Chaturmasya Vrata is observed by the heads of all religious mutts when they choose to stay in the same place for four months. These four months are important for charity, austerity, meditation and offering oblations in fire because their pursuit brings forth countless merits. Therefore, this season is religiously chosen by many pious people to visit their guru and obtain his blessings.
This is a great opportunity to enhance one’s spirituality and take a step forward in the direction of liberation. People go with all members of the family in search of the camp of their guru. The morning is spent by the spiritual heads to deliberate and discourse on the scriptures with vedic scholars. Then they do special poojas, and more importantly before that, they set apart a few hours to bless their devotees who come from far and near.
Any form of penance imposes restrictions on food that can be consumed. This is necessary to reduce our dependence on the external material world and enhance our inner spiritual power. There cannot be anything better than the control of one’s senses in spiritual development. Some gurus impose upon themselves strict restrictions on the food they take. They are supposed to totally avoid fruits, all vegetables, lemons, spices, cashew and dry grapes. This list is not comprehensive and is meant only to suggest things not to be taken during this period. Use of tamarind is also a taboo. What is practised by the great leaders is also supposed to be followed by the believers so that they can purify their body in order to fine-tune it to pursue the Ultimate Truth.
These days, we see a lot of aggressive activity around these camps. People queuing up in large numbers and jostling for space and jumping lines or using special entrances to get audience from their jagatguru. With plates or trays of fruits and dry fruits, etc., they have no patience to wait. VIP passes or recommendation are used to get quicker access to the guru — all to list one’s grievances or say one’s prayers. Some gain proximity to their guru by arranging for special worship, all of which at times appear highly commercialised.
The devout believe that if their worries are put in the ears of the jagatguru and he smiles and gestures his hand, it is enough to eliminate their problems. There have been great sages and saints who preferred not to hear mundane complaints like getting a marriage alliance, medical relief or progeny, etc, for which the earthly solution is more practical and rewarding. However, who tries to reason whether transfer or promotion orders can be got that way? People in their desperation push one another and go to the front to shout their problems. Once they do it they are very much relieved.
Those seeking spiritual advancement can pursue a saintly life at home and think of the great teachings and scriptures instead of seeking publicity by visiting their gurus. Instead they seem to be more keen on marking their presence at the camp and making others see that they could do it and without much difficulty and more successfully. There is profanity rather than piety on such occasions at such places, which is regrettable.