Meaning of Karwa Chauth
(A speech given by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaji on the occasion of Karwa Chauth)
Today is the festival of Karwa Chauth. Many ladies fast for the welfare of their husbands today. They worship Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati. Some are observing this fast for their husband’s long life. But what has this got to do with you? What will you gain from giving your husband a long life? Food to eat? That you will get anyway based on your destiny.
Shri Maharaj Ji quotes a poet, Das Maluka – “A python doesn’t have to serve any Master and a bird does not have to work looking for food. That one God provides for everyone.” God is the Husband of all your husbands and your husband too. This is stated in Bhagwatam and the Vedas. He is the Husband of all husbands. Shri Krishna is the Husband of all souls.
Husband means the one who protects. How can this worldly husband protect you? He can’t even protect himself. He dies. He gets sick. He is bound by his countless past life karma (actions). He is bound by ‘trigun,’ ‘trikarm,’ ‘tridosh,’’panchaklesh,’(material afflictions) and the like. It is only our Divine husband who can remove our material bondage and protect us. And He does! If we pray to Him, He will protect us even better.
So you all should only observe ‘upvas’ or fasting for that Supreme Husband of yours. What exactly is meant by fasting? Just like you fast for your worldly husband and worship Lord Shankar Ji and Parvati, similarly in that same way, we should fast and worship Lord Shankar Ji for the sake of our Supreme Husband, Lord Shri Krishna. Shankar Ji is considered the topmost devotee amongst devotees.. This is stated in the Bhagwat which states that Lord Shankar is the greatest of all devotees of Shri Krishna.
We should pray to him that our Supreme Husband may always remain happy. May His infinite life get longer by 10-20 years. May he always keep smiling and stay playful. Make these desires and do the worship. This should be the main purpose for you to celebrate Karwa Chauth.
Moreover, fasting is even beneficial for the body. You should keep a fast occasionally. If you eat light food once a week, that is also considered fasting. But simply not eating is not considered worship. Let me tell you the actual meaning of ‘Upvas.’ You will be surprised. In the Vedas, (Barohopanishad. 2.49) ‘Upvas’ is explained as – the soul and Supreme Soul getting closer. ‘Up’ means close and ‘vaas’ means residing. May the soul get closer to God. The closer he gets to God, the better is his ‘upvas.’
Mere starving and drying out of the body is not ‘upvas’. It is true that skipping a meal once in a while keeps our digestive system healthy. By skipping a meal, our stomach can process whatever remains undigested in our stomach. So we don’t get sick. It has its benefits and there is no loss in keeping fast.
But the main motive of ‘Upvas’ or fasting on Karwa Chauth, is to bring the mind closer to God and Guru. That is the real reason why we should observe this fast and only then you will be able to attain your supreme goal of God-realisation.
*A brief introduction ofJagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*
(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)
The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957 by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include - Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.