Chaturmas Vrata and its Importance-Rules & Merits
Four Month Long Vrata of Hinduism
What is Chaturmas:
The period starting from Hindu Calendar, from Ashad Shukla Ekadashi to Kartik Shukla Ekadashi is called Chaturmas. This is extremely important one of the longest duration of observing religious vows collectively . This period of CHATURMAS is a period of 4 months. People observe different vows, promised in front of God and follow them for full four months till Devautthan Ekadashi or Hari Prabodhin Ekadashi. This 4 months period is extremely important for devotees and Sanyasis . Even general public is can benefit from this as well as there is no restriction of vows which can be taken during Chatrumas. Although there is a long list of virtuous acts which can be carried during this period. People choose any one or multiple act or create as per their own wish to follow during this Chaturmas.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Mother used to carry out this fast and in present times Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is confirmed to be practicing this every year.
I had to write this post as I found out that the current information on internet about Chaturmas is very limited and most of the posts just touch few Niyams which could be taken and leave the rest. I have tried to make it as comprehensive as possible while keeping it reader friendly. Most of the Niyams(Rules) are covered here. However people are free to create their own Niyams and follow after promising in front of Lord. God is supreme and he would love dedication of any kind to him. You an use the Niyams described here for your reference.I have tried myself various Niyamas over the years and found them extremely helpful.
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Chaturmas is one of the most powerful Vratas and grants all kinds of wishes and is capable of rendering Salvation as well. Yet it is largely unknown to masses in Hindus. Just imagine if you carry out any Vrata for a period of 4 months , how much merit can be earned and how much purification of the Soul will take place. The continuous practice of devotion and austerities for four months sets the right mindset for Soul’s upliftment and is a great character building exercise. Chaturmas burns the sins and set the person of the right path of spiritual progress.
How to observe Chaturmas Vrata:
One should get up early on the Devashayani Ekadashi day , After getting through with daily routine and taking bath. One should sprinkle Holy water in home. He should install Gold,Silver, Copper or Brass idol of Lord Vishnu in home’s Pooja place any Holy corner of house. After chanting dhyan Mantra for lord, he should do Shodashopachar pooja of Lord Visnnu & offer him Pitambara & jewels. Pitambar is yellow garment for Lord.
Dhyan Mantra for Lord Vishnu:
वन्दे विष्णुंभवभयहरं सर्वलौकेकनाथम्॥
Shantakaram Bhujagshayanam Padmanabham Suresham
Vishwadaram Gagandsadrisham Meghavarnam Shubhangam|
Lakshmikantam Kamalnayanam Yogibhirdhyangamyam
Vande Vishnum Bhavbhayharanam Sarvalokaikanatham||
Meaning : One whose appearance is extremely peaceful and who is sleeping on giant snake Sheshnaga & from show belly button Lotus has sprung out. One who is the root cause of the creation, who is omnipresent like sky and whose limbs are of the color of dark rainy clouds and are extremely beautiful, whose eyes are lotus petal like , the husband of Lakshmiji who is meditated upon by Yogis, That Lord Vishnu I bow to you, please save us from the fear of this cycle of births and re births, as you are Lord of all lokas.
After that he should listen the story of Vrata. Once pooja is over he should do Arati and distribute prasada to everyone. After this he should make a bed with pillow and blanket with white sheet for Lord’s Vishnu’s idol and request him to sleep during Chaturmas. After this person should read out his Vrata niyamas in front of Lord and pray to him to help in carrying out those niyamas successfully till Kartik Shukla Ekadashi (DevUtthan Ekadashi).
Mantra to be chanted when Lord sleeps-
Supte tvayi jagannath jagatsuptambhavedidam| Vibuddhetvayibudhyet jagatsarvacharacharam||
Meaning in Hindi : हे जगन्नाथ! आपके सो जाने पर यह सारा जगत सुप्त हो जाता है तथा आपके जागने पर संपूर्ण चराचर जगत् जागृत हो उठता है।
Meaning : O Master of the Universe, When you sleep , entire creation sleeps and when you are awake entire creation comes alive again.
Read here about Devashayani Ekadahi & its Story: Ashadh Shukla Ekadashi-Devashayani/Padma/Harishayani Ekadashi & Chaturmas
Story & Significance of Chaturmas (Chaturmas Mahatmya & Katha) :
Son of Queen Kunti, Yudhishthir asked Lord Krishna ,” O Lord! Please tell us the significance of Chaturmas & Ashadh Shukla Ekadashi”
Lord Krishna said , ” O King Yudhishthir ! Ashadh month shukla ekadashi is also called Harishayani Ekadashi or Devashayani Ekadashi. Chaturmasya Vrat is also started from this day itself.
Yudhishthir said,” Lord! Please tell us how to sleep Lord Vishnu and how to observe Chaturmas fast,?”
Lord Shri Krishna said,” O Yudhishthir ! Lord Vishnu is considered to be placed on the cosmic serpent Sheshanag, assuming sleeping position. This sleeping position of Lord Vishnu is supposed to take place when Sun enters in Cancer zodiac in bright fortnight of Ashadh month.. This time is the start of Chaturmasya Vrata. Devashayani Ekadashi’s significance is enhanced many-fold because of this coincidence of start of Chaturmas. O King , Now I will tell you about the Sleep fasting of Lord Vishnu & also the Chaturmas fast.Listen carefully.
Lord is made asleep when the Sun enters in Cancer zodiac and is woken up when Sun enters in Libra zodiac. Devutthan(Waking up of Lord) ritual is performed on Dwadashi (Twelfth) day of Kartik month. The period from Devashayani Ekadashi to Dwadashi of Kartik month is the time of Chaturmas vrata. In the event of Adhik Mas ( Adhik mas is an extra month -This occurs every four years and may or may not fall during Chaturmas depending on the year) , the process of sleeping and waking up of Lord Vishnu should be carried as described above, without any changes. Only Lord Vishnu should be slept like this. This ritual should not be done with other Gods. Also this should not be done during any other months.
Ashadh month Shukla paksha fast should be observed with full rituals . O King Yudhishthir! The importance of Devashayani Ekadashi is enhanced manifold. On this day, One should make the Gold idol of Lord Vishnu and should take the vows of Chaturmasya Vrata in front of the idol. First Lord’s idol is bathed with ‘Panchamrit’. Then Lord’s idol is offered yellow dress and is made to sleep on a White bed.Them Lord Vishnu is worshiped with sixteen offerings (Shodashopachar- with Dhoop, Deep, Naivedya, Flower, Sandal, Beetle leaf etc). Lord Vishnu’s sleeping worship should be done with the help of Brahmans who know the scriptures. After this, one should pray thus,” O Lord Vishnu! We are worshiping you with mother Lakshmi. I have made arrangements for you to sleep. If you sleep entire world is asleep. O Lord till the time your are sleep (the duration of Chaturmas) , Kindly keep my this Vrata unbroken.”
Lord Krishna further said,” O King Yudhishthir, One should worship Lotus eyed Lord Vishnu with Lotus flowers. If one does this, he obtains the merit of worshiping of Tridevas (Brahma,Vishnu & Mahesh) .One should fast throughout the day observing and stay wake at night remembering Lord. Also one should sing Bhajans and read the scriptures.
On should pay his obeisance and read the Stuti (praises) of Lord Vishnu and should observe the rules of fast with complete sincerity. People cans tart the Chaturmasya Vrat from five dates as follows on Ekadashi, Dwadashi(Twelfth), Purnamasi(Full moon day), Ashtami (Eighth day of next paksha) & Karka Sankranti. Whatever the date you start but the fast Chaturmasya Vrat has to end on Shula Paksha Dwadashi of Katrik month.If one does this Vrata all his sins are destroyed.Those who observe this Vrata every year , they go to heaven , seated on a a chariot as bright as Sun. In Chaturmas Vrata, the set status of Jupiter & Venues is not forbidden . If the Sun comes in partially in the Sagittarius , then also the Vrat is considered complete. Me or Women who observe this fast with purity and holiness they become free from all sins. Malmas or Adhik mas is forbidden in worship of divine and Pitars (ancestors).
List of Niyamas(Vows) carried out in Chaturmasa:
One can chose one or many from the niyamas given below , depending on their preference.
Lord Krishna says,” O King of Dharma, Yudhishthir! Now listen to the merits of the various vows taken in Chaturmasya Vrata::
- One who colorfully adorns temples, he get seven births as Brahman. Also those who clean temple everyday, wash with water, and smear with cow dung (this is done where the floor is not of concrete or stone and floor is just the dusty ground, smearing with water mixed cow dung makes it clean and dust free and germ free.) . They also get birth of Brahaman fro 7 re- births. This means those who offer their services towards the upkeep and cleanliness if temple , they get high birth for many incarnations.
- Those who offer Panchamrit bath with Milk,Curd,Honey,Sugar candy,Ghee to Lord Vishnu’s gold idol and do the Shodashopachar pooja (worship with 16 articles) , they get supreme position in the afterlife. Those who donate Land,Gold etc to Brahmans, they get super wealthy and attain heaven after birth and enjoy pleasure like Indra, the King of Demi-Gods..
- Those who offer Tulasi to Lord Vishnu everyday or offer Golden Tulasi to Lord, they go in Golden chariot in after lief and attain the supreme position. They receive God’s favor and his blessings.
- Those who offer Guggal incence and Deep(earthen lamp) , they get vast kind of wealth.
- The Peepal tree(Indian Fig Tree) is beloved to Lord Vishnu, therefor one should worship Lord Vishnu in Peepal tree., Those who do this they achieve Vishnuloka (abode of Lord Vishnu) in afterlife..
- Those who offer Deepdaan(earthen lamp) to Devas and Brahmans and perform Havans in Vrata duration and donate the clothes adorned with golden works to Brahmans, they go to heaven seated in divine chariot and are served by celestial beauties, the Apsaras.
- Those who accept the Charanamrit ( the mixture made from the milk,curd, sugar, Tulasi and water offered on Lord’s idol bathing) with full devotion , they get rid of all their worldly problems..
- Sins stay away from those who chant Gayatri Mantra, 108 times in Lord Vishnu’s temple. Lord Vyasa is pleased with those, who do Gayatri Japa & Meditation.
- Those who read or listen the Puranas & Vedic scriptures and donate them to Vedapathis Brahmans(Brahmans who read Vedic texts as profession) with close the and Gold, they become wealthy,knowledgeable and receive glory.
- Those who remember Lord Vishnu or Lord Shiva or donate their Golden idols , they become free from sins and become wealthy..
- People who offer Ardhya (Offering water mixed with flowe, kumkum, sandal, camphor etc. to sun, standing facing him so that light reflecting from the falling water, reflects on your body) to Lord Sun after their morning bath and donate Gold, Red cloth and cow , they are free from diseased and become healthy, they are free form the fear of untimely death, achieve fame, ,wealth and power. This offering of Ardhya gets them honour from the Government.
- The People who perform Havan from Gayatri mantra using til seeds and donate til seeds after Chaturmas is finished, they get diseases free body and worthy progeny.
- Those who perform Havan with grains and donate clothes and ghee after havan they get wealth and fame and get all pleasure like Lord Brahma.Their enemies are destroyed.
- People who worship Peepal Tree (also called Ashwath) and donate clothes with Gold, all their sins are destroyed and they become Lord’s devotee.
- Those who adorn themselves with Tulasi and make donations in the name of Lord Vishnu after Chaturmas, they go Vishnuloka (Abode of Lord Vishnu)
- Devotees who offer Durva grass on Lord Vishnu head when he is sleeping during Chaturmas and after Durva made of Gold praying thus,” O Durva, As you spread throughout on ground with all your branches and sub branches, likewise kindly give a progeny tome, who is immortal and free from old age”. One should donate the Golden Durva after praying. Those who do this not only get the progeny but also get rid of all their sins and go to heaven.
- Those who go to Lord Vishnu’s and Lord Shiva temple and sing praises and stay awake at night they get the merit of being awake at night ad they get heaven as well.
- People who offer Ring Bell of good quality in temple they should pray thus,” Dear Lord, You are The Owner of world! you are destroyer of all sins. May you please destroy sins arisen from works worthy to be done and not worthy to be done as well.” They get free from all their Sins.
- Devotees who bow to Brahmans everyday and donate many cows Or only one Kapila Cow with cloth at the end of Chaturmas they become successful in their life. All of their sins are destroyed and they become wealthy.
- Those who feed Brahmans at the end of Chaturmasya Vrata , their age span and wealth increases .
- Those who donate Kapila cow with calf adorned with jewels. They become unchallenged Kings with long life and able progeny.
- Those who donate Sun made of Gold to Brahmana, their merit is equal to 100 yagnas.
- Devotees who offer Silver of Copper to appease Lord Shiva they beget son.
- Those who Silver pot filled with Honey or Copper pot filled with Jaggery and donate Til(Sesame) , Gold and footwear, they get Shivaloka (Abode of Lord Shiva).
- Those who respect Brahmans donate them grains and cloths and at the end of Chaturmas fast donate them bed, They get wealthy and enjoy worldly pleasures.
- Devotees who do Pranams to Sun God and Ganeshji and worship the daily, their life spans and wealth increases and they attain higher realms in their afterlife. If Ganeshji is pleased then the devotee gets and desired wish granted.
- People who donate the Idols of Lord Shiv and Ganeshji to a Brahman, all their works are successfully done
- The devotees who perform Havan in Chaturmas and donate sugar and do the Udyapan (The closing ceremony in which either 4 or 8 pal copper vessel is filed with sugar along with the clothes, fruits and Dakshina- money donated to priest,who worships) , their all sins are destroyed and they beget a famous son.
- Lord Shri Krishna said,” O Yudhishthir, The Chanting of Gayatri (The mother of Vedas) gives infinite merits. The Vrata observer should chant Gayatri 3 times a day, viz. Morning,Afternoon,Evening at least a rosary(Usually a rosary contains 108 beads, so one round means 108 chants of Gayatri mantra). If this chanting is done in temple in front for Lord Vishnu’s idol then it gives infinite merits..
- God is pleased with those who donate Gopichandan in rainy season . They receive worldly pleasure and achieve salvation.
- O son of Kunti! The person who observes Chaturamas Vrata becomes adept at the art of Gandharvas (Gandharvas are celestial musicians) and becomes dear to Ladies.
- People who donate vegetables, fruit, eatable roots and at the end of Vrata give donation , money .clothe par with their capacity, they become happy Rajayogi. Gods are pleased with vegetable and fruits, therefore if these article are donated their favours are easily attained.
- People who donate Sonth, Chilly, Peepal, cloth with money in Vrata and at the end of Vrata donate Sonth, Chilly made of Gold, they live 100 years and go heaven after death.
- Those who donate Pearl to a wise Brahman , they become famous and enjoy glory.
- People who donate Beetle and Tobacco and leave these article in Vrata, they become beautiful, free from diseases, wise, lucky and become sweet talkers. God gives immense wealth , with effect of donation of beetle leaves. Beetle is wealth gives and is auspicious. Gods are pleased with donation of beetle.
- People who donate Turmeric to please Lakshmiji & Parvatiji and at the completion of Vrata donate turmeric in silver vessel, they enjoy pleasure with their spouses. This gives them good luck, unending wealth and a wise progeny and they are worshiped even in the heaven.People who observe Chaturmas Vrata with faith devotion all their desire are fulfilled.
- Lord Shri Krishna said further,” O Patron of Dharma, Yudhishthir! During Chaturmas when the worship of Panchdevas are performed, Mother Parvati should also be worshiped with proper procedure and full rituals. A married Brahman lady should be presented with entire Shringar (makeup up & beauty article) article with clothes. Such people become the expert of Gandharva arts. He attains full & long age span while remaining healthy throughout his life.
- People who want to please Shivaji & Mother Parvatiji and , they worship Brahaman couple (Man & Wife) and donate them Dakshina (A token of money at the end of worship to priest of Brahman) clothes and Gold and while ending the Vrata they Donate Golden Idol of Lord Shiva at ‘Udyapan’, an Ox and offer sweet food to Brahman and hungry they receive get wealth and Fame in this world. They get pleasures of this word and chive salvation finally.
- People who donate fruit and donate the Gold ate the end of Vrata , all their desires come true and they beget a worthy progeny. Fruit donation gives them the pleasure of Nandan Van.
- People who donate flowers they get happiness in this world and they get the position of Gandharva in afterlife.
- People should feed curd rice every day to please Lord Vamana in Chaturmas Vrata. If this cannot be done daily then at least its should be done on all eight Amavasyas (No Moon days), Purnamasi (Full Moon days) and on every Sunday and Friday And at the end of Chatrumas Vrata they should donate footwear with gold,cloth and land. Doing this will beget you wealth, son and devotion of Lord Vishnu and at the end he will go to abode of Lord Vishnu.
- People who donate Cow and calf with clothes and adornments, they attain knowledge and go to the Abode of Brahma and achieve pleasuer with forefathers(Pitars). They do not become slaves of anybody in this world.
- Some people follow the ‘PRAJAPATYA’ and ‘CHANDRAYAN’ fasting in Chaturmas. Prajapatya fasting is complete din 12 days. During first 3 days of fasting people take 22 morsels of food everyday. In next 3 days they take 26 morsels of food everyday and in next 3 days they take 28 morsels of food everyday and during last 3 days they remain completely without food. This fasting fulfills wishes. The fast observer should keep the fast while observing all rules for Chaturmas like worship, chanting, donation and study of religious scriptures. and sing devotional songs.”
- “O Patron of Dhrama! Chandrayan fast is also carried out. Chandrayana fasting duration is for one full month, Done with the purpose to reduce sins, the Chandrayan fasting duration keeps changing. People eat 1 morsel on on Amavasya (No Moon), 2 morsels on next day of Pratipada, 3 morsels on Dwitiya and like wise increasing m they take 14 morsels on a day before Purnima (Full moon day) and 15 morsels on Purnima. And after Purnima they take 14,13,12,11…in reducing order.
- Lord Shri Krishna further said,” O Yudhishthir,People who carry out Prajapatya and Chandrayan fasting in Chaturmas they receive wealth-property, disease free health and the grace of God . An those who donate Cow and feed Brahmans the get rid of all the sins and they go the abode of Brahma.
- Those who donate 8 Ploughs with Ox and clothes on alternate days and take only vegetable, fruits and roost as fruit they go the abode of Lord Vishnu.
- People who sustain only on Milk in Chaturmas and donate the milking cow at the end of Chaturmasa they go abode of Lord Vishnu.
- People who eat on the leave of Banana and Palash leaves, donate the bronze vessel and clothes and do not eat oil, all their sins are destroyed.
- Due to the merits of Chaturmasya vrata the sins committed because of murder of Brahman, drinking alcohol, murder of a child, speaking untruth, murder of women, causing obstruction on someones Vrata,committing adultery with a widow, a Brahman lady or Chandalini lady or with anyone , all these sins are destroyed and they achieve salvation.
- It is customary to satisfy Brahman with donation and Dakshina(Money), One should donate cow and calf with clothes, adornments and a 64 Pals( a unit of weight measurement ) a bronze vessel.
- People who smear the ground with cow dung and make it clean and take food after remembering God and donate a land watered, irrigated, they get rid of diseases and Son. They are pious and victorious and their progeny is good. They don’t have any fear from their enemies and they attain heaven in the end.
- People who donate Ox adorned with non borrowed jewels, Sandalwood and feed it with 6 course (Khsat-ras:six flavours) food , they go to the abode of Lord Vishnu.
- Devotees who stay awake everyday and feed Brahmanas in the end they go the abode of Lord Shiva.
- People who eat only once a day and stay without food in last and feed the hungry, they attain heaven.
- Devotees who sleep on ground when Lord is sleeping in Chaturmas an donate bed at the end of Chaturmas, they are worshiped in Shivaloka.
- People who do not have sex in Chaturmas they become powerful, famous and wealthy and go to heaven.
- People can attain infinite merits who keep complete control on their sensory pleasures.
- People who eat rice of Jau with their entire families they go to heaven.
- Pole who do not apply oil and donate Oil in a bronze or earthen vessel They go to the abode of Lord Vishnu..
- People who do not eat the leafy vegetable and donate Silver vessel is wrapped in cloth Or fill the silver vessel with 10 kinds of leafy vegetable and donate to Brahman who reads Vedas, they go abode of Lord Shiva and attain fame.
- People who leave Wheat and at the end of Vrata donate wheat grain made of Gold , they earn the merit of Ashwamedh yajna.
- People who leave Leafy vegetable in Shravana, Curd in Bhadon, Milk in Ashwin and Pulses in Kartik, they become disease free.
- Those who take bath and worship God they to the abode of Shri Hari.
- People who leave sweet,sour,bitter in Chaturmas , they get rid of all vices.
- People who remember God and leave flowers etc they go to heaven.
- People who carry out Chandrayan fast and take only milk as food and sustain on milk only they go the abode of Brahma and their decedents remain till the end of creation.
They day when the Lord wakes up, one should feed Brahmans and donate the clothes. This donation should be given to the Brahman who reads Vedas. Donation should not be given to a thief, who drinks alcohol, who does not follow dharma, a liar, who disrespects religious scriptures and does other disrespectful things prohibited by scriptures. Donation done to such unworthy people actually accrues more sins. Both who receive such donation and who donate they both go to hell.
People who observe the Brahmacharya and complete their Chaturmas , they are loved by Lord Vishnu and they are worshipped in Shivaloka and all Demi-Gods pay obeisance to him.
The Vrat observer should worship sing eulogies in various ways and pray to Lord. He should pray to Lord Vishnu with faith and full devotion to burn his sins. One should do Udayapan ( The closing ceremony) at the end of Chaturmas. When one request Lord to wake up and leave the bed, then they should perform special pooja. One should donate to a non proud, humble Brahman as per his best capacity and satisfy him.
Lord Shri Krishna said,” O Son of Pandu, Patron of Dhrama, Yudhisthir,This significance story of Devashayani ekadashi and Chaturmas is giver of good merits. This gives rid of mental diseases and it increases the faith in Lord Vishnu.
Contemporary News about Chaturmas:
How PM Narendra Modi ate One time food during Chaturmas in the year 2015.
During Chaturmas itself , in last week of September, PM Modi had to Go to New York where he attended UN general assembly meetings. PM Modi has been keeping Chaturmas Vrata for many years now. He also observes Navratra Vrata for last 4o years.
Here is the link to the news published about Prime minister Narendra Modi’s Chaturmas Vrata.
Some Interesting Facts about Chaturmas:
- No auspicious ceremony like Marriage etc are during Chaturmas as Lord is sleeping.
- Even Sanyasis who are ever wandering ( As is the saying ramata Jogi Bahata Paani- Means like moving water of river Yogis do not stay at one place )stay at one place during Chaturmas and do not wander.
- Even pilgrimage are not undertaken during Chaturmas. Only the pilgrimage of Braj can be done during Chaturmas as it is believed that all Tirthas(Holy Places) reside in Braja during Chaturmas.
Years & Dates of Ekadashi:
Start Date in 2017 – 4 July 2017, Day- Tuesday || Nakshatra- Vishakha || Chandra- Vrischik(Scorpio)
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जी बिलकुल जैन धर्म के लोग भी चातुर्मास व्रत करते हैं पर उनके नियम थोड़े अलग होते हैं