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Offline JR

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« on: February 19, 2007, 07:56:30 AM »
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  • The last day of the last month (June 1974) was the Ashadhi Ekadashiday. Everywhere we could hear the Bhajan and "Dnyanoba Tukaram" which is-a speciality of Ashadhi Ekadashi. It is because of this special feature that this Ekadashi is known to one and all but apart from this importance of this Ekadashi this day has got some further importance also. It signifies the advent of Chaturmas-the collection of four holy months of the year.

    Our country is a country of farmers. We are mainly depend¬ing on the crops that we reap after the monsoon. We are still depending mainly on the rain for our annual food production. These days of monsoon are therefore very important for us. It may be because of this peculiar position that the months of monsoon have synchronised with our holy months of the year.

    The "Chaturmas" begins on the Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha and ends with the Ekadashi in the month of Kartik. During these four months we have lot of festivals. Some are religious in nature while others have a social significance and importance-Immediately after the advent of Chaturmas we get the Guru Poornima. Thereafter comes the month of Shravana. This month is full of important days. Shravana Mondays are important for the worship of Lord Shankar. The Poornima in this month is the Narali Poornima which marks the end of heavy rain and the throwing of the coconut in the sea appeases the sea and it calms down.

    The Nag Panchami which is famous for the worship of the serpents and the Gokul Ashtami which is the day of the worship of Lord Krishna are both coming in this month. The atmosphere js quite gay in this month. There is greenary everywhere, The crops are growing with full bloom in the fields. All trees are decorated with flowers of varied colours, which are competing with the colours of the Rainbow. Nature and the minds of the people are hilarious. It is therefore no wonder that our forefathers, who were having perfect communion with nature, included this month of Shravan in the four holy months of the year.

    Bhadrapad, the next month is a month of festivals. The first half of the month is dedicated to the worship of Ganapati. In Maharashtra this festival is Celebrated in two ways. The idol worsip is done in individual houses and in the public festivals lectures, music programmes and other items of entertainment are held for all the ten days. Mile long processions are a common feature at the time of the immersion of the idol of Ganapati. The second half of this month is dedicated to the remembrance of the forefathers who have gone to heaven. In this period everybody is expected to feed his near relatives at the religious ceremony which is held in memory of the departed souls. During this fortnight every house is echoing with the Sweet memories of the departed ancestors.

    The month of Ashwin starts with the "Navratri" as it is called in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Public programmes of enter¬tainment are held during all the nine nights in this festival and Dasara marks the end of this festival. In Bengal this festival is called "Durga-Pooja" and there it has importance even more than the Diwali festi¬val. The Schools will be having holidays. The magazines will be bringing special "Pooja" numbers and the Railways will be offering special concessions for traveling. The Dasara processions at Mysore and Baroda were quite famous for their pomp and splendour.

    The Poornima in this month is known as "The Kojagiri Poor¬nima." During the days of monsoon the sky is usually overcast with clouds and the moon can hardly be seen. Hence we are more or less deprived of the beauty and splendour of the moonlight. On this full moon day the sky is usually bright and clear and the people enjoy this moonlight on a large scale. Games are played and coffee and milk are drunk during the whole of the night especially by the young generation.

    The second half of the Ashwin is spent in making preparation for the Diwali festival, which comes at the end of Ashwin. This festival is the most important festival of the year in the Maharashtra and Gujarat states. Feasting with your friends and relatives is the common way of enjoyment during this festival. Illuminations are also done on a large scale in this festival, because the very name of the festival Diwali or Deepawali (a row of lights) refers to illumina¬tion. The magazines in the aforesaid states have their special num¬bers for Diwali and they are widely read. New clothes are usually prepared for the festival and even gold and pearl ornaments are often made for the occasion. Firing of crackers is a favourite pass time of the children during these days and because people are in a purchasing mood the shopkeepers are declaring "grand reduction sales" in the Diwali season. The newly-wed couples always cele¬brate their first Diwali on a grand scale and the son-in-law will always be fondled and entertained at the time of the first Diwali after the marriage by the Father-in-law and Mother-in-law. The last two days of Ashwin and the first two days of Kartik are usually the days of the Diwali festival. The Ekadashi in the first half of the month of Kartik marks the end of the Chaturmas.

    It will be seen from the aforesaid festivals, that are celebrated during the Chaturmas every year, that these four months of the year are the months of festival. Out of these festivals a large number consists of religious functions. Our forefathers have always had the foresight of linking up our physical well being with our religious practices. Hence in a number of festivals the fast has been linked up as a part of the religious festival. The Mondays in the month of Shravan, the Gokul Ashtami and Ekadashi days are all the days of fast. The days of monsoon are not usually healthy days in our country. Where river water was being used for drinking, it used to become turbid and this new water was likely to be contaminated. Hence observance of fast used to counteract these unhealthy conditions and help the people to maintain their health.

    Observance of certain vows for Chaturmas is a common prac¬tice.   Those readers who, must have been reading the issues of this magazine closely must have observed that Yogiraj Vasudevanand Saraswati used to observe some special vow during every Chaturmas. During these four months he used to have some special religious practices.   Hence we all as Sai devotees, must also undertake to have some religious vow during the Chaturmas.   The religious vows are of various nature.   Some religious books like Mahabharat, Bhagwat or Sai Satcharit could be read everyday according to the time available to everyone.   Somebody could undertake to pay a daily visit to a certain temple. Others could take a vow to do "jap" of a certain mantra for a certain number of times everyday.   Ab¬staining from a certain daily eatable like tea, coffee, sugar, rice, wheat etc. for Chaturmas is also another vow which certain people are taking.   The vow may be anything.   The details of each vow might be different; but they are ultimately meant for attaining peace of mind, control over the mind, conservation of energy etc. The real meaning of life is sacrifice and not enjoyment. Hence the proper meaning of observance of the Chaturmas should be und¬erstood and we should do well to behave in this period in such a way that the Chaturmas will be utilized utmost for religious, purposes.


    Our readers will be shocked to listen to the news of the sad demise of Prof. Dabhade of Indore. He used to contribute articles to Shri Sai Leela occasionaly. Prof. Dabhade started his career as an humble teacher and was first appointed as a Professor at Ujjain in the Vikram University. He later on came to Indore and was the head of the Marathi Department in the Atrs College at Indore. He had a good Command over the Marathi and Hindi languages and had contributed a number of articles on religious subjects both in Hindi and Marathi. On his way to Bangalore he succumbed to a heart attack on the Tanali station near Hyderabad. He was aged only fifty five. May the departed soul rest in peace !
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