Friday, 29 July 2011

Caturmasya- four special months


(Image: BBT International)


On Friday 15th July, the period of Caturmasya (Literally “Four Months”) began; this roughly corresponds to therainy season in India. Caturmasya ends this year on 10th November. Traditionally, this was the time when Vaisnava sadhus (wandering holy men/ women of the mendicant or renounced order) would stay in one place and engage in deep meditation on Krishna and the instruction of others in Vaisnavism. Today for devotees of Lord Krishna, especially in Western countries, this is not a practical proposition, so to bring us closer to Krishna at this time we follow certain dietary regulations. Following these restrictions helps focus the mind on Krishna, as every time we have to remember not to eat a certain food we also remember why. We can mentally offer these restricted foods to Krishna for His enjoyment rather than our own. This practice will help us to gradually stop acting for our own sense gratification and devote ourselves fully to serving Radha and Krishna.
  • Foods which are restricted for the entire four months are: tomatoes, eggplant (aubergines), loki, parmal, urid dal and honey. In addition to these, specific foods are restricted in specific months, as follows:
  • First month: No leafy vegetables, such as spinach, salads of all types, cabbages of all types, kale, leafy herbs like coriander, mint, parsley, curry and powdered leafy herbs and teas
  • Second month: No yoghurt (if one requires it for health, it can be mixed with water)
  • Third month: No milk (if required, it can be mixed with a drop of lemon juice)
  • Fourth month: No mustard oil or sesame seeds.
Each month begins on the full moon. In the UK this is: 15th July, 13th August, 12th September and 11th October (also the start of the holy month of Kartika).
How will all this affect my blog?- I follow Caturmasya so you may notice less tomatoey new recipes, but that’s about it.

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