Krishna Purushottama, The Extra Month
We call Purusottama month the ‘Adhi-Masa’ (extra month). It is also called, ‘Mala-Masa’, which means dirty or useless month. In India, the sadhus (Holy persons), sadhakas (spiritual practitioners) and pious people of all sampradayas (linages) observe this month with all care. All are observing and engaging in austerities according to their capacity. We should try to observe the following practices for the whole month.
At least three times (morning, noon and evening) each day we should chant Kaundinya Muni’s mantra, which is found in the Hari-Bhakti Vilas:
Goverdhana-Dharam Vande Gopalam Goparupinam
Gokulotsavam eeshaanam Govindam Gopikapriyam
Meaning: Goverdhana-Dharam Vande: I worship the lifter of Govardhana Hill, Gopalam Goparupinam:Who has the beautiful form of a cowherd boy, and who continually plays with the Gopas. Gokulotsavam-eeshaanam: He is the Lord of Gokula wherein everyday is a festival. Govindam Gopikapriyam: He is the giver of pleasure to the cows and spiritual senses and the beloved of the Gopi damsels of Vraja.
- Try to maintain celibacy for this month.
- Instead of sleeping on a comfortable bed sleep on the floor (use a thin mat or blanket if necessary)
- Bathe daily BEFORE SUNRISE.
- Get up 1 hour and 36 minutes before sunrise (during the Brahma-Muhurta) or as early as possible and chant ‘Pancha-Tattva’ and ‘Mahamantra’ at least 12 times.
- Each day chant a fixed number of rounds. You can increase rounds this month according to your ability. For example, if you usually chant 16 rounds daily then in this Purushottama month try to chant at least 24, 32, or 64 rounds according to your convenience.
- If your schedule allows then perform puja daily by yourself. At least offer a ghee lamp to Radha-Krsna Deities or Sri Jagannath Deities or Their Picture. If possible, offer this twice in a day (morning and evening) while chanting the Sri Jagannatha-Astakam or any song about Sri Sri Radha- Krishna’s glories.
- Daily Tulasi Devi’s Parakrama, morning and evening.
- Take a vow to remain peaceful, and become 100% truthful throughout the month, just as a devotee should be throughout their entire life.
- Please be careful not to blaspheme anyone, especially the Vaisnavas and brahmanas.
- Try your best to please Sri Radha and Sri Krsna by performing spiritual practices according to your capacities.
- No cutting of hair or nails (optional).
- No cooking in mustard or sesame oil or rubbing these oils on your body. It is best to cook with ghee, and eat boiled Hobisanna (Atap-rice mixed with Dal and vegetables, but no eggplant or tomoato, without salt if possible).
This month is called Mala-Masa (dirty or useless month) because all ritual forms of karma-kanda (reward seeking), pujas and yajnas (fire sacrifices) don’t give any results this month. Our Gaudiya Vaisnavas, however, disagree, saying it is called Mala-Masa because all days, weeks and months are created by the Supreme Lord for observing devotion. Therefore, we Gaudiya Vaisnavas try our best to follow devotional rituals as our previous teachers have established for the month.
Our previous teachers instructed us that in this month we have to observe devotional activities in a special manner. Then quickly and easily we can destroy the dirt and contamination caused by our sins, ignorance and Aparadhas.
Firstly, the Puranas say that the Supreme personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna’s FAVORITE MONTH is Purusottama Month. Sri Krsna has not only personally created this month, but He also named it after Himself. Remember, Sri Krsna alone is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Purusottama. As Swayam Bhagavan, Sri Krsna is the most magnanimous, topmost origin of all the avataras and incarnations. And so Purusottama Month is the topmost, super best, most powerful spiritual reward giving month among all the twelve months.
Purusottama Month is the holiest month, far superior to the pious Vedic months of Vaisakha (April-May), Karttika (October-November) and Magha (January–February), which the Vedas praise as the three best reward-giving months of all the 12 months of the year.. Not only on the earth planet, but all over the universe Purusottama Month is honored and worshiped by all devotees, sages, demigods and even Laksmi Devi Herself.
If one sincerely worships Radha and Krsna in Purusottama month, he will attain everything he wants. One who observes Purusottamavrata will burn up the reactions of all his previous bad karma and attain the direct service of Radha and Krsna. Purusottama month is the best month for all spiritual advancement because Krsna overlooks all the aparadhas. Residence in the holy dhams during Purusottam Month yields 1000 times the benefit.
PURANIC EVIDENCE ON PURUSHOTTAM MONTH’S GLORIES
All these sastric quotations are from Padma and SkandaPurana:
1. Lord Sri Krsna: “Purusottama Month has all the power I have to bless its observer. One who followsPurusottamavrata will destroy all his past sinful reactions. Without performing Purusottamavrata, one cannot perform pure devotional service. The value of Purusottama month is far more valuable than all other types of austerities and religious activities mentioned in the Vedas. Anyone who observes Purusottamavrata will return to My abode, Goloka, at the end of his life.”
2. Durvasa Muni: “Just by bathing in a holy river during Purusottama Month, one becomes sinless. The glory of all other months is not equal to one-sixteenth of the glory of the Purusottama Month. By bathing in a holy place, giving charity and chanting the Holy Name of Krsna during Purusottama Month, all miseries are destroyed, one attains all kinds of perfection and fulfills all his desires.”
3. Valmiki Muni: “By observing Purusottamavrata, one attains more benefit than performing one hundred horse sacrifices. All holy places live within the body of a Purusottama Month vrati (an observer of this penance). Anyone who faithfully performs Purusottamavrata will go to GolokaVrndavana.”
4. Narada Muni: “Purusottama Month is the best of all months, vratas and austerities. Just by faithfully hearing the glories of Purusottama Month, one attains Krsna-bhakti and immediately nullifies his sinful reactions. One who performs Purusottamavrata properly will attain unlimited piety and spiritual merit (sukrti) and go to the spiritual world.”
5. Naimisaranya Sages: “Merciful Purusottama Month acts like a desire tree to fulfill a devotee’s desire.”
6. Hari-bhakti-vilasa (Vol 4, Vs 437): “During Purusottama Month, one should remember Lord Krsna, and then donate thirty-three milk cakes cooked in ghee to grhastha Vaisnava brahmanas, who are well versed in sastras. Failing to do so, one loses all the piety he accumulated in the previous year.” Comment: Vrndavana vaisnavas usually observe this by donating two kilos of good quality milk cake from a sweet shop to a few Vaisnava pandas or pujaris or good temple devotees.
ADDITIONAL OBSERVANCES FOR PURUSHOTTAMA MONTH
During the holy month of Purushottama, certain spiritual practices are observed by devotees: Recitation of Sri Jagannathastakam in the mornings, of Chauragraganya Purusashtakam in the afternoons, performance of japam or chanting as instructed by Kaundinya Muni, Deep daana or ghee-lamp offerings in the evenings at the Vishnu, Krishna or Ram mandir, and last but not the least, reading the Brahmastava, 40 slokas in Sanskrit, from the Bhagavatam, chapter 14, Canto 10. This spiritual technique, when performed with devotion in Purushottama, can bestow manifold results on the sadhak. Observance of Purushottama vrata brings eternal joy to the soul.
SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKURA’S Purusottama Month VRATA:
Perform the NirapeksaVrata, which is 30 days of concentrated, one pointed worship and service to Radha-Govinda’s conjugal form by hearing, chanting, remembering Their divine names, forms, qualities, pastimes. All day and night, hear about Bhagavan Sri Krsna, chant the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, and take mahaprasada only.