Man born on earth is ordained to perform certain karma which is compulsory and non adherence results in sin and punishment in hell. These karmas are known as Nitya karma .
Ekadashi vrat and Chaturmasa , Krishna ashtami are nitya karmas which every human being must adhere to .
Chaturmasa is four months of austere ties to observed starting from Ashadha shukla Ekadashi to kartik shukla dwadashi. In the four months of the rainy season, from the Ekadashi of the bright fortnight of Ashadha when the Sun is in the Cancer to the Ekadashi of the bright fortnight of Kartika, Lord Vishnu sleeps on the serpent-bed[ YOGA NIDRA] This period is pious and most appropriate for devotion to Lord Vishnu.
Today is Ashadha Shukla Dwadashi and Chaturmasa begins.Chaturmasa the four months are observed thus ; Ashadha Shukla Ekadashi to Shravan Shukla Ekadashi – Shaka Vrat In this month no vegetables are used in the kitchen a and recipes.
Vegetables like Onion, garlic, drumstick, eggplants, radish, and bottle gourd are some of them which induce passion and hence ever prohibited.
But specially prohibited in Shaka vrat are
All types of vegetables
Fruits (except Mango)
Cardamom ,hing, scented articles.
Nuts like Cashew, etc.
Pulses (except Bengal gram and fried gram)
Amchur powder (dry mango powder)
Dadhi vrata – Shravan Shukla Ekadashi to Bhadrapad Shukla Ekadashi -All items made of curds and curds are prohibited in this period.
Ksheer vrata – Bhadrapad shukla ekadashi to Ashvayuj shukla ekadashi – All items made in milk and by products and milk are prohibited to be used.
Dwidala Vrata – Ashvayuj Shukla Ekadashi – Kartik Shukla Ekadashi – all the seeds [ dals ] which break into two when hit with stone [ dicotyledons] are prohibited and all plants sprouted from these are also prohibited , also fruits and vegetable containing multiple seeds are not to be used.
This gives control of the senses for longevity. Among the five sense organs the tongue is most vulnerable and susceptible for the temptation and it is very difficult to control. This is the last sense organ ceases its operation before the death.
A bath in holy waters,visits to holy places, temples, charities and merits take shelter in Lord Vishnu. One bathing in a river in the Chaturmasa becomes accomplished, and if one bathes in holy waters, one’s sins are destroyed.
If one mixes sesame seeds and amla powder, takes a bath with this water, he will get purged of all sins.Compassion to living beings is particularly recommended in Chaturmasa and the giving of food, water and cows etc. reading of scriptures and fire sacrifices afford immense religious merit. Giving food bestows the highest religious merit. It can be given at any time of the day;
It is a rare virtue to have the inclination to abide by dharma, to serve the saints, have darshana and satsanga of saints to worship Lord Vishnu and practice alms giving in Chaturmasa.
If one, for the sake of the Lord’s pleasure, voluntarily forswears sense-enjoyments dear to one’s heart in Chaturmasa, one gets those sense-enjoyments in unlimited quantity. One doing so with full faith gets immense Punya .
- One not using metal utensils and taking food on Palasha leaves in Chaturmasa attains to vairagya.
- One should particularly refrain from taking food in copper utensils during Chaturmasa.
- Wearing black and blue is prohibited in Chaturmasa.
- One, who refrains from shaving in Chaturmasa, saves himself from the taptraya.
- Sleeping on the ground, observing brahmacharya, eating on leaves, fasting, Mauna (silence), japa, meditation and charities in Chaturmasa gives results manyfolds.
- If one remains steadfast and takes moderate quantities of food only once in a day throughout Chaturmasa, he gets absolved of all sins and goes to Lord Vishnu’s abode.
- One eating only a single cereal throughout Chaturmasa is saved from diseases.
- One taking only one meal in a day in Chaturmasa attains punya of performing twelve yagyas.
- One living on milk or fruit alone gets thousands of sinful births destroyed.
- Complete fasting on one out of fifteen days destroys all ailments of the body and converts all the food taken in past fourteen days into ojas. That is why fasting on Ekadashi is so highly celebrated. Chaturmasa.
- continuosly fasting for 12 days is known as parak
- taking a single morsel and increasing each morsel every day uptill Poornima and reducing till Amavasya is known as Krichcha .
- eating only once in the morning and fasting in evening is known as Nakta
- Eating in evening and fasting during daytime is known as ekabhukta .
- All these austerities give complete results in chaturmasa and are multiplied crores of times in absolving heinous sins.
- It is specifically required to keep the mind engaged in reading shastras during this period , it is known as PARAYANA .
- It is very easy to attain mantra siddhi during chaturmasa
- Woman can serve Lord by taking up austerities like making 100000 battis [ wicks lamp] for the lord .
- Woman can also opt for making 10000 namaskaras to Lord in four months .
- Ascetics Vow to stay in one place and do not cross city borders , they perform 10000 Tulasi archana to the Lord Anantshayan.
Lord Vishnu sleeps in yognidra during Chaturmasa; therefore, no marriages or other ceremonies or sacrifices with desire of future reward should be performed in Chaturmasa. This four month period is for austerities. Lord gets up from his YOGNIDRA on Utthan DWADASHI [ which is also TULASI VIVAH ].