Karwa Chauth Fasting: What's In A Satvik Sargi Thali

On the 13th of October this year, many Hindu women across the country will begin a day-long fast in honour of the festival of Karwa Chauth. Celebrated each year on the fourth day of the month of Kartik according to the Hindu calendar, this day marks a celebration of a wife’s devotion to her spouse. Most women during this time observe Nirjala Vrat and won’t eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset and only break the fast after the moon rises in the evening.

This is an ancient custom with many varied legends surrounding it but the habit of beginning every fast with a Sargi thali has become a part of every devotee's rituals. The Sargi is a pre-dawn thali that is usually prepared by the woman’s mother-in-law or elder sisters of the family. The idea behind the thali is that it’s made up of healthy elements that will give the women energy and strength throughout the day of fasting. 

Since the custom itself is ancient, it follows that the type of food consumed should be dictated by the beliefs of that time. And for Ancient India, the go-to literature has always been the Bhagawad Gita. In these texts, we learn about the advice given to Prince Arjuna by Lord Krishna on how to enjoy a happy life, and one of those chapters is solely dedicated to what he should eat.

It posits that there are three Gunas which are groups encompassing different qualities of energy in parkriti (physical matter) or nature that all living being possess. They are:

  1. Sattvic: Meaning purity, health, harmony and well-being.
  2. Rajasic: Meaning stress, anger, activity and restlessness.
  3. Tamasic: Meaning dullness, laziness and lethargy.

The ideal diet should be made up entirely of Sattvic (or Satvik) food is a pure vegetarian diet which includes seasonal fresh fruit, ample of fresh vegetables, whole grain, pulses, sprouts, dried nuts, seeds, honey, fresh herbs, milk and dairy products which are free from animal rennet. They are said to raise our consciousness and promote a calm, peaceful and balanced personality.

To make your morning Sargi that aligns with Ayurvedic beliefs and promotes health, you need to include the following items.

  1. Grains: Wheat, rice and millets that can be eaten in the form of rotis, upma or even oats.
  2. Pulses: Things like dal and legumes that can be eaten as sattu laddoos, chilla or dal parathas.
  3. Vegetables: Fresh or cooked, you can make the vegetables into a sabzi or even a salad
  4. Fruit: Any seasonal fruit can be eaten but ideally, consume it 20 minutes before the other items.
  5. Dry Fruits and Nuts: Anything like cashews, walnuts, raisins or coconuts will do, but soak them first for more nutritional value.
  6. Dairy: A spoonful of curd or a glass of lassi is ideal to line and soothe the stomach.
  7. Jaggery: Sugar can keep you naturally energised while also making the day more auspicious.