The spiritual essence of Chhath Puja lies in its tribute to the Sun God, acknowledged as the source of all life and energy on earth. This festival transcends the mere act of offering thanks for a bountiful harvest; it is a homage to the sustenance and life-giving aspects of the Sun. The Sun, being the source of energy, is worshipped for sustaining life on earth and is believed to cure a variety of diseases and help in the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders.
The rituals of Chhath Puja include fasting, abstaining from drinking water (Vrata), standing in water for long periods, and offering prayers and prasad (offerings) to the rising and setting sun. These practices are not just physical but deeply spiritual, demanding immense discipline and purity from the devotees. The strict process of purification and the rigorous regimen signify the cleansing of the body and mind, promoting spiritual growth and the discipline of the self.
The festival also holds a strong communal aspect, bringing together people from various social backgrounds. The spirit of equality and fraternity is evident, as the festival doesn’t discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, or gender. This collective worship fosters a strong sense of community and shared devotion.
Furthermore, Chhath Puja is deeply rooted in eco-spirituality. The worship of the Sun God and nature in their purest forms, near rivers and water bodies, emphasizes the need for humans to maintain the sanctity of nature and the environment. The reverence shown towards water bodies and the Sun reflects an acknowledgment of the crucial role they play in sustaining life on earth.
In summary, Chhath Puja is much more than a religious festival; it is a celebration of life, nature, and gratitude towards the cosmic forces. It embodies the ideals of discipline, purity, devotion, and respect for nature, making it a profoundly spiritual and culturally significant festival.