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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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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Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation

Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation

 

By Purushottam Nitai Das

With just his tail, Hanuman effortlessly burned the entire city of Lanka. But he too wasn’t successful in burning the lust and ego of Ravana, the powerful king of Lanka. In fact Ravana’s real well wishers such as his brother Vibhishana and his chaste wife Mandodari had tried their best to counsel him several times against kidnapping Sita, wife of Lord Rama. Ravana not just refused to listen to them but he even humiliated them. Upon being reminded by Vibhishana that kidnapping someone else’s wife is an immoral act and he would suffer the consequences for this nefarious deed Ravana became mad with anger at his brother and threatened to kill him. He finally forced Vibhishana to leave his kingdom. Ravana thought he would succeed in killing Rama and would then forcibly enjoy with Sita.

Hanuman was just one of the soldiers of Lord Rama and had almost decimated the entire Lanka. Any sensible person would have easily gauged the strength of his opponent seeing the power of just one of the soldiers of his opponent. But lust and ego had created such a thick covering over Ravana’s intelligence that he was not able to see his imminent disaster. Just like Ravana we too want to enjoy the property of the Lord claiming to be ours. And when reminded that everything moving and non -moving in this world belongs to Lord we refuse to accept it and we start making plans to defeat the plans of the Lord. The material energy of the Lord keeps on demonstrating as how helpless we are in front of her. We see devastation everywhere in the form of flood, famine, earthquake, tsunami, war, deadly diseases and death. But like Ravana we refuse to learn from it and always think that with my efforts and prowess we will be able to subjugate the material world and will enjoy it by becoming the controller.

Lord Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and for him to kill Ravana wasn’t difficult. He is the creator and maintainer of all and when required he destroys everything. But just like a father who always hope that one day his disobedient son would get reformed and will finally return to home, similarly Lord Rama the Supreme father was hoping that may be Ravana would give up his demoniac mentality and would come back to him. And this is why, he waited and through Hanuman and Angad sent him messages that he should act righteously else his end is certain.

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