dip the prepared triangular puris one by one. Deep fry in a medium flame till they turn golden brown.
As soon as you take out from the oil, dip it in the sugar syrup. Let the syrup cover all sides. Remove with the help of tongs and keep aside on the plate. Decorate with grated dry coconut (copra) and chopped nuts on top of each Puri
Broken Wheat Kheer
Broken wheat 1 cup
Water 2 1/2 cup
Jaggery 1 cup
Cornflour 2 tsp
Cardamom powder 2 tsp
Coconut milk, from one cup freshly grated coconut
Prepare broken wheat in a dry grinder. Then, cook the broken wheat in pressure cooker, with water, till it becomes very soft. This normally takes about 8 minutes. Add jaggery to nearly boiling cooked wheat and let it simmer for a minute more. Ensure continuous stirring to avoid burning. Remove from the burner. Now, mix coconut milk with Cornflour and add to porridge on the low flame. Allow it to almost boil. Do not let it boil for any length of time. Add cardamom powder, and serve hot or cold.
WHOLE WHEAT AND FENUGREEK PARANTHAS
Whole-wheat flour [atta]-2 cups
Salt to taste
Ghee/oil- 2 tbsp
Chopped fenugreek leaves [methi]-2 tbsp
Roasted crushed saunf[fennel]seeds- 1tsp
Water-as required to make the dough.
Method: Mix together the wheat flour, salt, saunf, ghee/oil together, using warm water make a smooth, soft and pliable dough. Let it rest for about 10 mins. Mix in the chopped methi leaves. Divide into equal portions. Roll each portion into flat Paranthas. Cook them on a tava. Smear ghee/oil on both sides. Remove when done. Serve hot.
Curried Mix Vegetables
Potatoes-2 small, diced
Cauliflower florets-1/2 cup
Diced carrots-2 small
Diced green capsicum-1 no
Green peas-1/4 cup, boiled
Diced mushrooms-1/2 cup
Baby corn-6-8 nos. slit into 2
Chopped garlic- 1 tsp
Tomato puree-2 cups
Ghee/oil- 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Green cardamom powder [elaichi]-1/4 tsp
Cumin [jeera] powder- 1tsp
Coriander [dhaniya] powder-2 tsp
Red chilli powder- ½ tsp
Cinnamon stick [dalchini]-1 stick
Cloves [lavang]3-4 nos.
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder-1/2 tsp
Chopped coriander-2 tbsp
Method: Prepare all the vegetables as per the list. Deep fry them individually until they become crisp. To prepare the gravy, heat oil in a pan. Add cloves and cinnamon. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato puree and the powdered masalas. Mix well. Simmer until the oil leaves the sides of the gravy. Add the fried vegetables. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves
1 cup milk
1 tsp aniseeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp black cardamom
4 tbsp flour
2 tbsp powdered sugar
Method: Mix the sugar and milk well. When the sugar is dissolved, add the flour to form a batter. Beat the batter till it turns smooth and add the rest of the ingredients. Heat enough ghee for deep-frying and put two tablespoons of the batter in it and spread it into a thin round shape. Fry till golden brown and drain the excess ghee. Serve when hot.
1 litre milk, 1 tbsp basmati rice(washed), 1 cup sugar, 2-3 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 5 cardamoms, 4 cm cinnamon, 4 cloves, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp ghee.
6 almonds(sliced), a handful of raisins, 8 cashew nuts(chopped), a little ghee.
Method: Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. Add bay leaves and cuminseeds. When they splutter, add 2 tbsp sugar. Lower the heat and stir the sugar. When it caramelizes to a dark brown color, add milk. After the milk comes to a boil, add rice. Stir well. Pressure cook for 10-15 minutes. When it cools, mix the rice and milk well with a hand beater. Add sugar and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Powder cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves finely, and add to the milk. Stir well. Heat a little ghee and fry the raisins, cashew nuts and almonds lightly. Add to the milk and serve.
CHRISTIANITY: MARRIAGE IN GOD'S PLAN
1621 :In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but "one body" in Christ.
1623: According to the Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses, but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary. . The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity
However, sacramental marriage isn't a two-way street; it's an intersection at which two lives converge in Christ on the road to Heaven. The one and only model for a true, holy, Catholic marriage is the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. Conversely, a true, holy, Catholic marriage serves as a reflection of that relationship between Christ and His bride, a living beacon of faith to the faith community and to the world as a whole. As St. Luke wrote in his gospel, Jesus said, "No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket or under a bed; he puts it on a lamp stand so that whoever comes can see it." No better means is available to us to shine the Lord's light than to live a life together reflective of Jesus' sacrificial love for His bride.
A Jewish wedding is a joyous simcha where the hatan and the kallah sign the ketubah, stand beneath the huppah, are blessed with the Sheva Brachot and join together for yichud. Later, guests eat a delicious challah and dance an exuberant hora.God's purpose in creating the world was to have an object of love. His purpose in creating parents and children, husbands and wives, and all things in this world in complementary pairs was to substantiate true love throughout His creation. Likewise, parents are to live for their children, and children for their parents. Husbands are to live for their wives, and wives for their husbands. All beings in creation are to live for and give to others. If God's ideal of true love had been realized through Adam's family, that family would have become the beginning of the heavenly kingdom. It would have expanded throughout all of history to the clan, to the nation, and thence over all the earth. This would have been the world of true love - the kingdom of heaven on earth. Furthermore, there would have been a parallel expansion of the heavenly kingdom in the spiritual world.
Sheva Brachot: The Seven Blessings praise God for creating the world, creating human beings in his image, bringing children into the world, making the groom and bride as happy as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and ask God to bring "the sound of joy, the sound of celebration, the voice of the groom, the voice of the bride." The final blessing is the Kiddush, the blessing over the second cup of wine.
The popularity of the festival of Karva Chauth is extraordinary among married Hindu women in Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. You can see most married women on this day gaily attired and going out with an earthen utensil –especially in the rural areas. All of them keep a fast for the well being and long life of their husbands However, the actual ritual varies from region to region while celebrating Karva Chauth.
Uttar Pradesh: In the plains of Uttar Pradesh plains, women begin early to decorate the walls of their homes The themes are from the myths and legends and revolve around drawings of Gauri Ma, the moon and the sun. Usually , they wear new clothes for the evening puja which is performed with earthen lamps . The Karva is an earthen vessel. The women pray to the figurines assembled at their doorstep before having the crucial look at the moon,
Punjab: Karva Chauth is one of the most awaited occasions in the life of women here. For Karva Chauth celebrations they buy bangles, beautiful sarees, and embroidered suits. Stalls of sweets and eatables are put up and a number of mehandi artistes descend here from Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. Women wait to be body painted with their special mehndi or decorate hands. In some parts of Punjab, even young girls join in the fast in the hope of finding a worthy husband.
Rajasthan: In Rajasthan, the women dress up like newly weds by wearing their wedding-day chunris. The karvas are made with mud and the women usually fill these with rice and wheat. Most women follow a similar routine in Gujarat too. The wives wait till the full moon day of the month of Jyeshtha which usually falls in May or early June for fasting for their husbands in Maharashtra, This is called Vata Purnima. Here the woman the women believe they have not only ensured the welfare of her husband but also won the same husband for the next seven births.
Other States : In Madhya Pradesh, most draw their home walls like women from Uttar Pradesh. However , women allover India believe that the first 'Karva Chauth' of any new bride is very important . It is celebrated with new clothes, new jewellery and gifts from both mother and mother-in-law . The wedding day outfits are taken out of mothballs –or more accurately neem leaves in rural areas- and worn in splendor once again. Mehndi, sweets and gifts form the essentials.
The festival of Karva Chauth began as a sort of Ladies Day- when the ladies of the household gathered around and celebrated their married life. The day was also meant to celebrate the season of autumn and enjoy the company of friends and relatives. Slowly myths and legends were added to it and even a whiff of religion was added . The festival caught on gloriously among the Hindus and Sikh of north-western India.
As always, the festival was commemorated on the fourth day after the Full Moon in Kartik month of Hindu calendar.
Traditionally, a few days before Karva Chauth, married women buy new karvas, the spherical clay pots and paint them on the outside with beautiful designs. Inside the pot, they put bangles and ribbons, home-made candy and sweets, make-up items and small clothes e.g. handkerchief. The women then visit each other on the day of Karva Chauth or immediately afterward, and exchange these karvas. In rural areas, post harvest, it is an excellent time to enjoy festivities, meet one another and exchange gifts
In modern times , the simple festival has undergone a dramatic twist that makes it almost unrecognizable. Bolstered by Bollywood and high romance, we see even the usually hip women making an exception on this day. Planned in details months in advance, ladies take elaborate pains in choosing the right designer ethnic out fit , buy new jewellery and fill up beauty parlors to the brim- there are also special Karwa Chauth packages available. Young brides are especially fastidious and observe the stringent conditions of t he fast religiously. While mother in laws have receded in background- its nature as a Lady’s day is accepted widely .Even men join in with gusto- and why not? They have everything to gain on this day –including a long life!
MYTHOLOGY AND FOLK-LORE
MARRIED men are a harried lot. Known for their timidity if not outright henpecked ness, they are known to be glum and unconcerned outside their little domestic world. As the joke goes, they could tell the price of potatoes exactly , and their wife’s favourite color even better .But ask them about global warming , and they would freeze. And then there is the matter of their children- their sole preoccupation outside their occupation. And their occupation will always be the most secure- they win hands do0wn in any matter of security.
Not so in India. Here they become -and act as gods for one day. The Karva Chauth is a festival meant for husband worship. While exhibiting the importance of a household, the Day accords the husbands their rightful place. And it is celebrated with gusto- ladies get a day off; all girls are involved either behind the scenes or as actual participants, cards are made, even movies are made on the theme. It is a celebration of conjugal life and epitomizes the wives’ love for their spouses . The “Husband’s Day” in actual fact celebrates the Indian way, where everyone is accorded their due significance – where the mundane is infused with ethereal significance -and worshipped.
On husband’s day, the wife’s reaffirm their commitment. On husband’s day, they find their identity conjoined in his. On husband’s day, they revel in their fulfillment . On husband’s day, they accept and rejoice in their roles and are appreciated for the same.
It feels great to be a husband on Karwa Chauth. The lady of the house expressly fasts for you. All activities are geared to make you feel like a god .And you are actually worshipped. Feet touching, fasting , singing dancing are all addressed towards you. The denouement comes in the form of the wife praying for your success.
But where did it all start?
The Karva Chauth celebrations begins with the mother-in-law, whispering into the ears of her daughter-in-law the story of Veeravati. She was a woman of legendary virtues. Living in another age both in terms of time span and values she lost everything to win everything for her husband .This shining example of womanly virtue religiously fasted for the good of her husband.
Once while undergoing the severe fast where she shunned even a sip of water, she became extremely weary - exhausted way beyond the tolerance limit . Veeravati fainted. Her seven brothers, who loved her dearly, knew that she would continue the fast till she saw the moon- come what may. Consumed by feelings of saving their only sister, they decided to play a little trick. They climbed a treetop and waved a lamp from there - creating the impression that the elusive moon had emerged. After a great deal of persuasion, she agreed to break the fast and partake the feast laid out before her. After dinner, when the devoted wife retired to her room after she was stunned to find her husband lying dead. As the truth emerged, she knew that her husband had lost his life as she could not hold out. Even though it was due to the misguided affection of her brothers, she had broken the fast without waiting for the darshan (sighting ) of the moon.
Disheartened and dismayed, she fell on her feet and asked her Gods why she was being punished .What can I do to get my husband back she implored. The gods advised her that if she fasted once every month for a whole year, and observing all the rules in all its details- not failing even in the tiniest respect - her husband return to her alive. She followed the advice to a nicety. Her severe penance – including strictest fasting and devotion pleased the gods: her husband was returned to her –alive and well!
The story continues to inspire women even in this post modern age of liberation. In millions of homes in India, on the Karwa Chauth, the daughter-in-law begins the day with prayers for the long life and happiness of her husband. It will be followed by severe fasting The husband, in turn, usually showers the wife with all the gifts she wants . All women become involved as the daughter-in-law honours her mother-in-law by giving her gifts, who showers her with blessings.
Indian mythology and folklore are full of stories of wives’ devotion to husbands: The devotion of Savitri towards her husband, Satyavan, who much like Veeravati brought her Husband to life. Similarly Sita’s devotion towards Ramachandra is legendary- she worships him as her lord even when he shuns her , as he bows to the citizen’s demands. Ultimately her devotion wins back her husband. Whether it is the Rajput tradition , where wives give their lives for husband’s honor, or Bengal’s tradition of anointing husbands as deities, the tradition of devotion to husband is widespread all over India.
KARWA CHAUTH VRATA KATHA
Once Arjuna went away to Nilgiris. Draupadi became concerned that though obstacles and dangers abounded, Arjuna was not at hand. What she should do, she asked. Thus worried, she concentrated on Lord Krishna.
When the Lord appeared, she implored with folded hands, “My Lord, tell me a way to remove these obstacles easily and swiftly!”
Hearing thus, the Lord replied,” Once Parvati asked the same question to Lord Shiva. Then Shiva had related the Karwa chauth Vrata that removes all obstacles to her. So, if you too perfectly follow the procedures, all the obstacles will be destroyed.”
Sutji has related that Pandavas gained victory over the Kauravas during Mahabharata only after Draupadi performed the Karwa chauth Vrata. Any woman who wishes for sons, good fortune and increase in wealth should perform the Karwa chauth Vrata.
Karwa chauth Vrata is observed in the Krishna paksha of the Kartik month. Married women observe this fast to ensure longevity of their spouses. On this day, married women should only break the fast after seeing the moon and offering it the Arghya and after receiving blessings from her husband.
Married Women should observe a fast with a pure mind on this day. They should keep a water filled vessel (lota) on a utensil ( patra). Some wheat should be placed in an earthen vessel (Karwa) along with sugar in a cap (dhakkan) as well as much money as is feasible for them. They should pray to the Lord Ganesh with rice, jaggery, roli etc. The lady of the house should use the Roli to make the holy swastika on the earthen vessel - (Karwa) and 13 dots (bindis). The lady of the house should also put this bindi on their foreheads and listen to the Katha (tale) while holding 13 grains of rice. After hearing the entire Katha, she should touch the feet of the mother-in –law and receive her blessings After this she must give the Karwa to her. They should keep the earthen vessel separate from the wheat grain. After the moon appears at night, the Arghya should be performed by putting the wheat grains inside the water. Only then should the fast be broken. If you have heard the Katha from a Lady Pundit, please hand over the wheat, sugar and money to her. Do like wise, if you hear it from sister or daughter.
The Katha of Karwa Chauth
Mandhata said that when Arjuna went for penance on the Nilgiris, Draupadi was concerned as the task he had embarked on was very difficult and obstacle sowing enemies were many. Worried thus, she asked Lord Krishna for the panacea. Draupadi said, “Lord of All worlds! I would be grateful if you tell me such a Vrata that removes all the obstacles against Arjuna!”
Lord Krishna said,” Parvati also asked the same question from Lord Shiva. Then Lord Shiva said,” Let me tell you the same Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) to you .Please listen with care as it removes obstacles of all kinds!”
Sri Parvatiji asked,” Bhagwan! What kind of Vrata is this Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth)? What is its basis and has anyone done it before?
Lord Shiva said,” A city bejeweled with all amenities , laden with gold and silver , adorned with wise people and celestial women and where Vedas were sung in every corner- such a was the city of well being was Shakraprasthpur( Delhi). In this city dwelled a learned person called Ved Sharma with his wife Leelawati. His family consisted of 7 brave sons and multifaceted daughter named Veervati. She was lotus eyed and had a lips like the moon. After she reached the appropriate age, she was married to a Veda- learned gentleman. After this, Veervati started praying to Gauri along with her brothers wives. During the month of Kartik, on the fourth day, they observed a fast and in the evening – after bathing – they drew a banyan tree immersed in faith. Below it, they drew the figures of Lord Shiva, Ganesh and swami Kartikeya as well as Parvatiji .After uttering the mantra of “Om Namah Shivaya” they worshipped Gauri with incense, flowers and akshata etc. Then after separately worshipping Lord Shiva, Ganesh and Shadanana, and offering cereals, akshata, 10 lamp lit karwas, pishana of wheat, dishes made in jaggery and several other items, they began to wait for the moon to appear. Just then, Veervati fainted due to hunger and thirst and fell upon the earth .Everyone started crying. They washed he face and began fanning her even while consoling her that the moon is about to appear. One of her brothers was retched with worry and climbed the banyan tree. Filled with love for the sister, one of the brothers pretended that the moon had risen by disguising a burning log. The sister left her grief after coming to know that the (fake) moon had risen. She followed the procedures to o0ffer the Arghya and partook her meal. Thus, the Vrata was defiled (though in her ignorance) and her husband died.
Seeing his dead body, she started worshipping Lord Shiva again and fasted without even partaking a morsel for a year. After the year passed, her sisters in law undertook the Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) fast. Veervati also followed the procedure perfectly. That day, when Indrani joined them with all the daughters of gods in their fast, Veervati asked her all the questions required to gain perfect knowledge. Veerawati said” I came to this house only after observing the Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) fast, yet my husband died. I fail to understand what sin I’ve committed that has brought such grave consequences. Oh Mateshwar! It is our good fortune that you have joined us in our worship. Please have pity on me and make my husband come alive!”?
Indrani said, “During your Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) fast at your brother’s place , you broke the fast and offered the Arghya even before the moon appeared. For this reason, your fast was polluted and your husband was snatched by death. But now, you must continue the fasts for Karak chaturthi perfectly and after its completion I will make your husband come alive again!”
Lord Krishna said, “Oh Draupadi! Upon hearing Indrani’s words. Veervati observed Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) Vrata ( fast ) scrupulously following the due procedure. This made Indrani happy and with ambrosial water, made her husband come alive. He attained the status of a God. Veervati started living happily with her husband after this. Due to the benevolent influence of her Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) Vrata (fast), her husband became prosperous, attained a long life. They also gave birth to the male heir. So you too must observe the Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) Vrata (fast ) religiously.
Sutji said, “ Oh Rishis! After hearing this from Lord Krishna, Draupadi observed the Karak chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) Vrata ( fast ).Under its benevolent influence, the Pandavas achieved an inimitable victory over the Kauravas and established a a righteous kingdom.
AJMAN FOR KARAK CHATURTHI (KARWA CHAUTH) VRATA ( FAST )
On the occasion of Ajman, place four puris (fried flour bread) in 13 places on a plate. Place a little halwa (sweet dish) on each of them .One saree, blouse and some money should also be placed. After running your hands on the Roli – rice, you must offer it to your mother-in – law – but only after touching her feet. After this , feed 13 Brahmins and lady Brahmins and give money according to your means as the parting gift.
GANESH CHATURTHI VRATA
You must worship Sri Ganeshji in the shadopchar vidhi as “Bhalachandra” in the month of Magha. Do this with a heart filled with devotion.
Make 10 laddus (sweet-balls) of Til and offer 5 of these to Sri Ganeshji .Offer the rest to Brahmins.
VRATA KATHA (TALES ON THE FAST)
Long ago, there lived king who was extremely brave, powerful, upholder of Kshatriya law,(way of the warrior) , protector of the Dharma (Righteousness) .His name was Harishchandra. In his reign, lawlessness disappeared, nobody was unhappy; disease and poverty were also absent. Everybody lived for long.
In this kingdom also dwelled Hrshya Sharma – a Brahmin engaged in arduous Tapasya
(renunciations) .Soon he had a son. But due to the intentions of the Gods, he passed away. In extreme poverty, she brought him up by begging. She started observing the Sankasht Chaturthi Vrata regularly. The virtuous lady made an idol of Lord Ganesha and offered him 10 laddus (sweet-balls) after following all the procedures.
One day , her son mistook the idol of Lord Ganesha for a toy and after tying it around his neck , went out to play. An evil potter thrust this 5 year old child into the oven. The mother lost her bearings when she could not find her child.. She sat down to worship Lord Ganesh and complained thus-“ Oh Ganesh! Oh! The all powerful! O the subtle light of the Sun! I’m broken due to loss of my child. Please protect me! Oh elephant faced!
Oh king of elephants! Oh bestower of blessings on His followers! Please protect this poor soul who has lost her son! “ Thus she continued to complain to Him till midnight.
When the potter opened his oven to check in the morning, he found the 5 year old playing in knee deep water inside the oven. Upon seeing him , the potter began shaking in fear and ran to the palace to confess. He said,” Oh the All powerful! O the valiant like fire! I’ve committed the gravest crime and I deserve death. I had a supply order of some clay utensils for the princess’ wedding. But even after repeated attempts, I couldn’t fire the utensils. Then I went for advice from a Tantrik who suggested that I must sacrifice a child in secret. I was sick with worry about whom I should sacrifice. Then
I remembered Hrshya Sharma who had died a few years ago and whose wife was bringing up her 5 year child through begging. I decided that if I sacrifice him, she would not be able to complain. Thus my utensils would get fired.”
“After telling my plan to my wife, I caught the child – who was then playing – and thrust him into the oven. I went to sleep peacefully on that night. On the crack of dawn, I went to check whether the utensils had been baked. But I found the child unharmed- in the same condition as before. He was playing inside the kiln without a fear. I was scared and ran here to confess my crimes.”
The king was astonished to hear such a story and went to check the kiln himself. Upon seeing the child, he asked his minister,” What is this? Whose child is this? Find this out for me! Also find out how we have knee deep water inside the oven that is perfumed like lotus. And from where is the illumination like Vaidurya Mani coming from? This poverty stricken child is not burnt, nor singed. Nor is he thirsty. He’s playing as if he’s at home.” As soon as he’d spoken this, the hapless child’s mother came running to look at the child. Upon finding him, she embraced him like a cow finding its long lost calf, and kissed him all over the face. Then shivering with fright and exhilaration, she
Raja Harishchandra asked,” Even fire didn’t burn your son. Have you used some black magic spells? Or have you performed some unknown form of penance?
The wife of the good Brahmin replied, “ Oh King! Neither do I practice any magic nor did I practice any penance. I did not do any yoga, did not give alms nor did I sacrifice anything . O the Ruler of hearts ! I have only taken the ultimate fast for the Remover of Obstacles- Sri Ganesh. By his power , my child was saved.
Upon hearing this, the king was very happy. “I adore this fast. So, all the people must observe this fast.”
“Oh Yudhishtra ! Thus after going around the good Brahmin’s wife, the king said,” You are an advanced seeker and are blessed. All my people must worship the Elephant lord!”
Thus , the entire kingdom started worshipping Ganeshji. Thus, too was her son restored.
Lord Krishna said” Oh! King Yudhishtra ! For this reason you must observe fast too. By doing so , you will achieve all your unspoken desires too. O King ! Anybody who observes this fast with entire devotion and belief in the heart , that person will get all the joys in life – whether it’s kingdom, friend, son, grandchildren or anything else!”