Sharad Ritu(Post Monsoon Season)

Ritu is a division of the year reflecting the change of seasons. The concept of Rtu occurs in Rig Veda also, where only three Ritus are mentioned: Varsha , Grishma and Sharad. Later, the year was further divided and two more Rtus were added. A hymn in Taittareya Brahmana has a beautiful graphic presentation of the Ritus in the image of a bird: Vasantha is the head of the bird called Samvathsara (year); Grishma its left wing; Sharad its right wing; Varsha its tail; and Hemanta its middle part.
Tasya re Vasantha shirahah/Grishmo Dakshina pakshahah/Sharad uttara-pakshhah/Varshap pucchyam/ Hemanto Madhyama. (TBrh: 1.10.4.1)
It was during the epic period that the seasons were counted as six: Vasantha - spring; Grishma - summer; Varsha - rainy season; Sharad - autumn; Hemanta - winter; and Shishira- cool season preceding the spring. The poets have sung of the glory of each season either individually or as a garland of seasons.

Sharad Ritu
September 20th-November 20th
Includes Indian months of Ashwin and Kartika
Characterized by Mild temperatures
Holidays-Navratri, Vijaydashmi, Deepali, Sharad Purnima, Bihu, Kartik Purnima


Commentary by Shri Manohar Baba:  
On its own accord, the rainy season took leave after watering nature, making it green with the cool blades of grass- leaves, and handing over the just bathed earth in the hands of the autumnal season.As soon as autumn set in, the sky was cleared of heavy black clouds. The lovely radiant full moon rose on the starry firmament and illuminated the earth.The gushing flow of Shri Yamunja plus waters of the lakes and ponds rejoiced on being cleansed and were crystal clear. With the arrival of the Sharad Ritu the reddish, white, blue and yellow-hued lotus clusters began enhancing the forest's majestic beauty. The threefold breeze laden with the fragrance of lotuses, scented the entire forest. The sole purpose of blossoming lotuses, clear waters, a cool fragrant breeze blowing and a detailed description of the forest's beauty is to present a prelude to Krishna's enigmatic lila or divine play.


Sharad Ritu – season of tender beauty, grace and celebrations

It is the post monsoon season - Sharad Ritu, which is dearer to me. It is a season of festivals marked by benevolence, grace and beauty. As per the lunar calendar, Sharad Ritu follows the Varsha (monsoon) and precedes Hemantha (early winter). It comprises months of Ashwina and Karthika, which is September to November months in the Gregorian calendar. In the year 2007 , Sharad Ritu commenced from Oct 12, Sharad Ritu corresponds to early autumn in the West but it is not the same.
The nature is at its benevolent best in Sharad Ritu. The oppressive heat of the summer is a distant memory and the chill of the winter is still on its way. The annoying downpour of the monsoon has just ended. The weather is mild, pleasant and refreshing. Sharad is a season of moderation, comfort and peace. It is the season of the middle path.  It is a soothing delight, as its designated Raga Malkauns a pentatonic haunting melody.
The rivers are neither dry as in summer nor flooded, muddy brown, twirling with orphaned twigs and overflowing menacingly as in monsoon. In Sharad Ritu, the rivers are moderately full, transparently clear; rippling down the gentle slopes in peals of temple bells.
Sharad Ritu brings a blush to the countryside. The nature is bedecked as a bride with light green, decorated with profusion of colorful flowers and bountiful laden fruit trees with chirping birds. There is peace, joy and fulfillment abounding in the air.
The days are sunny, yet pleasantly cool and comfortable. The skies are clear blue with white cotton clouds floating lazily. The nights mildly intoxicating are slightly chill, clear and cloudless.
The splendid cloudless full moon night of Sharad Ritu is an idiom of glory, peace and joy in the Indian poetics. It is the delight of eager young lovers that long to be with their beloved. The ecstatic beauty of Sharad Purnima is etched in Indian psyche. Its glory, tenderness and joy are celebrated in songs, legends and poems of love. Our classical poets and epics sing lovingly the beauty and joy of the delightful moonlit nights of Sharad Ritu.
Soundarya_lahari meaning waves of beauty, a tantric work in poetic form   dedicated to the mother, in devotional ecstasy,   calls her Saratchandra Vadana, one with a face as    radiant and blissful as the moon in Sharat Ritu. 

Sharad Ritu is aptly named after Sharada the goddess of speech (vac), learning and fine arts. She is the presiding deity of the Ritu. Sharad Ritu personifies the mild- glowing beauty, serenity, grace and compassion of mother Sharada. The ten days following the new- moon in the month of Ashwina in Sharad Ritu are celebrated as Navarathri (Sharan navarathri) in devote reverence and in worship of the mother. Display of learning, performance of arts and honoring the learned and the virtuous during Navarathri are all in humble submission to the mother. Bengal has a tradition of commencing the Durga Puja with Saraswathi Puja. Saraswathi is regarded as daughter of mother goddess Durga.
 
The tenth day of Navarathri in Sharad Ritu, Vijaya_ Dashami is one among the three most auspicious days in our calendar. It is the most sought-after day for launching ones hopes and ventures. Vijaya_ Dashami signifies rescue of Dharma from the creeping shadows of the unjust, instating the virtuous to their rightful position and the victory of good over evil. 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.  On this day, Sri Rama with his consort was enthroned in Ayodhya on return from years of exile and vanquishing the demon king Ravana. 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.
 
The later month of Sharad Ritu is Karthika, the month of the infant commander of the divine forces, Karthekeya the vanquisher of evil and darkness. Karthika is the month of lights. Numerous Little lamps are lit in homes and temples to dispel darkness and ignorance.
 
Karthik-ki-chauth (Karwa chauth) the fourth day after new moon in Karthika is the day when women in the North and Western parts of India fast and pray in loving devotion for the longevity and prosperity of their husbands.

Sharad Ritu, which commences on a pious note of devotion and fulfillment peaks into a burst of sparkling and spectacular lights and lavish celebrations. Deepavali or Diwali certainly is the most popular and the noisiest of Hindu festivals.  Deep_avali (array of lights) is a festival of four days, which literally illumines our hearts, homes and streets; dazzles with sparklers and firecrackers; and draws friends and neighbors together in a net of goodwill. It also signifies victory of good over evil, delivering from darkness and leading towards light. It is a festival in celebration of life, its goodness and fulfillment.

As Sharad Ritu nears its end, the leaves on the trees turn from green to yellow to red and to dusty brown. The trees let go the aged leaves, that once clothed, fed and sheltered them; with grace and gratitude. They gently place the departed friends, with reverence, on the floor. 

If the spring signifies the exuberance of youth; and the sizzling heat of summer, downpour of the monsoon represent the rigors, vicissitudes and uncertainties of life; Sharad Ritu is the mellow maturity and fulfillment of life before it slides into its evening. It inspires a sense of amazement, grace and reverence towards life. It is the golden mean, away from extremes of burning passions and debilitating regrets. It is the summation of the quality life.
Our seers visualized a life worth- living as spans of Sharad Ritu; 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. A young person on threshold of life greets his beloved at the time of wedding “Oh! The auspicious one, the cause of my life, may we live to see a hundred Sharad seasons (subhage, tvamjeeva sharadahshhatam)”.
The Vedic aspirations of living a long, rich and purposeful life are expressed as enjoyment of life as in Sharad Ritu.



Let me live a hundred Sharad Ritus
Let me see a hundred Sharad Ritus
Let me enjoy a hundred Sharad Ritus
Let me hear a hundred Sharad Ritus
Let me live invincible a hundred Sharad Ritus
 
 
Jeevema sharadahshhatam
Pashyema sharadahshhatam
Modama Sharadahshatam
ShriNavama sharadahshhatam
Ajeethasyama sharadahshhatam
 
It is a blessing to be alive as in Shard Ritu.



Sharad Ritu-Ayurveda

Diet:
  • Person should take foods which are of bitter, sweet and astringent in tastes.
  • Easily digestible food such as rice, green-gram, sugar, honey, and meat of animals of desert-like lands should be included.
  • Meals should be accompanied by medicated ghee and plenty of warm liquids.
  • Drink tea made up of equal parts of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Alternatively chamomile or liquorice tea or hot water is excellent.
  • Drink a cup of warm milk with a pinch of cardamom, ginger or nutmeg before bedtime.
  • Eat in moderation as digestive fire is weak.
Beneficial herbs in Sharad ritu:
  • Spices such as chilli, mustard seed and black pepper.
  • Amalaki, Resins, Mulethi, Shatavari, Patola, Chandan, Usheer.
  THE FESTIVAL OF SHARAD PURNIMA:


This festival is observed on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashwin (September – October). Sharad Purnima 2012 date is October 29 as per traditional Hindu lunar calendar – India Standard Time. The popular belief is that Sri Krishna, Radha and Gopis of Vrindavan performed Ras Lila on the day.

There is also a close connection between the moon and the Sharad Purnima day – the moon is believed to be close to the earth on the day and it is believed that moon’s rays contain nourishing elements. People believe that as the moon is nearest to the earth on the day and as moon’s rays has several curative properties it will be helpful to human beings. So people spend the evening under moonlight.

The day is observed as Kaumudi Puja – Koumdui Utsav and as Navanna Purnima. Currently, this full moon comes during Sharad ritu (season ) of the year and hence it is called Sharad Pornima or Sharad Poonam. (Purnima or Poonam = full moon).

There is an Ayurvedic reason behind consuming rice flakes with cool milk on this night. Sharad ritu (season) consists of two months of overlapping seasons when the summer is about to end and the winter slowly starts. During Sharad the days are warm and nights start to become cooler. This is perfect season for Pitta prakop when pitta vitiates along with other two doshas. Consuming rice flakes with milk during night time is good remedy to pacify pitta.

Also known as 'Kojaagari Punam,' the festival is celebrated on Aso sud 15 - Purnima. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth moves around in the night sky, asking `Ko jaagarti' searching for people below who are awake. In Sanskrit, `Ko jaagarti' means, ' Who is awake?' And to those who are awake she gifts wealth.