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The term Chaturmasya means four months. The term Chaturmasya Vrata is a Vrata to be observed for a period of four months.

The Poornima (full moon day) in the month of Ashadha is called ‘Guru Poornima’. Chaturmas starts on this holy day and ends on Kartik Poornima.

Sanyasis perform chaturmasya vrata wherein they stay in one place for either four or two months. According to the Vedic dictum पक्षा वै मासाः one ‘paksha’ or a fortnight is taken as one month, and traditionally the Vrata is observed only for two months.

However I'm more interested in the food restriction that are observed by different people over the period of these four months.

  • Ex. Ekadashi of 1st Fortnight of Bhardapada to Ekadashi of 1st
  • Fortnight of Ashwin month; milk is prohibited. Milk is not used even
  • for the abhishek (bathing of God) of Deities in temple or home.

    Similarly for some time eating dicots is prohibited and so on.

So my questions are:

  1. Which Shruti/Smruti talks about these food prohibitions in chaturmas?

  2. Also I'm not sure as to why milk is prohibited during the above mentioned time of chaturmas but curd is allowed instead. Does any scripture shed any light on this?

2

Which Shruti/Smruti talks about these food prohibitions in chaturmas?


Well the Skanda Purana does talk about the restrictions on foods. But the kind of month-specific restrictions you are talking about are not found in my source. Quoting from the book "The Essence of Skanda Purana":

Chaturmasa or Four Month period commencing from Ashadha Shukla Ekadasi known as Devashayani Ekadasi (when God sleeps) till Kartika Shukla Ekadasi called Deva Prabodhini Ekadasi(when God is awake) is observed by persons of all ‘Varnas’with piety, Indriya Nigraha or Self control of Organs and Rituals. (Chaturmasa commences from Ashadha Purnima or Guru Purnima till Kartika Purnima for Sanyasins).

There are certain things that are recommended to be performed during this time like:

During the four-month period of Sacrifice and Sanctity, ‘Tarpanas’ to Devas, Rishis and Pitras after the holy baths are natural duties, followed by ‘Anushthaana’, Agni havans, Veda Paatha, Satsang, Bhakti, and charities especially of Anna daanas. The Chaturmasya is the period for abstinence, ‘Ishta Vasthu Parithyaga’ or leaving out material dear to oneself and strict following up of daily ‘niyamas’ and continuous recital of Bhagavan’s glories by way of hymns, Japas, Mantras and Bhakti Songs

And there are certain things that are to be avoided including certain food items like:

Some of the items of daily utility are avoided during the Holy Period such as eating/drinking in metal plates and vessels; eating in leaves of Vata tree; consumption of hot and sour food, Chillies, pulses like urad and Chana; wearing silks and dark clothes; avoid flowers, beds, and Kesar; shun indulgence of lying, carrying tales, rude conversation and ‘Para ninda’or criticising others; observe silence or limited conversation, truthfulness, piety, mercifulness, nonviolence, patience and equanimity.It is said that there are eight ways of observing the Chaturmasa Vrath as follows:

  • It woild be great if you could find month wise abstinence. Like milk is avoided in bhadrapada etc. And still better if scriptures mentions the reason behind such abstinence. Avoiding milk but nt curd is smthing that im actually more specifically interested in. – Vishal prabhu lawande Sep 30 '18 at 15:28
  • Ok for the time being I hv partially answered the Q. I hv read about Chaturmasa in only two places one is Skanda Purana which is already referenced in the answer. I will chk the other book to see if it has answers for ur Qs or not. @Vishalprabhulawande – Rickross Oct 1 '18 at 5:51
  • @Vishalprabhulawande The 2nd source I was talking about also does not have those month wise restrictions that you hv mentioned. You may be knowing that each Hindu month has some restrictions regarding food consumption. So IMO those month wise restrictions are related to those particular months and not to Chaturmasa. – Rickross Oct 2 '18 at 7:03
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1. Which Shruti/Smruti talks about these food prohibitions in chaturmas?

This is mentioned in

  • Padma Purana: Uttarakhanda: Chapter 64. The Importance of Chaturmasya.

    [Mahddeva said to Narada :]

    16-29. Thus (i.e. with this prayer), O Narada, having installed that image of Visnu, he should, in front of it, take up the vow : The person (taking up the vow) maybe a male or a female devotee of him, according to the division between righteousness and unrighteousness. For four months, till the awake- ning of the god, he should take up these restraints preceded by brushing the teeth. Then he should observe a fast. When it is the bright morning, he, having conquered his self, should do his daily acts. I shall separately tell the fruits of the doers of the acts: A man, by avoiding jaggery, would secure sweetness. A man would obtain a long(-lived) progeny by avoiding oil. O brahmana, a man becomes handsome-bodied by avoiding ghee. He would secure his enemy’s destruction by avoiding bitter oil. He would secure matchless good fortune by avoiding fragrant oil. He who avoids enjoying flowers, would be a vidyadhara in heaven. A man who practises abstract meditation, would obtain Brahma’s position. He who would avoid the six flavours, viz. acrid, sour, sweet, saline, pungent, and astringent, would avoid deformity and a bad smell. By avoiding tambula he becomes an enjoyer and has his throat red. By avoiding ghee he (secures) handsomeness and his body would always be glossy. O best brahmana, by giving up fruits he gets many sons. By eating from a palasa-leaf he would be handsome and would get pleasures. One who illuminates would become bright and actually the lord of wealth. He who avoids curd and milk, obtains Goloka. The order of him who observes the vow of silence, is never futile. By avoiding a dish of barley or rice boiled in milk he secures Indra’s seat. He, abiding in religious practices and taking delight in them, would, after muttering the hundred-fold fruitful (prayer) ‘Salutation to Narayana’, be the only lord of vidya- dharas in heaven.

  • Skanda Purana: Vaishnavakhanda: Purusottama-ksetra Mahatmya: Chapter 36 The Festival of the Lords Retiring to Sleep

    34-37. The man of devotion should give up resting on bedsteads and couches. Except in the stipulated period after the monthly menstural discharge (of his wife) he should not carnally approach even his wife. He should give up meat, liquor, food of another person, Patolas (a kind cucumber)*, Mulaka (radish) and brinjal. He should keep away from all forbidden foodstuffs. He should avoid Masura (a kind of pulse), white mustard, Rajamasa , Kulattha and Ashudhnya. In the beginning of the month of Sravana he should gradually avoid greens, curds, milk and pulses. No one other than a king, ascetics and cowherds should put on leather footwear. If it happens that one could not perform holy rites during the four rainy months, he should perform the holy rites in the month of Karttika for overcoming that sin.


2. Also I'm not sure as to why milk is prohibited during the above mentioned time of chaturmas but curd is allowed instead. Does any scripture shed any light on this?

As mentioned above, the verses suggest to avoid both curd and milk.

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