Category Archives: Education

Purusottama-Adhika Masa

Introduction
Purusottama month, or adhika masa (extra month) is also called mala masa (dirty month) by the performers of karma-kanda because they cannot get any material fruitive results from their worship during this month. Our acaryas say it is called mala masa because devotional activities performed in this month destroy the dirt and contamination caused by sins. It is called adhika (extra) masa because Sri Krsna has placed all His potencies, mercy, blessings in this month, and also because one gets more results from any pious act. Only works of devotion (Krsna-bhakti) give results in Purusottama month.

Of all months, Purusottama is Krsna’s favorite month. Lord Sri Krsna is Purusottama. As Krsna is the supreme among all incarnations, Purusottama is the supreme among all months. Purusottama month is the holiest month, far superior to the pious months of Magha, Vaisakha and Karttika. Purusottama month is worshiped all over the universe by devotees, sages, demigods and even Laksmi Devi Herself. If one sincerely worships Radha and Krsna in Purusottama month, he will attain everything. One who observes Purusottama vrata, will burn up the reactions of all his 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 dhama in P.M. yields 1000 times the benefit.

Glories Of Purusottama Month (From Padma And SkandaPuranas)
1. Lord Sri Krsna: “Purusottama month has all the power I have to bless its observer. One who follows Purusottama vrata will destroy all his past sinful reactions. Without performing Purusottama vrata, 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 Purusottama vrata will return to my abode, Goloka, at the end of his life”.

2. Durvasa Muni: Gopala“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 Purusottama vrata, one attains more benefit than performing one hundred horse sacrifices. All holy places live within the body of a Purusottama month vrati. Anyone who faithfully performs Purusottama vrata will go to Goloka Vrndavana”.

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 Purusottama vrata properly will attain unlimited sukrti and go to the spiritual world”.

5. Naimisaranya Sages: “Merciful Purusottama month acts like a desire tree to fulfill a devotee’s desire”.

Quotes-by-Bhakti-Charu-Swami-on-Chanting-the-Holy-Names

The Purusottama Vrata
1. Keep celibacy for one month. (Sleep on the floor – optional).
2. Rise in brahma – muhurta time.
3. Chant Hare Krsna Mahamantra and meditate on Radha-Krsna’s rupa, guna, lila. Daily chant extra rounds: 24, 32, 64.
4. Daily offer ghee lamp to Radha-Krsna Deities or Picture. 33 lamps daily or at least 1 day in the month.
5. Daily aratika and parikrama of Tulasi Devi.
6. Daily mandira parikrama (4 times).
7. Daily offer Radha-Krsna Deities or Picture roses, lotus flowers and 100,000 Tulasi leaves (or as many as you can).
8. One should bathe everyday before sunrise in a holy place. (At least , three days in the month).
9. Daily read Srimad Bhagavatam – Radha-Krsna lila ; acaryas say it is a rule to daily read S.B. 10.14—Brahma stuti.
10. Daily chant Sri Jagannathastakam, Sri Cauragraganya – Purusastakam, Sri Nanda-Nandanastakam, Jaya Radha Madhava, and other Radha-Krsna bhajanas and prayers.
11. Take a vow to remain peaceful and truthful throughout the month.
12. Be careful not to blaspheme any devotees, brahmanas, saints, cows, sastras or vratis. And don’t ask anyone for anything
13. Try your best to please Radha and Krsna by performing devotional austerities according to your abilities. Don’t break your vow in the middle of the month.
14. Eat on leaf plates sitting on the floor (optional).
15. No cutting of hair or nails (optional).
16. No cooking in oil or rubbing of oil on your body.
17. No eating or rubbing of mustard oil.
18. Diets: Best to eat once a day after sunset or noon the following diets: i) only milk ; ii) only fruits (no milk, no veg.); iii)no grains (selected veg., fruits, nuts, milk); iv) selected foods (all categories as per caturmasya standards).
19. 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 brahmanas, who are well versed in sastras. Failing to do so, one loses all the piety he accumulated in the previous year.”
20. Acaryas say chant daily some japa of Kaundinya Muni’s mantra: govardhana dharam vande, gopalam gopa rupinam / gokulutsava ne isanam,govindam gopika priyam. “I worship the lifter of Govardhana Hill, Who has the beautiful form of a cowherd boy, and who continually plays with the gopas. He is the Lord of Gokula wherein everyday is a festival.
21. Daily offer 33 dandavats to Bhagavan Sri Krsna or the vaisnavas.
22. Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s P.M. vrata: Perform the Nirapeksa Vrata, which means 30 days of concentrated, one–pointed worship and service to Radha-Govinda Yugala by hearing, chanting, remembering Their divine names, forms, qualities, pastimes. All day and night, hear about Bhagavan Sri Krsna, chant the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, take mahaprasada.
23. Charity: Best days — Ekadasi, Dvadasi, Purnima, Amavasya, Sravana Naksatra Day; DO offer money, gold, cloth, shoes, fruits, etc. to brahmanas and vaisnavas ; Also offer 33 plantains or mangoes plus dana and daksina —when giving dana (diff. items) to a brahmana, one must simultaneously donate daksina (money equal to the monetary value of the dana).

Breaking Purusottama Vrata

1. Bathe in brahma-muhurta time, worship Radha-Syamasundara Deities or Picture, and chant this mantra: “O Supreme Lord, O Sanatana, O Purusottama,
O Lord Hari ! I offer my obeisances unto you. May you and your beloved Radhika, please accept my offerings. I offer my repeated obeisances unto Syamasundara, who wears effulgent yellow garments on His beautiful body.
2. Offer puspanjali and obeisances to Radha-Syamasundara Deities or Picture.
3. Feed and give charity to 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 brahmanas to the best of your ability (e.g., new clothes, two pairs of shoes, Laksmi). The best charity is to give a Srimad Bhagavatam to a qualified grhastha vaisnava brahmana. This act will deliver all your ancestors to the spiritual world and award them the association of Lord Purusottama!

Special Breaking Actions
1. If you ate fruits, ghee, rice, wheat etc, donate the same to brahmanas.
2. If you slept on the floor, give a bed and pillows to a brahmana.
3. If you ate on a leaf plate, feed brahmanas with ghee and sugar.
4. If you didn’t cut nails or hair, donate a mirror to a brahmana.
5. If you offered ghee lamps, give new lamps and pots to a brahmana.
6.* If you broke any rules or regulations during Purusottama vrata, feed different sweet juices to brahmanas.
7. Lord Siva says that the best charity is: “Fill a bell metal pot with thirty malpuas, bind the pot with seven new threads and give to a worthy brahmana”.

Progressing from Questioning to Understanding

“O Krsna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can understand Your personality.”

Bg 10.14

Meditation on Bhagavad Gita 10.14 by His Grace Chaitanya Charan dasa (Pune)

krishna_arjunWhile hearing philosophy, whenever we get questions, we often expect immediate and immediately intelligible answers. However, to understand the answers, we frequently need conceptual background – a background that can be gained only by patient systematic hearing.

The Bhagavad-gita illustrates this principle through Arjuna’s example.

Arjuna’s prompt question demonstrates that the Gita gives due recognition to logic

The Gita (04.01) mentions graphically Krishna’s super-human position by stating that he instructed the sun-god long ago. Earlier references to his special position were passing  (02.61 and 03.30), but this reference is arresting and question-demanding: How could a mortal, as Krishna seems to be, have instructed an immortal? And that too in the remote past when the mortal was not even born?

Demonstrating that the Gita gives due recognition to logic, Arjuna promptly raises this very question (04.04). Krishna answers by briefly outlining his transcendental position (04.0514), but then returns to the topic under discussion: working in knowledge. Though the point of Krishna’s supremacy can raise further questions, Arjuna doesn’t impatiently interrupt the flow but patiently continues hearing.

As the Gita’s narrative arc progresses, its focus shifts from the soul to Krishna. In its seventh, ninth and tenth chapters, culminating in its four-verse essence (10.0811), Krishna is philosophically established as the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes, the source of everything, the god of all the gods.

After hearing this coherent and cogent philosophical exposition, Arjuna accepts and reiterates Krishna’s supreme position (10.1213). Next (10.14) he declares that he accepts everything Krishna has said, including an earlier question-demanding assertion (10.02) that even the gods can’t understand Krishna. This declaration confirms that Arjuna’s question about Krishna’s cognitive superiority over the gods has been now thoroughly answered – he is now illumined by proper understanding.

Following Arjuna’s example, if we too continue hearing patiently, then gradually our questions, asked and unasked, will be answered, and clear understanding will illumine us.

Srila Prabhupada – A Short Life Sketch

The text for this article is taken from an email from His Grace Tusti Mohan Krishna dasa.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was born in 1896, in Calcutta, in a Vaisnava family.

prabhupada-lilamrta2His father, Gour Mohan De, named him Abhay Charan. His father’s only wish was that, Abhay would become a devotee of Srimati Radharani.

Abhay studied under British colonial rule, finally going to university to read chemistry. At university, he became a supporter of Gandhi’s movement to gain independence for India. As a measure of this support, he would only dress in white handloom cloth, woven in India and furthermore, he declined to accept his degree from the university.

Abhay married and went into business as a small pharmaceutical firm to support his wife and family. He met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, for the first time in Calcutta in 1922.

prabhupada-lilamrta9Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, took a liking to Abhay and told him to devote his life to teaching Vedic Knowledge; more specifically to preach Lord Caitanya’s message to the English speaking world. Although, Abhay accepted, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta within his heart as his spiritual master, it was not until 1932 that he became initiated. He then received both harinama and mantra diksa at his initiation.

In 1936 Srila Prabhupada wrote his spiritual master requesting if there was any particular service that he could render. Srila Prabhupada received a reply to that letter containing the same instruction the he had received in

1922: ‘Preach Krishna consciousness to the English speaking world’. His spiritual master passed away from this world two weeks later; thus leaving these final instructions engraved on Srila Prabhupada’s heart. These instructions were to form the focus of Srila Prabhupada’s life.

prabhupada-lilamrta1Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita and assisted the Gaudiya Matha in its work. In 1944, during the Second World War, when paper was scarce and people had little money to spend, Srila Prabhupada began a magazine called Back to Godhead. Single-handedly, he would write, edit, oversee the layout, proof-read and sell the copies himself. This magazine is still being published today.

In 1950 Srila Prabhupada adopted the vanaprastha (retired) life; thus retiring from home and family life, in order to devote more time to his studies. In 1953 he received the title Bhaktivedanta from his Godbrothers.

He travelled to Vrindavana, where he lived very humbly at the Radha-Damodara temple. He spent several years there studying the scriptures and writing.

In 1959 he took sannyasa, the renounced order of life. It was then, while staying at Radha-Damodara temple that he started on his masterpiece: translation and commentary of the Srimad-Bhagavatam in English. He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets. Within a few years, he had written three volumes of English translation and commentary for the first canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Once again, single handedly, he bought the paper and gathered funds, to print the books. He sold the books himself and through agents in the larger Indian cities.

He now felt ready to carry out his spiritual master’s orders and decided to start by taking the message of Krishna consciousness to America, convinced that other countries would follow suit. Obtaining free passage on a freight ship, called the Jaladuta he finally arrived in New York in 1965. He was 69 and practically penniless. All he possessed was a few copies of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and a few hundred rupees.

prabhupada-lilamrta5He had had a very difficult crossing, suffering two heart attacks and once arrived in New York he didn’t know which way to turn. After a difficult six months, preaching here and there, his few followers rented a storefront and apartment in Manhattan. Here, he would regularly give lectures, kirtana and distribute prasadam. People from all walks of life, including hippies, were drawn here; in search of that missing element from their lives and many became part of ‘Swamiji’s’ following.

As people became more serious, Srila Prabhupada’s followers used to hold regular kirtanas in the parks. The lectures and Sunday feast days became renowned. His young followers eventually took initiation from Srila Prabhupada, promising to follow the regulative principles and chant 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily. He also reinstated the Back to Godhead magazine.

prabhupada-lilamrta10In July 1966, Srila Prabhupada established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness — ISKCON. His aim was to use the society to promote Krishna Consciousness throughout the world. In 1967, he visited San Francisco and started an ISKCON society there. He then sent his disciples all over the world to spread Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message and open new centres in Montreal, Boston, London, Berlin, and other cities in North America, India, and Europe. In India, three magnificent temples were initially planned: Vrindavana, the Krishna Balaram temple with all its ancillary facilties; Bombay, a temple with an educational and cultural centre; and in Mayapur, a huge temple with a Vedic planetarium.

Srila Prabhupada produced all of his books bar the three written in India within the next eleven years. Srila Prabhupada slept little and would spend the early morning hours writing. He would write almost daily between 1:30 and 4:30 a.m. He dictated his text, which his disciples then typed and edited. Srila Prabhupada would translate the original texts from Sanskrit or Bengali, word by word, and gave a complete commentary.

His works include Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the multi-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, the multivolume Caitanya-caritamrta, The Nectar of Devotion, Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Teachings of Lord Kapila, Teachings of Queen Kunti, Sri Isopanisad, The Nectar of Instruction, and dozens of small books.

His writings have been translated into over fifty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world’s largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.

Despite his heavy literary schedule, Srila Prabhupada did not let his writing stand in the way of his preaching. In just twelve years, despite his advanced age, he circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents.

prabhupada-lilamrta7His days were filled with writing, teaching his followers and the public, and with guiding his growing society, until the day he departed from this world. Before departing from this world Srila Prabhupada gave many instructions to his disciples to follow in his footsteps and to continue the preaching and spreading of Krishna Consciousness all over the world.

He departed this world on November 14 1977.

In the short time he spent in the west, he preached continuously, established 108 temples, wrote more than sixty volumes of transcendental literature, initiated five thousand disciples, founded the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, began a scientific academy (the Bhaktivedanta Institute) and other trusts related to ISKCON.

prabhupada-lilamrta11Srila Prabhupada was an extraordinary author, teacher, and saint. He managed to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world, through his writing and preaching. His writings comprise of many volumes and are the basis of Krishna consciousness not only for his disciples but for his grand-disciples, affiliated members of the disciplic succession, and for the public at large.

His life history from his earliest days to his passing away in 1977 is vividly described in his authorised biography, the Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta by Satsvarupa Goswami.