As soon as the rainy season arrives by the commencement of the month of Shravan (July-August), we all find the genuine sages and hermits who are on the way to achieve perfection in their relationship with the supreme personality of godhead or have already achieved perfection in same, to pause their wanderings and see them staying in huge numbers in temples and ashrams, giving opportunity to the general masses to serve the lord and get them blessed by their blessings.
Chatumaas, the word comes from two separate words, Chatur and Maas. It means a collection of four months, Sharavan (July-August), Bhadrapada (August-September), Ashwin (September-October) and Kartik (October-November). These four months are specifically chosen since it involves the complete rainy season and the autumn season. These seasons, the sages stay at a particular place and perform austerities of body, speech and mind.
As per Ayurveda, these four months are described as the months of highest weakness in the body since the sun changes it’s course. It becomes more prominent in the southern hemisphere and the withdrawal causes generalised weakness. And since the weather is moist and humid, the body is depleted of many nutrients via bodily secretions.
In these months, the shastras enjoin that people must restrain from somethings from their diet and well as daily routine.
The rainy season, carries along with itself a plethora of pathogens and insects who move out from their residence inside the ground in order to find shelter somewhere else as their homes are flooded with water.
Also, due to cool weather, humid climate and availability of water makes the pathogens grow in an accelerated manner. These pathogens become the cause of diseases and hence, to avoid the contact with pathogens, one must observe cleanliness and must restrict movement.
Certain food items must not be consumed. One must not consume
- Green leafy vegetables in Shravan
- Yogurt in Bhadrapada
- Milk in Ashwin
- Non-veg, Urad and Masoor Dal in Kartik
The reason for the same is:
In Shravan, due to fresh arrival of monsoon, all the small organisms living inside the ground come out and try to find shelter. Green leafy vegetables being the best in nutrition as well as space give them the best opportunity. Hence, they enter the leafy vegetables
In Bhadrapada, the season becomes too much cold and wet. Hence, taking yogurt will cause respiratory diseases.
In Ashwin, the mammals whose milk we drink have been enough poisoned by eating the leafy vegetables. For two months, they have been doing so and hence, their milk becomes indigestible and we have the weakest strength at that time due to high humidity and clear sky.
In Kartik, the body starts to recover and welcome the winter season. Since the season is about to change and dryness is to come, consuming foods which are dry and take long time to digest is not considered wise.