Chhath in US: An Unique Experience

It was Sunday morning. When I started browsing Times of India in the early morning, I found Chhath already started in Patna. It was due to the time difference. We decided to follow the local time instead of that of India. Yamuna had wished a Chhath in US where all my sons are based today. It is difficult for all to participate, but Alpana, the eldest daughter-in-law does it. I consulted her to carry out the task here in US. For ‘nahai khai’, she got me the vegetable of louki and channa dal lintel prepared at her place with all the precautions on Sunday.

I went for fast for Monday’s kharana with fruits and milk in evening. On Tuesday Nov 4, I along with Anand offered my first ‘arghya’ with fruits only to the setting Sun God by 5PM as directed by Alpana. Yamuna created a water body in a plastic tub. Though this long fasting becomes torturous, but I could carry on well. And the second and final ‘arghya’ to the rising Sun God is at 6.30AM on Nov 5. Naturally this happens after almost 12 hours or more when all in India would have enjoyed the rich meal after the fast.

I remember of homologation of a foreign designed car, so it happened with Chhath too. I am sure the Sun God will forgive me for all the shortcomings that were not intentional. A religion as well as society can remain dynamic with only necessary changes. However, I can never forget the scenes of ghats of Hoghly in Uttarpara near Hind Motor, its crowd of simple men and women, young and old, children of all ages, flowing river with famous Dakhineswar temple facing us while offering of arghya, and the sweet folk songs in praise of Sun God. I missed all that here, but I did perform my fast religiously and that is important for me.

While answering to Anand, I expressed my views about Chhath as festival: Chhath must have origin in prehistoric period, when human beings worshipped Gods that represented the natural powers like rivers, trees, wind, fire, and planets. Later on the thinkers would have found Sun as the origin of this earth. As all the living beings evolved out of this earth with all the natural powers around, the Sun became the earliest and highest, and so most respectful for mankind. The rural people kept this oldest thinking alive. Chhath is only the manifestation of a strong faith. Fast is for physical purification and testing oneself for physical capability to keep away from the worldly attraction in which good food has become primary thing today.

I may be wrong and I am ready to get corrected. But there is no malice in my views.

Let Sun God bestow on this nation and mine, my all known near ones, and my siblings all the peace and prosperity against the penance of mine.

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