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It is said that it is the blessings of the mother which are the most effective for ensuring that her children stay blessed. She tries all devotional and material ways to see to it that her kids get all the best facilities and good luck in life. Our scriptures mention a fast, the observation of which is believed to ensure the well-being of the kids.
Chandra Hal Shashthi
This fast, known as Chandra Hal Shashthi, is associated with the birth of Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. The mention of this fast is also found in Mahabharata, when Uttara, the wife of Abhimanyu and daughter-in-law of Arjuna, had observed this fast. When Lord Krishna recommended this fast to her, she observed the fast and thus could recover her womb.
Balram, The Elder Brother Of Lord Krishna
Balram is believed to be the incarnation of the Shesh Naag, the serpent on which Lord Vishnu rests. It is said that Shesh Naag also takes birth as a human being whenever Lord Vishnu incarnates on earth. He took birth as Lakshman when Lord Vishnu came as Ram; similarly, he took birth as Balram when Lord Vishnu came as Krishna.
The ISCKON temple of Mathura celebrates the birth anniversary of Balram on Raksha Bandhan day. A ritual is performed in Hindu families when a newborn is six days old. This ritual is known as Chhath Puja. The day when this puja was performed for Balram, is celebrated as Chandra Hal Shashthi.
However, many people also celebrate it as his birth anniversary. Balram was the seventh child of Devaki and Vasudev. He was born in the jail cell where Devaki and Vasudev were kept as captives by Kamsa, Devaki's brother. However, it is also said that the boy was transferred to Rohini's womb by some divine power, so that he could be saved from being killed by Kamsa. Thus, as they say, it was Rohini who gave birth to Balram.
Women Observe Hal Shashthi As A Fasting Day
Today, women observe fast on the same day to ensure a long and happy life of her child. Others observe the fast to get blessed with a boy child. Women who want to conceive and want to have kids can also observe this fast. They do not eat anything the whole day and perform puja rituals before the idol of Balram, sitting with Lord Krishna.
Women should take bath during the Brahma Muhurta and offer prayers to Lord Krishna and Balram. Light a lamp before both the deities and offer them incense, fruits, yellow flowers, etc. Use sandalwood paste as tilak. A pit is dug in which the plants of Jharberry and Palash twigs are put. While sitting around these, the Vrat Katha is narrated.
The fast is observed for the whole day. Women observing the fast should avoid consuming milk products. Only the food items fetched from the trees, such as fruits, can be consumed during this fast. The parana is performed by eating rice. This rice can be distributed among the devotees later.
Chandra Hal Shashthi This Year
Chandra Hal Shashthi falls on the sixth day during the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapad, according to the traditional Hindu calendar. This year it will be observed on September 1, 2018. The Shashthi Tithi will begin at 10:11 pm on August 31 and will end at 9:44 pm on September 1. This day is also known as Chandra Shashthi, Baladev Chhath and Randhan Chhath.