[July 21, 2005 is the first day of Caturmasya, the four month period each
year, from July to November, in which devotees observe certain rules and regulations
in order to advance in their bhakti. Srila Narayana Maharaja speaks about
Caturmasya each year, and we are sending you an excerpt of one of the lectures
in which he discussed it. This particular lecture was given on the first day
of the second half of Caturmasya, a few years ago. For those of you who do
not have the calendar and would like to follow the austerities of this month,
or some part of them, the list is included at the bottom of the excerpt. -ed]
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
VISVARUPA MAHOTSAVA AND THE SANNYASA CEREMONY OF
SRILA BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA
(Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha: Mathura, India, September 13, 2000)
Today is a very sacred day in our line. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa
and began to search for his brother, Sri Visvarupa. While searching, He
found out on this day that His brother had been in Pandarapur, and there
he had left his body and had taken samadhi on the bank of the river Bhima.
Then, although Mahaprabhu was observing Caturmasya-vrata very strictly for
four months, He shaved off His hair on this day. Before this year, He had
never shaved for these four months, nor did He cut his nails. He observed
all the rules and regulations of Caturmasya.
There are many items that are not allowed during Caturmasya, such as leafy
vegetables on the first month, yogurt on the second month, milk on the third
month, and mustard oil on the forth month. Besides this, throughout all
four months, tomatoes, eggplants, and several other foodstuffs are prohibited.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to follow all these rules very strictly, but
nowadays we see that devotees don't follow. Our Guru Maharaja and Srila
Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura were very strong in this regard.
Srila Prabhupada said, "Take my photo during the four months of Caturmasya-vrata,
to show that I never shave at that time. Always keep it; otherwise so many
so-called disciples will say, 'Oh, Prabhupada never observed Caturmasya-vrata'.
By his causeless mercy, Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja
gave concessions in the Western countries, and that is the only reason he
also used to shave. The Westerners could not follow strictly at that time.
That is why he allowed tomatoes and eggplant, that is also why he used to
take them, and that is why he also allowed, carrots.
I am therefore also giving concessions, not here in India, but in Western
countries. If the devotees there like, they can take these items; but we
don't take them. We should strictly follow our proper line from Mahaprabhu
to Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura and my Gurus,
Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami
Maharaja. In Western countries some concession may be given, but here in
India we are very strict. If we cannot follow this, then how can we follow
Sri Krsna, and how can we serve Sri Sri Radha and Krsna? Mahaprabhu shaved
after two months and we follow this.
Editorial Advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha dasa
Transcriber: Caru Candrika dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Typist: Vrndavanesvari dasi
Caturmasya Vrata Fasting
Restricted foods during the entire four months of Caturmasya:
Eggplants, tomatoes, loki, parmal, urad dahl and honey
Particular foods that are restricted during each of the four months:
First month: No leafy vegetables, such as spinach, salads of all
cabbages of all types, kale, leafy herbs like coriander, mint, parsley,
powdered leafy herbs and teas
Second month: No yoghurt (if one requires it for health, it can be
Third month: No milk (if required, it can be mixed with a drop of
Fourth month: No mustard oil or sesame seeds
Foods that can be taken all days of the year, including Ekadasi and
All fruits (fresh and dried), all nuts and all oils made from nuts
Potatoes, pumpkin, cucumber, radish, squash, lemon, avocado, olives,
buckwheat, all sugars
All pure milk products (except yoghurt during the 2nd month of Caturmasya
and milk during the 3rd month)
For sannyasis, brahmacaris and vanaprasthas: shaving head and cutting
nails is to be done on full moon days