During this Chatur mas…some things to consider

Dear devotees,

Hare Krsna
Dandvat pranam. Jai Srila Prabhupad.

The four months of monsoon in India is called as chatur (four) mas means month….one may wonder if Christ-mas meant the month in which Jesus Christ appeared)…..this time is generally recommended for devotees to use for making advancement in Krsna Consiousness. Also, lot of auspicious festivals come during this month and of course the month of Kartik is also embedded into the Chatur mas…this provides us with many opportunities to advance our Krsna Consiousness.

One of the things that devotees do especially during chatur mas is take special vows which will help them advance in Krsna Consiousness. Devotees take a hard look at their current spiritual life and see where they need to advance and then accordingly they take vows to help them advance. I sincerely wanted to request us all to also introspect and see what possible vows we can take for next 4 months to help advance ourselves in Krsna Consiousness. Basically by taking these vows, we are trying to form new / healthy habits in our lives which will support and nurture our spirituality…grow our love for SriSri Radha Sharadbihariji.

A Habit is like a rope…every time we repeat something, we weave one more strand to the rope making it stronger…so when we need to make a new habit, it is just matter of consistently doing that every day. Soon enough we will weave a rope of habit which will become so strong that we wont be able to break it even if we want to break it. If we are to unlearn a bad habit and form a new habit…it will be little harder as we have to hack through the rope of old habit and simultaneously weave the rope of new habit. But if we just do it every day, we will be successful. The best part of this is that since we are doing all these to please SriSri Radha Sharadbihariji, Their special mercy will come into play here to help us and that will really make us successful easily even if the odds are completely against us. SriSri Radha Sharadbihariji will see our sincere desire to cut through the ropes of old detrimental habits and They will help….They will see our sincere desire to weave strands of new habits to progress in Krsna Consiousness,,,,and They will help…Sri Krsna says in Srimad Bhagavat gita – "ye yatha Mam prapadyante, tams thaiva bhajami Aham…the degree to which you surrender to Me, I will reciprocate accordingly"…but in our case, as we are like toddlers trying to learnt to walk on path of Krsna Consiousness, especially while chanting Hare Krsna Mahamantra….Sri Krsna’s mercy along with Srimati Radharani’s mercy gets activated…and Srimati Radharani is so merciful…and soon as she recommends, Sri Krsna cant say No.

One of the added advantage of forming good habits during these 4 months is that the monkey mind will find out who is the ‘boss’…generally it dictates it’s whims and makes us run around like it’s servant…thus taking us away form the real purpose of our existence. Mind is our biggest helper if under our control but if not, it becomes our worst enemy.

Our spiritual lives rest on the foundation of chanting the Hare Krsna Mahamantra a minimum fixed number of times daily…so most of the vows we take should support that. Also worshipping Thakurji in vigraha form, serving Vaishnavs and listening to Hari Katha..these are the remainder elements of our foundation….so our vows should support and help enhance them.

(when we take our vows, sometimes people will criticize us for taking certain kind of vows…pls dont get discouraged…everyone has different situation and to deal with that situation, they take those vows…so pls ignore the criticism and keep moving ahead with your vows)

Some vows that can be taken to help us is listed below. I sincerely encourage all devotees to take some vows from this list –

Vows to remove our conditioning and help us discipline ourselves to execute Krsna Consiousness properly –

  • chanting our rounds daily without fail at a fixed time
  • listening to Krsna Katha daily without fail with concentration
  • Eating only prasadam
  • Sleeping only to rest our body so that it can do it’s duties properly rather than sleeping for many hours / for gratification
  • waking up early in morning, preferably in ‘mangal muharat’….between 3:30 AM – 4:30 AM in morning….sleeping early helps us to do this…also eating less at night helps towards this (reducing the eating will help reduce the sleep)
  • reducing the eating…which will help with many things…eating only prasadam and reducing the intake helps a lot with what kinds of thoughts that come to our mind…thus driving our consiousness
  • working effectively at our jobs so that we dont spend endless hours at jobs and struggle to do things at home
  • reducing some of our time wasting activities (only we know which are those)
  • making a schedule/ maintaining a calendar and adhering to it…making a habit to follow it
  • make some short term goals and only do things that will take you closer to those goals…other activities – no need to do or do it only if we have time
  • avoiding anger
  • no violence – even mentally
  • considering our family as Krsna’s family…thus not for our enjoyment but for us to serve them in such a way that they advance in Krsna Consiousness
  • Engaging family in Krsna Conscious activities…especially children. Some things to consider – chanting atleast one round of Mahamantra together daily, doing an aarti together daily, honoring prasadam together daily, offering dandvats to Thakurji together daily, whenever we dress our Thakurji ask children to assist, encourage children to cautiously take Sri Tulasi leaves and offer to Thakurji, engaging children in Thakurji’s seva and Vaishnav seva…possibilities are endless

Vows which are direct devotional service and helps a lot to advance…but execution of lot of things below depend on lot on things above –

  • Chanting extra rounds of Hare Krsna Mahamantra (I sincerely encourage all devotees to try move as close to chanting minimum 16 rounds by end of Chaturmas….it ends on 11/27…so good over 4 months…an increase 1 round each week will bring us very close)
  • try to avoid ‘Nama Aparadh’ during chanting
  • Reading Srimad Bhagavatam
  • Reading Spiritual Scriptures
  • Circumambulating Thakurji
  • Offering Dandvat pranam
  • Listening to Krsna Katha
  • Singing Bhajans
  • Deity Service (offering Tulasi leaves and abhishek)
  • Serving devotees
  • Serving in temple
  • Organizing programs to give opportunity for Krsna katha
  • Singing Damodar ashtakam daily (in Kartik month…does not hurt in other months too)
  • Offering ghee lamp to Krsna
  • Offering special bhoga to Krsna
  • Performing Aarti
  • Offering bilva patra to Lord Shiva (in Shravan month)
  • Associating with devotees and glorifying Krsna
  • Worshipping Tulasi Devi
  • Distribution of Krsna Conscious books
  • Preaching Krsna Consciousness
  • Distribution of Krsna Prasadam

Lastly, I sincerely request all devotees to kindly bless me so that I can form some good habits which will help me come to the platform of Krsna Consiousness and also pray for all other devotees that they can successfully take some vows and maintain them and enhance their spiritual lives.

your servant,
Padmanabh das

Prashant Patel
Program Manager, Lenovo WW Maint Inventory
2020 Technology Parkway,
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Phone: (717) 610-2140, T/L: 471-2140

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