Why follow Caturmasya?

Why follow Caturmasya?

By ISKCON Mayapur

“The real purpose behind the vow taken during these four months is to minimize the quantity of sense gratification. This is not verydifficult.” 

– Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya Lila 4.169, Purport

In the purport to Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 4.169, Srila Prabhupada writes that “the Caturmasya period begins in the month of Ashadha (June-July) from the day of Ekadasi called Sayana-ekadasi. The period ends in the month of Kartika (October-November) on the Ekadasi day known as Utthana-ekadasi. This four month period is known as Caturmasya.” In the Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa it is recommended that for the first month of Caturmasya, which is known as Sravana (July–August), one should give up eating any green, leafy vegetables. This includes but is not limited to all types of spinach, coriander, curry leaves, basil and other herbs. In the second month known as Bhadrapada (August –September), one should avoid eating yogurt. For the third month, Asvina (September –October), it is recommended that one should abstain from milk. In the last month, Kartika (October –November), one should not eat white lentils (masura and urad dhals).

In the Varaha Purana, it describes the significance and origin of the Caturmasya period. Once Mother Earth approached Lord Varaha, the boar incarnation of the Lord, and expressed her concerns about the people who take birth in Kali Yuga. She pointed out how these people are ignorant, short-lived and always afflicted with weakness and disease, and she begged the Lord to reveal a method which would allow the people of Kali Yuga to get great benefits with very little effort.

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The reaction and the hellish planets

The reaction and the hellish planets

What happens after death? 

One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament. (Bhagavad-Gita—-2:27—-translation) 

Yamaraja, the great controller of life after death, decides the living entities’ destinies in their next lives. He is surely among the most confidential representatives of the Lord. Such confidential posts are offered to great devotees of the Lord who are as good as His eternal associates in the spiritual sky. (Srimad Bhagavatam—-3:5:21—-purport).

Unfortunately people do not know that there is life after death; therefore mundane people waste their time amassing material profit which has to be left behind at the time of death. Such profit has no eternal benefit. Similarly, adoration by mundane people is valueless because after death one has to accept another body. Material adoration and titles are decorations that cannot be carried over to the next body. In the next life, everything is forgotten. (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta—-2:19:159—-purport).

Just as the most sinful wretch lives in a ghostly body after death and moves about in the ether, having been denied a gross body, so the impersonalist, although rising to the point of liberation in the transcendental position, falls back down to the material world because of not having developed the mood of loving service to the Supreme Lord. Therefore the severe austerities and penances the impersonalist performs are not equivalent to the eternal religion of devotional service. (Renunciation Through Wisdom).

In this life, an envious person commits violent acts against many living entities. Therefore after his death, when he is taken to hell by Yamaraja, those living entities who were hurt by him appear as animals called rurus to inflict very severe pain upon him. Learned scholars call this hell Raurava. Not generally seen in this world, the ruru is more envious than a snake. (Srimad Bhagavatam—-5:26:11—-translation).

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Draupadi – dishonored yet honorable

Draupadi – dishonored yet honorable

By Chaitanya Charan das

Draupadi. Her admirable character is revealed in the most humiliating incident of her life – her disrobing by the wicked Dushasana. Though victimized in body, she refuses to be victimized in her heart. Her exceptional character transforms the lowest point in her life into the highest point. The incident in which she is the most dishonored, she emerges as the most honorable.

On that dark day, her period has just ended and she has emerged after bathing, wearing a single cloth before she puts on her royal dress as the chief queen of the reigning monarch. Unknown to her, the monarch Yudhisthira has, in a rigged gambling match, lost everything, including all his property, his brothers, himself and finally her.

The jeering Karna suggests that Draupadi be brought into the assembly and be disrobed publicly for she was now the Kauravas’ slave. If the Kauravas had succeeded in disrobing her, whether they would have physically violated her in the public assembly is doubtful. The atrocious idea was not just driven by lust but by power play – the Kauravas saw Draupadi not as a person, but as a tool to demean the Pandavas. Objectification of women runs through and through in the Kauravas’ attitude. They order a court messenger to summon Draupadi to the palace.

When the messenger informs her that she has been summoned to the assembly and tells her all that has transpired there, she is aghast. But pulling herself together with amazing speed, she comes up with a strategy to buy time. She tells the messenger to ask the assembly whether she had been rightly gambled and lost when Yudhishtira had already gambled and lost himself – when he was not his own master, was he her master to have gambled her?

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