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Caturmasya | Visvarupa Mahotsava
Caturmasya: Vows and Benefits
"One who passes the Caturmasya season without observing religious vows, austerities and chanting of japa, such a fool although living should be considered to be a dead man." (Bhavisya Purana)
If one can't follow the things given below, at least one should follow the following basic rules:
Spinach, sak, green leafy vegetables
Urad and masur dahl
"In the month of Sravana (July, August) one should refrain from eating spinach. In the month of Bhadra (August, September) of yogurt, in Asvina (September, October) milk. In Karttika (October, November) meat and urad dahl." (Skanda Purana, Nagava Khanda)
Various vows and austerities during Caturmasya and their respective results:
"O King, one who is My devotee and is fixed in vow, whether man or woman, for the purpose of dharma, should accept these various austerities and observances. I shall now describe to you all of them along with their respective results.
01) No salt - One's voice becomes sweet.
02) No oil - One's life is prolonged and gets progeny.
03) No oil massages - One's body becomes beautiful.
04) No cooking with oil - One's enemies are vanished.
05) No licorice and oil - One becomes wealthy.
06) Give up wearing unoffered flowers - One becomes a Vidyadhara in Devapura.
07) Give up six kinds of tastes (spice, sour, bitter, sweet, salty and harsh) - One never becomes ugly, smelly, or obtains a bad birth.
08) Practice of yoga - One goes to Brahmaloka.
09) No betel nuts - One becomes happy.
10) No cooked food (raw fruits and vegetables) - One obtains purity.
11) No honey - One becomes lustrous.
12) No yoghurt or milk - One attains Goloka.
13) No cooking with earthen pots - (?)
14) No hot food - One gets offspring with a long life.
15) Take rest on the ground or on stone - One becomes an associate of Visnu.
16) One who gives up meat and honey is a yogi and muni.
17) No intoxicating liquors - One becomes powerful and free from disease.
18) Fast for one day - One is honored in Brahmaloka.
19) No cutting of hair and nails - One gets the benefit of taking bath daily in Ganges.
20) No speaking of grama katha (nonsense) - One's order will never be disobeyed.
21) Eat food on the ground without dish or plate - One obtains a kingdom on Earth.
22) Chant the mantra Namo Narayana - One obtains the result of giving in charity 100 times.
23) Offer prayers to the Lord - One gets the result of giving cows in charity.
24) Touch the lotus feet of the Deity - One becomes a successful person.
25) Clean the temple of the Lord - If one is king he remains so for a kalpa.
26) Circumambulating the temple three times offering prayers - At the time of death one will mount a swan airplane and go to Vaikuntha.
27) Singing or playing musical instruments in the temple of the Lord - One goes to Gandharvaloka.
28) Take pleasure in studying the sastras - One goes to Visnuloka.
29) Sprinkle water in the temple - One goes to Apsaraloka.
30) Take bath in a holy place - One's body becomes pure.
31) Worship Lord Visnu with flowers - One goes to Vaikuntha.
32) Eat pancagavya - One gets the result of observing candrayana fasting.
33) Eat one meal a day - One gets the results of performing an Agnihotra.
34) Eat at night only - One gets the result of going to all the places of pilgrimage.
35) Eat at noon only - One attains Devaloka.
36) Take food not obtained by begging or any extraneous endeavor - One gets the results of opening water stands and digging wells.
37) Take bath daily - One will never see hell.
38) No eating on a plate - One gets the result of bathing at Puskara.
39) Eat on a leaf - One obtains the result of living at Kuruksetra.
40) Eat on a stone - One obtains the result of bathing at Prayaga.
41) Giving up drinking to six hours - One will not be attacked by diseases.
42) During the Caturmasya, garlands, caranamrta, candana and water from the conchshell of the Lord, mahaprasadam, Deity garlands must be accepted.
"In this way one who performs this vrata for the satisfaction of Lord Kesava becomes satisfied himself. O best of the Pandavas, among My devotees, he who accepts these vows and austerities during the Caturmasya goes to My abode at the time of death, of this there is no doubt."
Visnu Rahasya (Lord Brahma to Narada Muni): "If one accepts all these Vaisnava austerities and observances with devotion, one attains the supreme destination, O Narada. One who desires within himself to execute all these Vaisnava austerities and vows, his sins obtained within one hundred births are destroyed. If one is exclusively devoted, peaceful, takes daily bath, is fixed in vow and worships the Lord during these four months, he goes to the abode of the Lord. He who accepts the austerity of sleeping on the ground this time when the Visnu Deity is sleeping in yoga nidra underwater, he goes to the abode of Laksmi."
Chaturmasya in HBV
- Acceptance of sannyasa by Sri Visvarupa
(from Caitanya-mangala by Srila Locana Dasa Thakura)
422. Now I will describe a conversation of Murari Gupta and Damodara Pandita.
423. Damodara Pandita asked Murari Gupta: I would like to ask one question I have long considered in my heart.
424. Dear Murari Gupta, this question I ask you: How did the Lord's brother, Visvarupa, leave home and accept sannyasa?
425. This question I respectfully ask about His qualities and pastimes." With a happy heart Murari Gupta replied:
426. Please listen. Listen, O Damodara, O best of the panditas, and I will tell whatever I know.
427. Visvarupa was Lord Visvambhara's elder brother. He was the abode of transcendental virtues. How can I describe all His virtues and pastimes?
428. In a short time He became learned in all the scriptures. He was devoted to duty and detached from matter.
429. He was happy at heart. He was devoted to His spiritual master, the Supreme Lord, and the brahmanas. He very affectionately served His mother and father.
430. He understood the conclusion of Vedanta. He knew the secret heart of all duties. He knew that no pious deed is separate from devotional service to Lord Visnu.
431. He was loved by everyone. He was very perfect. In his heart lived renunciation, spiritual knowledge, spiritual faith, and true intelligence.
432. One day as, a book in his left hand, he conversed with a fellow student as they walked on the royal path, Jagannatha Misra noticed Him.
433. Jagannatha Misra thought: "My son is 16 years old. Now, in the prime of his youth, he should be married."
434. Father Jagannatha Misra thought in his heart: "I should consider what girl will be suitable for Visvarupa."
435. Thinking and thinking, the brahmana Jagannatha Misra returned to his home. In his heart he was thinking of Visvarupa's marriage.
436. At that moment the brahmana Visvarupa also returned home. His father was surprised to see Him. Visvarupa knew what was in His father's heart.
437. Glancing at him, the great brahmana Visvarupa knew what His surprised father was planning.
438. In His heart Visvarupa thought: "He is thinking how to arrange My marriage.
439. "It is not right for Me to marry. But if I don't marry, mother will be very unhappy."
440. As He thought of all this, night turned to sunrise. Then, a book in His left hand, He left home.
441. Saintly Visvarupa crossed the Ganga and accepted sannyasa.
Song 13 (Patha-manjari raga)
442. In their hearts Mother Saci and Father Jagannatha Misra thought:
"Nine hours have passed. Why has our son not returned?" Jagannatha Misra searched for Him. He went to every house, but he did not find His son.
443. From person to person, from ear to ear, the news circulated: Visvarupa accepted sannyasa. The news went to you and also to me. Finally hearing it himself, Father Jagannatha Misra fell unconscious.
444. When Saci-devi heard it, she also fell unconscious to the ground. For them a blinding darkness covered the three worlds. "Visvarupa!", Saci called out. "Son, come back. We want to gaze on You. Why did You leave home and accept sannyasa?
445. "Your limbs are so beautiful! Your feet are so beautiful! How can You travel on long journeys, walking on the roads? You cannot let even three hours pass without eating. Now You will not find even a single sesame seed. Before whom will You place Your requests now?
446. "Now that my son has gone there is no peace in my heart. Moment after moment I yearn for His return. When I go to bathe, I am not peaceful. I think: My Visvarupa may return.
447. "When You call out, `Mother!', that sound is more dear to me than millions and millions of treasures. When i gaze at Your face I forget myself. What sufferings did You feel that now You throw fire at my face, that now You have become a poverty-stricken sannyasi? I do not know.
448. "O father of Visvarupa, wherever Visvarupa went, go there. Go and bring my son home. Let the people say whatever they say. Bring my son back. Again I will arrange for His sacred-thread ceremony."
449. Then Jagannatha Misra said: "O goddess, O queen Saci, please listen. Please be peaceful at heart. Don't lament any more. This whole material world is a lie. Visvarupa is a very exalted person.
450. "Good fortune has now come to our families. Visvarupa is a very good son. From childhood He was always a sannyasi in spirit. Please give Him your blessings. Bless Him that He will be always steady on the spiritual path, that He will easily maintain His vow of sannyasa.
451. "Listen. Don't think in terms of calamity or good fortune. Don't lament without reason. When a man accepts sannyasa he delivers ten million of his kinsmen. Visvarupa is a jewel among men."
452. Hearing Jagannatha Misra's words, Saci again said: "What did you
say? Please say it again, O saintly one." Jagannatha Misra repeated:
"When a man accepts sannyasa he delivers ten million of his family members. Therefore our son has done good."
453. In this way the two of them felt both grief and joy in their hearts. How can I describe their glories? Their good fortune has no end. They had Visvarupa as their son.
454. Murari Gupta then said to Damodara Pandita: Now you have heard the story of Visvarupa accepting sannyasa. Repeating the conversation of those two, Locana dasa sings this song glorifying Lord Visvarupa.
455. At that time Lord Visvambhara sat on His mother's lap. She gazed at her dear son's face. He said: "Where did My brother go? Listen. Listen, O mother and father. I will protect you."
456. Hearing these words, Jagannatha Misra and Saci-rani hugged their son. Gazing at Lord Visvambhara's face, they forgot all their sorrows. Locana dasa recounts this story.
From Caitanya-bhagavata by Srila Vrindavana das Thakura, Adi-khanda Ch. 6:
In name only did Visvarupa go home. He quickly returned to Advaita's house.
Material happiness did not bring pleasure to Visvarupa's heart, where the bliss of Krsna-kirtana always stayed.
When He was home, Visvarupa stayed always in the room that was a Visnu temple. He hardly ever went to the other rooms.
When His parents began to make plans for His marriage, Visvarupa became very unhappy at heart.
"I must renounce the world", Visvarupa decided in His heart. "I must go to the forest", was the only thought in His heart. It kept Him awake at night.
Only the Supreme Personality of Godhead can truly understand the desires that stay in the Supreme Personality of Godhead's heart. After a few day Visvarupa accepted sannyasa.
In this world He was known by the name "Sankararanya". The best of the Vaisnavas, He walked on the path that leads to the limitless Supreme Person.
When saintly Visvarupa left, the hearts of Saci and Jagannatha Misra burst into flames.
The Lord and His parents loudly wept. Tormented by separation from His brother, Lord Caitanya fell unconscious.
I do not have the power to place on my mouth words that describe that torment of separation. Jagannatha Misra's home became filled with weeping.
Seeing that Visvarupa had accepted sannyasa, Advaita and the other Vaisnavas wept again and again.
When they heard this news, the upper-class and middle-class non-devotees did not respond in the same way. Hearing this news, they were not overcome with grief.
Their hearts broken, Saci and Jagannatha Misra cried, "Visvarupa! Visvarupa!"
Jagannatha Misra was overcome with grief for his son. His relatives and friends tried to console him.
They said, "O Jagannatha Misra, please be peaceful. Don't be unhappy at heart. Your son is a great soul who has brought liberation to His entire family.
"When a person accepts sannyasa, then sixty-million of His family members go to live in Vaikuntha.
"By acting in this way, your son has attained the perfection of knowledge.
"You should be very happy." Speaking these words, everyone grasped the hands and feet of Saci and Jagannatha Misra.
They said, "Your Visvambhara is the ornament of the family. This son will continue your dynasty.
"He will destroy all your sufferings. How can ten millions sons in compare this this son?"
All the relatives and friends explained the truth in this way. Still Jagannatha Misra's suffering did not break.
Thinking of these instructions, Jagannatha Misra became peaceful. Then, when he remembered Visvarupa's virtues, he forgot all about being peaceful.
Jagannatha Misra said, "In my heart I do not know whether this son will stay home.
"Lord Krsna gave me a son, and then Lord Krsna took Him away. Whatever Lord Krsnacandra wishes will certainly be.
"Independent of You, the individual soul has not even a half mustard seed's worth of power. O Lord Krsna, I dedicate my body and senses to You. I take shelter of You."
With this knowledge of jnana-yoga, little by little saintly Jagannatha Misra became peaceful and steady in his thoughts.
In this way Visvarupa left home. His form is not different from the form of Lord Nityananda.
Whoever hears this description of Lord Visvarupa's sannyasa attains Krsna-bhakti (devotional service to Lord Krsna). For him the noose of karma is cut.
When they heard of Visvarupa's sannyasa, the devotees felt both joy and sorrow at every moment.
They said, "Lord Krsna has taken from us a person who always spoke Krsna-katha (topics of Krsna).
"We should not stay here. We should go to the forest. Then we will not see the faces of these sinners.
"How many flames of the offender's words must we tolerate? Everyone is addicted to the path of sin.
"We do not hear holy names like "Krsna" on anyone's mouth. Drowning in material pleasures, the whole world is on the verge of death.
"If someone preaches the path that leads to Lord Krsna, no one accepts his words. The people misunderstand him, try to refute him, and mock him.
"They tell him, `How have you become happy by worshiping Krsna? Only after begging do you eat. Your sufferings always increase.' "
Deciding that it was not right to stay among such people, the devotees declared, "We must go to the forest", and then sighed.
Saintly Advaita comforted everyone. He said, "You all will attain the highest bliss. That is certain.
"In My heart I feel great bliss. I think in this way: `Lord Krsnacandra is now manifest in this world.'
"Everyone happily chant, `Krsna!' In a few days we will see Lord Krsna here.
"Then Lord Krsna will enjoy pastimes with all of you. This this `Advaita' will become a pure servant of Lord Krsna.
"Then all you servants of the Lord will attain a great mercy that even Sukadeva and Prahlada could not attain."
Hearing Advaita's nectar words, all the devotees blissfully called out
All the devotees loudly called out "Hari!" Their hearts were filled with bliss.
As He was playing with the other boys, Lord Caitanya heard these calls of "Hari!" The Lord then went to Advaita's home.
"Why have You come, child? the devotees asked. The Lord replied, "Why did you call for Me?"
After speaking these words, the Lord ran off with the other boys. Bewildered by the Lord's Yogamaya potency, no one could understand what had happened.
After Visvarupa left home, the Lord became a little more peaceful and serious.
Now He always stayed near His father and mother. In this way He made them forget their grief.