Karwa Chauth, an annual festival celebrated by married women in India, holds great significance in Indian culture. On this day, they seek blessings from Goddess Parvati to grant long-life for their husband. The fasting is the main ritual observed on Karwa Chauth day.
This festival comes 9 days before Diwali on ‘kartik ki chauth’, i.e., on the fourth day of the new moon, in the month of ‘Karthik’ (October-November).The term ‘Chauth’ means the ‘fourth day’ and ‘Karwa’ is an earthen pot with a spout – a symbol of peace and prosperity – that is necessary for the rituals. Hence the name ‘Karwa Chauth’.
There are many legends that propagate the importance of Karwa Chauth fast. Many of them portray stories of strong-willed women who were bestowed with special powers that they could even bring their husbands back to life, challenging the power of destiny.
The stories narrated on Karwa Chauth strengthen the married women morally and make them confident about their inner strength. It is also a call to build a morally-strong society.
Legend of Veervati
Long time ago, in a glorious kingdom, lived a princess called Veervati. She was the only sister of her seven brothers. As she grew into young woman, she was married off to a mighty king. As per tradition, Queen Veervati returned to her parent’s house to celebrate her first Karwa Chauth after the marriage.
On this auspicious occasion, she followed the ritual of observing Vrat (fast) for her beloved husband at dawn. In late afternoon, she developed severe pangs of hunger and thirst that the queen almost fainted. Her body constituents were too weak to endure severity of fasting ritual which she needed to observe until dusk, that is, till sighting of moon. Her seven brothers, who loved Veervati immensely, could not see the anguish of their only sister. So, they decided to place a mirror in a peepal tree that made it look like a moon. As queen Veervati was keenly awaiting the appearance of moon, she mistook the mirror for moon and ended her fast.
As soon as queen Veervati broke her fast and ate her evening meal, she received a shocking message that her husband died. Inconsolable, the queen rushed back to her husband’s house. Along the way, Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati appeared before her and told her that she had been deceived by her brothers. The glow of light she had seen was not from moon.
Queen Veeravati then pleaded for forgiveness. Shiva and Parvati assured queen that her husband would be brought back to life only when she observes strict fast ritual. They further added that her husband would be ill for some time. So, when queen Veervati arrived at the palace, she saw her husband lying in coma with scores of needles pierced in his body. Queen was able to pull out one piece of needle from king’s body daily.
In the following year on the day of Karwa Chauth, queen Veervati was full of hope since only one needle is left on her husband’s body. Unlike previous year, she was bent on following the rituals strictly and set out to purchase essentials required for Karwa Chauth puja. In this brief intervening period, her maid took off the last needle from king’s body and as a result king came out of coma. However, king misjudged the maid as his queen.
No need to say that queen Veervati was shocked by this. Despite this, queen remained devoted and observed her fast rigorously. One day when the king was preparing state visit to another kingdom, he asked Veervati what she would want from his state journey. In reply, queen Veervati said she wanted a pair of identical dolls to which the king agreed.
Then queen Veervati started humming a song that went as “ Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi”, meaning queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen. When the king enquired why she kept repeating the song, Veervati told the whole story. The king felt sorry and re-instated Veervati as his queen.
बहुत समय पहले वीरवती नाम की एक लड़की थी। वह अपने सात भाईयों की इकलौती बहन थी।
उसकी शादी एक राजा से हो गई। शादी के बाद पहले करवा चौथ के मौके पर वो अपने मायके आ गई। उसने भी करवा चौथ का व्रत रखा लेकिन पहला करवा चौथ होने की वजह से वो भूख और प्यास बर्दाश्त नहीं कर पा रही थी।
वह बेताबी से चांद के उगने का इन्तजार करने लगी। उसके सातों भाई उसकी ये हालत देखकर परेशान हो गये। वे अपनी बहन से बहुत ज्यादा प्यार करते थे। उन्होंने वीरवती काव्रत समाप्त करने की योजना बनाई और पीपल के पत्तों के पीछे से आईने में नकली चांद की छाया दिखा दी। वीरवती ने इसे असली चांद समझ लिया और अपना व्रत समाप्त कर खाना खा लिया।
रानी ने जैसे ही खाना खाया वैसे ही समाचार मिला कि उसके पति की तबियत बहुत खराब हो गई है। रानी तुरंत अपने राजा के पास भागी। रास्ते में उसे भगवान शंकर पार्वतीदेवी के साथ मिले। पार्वती देवी ने रानी को बताया कि उसके पति की मृत्यु हो गई है क्योंकि उसने नकली चांद देखकर अपना व्रत तोड़ दिया था। रानी ने तुरंत क्षमा मांगी।
पार्वती देवी ने कहा, ”तुम्हारा पति फिर से जिन्दा हो जायेगा लेकिन इसके लिये तुम्हें करवा चौथ का व्रत कठोरता से संपन्न करना होगा। तभी तुम्हारा पति फिर से जीवित होगा।” उसके बाद रानी वीरवती ने करवा चौथ का व्रत पूरी विधि से संपन्न किया और अपने पति को दुबारा प्राप्त किया।