What is ChAthurmAsyam?


Swami Ramanuja_Kanchi

During last one week, we have been publishing news about various Acharyas observing Chaturmasyam. Below is a detailed write-up in Tamil and English describing the significance of Chaturmasyam.

The following are links to Chaturmasya Sankalpam of some of our Acharyas in this Vijaya Varusham…

Chaturmasyam_1 Chaturmasyam_2 Chaturmasyam_3 Chaturmasyam_4

Why ChAthurmAsyam?

ChAthurmAsya vratham is very important one for SanyAsis of every kind.From SanyAsis ranging from Kootika (one who resides in a hut and stays put) to sanyAsis on sanchAram (who do not stay at one place for more than one night) to Paramahamsa ParivrAjaka sanyAsis like Srimad Azhagiya Singar all have to observe this SanyAsa dharma anushtAnam without fail. It is very pleasing (priyatamam) for the Lord to see the SanyAsis observe this annual vratham. The power of this vratham increases every day from the first to the last day of the observance. This vratham lasts from 2 to 4 months. There are specific rites for the proper observance of this vratham. Bhavishyath, Skanda, Adithya PurANams and SanyAsa Upanishads in general and Naradha ParivrAjaka Upanishad in particular cover the duties of SanyAsis including ChAthurmAsya Vratham.

Four Months or Two months (Four Pakshams)?

There is a debate whether the ChAthurmAsyam should be observed for 2 or four months. Ideally, it should be observed for four months starting from Sayana EkAdasi (AshAda sukla EkAdasi) and end with UtthAna EkAdasi in the month of KArthikai. Sayana EkAdasi is the day, when our Lord starts His yOga nidhra and UtthAna EkAdasi is when He wakes up. These four months are AshAda (July-August), BhAdrapAdha (August-September), Asvina (September-October) and KArthikA (October to November). SrIdharan, HrushikEsan, PadhmanAbhan and DhAmOdharan are the presiding deities of the above four months. There is a Veda Vakyam: “PakshA vai MaasA:” Paksha refers to the 15 days of the Month, Sukla and KrishNa pakshams. Since it may be difficult for a SanyAsi to stay put in one place for 4 months at a stretch and since sishyAs from other parts of the land would want their AchAryan to resume SanchAram to bless them, Four Pakshams instead of four months are used to observe ChAthurmAsya vratham.

On the day of Chathurmasyam

The nithya karmAs, abhigamana ArAdhanam (the most important for a SanyAsi) are done as on any other day. Afterwards, a small amount of soil (earth) is consecrated (mruth SangrahaNam) along with AvAhanam and ArAdhanam for BhU VarAha PerumAL and BhUmi PirAtti. After that, the Yathi himself collects the soil required for his anushtAnams during the ChAthurmAsya Vratham. Next, the Yathi has Thirumudi viLakkam (shaving of the hair on the head and face). The Yathi takes now a purifying bath in preparation for the special ArAdhanam again. Pancha SAnthi Manthrams are recited as the Yathi returns to the Matam from SnAnam. At the Matam, the Yathi will take the sankalpam: “AshADa PourNamAseem aarabhya BhAdrapAdha pourNamAsi paryantham ChAthurmAsya Vratham sthaasyE”. The assembled sishyas assembled around their AchAryan (Yathivarar) respond “Nivasanthu sukeen athra gamishyAmaha kruthArthAn yathA sakthi cha sisrUshAm karishyAmO vayam mudhA” (Oh AchArya! Please kindly stay in this location with all happiness and bless us to have the opportunity to perform kaimkaryams for You. We take the vow to serve You to the best of our capabilities). MaryAdhais from BhagavAn from different dhivya dEsams are presented next to the YathIswaran to bless him for successful observance of the ChAthurmAsyam. During the ChAthurmAsyam, there are strict dietary restrictions for the observer during each of the four months.

Ten food items – – root, leaf, shoot, tip, fruit, skin, sprout, stalk, flower and skin of the vegetable- – – are prohibited. If any of them are eaten by mistake, then chAndrAyana vratham has to be undertaken as PrAyascchittham. After the completion of the ChAthurmAsyam, the SrImath Azhagiya Singar resumes His unrestricted sanchArams (anuyAthrA with MalOlan’s yaathrA) to bless His sishyAs. Let us conclude this artcile with a quotation from Athri Smruthi: “The Lord has two forms: moving and unmoving. The moving form is the SanyAsi and the unmoving (sthira bhEram) is the Lord in archA form worshipped at the temple”.

English writeup by: Sri Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan

The following are links to Chaturmasya Sankalpam of some of our Acharyas in this Vijaya Varusham…

HH 46th Azhagiyasingar_Aadi_Dwadasi_Srirangam_2013__23

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  1. The explanation both in Tamil and English about the significance of Chathurmasyam is very educative and informative, particularly for those like me who have been only hearing about Chathurmasyam and not knowing the importance of the same.


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