Gayatri Pariwar Hosts Lexington Karwa Chauth 2010
Wow! Nature was playing a riot of colors on a perfectly magical Autumn afternoon (brilliant blue sky, red fiery leaves, sunny and seventy degrees). A fairly large group of ladies in a festive mood and celebratory outfits gathered to join the Karwa Chouth festival hosted by the Gayatri Pariwar of Massachusetts ( www.Gayatri.info ). Several ladies had beautiful henna designs on their hands. Many took a day off and some left early in the afternoon from their work. As the afternoon rolled on, it really got increasingly difficult to judge whether the nature outside was more colorful or the ladies inside getting ready for the puja !
"....thank you so much for all your help and support during Karvachauth. I am so glad that I found you." said Monika. Another voice whispered, "Sangeeta auntie, I can't wait for this puja the next year. We love the way you perform the puja."
Like previous years, ever charming Sangeeta (ji / didi / auntie), officiated the puja ceremony and delivered a rousing keynote speech on the take home message and inspiring ideas of Karwa Chouth festival. The celebration started with the Kalash (Karwa) Pujan, Sarva Dev Namskar, parva-katha and concluded with Purnahuti-mantras and Vedic Shanti mantras for the peace, joy and well-being of all.
'Dev-Dakshina-purnaahuti', was the most interesting feature of this celebration, besides the traditional Katha and songs. As explained by a volunteer of Gayatri Pariwar and officiating priestess Sangeeta Saxena, this is the moment when all the ladies took vows to cultivate a new personal virtue/strength to enrich and enliven their family lives. She also encouraged all fellow sisters to take a complimentary vow to look 'with-in', then, identify and remove at least one behavioral defect or deficiency that might be proving an impediment to a happy family life. Sangeeta said that this small step could take us a long way on the journey of personal fulfillment and family happiness. It is specially true, when these vows are made at the the heightened emotional state of a festive occasion, in the presence of all the Dev-Shakti's.
The sweet home of Srimati Sunita Dilwali (who graciously opened her home and heart to sponsor this vivacious event), started buzzing with vibrant life since early afternoon, as a house full of ladies enthusiastically started converging here. Her husband, Dr. Sandeep Dilwali deserves a special mention as he was away on a business trip on this day. But, Dr. Dilwali setup the whole basement ready for the festival prior to his trip. That's a commitment personified.
The great diversity of Hindu Dharmic traditions is revealed through its traditional festivals, which help in celebrating, reflecting and enriching social life in a specific cultural context. As such, Karwa Chauth is a traditional fasting day observed by married Hindu women seeking the long-life, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. Some keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. At night with the rising moon, women break their fast after offering water to the moon. In Hindu Dharma, the goal of life is Self-realization or the realization of the Supreme Consciousness (Parmatman), and fasting has traditionally been a much sought after technique among many others, in pursuit of this goal.
In the extremely rich tapestry of India's cultural diversity, the festival of Karwa Chauth, shows the utmost value of family and the significant role of women in Hindu Dharma. Indeed, in most Hindu households, the lady serves as a significant link between the family and society. Thus, apart from religious reasons, this festival of Karwa Chauth holds more of a social significance.
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