Chhath Puja, also known as Surya Shashti, is a popular Hindu festival celebrated in the northern regions of the India. These regions include Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Other places where Chhath Puja is observed are Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai, Nepal and Mauritius. Chhath is dedicated to Sun God which people believe sustains life on earth. Chhath Puja is also performed to seek blessings from the Sun God to promote prosperity and progress. The festival falls in the month of October or November. The traditional rituals followed by people are quite strenuous in nature and are observed for a period of four days. The customs associated with Chhath Puja include holy bathing, fasting and refraining from even drinking water. It also includes rigorous physical customs like standing in water for extended periods, and offering prayer and Prasad during the sun rise and sunset.
The origin of Chhath Puja dates back to Vedic times, as Vedic texts contains rituals associated with the worshipping of Sun. It is also believed that Draupadi, from the epic Mahabharata, used to perform similar rituals. Some people also believed that Chhath Puja was started by Son of Surya, Karna from Mahabharata. Chhath Puja is not only religiously significant, but also has several mental and physical benefits. Physically, the practice of Chhath facilitates in improving the immunity of the devotee. It is also believed that light rays emitted by sun are quite beneficial for the normal maintenance of the body. Being antiseptic in nature, the safe radiations from sun can help in curing fungal and bacterial skin infections. Sunlight received during Chhath provide energy that when get combined with blood streams enhances the performance of white blood cells, which further leads to improving fighting power of blood.
It is also believed that sunlight has significant effect the glands and helps in proper secretion of body hormones. The solar energy received from sunlight also meets the energy requirements of the body. The practice of Chhath also helps in providing a state of mental calmness. The regularized pranic flow of air during Chhath can help in reducing the frequency of anger, jealously and other negative emotions. The whole process of Chhath Puja leads to detoxification of the body and mind. Detoxification further enhances the energy levels in the body. The increased energy and immunity system serves in fighting the harmful toxins in the body. Some people believe that the Chhath process can improve eye sight, enhance the appearance of skin, and facilitate in slowing the ageing process. The devotees who sincerely and patiently practice the rituals of Chhath Puja are benefited by several psychic powers such as intuition, healing and telepathy. So, the next time when Chhath Puja comes, observe the fast and follow the rituals religiously and note that you would be benefited in more ways than one!