Sharada Rutucharya (शरद ऋतुचर्या)

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Sharada Rutu/ Rtu (शरद ऋतुः) is one of the 6 seasons of the Hindu calendar year. Ashvina (अश्विन) and Karthika (कार्तिक) masas (मासाः months) comprise of this season. It is the period of the year that coincides with October heat period. Therefore the diet, lifestyle regime, do's and dont's for this season are peculiar and are described under Sharada rutucharya (ऋतुचर्या).

शरदमासाः॥ Months of Hindu calendar for Sharada rtu

As per Hindu calendar in Bharata, for every 2 months there is one season. Therefore for 12 months there are 6 seasons. However the seasons are listed with little variation in the names in 2 different cases. The list of season and months in Hindu calendar is given below,

No. Rtu list 1 Hindu calendar months Rtu list 2 Hindu calendar months Corresponding season
1 Shishira (शिशिरः) Magha, Phalguna --- --- Winter
2 Vasanta (वसंतः) Chaitra, Vaishakha Vasanta (वसंतः) Falguna (फाल्गुन), Chaitra (चैत्रः) Spring
3 Grishma (ग्रीष्मः) Jyeshtha, Ashadha Grishma (ग्रीष्मः) Vaishakha (वैशाखः), Jyeshtha (ज्येष्ठः) Summer
4 --- --- Pravrt / Pravrush (प्रावृट्/प्रावृष्) Ashadha (आषाढः), Shravana (श्रावणः) Early Monsoon
5 Varsha (वर्षा) Shravana, Bhadrapada Varsha (वर्षा) Bhadrapada (भाद्रपदः), Ashvin (अश्विन्) Monsoon
6 Sharad (शरदः) Ashvin, Kartika Sharad (शरदः) Kartika (कार्तिक), Margashirsha (मार्गशीर्ष) Autumn
7 Hemanta (हेमंतः) Margashirsha, Pausha Hemanta (हेमंतः) Pausha (पौष), Magha (माघ) Winter or late autumn

The month of Ashvina, Karthika and also Margashirsha (as per some scholars) make up the Sharada rutu. [1] [2]

कार्तिकमार्गशीर्षौ शरत् (Sush. Samh 6.10)[2] शरदूर्जसहौ पुनः | ऊर्जसहौ कार्तिकमार्गशीर्षौ| (Char. Samh. 6.5)[3]

अव्यापन्नशरदऋतुलक्षणानि॥ Characteristics of Sharada Rtu

Varsha/Pravrt (प्रावृट) , Sharada (शरद) and Hemanta Rtu (हेमंत ऋतुः) are the seasons of Dakshinayana (दक्षिणायनम्) i.e. Southern solstice. It is the period when the sun is away from the earth and thus the sun rays reaching the earth are mild. The heat is low. Moon's cooling effect is dominant resulting in colder climate. The sky is cloudy, climate is windy and rain showers are frequent. Rainwater diminishes the heating effect prevalent in nature. Owing to this dryness reduced, dampness and moisture increases in not just climate but also in all the beings living in the nature including plants, animals and humans bodies. The rasa that become predominant in the nature due to such weather conditions are Madhura (मधुरः Sweet- Prthvi पृथ्विः + Jala जलम्), Amla (अम्लः Sour-Teja तेजः + Prthvi पृथ्विः) and Lavana (लवणः salty- jala जलम्+Teja तेजः). All these 3 rasas are said to be nourishing and strengthening. Therefore, this period is called Visarga (विसर्गः) kala or nourishing period.

वर्षाशरद्धेमन्तेषु तु दक्षिणाभिमुखेऽर्के कालमार्गमेघवातवर्षाभिहतप्रतापे, शशिनि चाव्याहतबले, माहेन्द्रसलिलप्रशान्तसन्तापे जगति, अरूक्षा रसाः प्रवर्धन्तेऽम्ललवणमधुरा यथाक्रमं तत्र बलमुपचीयते नृणामिति||७|| (Char. Samh. Su. 6.7)[4]

Among the 3 seasons of Visarga kala or Dakshinayana, Sharada is second in the sequence which comes after Pravrt or Varsha rutu or Rainy season. The specific events in nature in this season and their effects on body have been deeply studied by Ayurveda scholars and described as,

वर्षाशीतोचिताङ्गानां सहसैवार्करश्मिभिः| ....||४१|| (Char. Samh. 6.41)[5]


Meaning: The human body which has become used to the cold climate of rainy season suddenly receives sharp sun rays in Sharada rutu..

Thus, the sharp sun rays and resultant increased heat in the environment is expected in the Sharda rtu. This season is popularly known as October heat.

शरदि अग्निदोषादीनां गतिः॥ The status of bio-energies in body in Sharada

These climatic changes in Sharada rtu affect the elemental balance in Human body or Sharira (शरीरम्). These directly affect the levels of 3 doshas (दोषाः) which are the 3 controlling forces in body. The changes in dosaha levels in Sharada rutu have been discussed by Ayurveda scholars as below,

वर्षाशीतोचिताङ्गानां सहसैवार्करश्मिभिः| तप्तानामाचितं पित्तं प्रायः शरदि कुप्यति||४१|| (Char. Samh. 6.41)[5]


Meaning: The pitta accumulated in body in varsha rutu get vitiated due to the sharp sun rays of Sharada and causes Pitta aggravation.

Along with the pitta (पित्त दोषः), kapha dosha (कफ दोषः) also vitiates to some extent but lesser than pitta. Therefore Pitta and Kapha doshas get aggravated or vitiated in Sharada rutu and lead to multiple health problems arising from these 2 if the Sharada rutucharya is not followed properly. The agni (अग्निः) is neither weak nor strong. Strength is also moderate in this period.

In short the status of body elements is as follows as per Ayurveda,

The status of body elements in Sharada Rtu
Body element Status in Pravrt
1 Doshas Pitta along with kapha aggravated/vitiated
2 Agni moderate
3 Dhatus moderate strength.

The rakta dhatu (रक्त धातुः) is vitiated naturally in this season.

शरद ऋतुचर्याविधानम्॥ Rtucharya for Sharada

Pitta aggravated in Sharada should be controlled by following a specific diet and lifestyle regime which is known as Sharada Rtucharya. The do's and dont's under this regimen are as follows,[6][7]

शरदि पथ्यानि ॥ What should be strictly avoided in Sharada rtu?

  1. In order to keep a check on naturally aggravating Pitta dosha, it is advised to avoid hot and spicy food.
  2. Few food stuffs which are to be avoided - fat, oils, meat of aquatic animals (sea food), curds, etc.
  3. Its best to avoid overeating.
  4. Avoiding the direct heat and sun exposure is recommended in this season.
  5. Kshara (क्षाराः) in food which could be correlated with Highly alkaline diet should be avoided in this season. The ksharas in food are identified as those ingredients which have excess spice and salt. Such substances when consumed in excess can lead to pitta aggravation.
  6. Curd is best avoided.
  7. One should not sleep during the daytime
  8. Cold air in the early morning (specifically coming form the east) is best to be avoided.
  9. Strong alcoholic beverages.

शरदि अपथ्यानि॥ What should be followed in Sharada rtu?

  1. Foods that are sweet or bitter in taste, cooling in nature and light on digestion should be consumed to remain fit. Also these should be consumed in moderate quantity. These foods can then pacify vitiated Pitta.
  2. Wheat, green gram, sugar candy, honey, in nonvegetarian food- flesh of animals having habitat in dry land (Jangala Mamsa- जाङ्गल मांसम्) can be consumed.
  3. It is recommended to observe the natural urge for food and eat only after having the natural desire for food.
  4. It is also recommended to take water purified by the rays of sun in day time and rays of moon at night time for drinking, bathing, etc.
  5. Use of fresh, cooling flowers in surrounding, use of cooling fragrances like Sandalwood can be made as scents and also for local application on body.
  6. It is said that moon rays in night are conducive for health. Thus one can deliberately take a walk in the night to immerse oneself into these cool rays of moon. On this ground various rituals wherein staying awake late nights is expected are followed like Kojagiri pournima (कोजागिरी पौर्णिमा).
  7. Increasing the amount of ghee in your food is recommended which helps to keep check on further pitta aggravation.

शरदि पंचकर्माणि॥ Panchakarmas done in Sharada Rtu

Sharada is the season of Pitta dosha vitiation and aggravation. Therefore it is said to be the season for pitta cleansing or pitta detox in the year. Specific Panchakarma procedures are advised in this season to remove the excess pitta from channels and get good health.

तिक्तस्य सर्पिषः पानं विरेको रक्तमोक्षणम्| (Char. Samh. Su. 6.44)[5]

Consuming ghee medicated with herbs that are bitter in taste, Virechana (विरेचनम्) and raktamokshana (रक्तमोक्षणम्) are the panchakarma treatments of choice in sharada season.

Consuming medicated ghee can help in pacifying Pitta. Thus this should be tried first. If this doesn't work the next steps should be conducting Virechana and is that also fails one should go for Raktamoshana. The rakta dhatu which normally acts as a seat for Pitta dosha naturally gets vitiated due to aggravated pitta residing in it.[8] Therefore sometimes it also becomes necessary to remove the vitiated rakta (blood) from the system as a detox measure which is facilitated by Raktamokshana procedure.

Specifications related to Sharada rtu described in Samhitas

शरदि जलम्॥ Rain water in Sharada

The rain water from the rains in sharada rutu has different properties than that from Pravrt rutu. The rain water in sharada rutu is easily digestible (doesn't give any gastric trouble), doesn't increase kleda (क्लेदः । diseases causing water element in body). Therefore it is potable and can be used for drinking and food preparation of even those with weaker immune system.[9]

हंसोदकम्॥ Hamsodaka

Hamsodaka is the unique concept related to water in Sharada rtu. This water is said to have such properties owing to which it is called as elixir.

दिवा सूर्यांशुसन्तप्तं निशि चन्द्रांशुशीतलम्| कालेन पक्वं निर्दोषमगस्त्येनाविषीकृतम्||४६|| हंसोदकमिति ख्यातं शारदं विमलं शुचि| स्नानपानावगाहेषु हितमम्बु यथाऽमृतम् ||४७|| (Char. Samh. Su. 6.46-47)[5]

In rainy season, water flowing from river and in many reservoirs become very polluted and inappropriate to drink. Thus it is best avoided. In the Sharada rutu, nature changes, sunlight becomes abundant during day time and at night the moon light is also plenty. In such conditions when Agastya constellation (अगस्ति नक्षत्रम्) appears in the sky it is believed to impart such an effect on water that it it becomes clear, free from pollution and toxins. The water naturally processed through these environmental events becomes clear, potable and safe to drink. Such water is called as Hamsodaka. Hamsodaka is said to be fit for consumption and use for bathing, cleaning purposes.

Festivals that appear in Sharada Rtu and guide on useful regime

There are many festivals that are celebrated during the Sharada rtu. Although the festivals have religious foundations, the customs and traditions that are followed while celebrating these festivals certainly have a connection with the health and wellbeing of a person following it and also a message to stay connected or in tune with the seasonal changes occurring at that time of the year.

नवरात्री ॥ Navaratri

Marks the beginning of Sharada rtu. The 9 days are celebrated with exuberance starting from Ashvin Shukla Paksha (अश्विन शुक्ल पक्षम् । the waxing phase of moon) pratipada (प्रतिपदा । first day of Ashvin masa) to navami (नवमी । 9th day). During this time, devotees worship the nine different forms of Goddess Shakti. Throughout the period of 9 days, Devi is worshipped with utmost devotion and exuberance. Most of the devotees observe fasting either complete abstinence from food or by eating once in a day or by following a specific diet. The customs like playing dandiya or garba which is a very popular and widely practiced cultural event. These forms of dance are usually practiced in the night or after the sunset. Some cultures perform the puja or worship the devi throughout the night which is known as Jagarata or Jagaranam (जागरणम्). All such customs have some roots in the Health science of ancient India.

Fasting and its significance as per Ayurveda

Fasting is an integral part of worship of Devi in navaratri of Sharada Rtu. While describing the changes in nature during Sharad rtu Ayurveda Acharyas describe that, in this period pitta dosha along with kapha dosha are aggravated. Also rakta dhatu gets naturally vitiated in this season.[10] Considering these changes in doshas, Ayurveda acharyas have suggested use of food stuffs of ruksha (dry) and shita (cold) gunas (properties).[11] While suggesting a treatment protocol for Rakta dhatu vitiation, Ayurveda scholars have clearly mentioned the practice of Upavasa (उपवासः) as a treatment modality for curing Rakta dhatu related diseases which might develop in this season.[12] Thus, fasting is not just a religious custom but a practice which is beneficial to preserve and promote good health in this season.

Celebrations in evening and night

Usually the celebrations in most of the religious festivals are done in the day time. However, in Navaratri, celebrations at evening, night time or jagaranam are done. Background for this could be in some religious theories but as per Ayurveda also it has some significance. Since the heat of the sunrays is extreme in the day and it is better to avoid it to prevent further aggravation of pitta dosha, celebration on open spaces under moon light is certainly beneficial to preserve health. However, the period recommended is that of Pradosha and not of midnight. [7]

Sacrificial offering of Ash-gourd

The fruit of Ash gourd is offered to Devi (कुष्माण्ड बलिः) on the 9th day of Navaratri as per traditions. Why specifically this fruit is considered as an offering to Devi must have some insights from vedic literature. However, Ash gourd as per Ayurveda is one of the very nutritious and healthy food. It is known as Kushmanda. The medicinal properties of Kushmanda are listed below,[13]

Kushmanda (कूष्माण्डः)
Botanical name Benincasa hispida
Rasa (रसः) Madhura (Sweet)
Veerya (वीर्यम्) Sheeta (Cool)
Guna (गुणाः) Guru
Vipaka (विपाकः) Madhura (Sweet)
Karma (कर्मः) Pacifies pitta and vata doshas, Cleanses Basti (urinary system), Envigorating/tonic

Overall it is again one more very apt selection of fruit/food which has the perfect blend of qualities to nullify the excess heat in the form of aggravated pitta of the Sharada rtu.

शरद पौर्णिमा / कोजागिरी पौर्णिमा॥ Sharada purnima / Kojaagiri pournimi

Sharat / Sharad Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day of the lunar month of Ashwin masa of Sharada Rtu. This event is celebrated as the harvest festival and signifies the end of Monsoon Season. It is also known as 'Kaumudi purnima' (कौमुदि पौर्णिमा), ‘Kumara Purnima’ (कुमार पौर्णिमा) or ‘Kojaagari Purnima’ (कोजागिरी पौर्णिमा) and is celebrated with immense zeal and cheerfulness all across India. According to the ancient Bharatiya shastras, moon rays on the night of Sharad Purnima possess several healing or curative properties. Its a full moon day and being the ruler of mind and emotions, the full moon’s brightness is believed to bring joy, pleasure, and calmness on this day. There are certain traditions and there are also set of theories and logics from shastras that support these particular methods of celebrations which will be discussed henceforth.

Customs and traditions

  • People observe fast throughout the day.
  • People gather on to the open spaces at night where moonlight will be abundant and direct.
  • Preparing rice kheer or thick sweetened milk mixed with nuts and leaving it in the moonlight for the entire night is the most important ritual of Sharad Purnima. After making an offering to God, the kheer is left preferably in a silver vessel under the moonlight for the entire night. The next day morning it is consumed and distributed as Prasad.

Ancient theories behind rituals

It is believed that moon has 16 phases known as kalas in ancient Indian shastras. According to the lexicon, the term kalaa connotes a small part of any single part or portion of the whole. It also signifies a 16th part or 16th digit of the moon’s diameter and thus turns to be a symbol of part of the whole. While, the term 16 kalaas (षोडशकला) or digits connote “the sense of fullness , completeness, as the moon with 16 kalaas is representative of full completion and at the same time its 16 digits ranging from the no form to the form of fullness represent the totality in fullness of the circumference which bears similarity with the cosmos”. [14][15] Sharad Purnima is the only day in the year when the moon is full of its 16 kalas (phases). Therefore it is the only day in the year which actually is a full moon day (with all 16 phases). So on this night, the moon is believed to throw its beams showering elixir (amrit) on Earth, giving health, love and prosperity to people. The moon’s rays on that night contain healing properties that are beneficial for the body and soul.

Hinduism believes that kala is a part of the human personality. More number of kalas in a human indicates that the person will have more qualities. If a person has 16 kalas (षोडशकला), that creates a perfect person. Only Lord Krishna — the Hindu God — is considered to have all the 16 kalas (षोडशकला).[16] Therefore Krishna, this incarnation of lord Vishnu having all 16 kalas denotes that “being nearer to the completeness in every aspect of human periphery, he represents the avatara of superlative degree, a complete avatara of the almighty possessing 16 kalaas in the form of absolute spirit endowed with which he could manifest varied forms of his virtuous excellences”. While the concept of Kalaavatara in its basic concept represents the degree of power he possesses and which in turn symbolises the powers of the moon who too is held as super power incarnate.

Sharada or the entire dakshinayana actually is the time of feminine marked by the growth of crops, blossoming of flowers indicating recreation or regeneration (thus also known as harvest season or festival), the power of feminine or devi. As per a legend, it is believed that on this full moon night, Goddess Lakshmi descends on Earth to watch the actions of human beings. She is believed to move around the orbit in the night sky asking Ko jaagarti? (को जागर्ति? Who is awake?), and to those who are awake, she gifts wealth and prosperity. That is why this night is also called ‘Kojagiri Purnima’. And to receive the grace of Devi or Devine goddess people stay awake.[17]

Ayurveda's wisdom

The moonlight of Sharada purnima

Ayurveda acharyas have praised the the properties of moon rays in the Sharada rtu. They state that, staying in the moonlight at night or specifically during pradosha period is beneficial for preserving and promoting health in this season.

शरत्काले प्रशस्यन्ते प्रदोषे चेन्दुरश्मयः||४८|| (Char. Sam. 6.41-48) [5] प्रदोषे कौमुदीभजनं विधत्ते-चन्दनोशीरकर्पूरमुक्तास्रग्वसनोज्ज्वलः||५३|| सौधेषु सौधधवलां चन्दिकां रजनीमुखे| -------------------------------------------|५४| (Asht. Hrud. 3.49-55) [7]

Thus one should get deliberately exposed to these healing moon rays on the night of Sharada purnima.

Significance of the Prasadam

Masala milk (sweetened milk mixed with dry nuts) or Rice kheer (a sweet dish made of milk, sugar, &/ rice) is prepared at homes and temples. All the contents of the delicacy are coolants, sweet in rasa (मधुर रसः taste), unctuous (स्निग्धम् hydrating and strengthening) in guna (गुणः). All the contents are known to be Pitta pacifying.[18] [19] Thus the entire preparation acts as a cooling tonic and an ideal pitta pacifier necessary to reduce the naturally aggravated body heat in this season.

Jagaranam

On the occasion of Sharda purnima as a part of tradition and celebration, people stay awake late night. The idea routine or Dinacharya described in Ayurveda does not allow one to stay awake late night which is called as Jagaranam. In Ayurveda treatises it is clearly mentioned that if jagaranam is done it causes aggravation of Vata and Pitta doshas in body. They specifically increase excessive dryness in the body.[20] These aggravated doshas can cause multiple ailments, degenerative and inflammatory changes in body. Thus to nullify this effect of vitiated vata and pitta due to jagaranam the sweetened milk preparation is very much beneficial. Thus the prasadam offered on the night of Sharada purnima is a remedy and a healing potion in itself.

विजयादशमी ॥ Vijayadashami / Dashehara / Dussera

Vijayadashami is also popularly known as ‘Dussera’ and is one of the prime Hindu festivals celebrated with lot of joy and zeal. This day commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, the demon King. Therefore Vijayadashami is celebrated as a symbol of victory of good over evil. It is celebrated on the ‘Dashami’ (दशमी । 10th day) of the ‘Ashwin’ lunar month as per the traditional Hindu calendar. On this day, the Pandavas ended long years of their humiliating exile and incognito; the friendless brothers found an ally in Virata and celebrated it with the bonding of young Abhimanyu and Uttara. This day also culminates the grand Sharada Navratri celebrations in many parts of the country. It was on this day the Goddess Durga mata destroyed horde of evil forces, restored light and hope in the hearts of the virtuous. It is a day of victory and rejoices.[21] It is one of the most auspicious days in Hindu calendar.

Traditions

The exchange of Apta (आपटा) Leaves or Green Gold on Dussehra has deep significance in some parts of country. This ritual is about expressing happiness and respect. The day is considered to be extremely auspicious. There are two trees associated with the festival of Dussehra; Shami (शमी), and Ashmantaka (अश्मंतकः). It is said that, one should worship these 2 trees and do seemolanghana (सीमोल्लंघनम् । crossing the boarder) on the evening of Vijayadashami. Both these are medicinal trees and used to treat a variety of ailments in Ayurveda. There are certain legends as to why specifically these 2 trees are worshipped and why the tree of Shami is considered auspicious.

Shami tree

  • Shami is considered as one of those 2 trees that help in reducing the effects of Shani or Saturn. Thus to mitigate the undesired effects of Saturn as per astrology this plant is worshipped.
  • The significance of the Shami plant is also mentioned in the Ramayana. Before declaring war on Lanka, Lord Rama prayed in the presence of a Shami tree. Similarly, when Arjuna assumed the form of Brihannal during his exile, he hid his divine Gandeeva bow on a Shami tree, according to the Mahabharata.[22]
  • Shami leaves are also used in the worship of Lord Ganpati and Goddess Durga. [22]
  • As part of the tenth day practice of Dasara in the Deccan, the Marathas used to shoot arrows at the tree's leaf and collect the falling leaf in their turbans. [22]
  • According to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas spent their thirteenth year of exile in disguise in the kingdom of Virata. Before travelling to Virata, they were claimed to have hung their celestial arms in this tree for a year. When they returned after a year, they discovered their arms secure in the branches of the Shami tree. They bowed down to the tree and thanked it for keeping their arms safe while they were taken. The leaves of this plant are also important in the worship lesson. It is said that before leaving home for any good work, one should see this plant first.[22]
  • Ayurveda acharyas have described the plant shami as Mangalya i.e. auspicious. [23]

    शमी ..... शिवा | मङ्गल्या च तथा लक्ष्मीः शमीरः साऽल्पिका स्मृता ||५९||

    The medicinal properties of both these trees are explained.
Medicinal properties of plants
Shami[23] Ashmantak[24]
Common name Banni Mara, Khejri tree Mock bodh tree, Mock peepul tree
Botanical name Prosopis cineraria Ficus rumphii
Rasa Tikta, Katu, Kashaya Madhura, Kashaya
Veerya Sheeta Sheeta
Vipaka Katu NA
Guna Laghu Laghu, Ruksha
Karma Laxative, Helps cure kapha dominant respiratory disorders, giddiness, skin diseases, piles and worm infestation Very helpful in treating excess body heat in the form of Pitta, burning sensation, excess thirst, vomiting, fever, toxic substances and prevents affliction of bhutas or grahas (evil forces).

जीवेत् शरदः शतम्॥ Significance of Sharada rtu for its inclusion in wishes and blessings for long life

Our seers visualized a life worth- living as spans of Sharad Rtu; not merely, because it is the most enjoyable season but also because it suggests an interpretation and a sense of balance that life should have. That perhaps was the reason our ancients measured meaningful life spans as representations of Sharad Ritu. [21]

The Vedic aspirations of living a long, rich and purposeful life are expressed as below,

पश्येम शरदः शतम् ।।१।। जीवेम शरदः शतम् ।।२।। बुध्येम शरदः शतम् ।।३।। रोहेम शरदः शतम् ।।४।। पूषेम शरदः शतम् ।।५।। भवेम शरदः शतम् ।।६।। भूयेम शरदः शतम् ।।७।। भूयसीः शरदः शतात् ।।८।। (AVŚ_19,67.1-8) [25] Paśyema śaradaḥ śataṁ| jīvema śaradaḥ śataṁ| budhyema śaradaḥ śataṁ| rohema śaradaḥ śataṁ | pūṣema śaradaḥ śataṁ| bhavema śaradaḥ śatam | bhūsema śaradaḥ śataṁ| bhūyasīḥ śaradaḥ śatam | (AVŚ_19,67.1-8)

Meaning: Meaning of these chants: (1) May we look at the hundred शरदःSharad – autumns, i.e., the light of our eyes remained clear for a hundred years. (2) May we live for a hundred years; (3) May our intellect remained strong for 100 years, we remained knowledgeable; (4) May we continue to grow for 100 years; (5) May for more than a hundred years, keep getting the confirmation, we keep getting nourished ; (6) May we must stay for 100 years (literally the repetition of another mantra) ; (7) May for hundreds of years, we stay holy, free from illicit feelings ; (8) May all these welfare things going forward for more than hundred years .

Why Sharada?

The curiosity arises why or why only the Sharada rutu is included in blessing or expressing desire for one's long life. One can find a decent explaination if Ayurveda texts and specifically their understanding of rtu and their effects on one's health is studied. In the cycle of 6 rtus, Sharada appears after the Varsha rtu. The heavy rains of Varsha rtu come to an end and after withdrawal of monsoon the sky becomes clear and the temperature begins to rise again. Due to the evaporation of water accumulated on land, humidity increases to great extend along with temperature. This is popularly referred to as October heat in India. As per Ayurveda, Pitta dosha accumulated in bodies in rainy season gets aggravated due to heat in this season. Along with pitta, kapha dosha also aggravates to some extent. Both these doshas together disturb the status of agni in the body. This leads to number of digestive disturbances and cause fever, dysentery, vomiting, diarrhea and multiple rakta dhatu related disorders etc. The illnesses develops in so many people that it might appear like a pandemic. Therefore the rtu of Sharada is also called as mother Vaidyas (Medical practitioners)

वैद्यानां शारदी माता पिता च कुसुमाकर: । यमदंष्ट्रा स्वसा प्रोक्ता हितभुक् मितभुक् रिपु: ॥

Thus person who can survive healthily through this Rtu, crosses this season effortlessly is considered as a Healthy person.

Although, Chaitra Month is the very first month of Hindu Calendar Year, here Sharad Ritu (Ashwin and Kartik) attracts the attention because of its importance in Health of people. This way Sharad Rtu plays a vital role in one’s life. Therefore “Jeevem Sharad Shatam” has been said and Sharad Ritu has secured its place in the chants. [26]

यमदंष्ट्रा ॥ Yamadanshtra

'Yama (यमः / यमदेवः)' is God of death and 'damshtra' (दंष्ट्रा) means his tooth. It's applied meaning is the period of increased mortality.[27] Yamadanshtra period is the period of total 16 days in which first 8 days of Margashirsha (मार्गशीर्ष) month and last 8 days of Kartika (कार्तिक) month are included. It is believed that this period s the period of having highest mortality. Therefore As per Ayurveda, this period is of significance since one has to put in some efforts to stay healthy and alive in this period. It is advised to take little food during this period for healthy living otherwise it may be fatal. This period of comes in the Sharada Rtu and thus once again the importance of Sharada Rtu is highlighted. And hence since the ancient times, a person in Bharata was desirous of living 100 sharada and thus prays for the same or blesses someone in the same way.

References

  1. Ashtanga Samgrha (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 4 Sutra 4)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 6 Sutra 10)
  3. Charaka Samhita (Siddhisthanam Adhyaya 6 Sutra 5)
  4. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 6 Sutra 7)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 6 Sutra 41-48)
  6. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 6 Sutra 41-48)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ashtnaga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 3 Sutra 49-55)
  8. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanaa Adhyaya 24)
  9. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 27 Sutra 204)
  10. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 10)
  11. Ashtnaga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 3 Sutra 56-57)
  12. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 18)
  13. Ashtanga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 6 Sutra 88-89)
  14. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/religion/festivals/what-are-the-16-kalas-of-lord-krishna-things-you-need-to-know-on-janmashatami-2022/articleshow/93642598.cms
  15. https://www.dailypioneer.com/2015/sunday-edition/lord-with-16-kalaas.html
  16. https://www.news18.com/news/lifestyle/sharad-purnima-2020-date-and-time-of-the-festival-to-worship-lord-chandra-3019982.html
  17. Bhavan’s Journal, 31 October 2021 issue.,Bhavan’s Journal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai
  18. Ashtanga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 5 Sutra 21-23)
  19. Ashtanga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 5 Sutra 50)
  20. Ashtanga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyayam 7 Sutram 55)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Sharad Ritu – season of tender beauty, grace and celebrations
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Religious Importance of the Shami Plant
  23. 23.0 23.1 Bhavaprakasha Nighantu (Vatadi Varga Sutra 59-60)
  24. Rajanighantu (Prabhadradi varga Sutra 39-41)
  25. Atharvaveda (Kanda 19 Sookta 67 Deerghayutwam)
  26. What is “Jeevet Sharada Shatam” (जीवेत शरदः शतम् ।।)
  27. Sharangadhar Purva khanda 2/30