Chaturmasa is the period of four months, in which it is said that Lord Vishnu goes to sleep. It starts with the Devshayani Ekadashi of the Ashadha month and ends with the Devutthani Ekadashi. As the names suggest, Devshayani Ekadashi refers to when the God sleeps and Devutthani means when God wakes up. Generally, the period includes the whole of the monsoon period.
Chaturmasa Begins After The Devshayani Ekadashi
On the day of Ekadashi, devotees wake up early and take a bath during the Brahma Muhurta. Ideally, they are supposed to take a holy bath in a river. Thereafter, Lord Vishnu is offered prayers, along with dhoop-deep, akshath and other sacred offerings. Yellow-coloured clothes and yellow flowers are dear to Lord Vishnu.
After the puja of the day, the devotees let the Lord sleep in a white bedding, and he is then waken up after the period of four months when Chaturmasa ends. It is also known as Choumasa. It is said that all the demonic powers become active while God is having rest in this month.
That is why, it is advised that the devotees should perform more pujas and offer more prayers to the deity, in order to protect the surroundings from negative effects. During this month, one should avoid consuming oils, curd rice, radish, brinjals as well as jaggery.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu rests in the Kshir Sagar during Chaturmasa and Goddess Lakshmi sits near him. To get the blessings of the Goddess, one should chant the mantras of Lord Vishnu.
No Auspicious Events Are Conducted During This Time
For this period of four months, all the auspicious events such as marriage, upanayana sanskara, grah pravesh, etc., are not performed. When Lord Vishnu wakes up after four months, he once again takes the responsibility of nurturing the world in his hands. The projects that were kept on hold during this period can be started.
Foods To Avoid During Chaturmasa
Foods have been divided into the Satvika, Rajsika and Tamsika qualities. These are actually three forms of energies. The Satvika energy is the one which is the purest and imbibes pure qualities in a person. Satvika qualities provide goodness, peace, purity and God-like qualities.
Similarly, the Rajsika qualities are those which imbibe king-like qualities that include desires, passions, greed, materialism, etc. These qualities are considered acceptable, but what is considered unacceptable are the Tamasika qualities.
Tamasika qualities are those which are related to the demons. They bring laziness, lust, hatredness, jealousy, intoxication and other such habits which make a man demon like. He becomes worthless in this life and takes up sinful acts. For these acts, he can not get peace even in his after-life. Thus, such a man invites disaster to his own life.
Classification Of Foods
Foods too have been classified as Satvika, Rajsika and Tamasika, based on the kind of energy they give to the body.
1. The Satvika category pertains to water, grains, vegetables, nuts, fresh milk derivatives, etc.
2. The Rajasika foods include: caffeine, chocolates, other drinks such as cola, spicy food, salty food, etc.
3. Thus, the foods too have been categorised into three types: meat, onion, garlic, mushroom, blue cheese egg plant, opium, etc., are included in the Tamsika category.
As explained above, Lord Vishnu goes to sleep, and the demonic powers become more active during this period, hence the foods which attract such negative energies are to be avoided during this period. We must eat only those foods which help imbibe good and pure qualities in us and keep the demonic qualities at a distance.
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