Guru Purnima marks the beginning of the four-month Chaturmasya vrata. Know its significance. And details on how to observe Chaturmas vrat.
Nowadays, people celebrate Mother's Day, Father's Day, Friendship Day, etc. Each of them are meant to express our gratitude to the people who have touched our lives.
Likewise, we have a Guru's day in our traditions.
Bhagavan is considered as the first teacher of one's tradition. Between Bhagavan, and one's Guru, are many teachers in the tradition.
They constitute the Guru Parampara. These Gurus have dedicated their lives to maintain the tradition. Hence, we pay homage to each one of them.
Its the time of the year when it is raining. The monsoons have arrived. That is the time for Guru Purnima. On Purnima (full moon) day in the lunar month of Aashadha.
In modern English usage, Guru has come to mean - expert.
In Hindu traditions, Guru broadly means teacher. One who imparts knowledge.
In this context, Guru means spiritual guide. One who imparts spiritual knowledge. One who is a living representative of one's spiritual tradition.
The one who is the most accessible part of the long chain of a spiritual knowledge tradition.
Guru Purnima is also known as Vyasa Purnima or Vyasa Puja. That is because Vyasa is the central person worshiped on this day.
Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa rearranged the Vedas into the current form of Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda.
He then taught one Veda each to one of his disciples. For his contribution to this Vedic tradition, Vyasa occupies the important place on this day along with his four disciples.
There is a tradition among sanyasi-s. Starting this day, to stay at one place for the next two months. Aeons back, it used to be four months in one place. Later the practice got reduced to two months in one place.
This practice of staying at one place is called Chaturmasya vrata. However, there is another practice by the same name. And it is meant for all. Not just the sanyasi.
The next four months is also a vrata period that any able person could observe. This Chaturmas vrata involves a vegetarian diet with further diet restrictions.
Texts mention that the Chaturmasya vrata is to commence from Aashada Ekadashi (four days before Purnima). With the option of starting the vrata on this Purnima day.
On the day of commencing the vrata, a puja is performed to Hari (Vishnu). And the following diet is followed for the next four months.
Starting from that day to the next Shukla Ekadashi (in the month of Shravana), a vegetarian diet without fruits or vegetables is maintained.
In the second month (Shravana Shukla Dvadashi to Bhadrapada Shukla Ekadashi) a vegetarian diet without curd (yoghurt) is followed.
In the third month (Bhadrapada Shukla Dvadashi to Aashvyuja Shukla Ekadashi) the food to avoid is milk.
And finally, in the fourth month (Aashvyuja Shukla Dvadashi to Karthika Shukla Ekadashi) it is a normal vegetarian diet but without pulses (varieties of dal or paruppu or lentil). Actually the definition in texts is grains that split into two. And pulses are those kind of splitting grain.
The four month vrata ends on Shukla Dvadashi of the lunar month of Karthika. At the end of the vrata, one should donate according to ones capacity.
The Madhwa tradition widely follow this Vrata. Check out this link for recipes of the tradition, cooked during this time period.
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