Ayurvedic significance of Sharad Purnima, also known as Kojaagari Purnima, Raas Purnima and Sharad Poonam. It is celebrated on a full moon day of the Shukla Paksha of Ashwin month. It comes few days after Vijaydashami or Dussehra. On this day, not only Moon shines with all the sixteen Kala(s) but also its rays have certain healing properties which nourish the body and the soul. Hence, to take advantage of this divine phenomenon, traditionally, on the day of Sharad Purnima, Rice-Kheer made of cow milk, rice and sugar, is prepared and left under moonlight for the whole night. In the morning, Rice-Kheer which is believed to be invigorated and fortified with the moonlight is consumed and distributed as Prasad among the family members. This is the traditional and the popular view but the real reason behind the rice – kheer preparation and why the moonlight is said to have medicinal and elixir properties, is in ‘sharad ritucharya’. The Ritucharya (seasonal regimen) explained in Ayurveda with its broad spectrum vision preaches humans to act accordingly.
Let’s see Sharad Ritu in brief: Sharad Ritu or autumn is a high time when the heat wave strikes after monsoon and leaves everyone drained which starts from mid-September and lasts to mid-November. Due to these heat waves and warm air mixed with moisture, ‘pitta’ gets aggravated.
Due to this, people usually suffer from gastritis, hyperacidity, peptic ulcers, various skin diseases, burning sensations, excessive thirst, heat boils, increased sweating, mouth ulcers etc.
To manage these seasonal health issues, diet of a person should include cooling, light, sweet, astringent, bitter tasting foods, milk added with rock sugar, wheat, barley, rice, mungbeans. And, exposure to moonlight is ideal; as moon exhibits cooling properties, which calms down the aggravated pitta dosha in this season.
On the occasion of sharad purnima the cooling effects of full moon are at its peak. Therefore, to get maximum benefits from this auspicious night, foods that are naturally cooling like rice kheer or water in silver vessel are kept under moonlight and consumed the next day to calm down the aggravated pitta. If we take a close look at the Indian cuisines and traditions that has been followed since ancient time, one can find imprints of Ayurveda in them as ‘AYURVEDA’ was the primary health care system back then, which did it’s work effectively in preventive care by creating awareness among common public.