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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”.

Getting the Most From Shri Krishna Janmashtami

janmashtami1Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the appearance anniversary of Krishna, the Supreme Person. He’s not “born” like we are—He comes and goes as He likes—but He appears here to please His devotees, rid the earth of evildoers, and give the rest of us something worthwhile to talk about.

His pastime of janma, birth, occurred on the ashtami, eighth day of the waning moon in the lunar month of Hrishikesh. Janmashtami is one of the world’s biggest spiritual festivals, and is observed by followers of many faiths. For Krishna devotees, Janmashtami is a day of non-stop chanting, cooking, worship of Krishna in His Deity form, and fasting until midnight, when a grand feast is served.
janmashtami2The Tenth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam describes the events leading up to and including Krishna’s appearance on earth. Srila Prabhupada encouraged his disciples to read about Krishna’s pastimes in the Bhagavatam, cook a feast for Krishna’s pleasure, and chant Hare Krishna all day and into the night each year on Janmashtami.

For those are very serious about advancing in Krsna Consciousness the day of Janmashtami is much more than a ritualistic celebration that we celebrate each year. Here are a few tips for elevating our Janmashtami from the ritual level to the spiritual level.

Fasting

Srila Prabhupada writes in Bhagavad Gita that one’s determination in Krishna Conscoiousness is marked by the effort to keep fast on days like Janmashtami and Ekadasi. Fasting has two sides, one positive and one negative. The negative is that we should not eat or drink for the entire day until midnight, and then to break the fast with Ekadasi prasadam. If we are unable to do that, water is permissible and in extreme circumstances one may take some fruit if he is unable to keep the fast. This fasting helps us the control the demands of the body and allows us to focus on the positive side of fasting which is the increase the level of our spiritual practices like hearing and chanting. Any serious devotee MUST make the effort to keep fast on the day of Janmashtami.

Chanting Japa

chanting-japaKrishna is non-different from His Name, therefore an excellent way to celebrate Janmashtami is to immerse ourselves in quality japa. We can gain so much spiritual benefit from chanting japa on days like Janmashtami. Initiated members of our organisation chant a minumum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna japa each day, but if you are not initiated as yet you can try to chant 16 or any number you can. And if you are really adventurous you can try to chant with a vow of 64 rounds of japa. Either way chanting is a super way to boost the level of your Janmashtami celebration.

Reading Srimad Bhagavatam or Krishna Book

bhagavatam_bigSrila Rupa Goswami writes in his Nectar of Devotion that there are five most potent forms of devotional service, one of which is to read Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna’s pastimes are specifically described in the 10th Canto and the details of His appearance are described in the first 3 chapters. When read with Srila Prabhupada’s commentary these chapters unlock very deep meaning and insight into the Lord’s Appearance and the way we can apply it in our own lives and practise. The same can also be read in the Krishna Book which is Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of the Bhagavatam’s 10th Canto.

Attend the Program at an ISKCON Temple near you.

DSC02617The central focus of ISKCON Temples is the worship of Krishna. In fact every day is like Janmashtami for us. But, on Janmashtami every service is done at the temple as if its on steroids. All the stops are pulled out and no holds are barred. The decorations are out of this world, the deities are dressed so impressive that one gets the experience that “YES……Here IS Krishna!”, the kirtan is soul stirring, the prasadam tastes even more amazing (at the time of breaking fast it’s even more sweet), and the atmosphere is surcharged with Krishna Bhakti (devotion of Krishna). Everyone is welcome to take part in our celebration; come and chant, hear krishna katha, take part in the worship of the deity of Radha and Krishna and sit and talk about Krishna with the devotees. It can be a life altering experience.

Listening to Lectures about the Appearance of the Lord

In today’s world almost everything is available on the internet. ISKCON Desire Tree has a MASSIVE catalog of lectures and classes give by Srila Prabhupada and many of his disciples and grand-disciples on the Appearance Day of the Lord. Visit them and spend some time hearing about the pastimes of the Lord from the devotees and if our mood is right we can feel the inner stirring to increase the depth of our spiritual practise.

These are just some suggestions to make the best of your Janmasthami festival and can actually be applied to any special day. We hope this Janmashtami proved to be a revolution in your spiritual journey. Drop us a line to let us know what you did to make this Jamnashtami more special for you or to share any special experience you had.