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Chaturmas (Sanskrit: चातुर्मास, Cāturmāsa) is a period of four months beginning on Shayani Ekadashi - the 11th day of the first bright half of Ashadh (fourth month of the Hindu lunar calendar) until Prabodhini Ekadashi - the 11th day of the first bright half of the Kartik (eighth month of the Hindu lunar calender). It is believed that Hindu gods and goddesses are at rest.[1]

EtymologyEdit

Chaturmas literally means four months, derived from the words चतुर् meaning four,[2] and मासः means a month.[3]

InterpretationEdit

Shesh shaiya Vishnu

Vishnu sleeps on the Shesha Shaiya - bed of Shesha.

The sun enters the orbit of Karka (Cancer) and begins to move southwards in the month of Ashadh. The Hindu preserver-god Vishnu is believed to sleep on this day, hence the 11th of Ashadh is called as Devashayani Ekadashi. He is believed to wake up on 11th of Kartik, hence called as Prabodhini Ekadashi.[4] It corresponds with the rainy season in India.[5]

Significance in HinduismEdit

This period of four months is prescribed for penance, austerities, religious observances, recital of mantras, bathing in holy rivers, performing sacrifices, worship and charity. Fasts and purity during this period helps maintaining health.[4] This period considered inauspicious for marriages and other such ceremonies.[5]

Significance for SanyasisEdit

File:Chaturmas.jpg

The Sanyasis or the ascetics observe Chaturmas for four fortnights, beginning on full moon day of the month Ashadh also known as Guru Purnima or Vyas Purnima, and ending on full moon day of the month Bhadrapada.[6] Sanyasis are supposed to halt during this period at one selected place, giving discourse to the public.[4]

Significant festivalsEdit

Major fetivals within this holy period include:

ReferencesEdit

  1. Bhalla, Prem P. (2006). Hindu Rites, Rituals, Customs and Traditions. p. 293. 
  2. "Spken Sanskrit". http://spokensanskrit.de/index.php?script=HK&tinput=four&country_ID=&trans=Translate&direction=AU. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  3. "Spoken Sanskrit". http://spokensanskrit.de/index.php?script=HK&tinput=month&country_ID=&trans=Translate&direction=AU. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bhargava, Gopal K; S. C. Bhatt. Land and people of Indian states and union territories. 8. p. 506. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Eleanor Zelliot, Maxine Berntsen, ed. The Experience of Hinduism. SUNY Press. p. 335. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=7PDr-QF4YmYC&pg=PA207&dq=Chaturmas&client=firefox-a. 
  6. Sampurna Chaturmas in Marathi

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