Chaturmaas literally means four months which refers to a holy period in which Lord Vishnu goes into a state of deep sleep meditation, popularly known as ‘Yoga Nidra’. This four months period starts from Ashadha Shukla Ekadashi and ends on Kartik Shukla Ekadashi. To be specific, Chaturmaas 2023 begins on the day after Devashayani Ekadasi in Ashada month and ends on Devuthani Ekadasi in Kartik month. Devotees also term this four months’ time as Chaturmaas – a period from Ashadha Purnima to Kartik Purnima. It’s believed that people shouldn’t perform any kind of auspicious work during these four months. In 2023, the four-month Chaturmaas period starts on June 30 and ends on November 23. This phase consists of four months that includes: Shravan, Bhadrapad, Ashwin and Kartik. However, due to Aadhik Maas this year, it will be a five-month period. This period is layered with important festivals and dates.
Significance of Chaturmaas 2023
According to several mythological beliefs, during the period of Chaturmaas, Lord Vishnu goes into a state of deep meditation for four months. During this Yoga Nidra period, Lord Vishnu rests on the coiled body of his serpent, Shesh Naag, in the cosmic ocean of milk, popularly known as Kshirasagara. This time period is considered very holy and sacred in Hinduism. During this time, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Cancer and starts moving towards the south in the month of Ashadh. There are many religious festivals that fall during Chaturmaas 2023 such as Guru Purnima, Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami, Shivratri, etc.
During Lord Vishnu’s absence, Lord Shiva takes care of the entire universe due to which Chaturmaas commences in the holy month of Sawan in which devotees pay their honour and respect to Lord Shiva. The devotees also resort to various fasting practices of Vrats during this time to please both the deities and receive their divine blessings. Interestingly, the Chaturmaas period helps the devotees to meditate, introspect and know themselves better. It is considered to be the best time to connect with one’s inner self and take part in various spiritual discourses.
Do you the benefits of fasting during the Chaturmaas
Acts Prohibited During Chaturmaas
- All kinds of auspicious works such as new business ventures, marriage, child naming ceremonies, inauguration ceremonies, housewarmings, etc. should be prohibited during the 4 months of Chaturmaas.
- It is important for the devotees to try their best not to lie during the entire four months of Chaturmaas 2023.
- The devotees should avoid sleeping on the bed during this period. Instead, they should sleep on the floor since it helps to please Lord Surya.
- The devotees are forbidden from consuming certain food items such as alcohol, green leafy vegetables, milk, oil, brinjal, animal meat, citrus fruits, beans, pickle, watermelon, berries, tamarind, onion and garlic. Consuming food cooked by others should also be avoided during this period.
- Intercourse with a woman is prohibited strictly, excluding the sixteen nights after the first menses following marriage.
- Male devotees should avoid shaving their beards or head during the Chaturmaas period. As per the Dharmasindhu and similar other scriptures, devotees should also avoid travelling and stay in one place for 4 months, or at least for 2 months.
While it is prohibited to start any auspicious work during Chaturmaas 2023, devotees can always continue their religious works such as worshipping or fasting. This four-month period is considered to be one of the best times for starting any kind of fast since it gives double the desired results.
Chaturmaas Vrat Katha
As per the Puranas, Goddess Yoga, the Goddess of Sleep did severe penance to seek the divine blessings of Lord Vishnu. Finally, Lord Vishnu got pleased by her dedication and promised her a boon. When he appeared in front of her, Goddess Yoga Nidra requested Lord Vishnu to give her a permanent place in his body. However, Lord Vishnu’s body was already preoccupied with Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Kamal and other such holy objects. Thus, he asked Yoga Nidra if she would occupy his eyes. Yoga Nidra instantly accepted Lord Vishnu’s offer. Thus, Goddess Yoga Nidra takes refuge in Lord Vishnu’s eyes for four months every year. Therefore, Lord Vishnu goes into a state of meditation or deep sleep for these four months of Chaturmaas.
Fasting Practices Observed during Chaturmaas 2023
Generally, most of the devotees observe some kind of Vrat or the other during the Chaturmaas period. There are various kinds of fasting practices observed by people depending upon the type of meals. Some examples include ek-bhojan (eating only one meal), parna-bhojan (eating on a leaf), ayachit (eating only what is provided), a mixed meal (eating food served once, after mixing it), etc. There are several devotees who observe a Vrat called ‘dharne-parne’ in the Chaturmaas period. In this Vrat, the devotees eat and fast on alternate days for 4 months continuously. This fasting practice is mostly performed by women for the peace, happiness and prosperity of their families. Most of the devotees consume only one or two types of food grains during the Chaturmaas period. Some others resolve to have only one meal a day. The patterns of fasting differ from region to region during Chaturmaas 2023.
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