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It is well known that some dharmas are relative wrt time, place, person, etc.

I want to know whether the same applies to the season. There are several seasons in nature such as winter, summer, etc. Many changes occur in nature as well as human bodies according to seasons.

Are there any instances of relaxations of any dharmas wrt seasons?

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  • Definitely. So many festivals like Makara Sankranti are based on Ritu (6 seasons). Uttarayana/Dakshinayana punya kala are based on 6-month cycle. Chatur-Masya Sankalpa taken by sanyasis during rainy season is to prevent deaths of worms on street due to walking. Even cold weather is taken in account - if you are in Chennai wearing cotton cloth, it needs to be washed in water ever day to maintain ritual purity. If you are in Kashmir wearing wool cloth, it should not be washed in water, but hung to dry in sun.
    – mar
    Jan 13 at 23:44

1 Answer 1

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As such, I don't know if shastras delve deep into what to do or what to not in each seasons, maybe they do.
Those might be left to our "common sense". If fire burns => mustn't touch it.

However, here's a generalized prescription in the Chapter 8 of the MahaNirvana Tantra, which pretty much says 'one ought to act according to the external seasons'.

अवस्थानुगताश्चेष्टाः समयानुगताः क्रियाः ।
तस्मादवस्थां समयं वीक्ष्य कर्म समाचरेत् ॥ ५९ ।।

avasthānugatāśceṣṭāḥ samayānugatāḥ kriyāḥ ।
tasmādavasthāṃ samayaṃ vīkṣya karma samācaret ॥

59. Ventures should be undertaken according to the circumstances and one's condition in life, and actions should be done according to their season. Therefore, in everything that a man does he should first consider whether the circumstances and time are suitable5.

Translation by Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe)


Footnote:

  • ^5: Woodroffe makes the following remark:

It is a common saying that an action should only be undertaken after considering Desha (place), Kāla (season), and Pātra (the party concerned in it).

  • ^‡: M.N Dutt in his translation of Mahanirvana Tantra makes the following remark:

Hindu writers of all ages have emphasized on the advantages to be gained from the circumstances and season when any enterprise or action is to be undertaken. Such advantages do not a small way to ensure success. In fact, these constitute so to speak the action itself as their favorable or unfavourableness fulfills or frustrates it. It is a trite saying among the Indians that one should always undertake an action having duly considered Desha or the place, Kala or the season, and Pattra or the party who is in any way concerned in it.



Now, in the Book 5: Udyog Parva - Chapter 35 of the Mahabharata there's a verse which is the part of the famous Vidura Neeti:

न देवा यष्टिम आदाय रक्षन्ति पशुपालवत ।
यं तु रक्षितुम इच्छन्ति बुद्ध्या संविभजन्ति तम् ॥ ३३

  1. The gods do not protect men, taking up clubs in their hands after the manner of herdsmen; unto those, however, they wish to protect, they grant intelligence.

Translation by K.M Ganguli

Thus, reading this in line with Mahanirvana Tantra 8.59, it becomes obviously clear that one must perform actions that are conducive to particular seasons, for the gods have bestowed intelligence ("common-sense") unto us.


To conclude:

Are there any instances of relaxations of any dharmas wrt seasons?

Yes. Mahanirvana Tantra 8.59 says so!

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