Karwa Chauth: Why this celebration of love is so powerful
Whenever anyone has broken the boundaries that come with the limitations of mind and body, what s/he does is in the realm of miracles for the normal people who are defined by those limitations. When Roger Bannister ran the under 4 minute mile for the first time, defying his mind and body, it was a miracle. A miracle soon to be emulated by many. When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled the Everest, that was a miracle.
Where others broke down, where other gave in to their desires and even body’s needs, many men and women didn’t. And in those moments of defying their mind and body’s limitations, they prevailed over what others termed as impossible odds. That is the power of “going beyond”. Going beyond your mind and body. You do not become God or start doing miracles. You simply do things that people often term work of the divine. Look at what Wim Hof does for example, when he is in extreme cold. He says Cold is God.
What he does can be physically impossible. It defies science and biology.
In the lives of ordinary people, Love holds that key where ordinary people sometimes do things that would even surprise them, if they weren’t in love. When in love, those who can’t live without eating can suddenly forget eating. Such is the power of love.
The concept of Karwa Chauth and the legend of a wife who is committed and loving and who goes without eating or drinking the whole day stopping Death or Yama from touching her husband comes from that realization. It is not that when a woman fasts, she will ensure the long life of her husband. It is not an insurance. Nor is it some kind of “I do the fast, you get the life” kind of transference. In fact, it has nothing to do with husband or death. It has to do with love. [For the uninitiated, Karwa Chauth was celebrated today, Oct 7th, by Hindus the world over]
When love fires the effort to transcend bodily limitations, then one can touch the divine. If the love is deeper than physical, then the life energies resonate in unison. In such a couple, an intention of one can impact the whole.
In times of marriages before dating and live-ins, the couples came together in a union far deeper than just physical and compatibility of habits. How the toilet seat will be kept wasn’t a deal breaker! In the lives of couples where love manifested deeper than physical, it wasn’t uncommon for both to depart close to each other. One died and the other just withered away and died within days, weeks or few months. It was almost as if the life sustenance was gone. When the very life energies were so tightly bound, for one person to go beyond his or her limitation and shed the limitation of body and mind meant enhancing the life energies of the union itself. Ask in your family and you will see examples of couples a couple of generations ago who were so close that one’s death brought the other’s within days.
If – which is important – if a person, a wife – in this case – touched the level which lies beyond the realm of limitation (the true realm beyond the “right-doing and wrong-doing), one touched the Divine. In that experience and state, one could do whatever one wished with one’s life energies. Even defy death. For couples so close that their very life energies were intertwined, that meant one taking charge of the whole union!
In the act of fasting one defies the limitations and needs of the body. Now, that may not be significant at times, but for those who had difficulty disentangling from the limitations of their body in any way, this could be a significant sacrifice and penance. When one has remained without food or water for the whole day, one understands the pulls that this body exerts. When love is thrown into the mix and this defiance of body’s pulls is FOR someone whom one is deeply connected to, then the mix of love and bodily defiance can have the possibility to take one to that state of beyond right-doing and wrong-doing. In that realm or field, one touches the divine. If, that happened even ONCE in the entire lifetime of Karwa Chauths, your life as a couple and individual could be miraculous. You aren’t just in touch with that which is the creative energy of the existence, but you also have the ability to define the life of another.
But why women? Contrary to what feminists may want the world to believe, men and women ARE different. And, women are the pinnacle of existence. To equate them to men is to lower their own glory actually. But who can argue with masochists turned into activists? In a feminine world, violence doesn’t define the world, love does. The finer qualities of this existence manifest. Musuo society in China which is matriarchal and where women lead men, there is no word for Violence! Men have ruled the world by violence. That makes them rulers and vanquishers, but not right! Just because men have subjugated everything from the beasts to fellow humans to even the divine, doesn’t mean that is the right way of doing things!
Feminine energy’s greatest strength is love. Love can take a woman far higher than any man can get. That is why Spiritual journey of most women has been via the Valley of Love. Bhakti or Devotion has been their greatest strength.
Men, known to conquer, on the other hand, have found liberation in Kriya Yoga the most. They have approached the divine via conquest. Of their own self nonetheless. But conquest nevertheless.
That is why what a woman in a union could do simply with her love, a man had to do via tough and hard pilgrimages. The goal was the same. To touch the divine. To be in that field that is beyond “right-doing and wrong-doing”. But the journeys were different.
Like Rumi’s beautiful articulation neither was love right, nor pilrimage wrong. They were a means to that state which is beyond these definitions.
No one can define another’s life span. But when the other is part of one whole of what I call me, then whatever I do for me is done for the whole. In that, is the most fundamental rationale and the beauty of Karwa Chauth. Insurance for a husband’s life has nothing to do with it.
Things like Karwa Chauth assumed full potency when marriages were done in a certain way and with a certain goal. When done in those ways, life energies of the couple were intertwined in a very deep way. Watch this to understand how this was done. And because of which a woman’s effort to go beyond body’s limitation suddenly took on a life that created a foundational union.