last updated 26th May 2007

"Govardan dharang vande Gopalang Goprupinang.
Gokulotsava Mishanang Govinda Gopikapriya."

The one who held the Govardhan mountain aloft and who also tended the cows, I sing his praise.
Govinda who is celebrated in the festivals of Gokul and who is loved by all Gopis.

Puroshottam Adhika mAse and More technicalities about the year and symbolicly what it is.
last updated 11th May 2007


(Translated from Padma Purana)

Once upon a time, thousands of sages came together in the holy place called Naimisaranya to perform sacrifice. To their very good fortune the great sage Suta Goswami, who had been traveling to different pilgrimage sites, arrived there along with his disciples. The sages present were very enlivened to see him. They all stood up immediately to pay their respects to the great sage, offered him a very nice Vyasasana, and requested him with folded hands to sit down on it.

The sages of Naimisaranya said to Suta Goswami with folded hands, “O Sutaji! We humbly request you to tell us something about the wonderful activities and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are many thousands of such narrations, but we want to hear the most perfect one, by following which we can all be delivered from this Material Ocean and return back to Godhead.

Hearing the request made by these sages, headed by Saunaka Rsi, Suta Goswami began to speak, “O sages, please listen to me. I first went to Puskara Tirtha, then after visiting thousands of other holy places, I reached Hastinapura. There on the bank of Ganges, I saw thousands of sages sitting together with Pariksit Maharaja. Just then the great sage Sukadeva Goswami appeared, and all the sages present paid him proper respect by rising from their seats with folded hands. All the sages unanimously offered the Vyasasana to Sukadeva Goswami, who would speak Krishna katha to Pariksit Maharaja.

Suta Goswami said, “O sages, I have just come from Hastinapura where I heard Srimad Bhagavatam from the lotus mouth of Sukadeva Goswami. Now I will tell you about the all-attractive activities and pastimes of the Lord.

Once, long ago, Sri Narada Muni reached Badrika Ashram, the residence of Sri Narayana Rishi. The river Alakananda was flowing down from His lotus feet. Narada paid his obeisances to Narayana and prayed, “Oh Lord of the demigods, Oh ocean of mercy! Oh master of creation, You are all truthful, the essence of all truths. I offer my obeisances unto You. “Oh Lord! In this material world all living entities are busily engaged in sense gratification. They have all forgotten the ultimate goal of life. Therefore please explain something which will be helpful both for householders and sages in the renounced order like me, something that will help us attain self realization and return back to Godhead.”

Hearing the sweet words of Narada, Lord Narayana smiled. He said, “O Narada, please listen to the narrations about the supremely pious pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, for they will diminish all sinful reaction. You already know of all the activities of the Supreme Lord, but for the benefit of others, you are asking Me again. So now I will tell you about the glories of the sacred Purushottama month, which is fully potent to grant not only all material happiness but also qualify one to return back to Godhead at the end of life.

Naradji enquired, “O Lord, I have heard the glories of all months including Kartika, Chaitra, etc., but which month is this Purushottama month? O ocean of mercy, please tell me all about this sacred month.

What is the way to glorify this month? What should I do in this month? How should I take bath, give in charity, etc. What should I chant? Who should I worship? Should I observe fasting in this month?” Please tell me everything in detail.

Suta Goswavmi said, “O sages, after hearing all these questions form Narada, Lord Narayana began to speak from His moon-like lotus mouth, “O Narada, I will tell you something which was previously explained by Lord Sri Krishna to Maharaja Yudhisthira. Once Dharmaraja Yudhisthira lost everything—his empire, his palace and even his chaste wife Draupadi—to Duryodhana in a gambling match. At that time Draupadi was insulted by Dusasana in front of the whole royal assembly. But when Dusasana had tried to strip Draupadi naked, she was saved from such a dangerous situation by Lord Sri Krishna. After this incident, Yudhisthira Maharaja along with his brothers and wife left his kingdom and lived in Kamyavan, Vrindavan.

Once Sri Krishna, son of Devaki, visited the Pandavas in that forest. All the Pandavas, including Draupadi, were very happy to see their Lord, and they forgot their painful forest life immediately. They felt enriched with a new life just by taking Sri Krishna’s darshan. They paid their obeisances at their Lord’s lotus feet. Seeing the miserable condition of the Pandavas, Sri Krishna became very upset, and at the same time He became very angry towards Duryodhana. It appeared as if the Lord was going to destroy the whole universe, and so the Pandavas became fearful and all began to pray to the Lord in a humble mood. Listening to the humble prayers of Arjuna, the Lord composed Himself and said, “Oh Arjuna, being very pleased with all of you Pandavas, and being controlled by your devotion and friendship towards Me, I will now tell you about the wonderful history of Purushottama month.

Once upon a time, by the arrangement of providence, an extra month came to this world. Every one took this month to be most inauspicious, and even saw it as a stool-like month. Just as one should not touch stool, this month was also seen as untouchable. It was constantly unprotected and blasphemed, and rejected by everyone as an improper time for any religious and auspicious activities.

Being so rejected by all human beings, and constantly hearing only bad words and blasphemy, the personality of this extra month became very sad. She came to Vaikuntha to explain her sorrowful situation to the Lord. Seeing Lord Vishnu on His simhasana, she fell down at His lotus feet in a mood of sorrow and grief. Tears were falling profusely from her eyes. She prayed to the Lord, “Oh ocean of mercy! I have come to You because I am helpless. I have been rejected and blasphemed by all people of the world. Please protect me; please show me Your mercy. Please don’t be indifferent towards me.” Saying these words, the extra month [adhik maas] continued crying in front of Lord Vishnu and sat down before Him in a dejected mood. Seeing the humble and pitiable position of the extra month, Lord Vishnu became very merciful towards her. He told her, “Do not lament, I shall give you protection form all of your miseries. Please stop crying. It is not proper to lament after taking shelter of My lotus feet.”

Being so consoled by the Lord, the extra month said, “Oh Lord, You know my painful condition. No one is in more miserable situation in these three worlds than I. First of all, all other months, years, days, nights, directions etc. are being protected by You, and so they are always moving fearlessly in their unique charming moods. But I [an extra month] don’t have any name, nor any protector, nor a husband to give me shelter. All the demigods and human beings have rejected me for any auspicious activities. For this reason, oh Lord, I want to die immediately.” Oh Narada, this extra month then repeatedly said, “I want to die! I want to die! I want to die!” Then she fainted at the feet of the Lord.

Being requested by Lord Vishnu, Garuda started fanning the extra month. And after sometime she got up and began to speak again, “Oh Lord of the universe, I am in need of Your shelter, please protect me.”

Lord Vishnu told the extra month, “Oh child, please don’t lament, your misery will be finished very soon. Get up and come with Me to Goloka Vrindavana, which is even unattainable to great yogis. Goloka is the abode of Lord Sri Krishna. Here Lord Sri Krishna is in His two handed form, surrounded by gopis and is enjoying His eternal pastimes. The Supreme Sri Krishna of Goloka will deliver you from all your miseries, please come with Me.” Then Lord Vishnu took Malamasa (the extra month) to Goloka by catching her by the hand.

From a distant place Lord Vishnu and Malamasa observed the effulgence of Goloka. This dazzling effulgence automatically forced Malamasa to close her eyes. Therefore, keeping the extra month behind Him, Lord Vishnu proceeded further until they reached the main gate. There the doorkeeper paid his respects to Him.

Having reached the Supreme Abode, Lord Vishnu met Lord Sri Krishna who was surrounded by many devoted gopis. Lord Vishnu husband of Ramadevi, paid His obeisances to Lord Sri Krishna. Then He made the extra month also offer her obeisances at the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna, even though she was crying loudly. Immediately Sri Krishna asked, “Why is she crying? She is in Goloka Vrindavana, why is she crying?” Hearing these words form Lord Sri Krishna, Lord Vishnu got up from His seat and started explaining the miserable condition of the extra month. He begged Him to please protect his unprotected month. “There is no one except You Lord Krishna, who can save this extra month from her hellish condition and give her full protection.” Having said these words, Lord Vishnu remained standing in front of Lord Krishna with folded hands.

Then Suta Goswami continued to speak, “Oh sages! Lord Vishnu took his seat, and Lord Krishna spoke very confidential words to Him. Listen carefully, for I am now going to share those words with all of you.

Purushottama Sri Krishna said, “Oh Vishnu, you have done a very great deed by bringing this extra month to Me. You will become even more famous for performing this act. Because You have accepted this Malamasa, I will also accept her. I shall make this poor extra month just like Me in quality, fame opulence, realization, success, and in giving benediction to the devotees. This month will become equally potent to Me. I am bestowing all of My divine qualities in this abused month. Named after Me, this month will be famous as Purushottama month in this world.

“Oh Janardana, now that she has imbued My qualities, I Myself will become the husband and protector of this Purushottama month. And being equal to Me, this month will be the master of all other months. Now this month will become worshipable by one and all. Everyone should pay their obeisances to her, everyone should worship her. This month is equally as powerful as Me to give any type of benediction to its observer. The worshiper of this month will be able to burn all this past sinful reactions to ashes, and after enjoying a blissful life in the material realm, he will return back to Godhead.

“Oh Garudadhwaja,” Lord Sri Krishna continued, “My Goloka is unattainable to the performers of austerities, mahatmas engaged in pious activities, to people who maintain celibacy, or to those who fast their whole life’s duration. But just by observing Purushottama month and becoming a devotee one can easily cross over this material ocean and return back to Godhead. Observance of this Purushottama month is the best of all austerities. Just as a farmer produces a rich harvest by planting seeds in nicely cultivated land, so an intelligent man who practices devotional service towards the Supreme Lord in this Purushottama month will enjoy a blissful life while in this world and after leaving his body he will return back to Godhead.

“An unfortunate ignorant man, who does not perform any japa, does not give any charity, does not pay respect to Lord Sri Krishna and His devotees, does not behave properly to brahmanas, makes enmity with others and who blasphemes the Purushottama month will go to hell for an unlimited period.” Lord Sri Krishna continued, “How can a person make his life successful unless he performs devotional service in this Purushottama month? A person who is fully engaged in sense gratification and does not give any special importance to this sacred month becomes the best candidate for hell. All human beings should perform some devotional service in this Purushottama month by:

1. Worshipping Me, Sri Krishna, by chanting My holy name
2. Study of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, particularly Chapter Fifteen, Purushottama Yoga
3. Giving in charity
4. Offering ghee diya (lamp) daily

A fortunate person who follows My instructions and observes this Purushottama month properly, and in a faithful way worships Me will attain fame, opulence and a good son in this very life. After enjoying a happy life, he will return back to Goloka Dhama. By following My instructions, everyone should worship this sacred month. I have made it the best among all other months. Oh husband of Rama devi (Vishnu), give up all kinds of mental speculation about this extra month. Just take this Purushottama month with You to Your Vaikuntha abode.

After narrating this brief history of the Purushottama month, Lord Sri Krishna glanced very mercifully upon Yudhisthira and Draupadi, and then began speaking to Arjuna:

“Oh lion amongst men, can you now understand the reason why you Pandavas are suffering? You did not acknowledge or honor the presence of Purushottama month, which has just recently finished. That month which is most dear to Vrindavan Chandra has passed, but you Pandavas were in the forest and did not worship Purushottama month. So now you are suffering. You have been following the ritualistic principles given to you by Vyasadeva, but unless you worship Purushottama month you cannot perform pure devotional service to Me.”

Lord Sri Krishna continued, “Now I am going to narrate a famous historical event concerning the previous birth of Draupadi. In her previous birth, Draupadi was the daughter of a great Brahmana Sage called Medhavi. Her mother died when she was a small child, and so she was under the care of her father. Day by day, she grew to full bloom youth. She was very beautiful, but her father was not interested in arranging her marriage. Seeing her other girlfriends with their husbands and young children she passed her days in a very miserable way. In the meantime, her father passed away from this material world while uttering the sacred name of Hari.

“This made his daughter even more miserable. Fortunately, the great sage, Durvasa Muni, appeared in her ashram shortly after her father’s death. Seeing the great sage, the girl paid her obeisances to him and respectfully worshiped him. She offered flowers and fruits to the great sage. When he expressed his pleasure with her reception, she began lamenting and crying before him. Concerned, the sage inquired about her lamentation. The brahmana girl began to speak, “Oh great saint Durvasa, you know everything ­ past, present and future. I have no shelter in this world. I have lost all of my relatives. My parents have passed away, and I have no elder brother. I am also unmarried, and therefore there is no husband to protect me. Oh great sage, please do something, please help me! Please give me some advice to relieve me from this miserable condition.” After listening to her prayer, Durvasa began to consider the unfortunate condition of the girl, and he decided to show mercy towards her.

Sage Durvasa began to speak, “Oh beautiful one, three months from now the most auspicious Purushottama month will begin. This sacred month is most dear to Lord Sri Krishna. Just by taking a holy bath in this month a man or woman can become completely sinless. This Purushottama month is more glorious than all other months, including Kartik month. The glories of all other months is not even equal to one sixteenth of the glories of Purushottama month. The merit of a person who takes a holy bath even once in this month is equal to the merit of taking bath in the Ganges for twelve thousand years, or the merit achieved by a person who takes a bath in the Ganges or Godavari when Brihaspati enters Leo. If you will take a holy bath, give in charity and chant the holy name of Krishna during this month, all your miseries will go away. You will attain all kinds of perfection, and all of your desires will be fulfilled. Please follow my advice. Please do not forget to worship the forthcoming Purushottama month very sincerely.”

After speaking these words, Sage Durvasa remained silent. Unfortunately, the young brahmani did not believe in his words; rather she became angry and started blaspheming, “Oh great sage, you are lying. How could this extra month, which is also called Mala-masa [stool month], be superior to other great months like Magha, Kartika and Vaisakha? I cannot believe your words. You are trying to cheat me. This extra month is known to be most abominable for any kind of pious activity.”

Hearing these words of the brahmana girl, Durvasa became very angry, his whole body started burning, and his eyes became red. But remembering the helpless condition of the girl, he consciously controlled himself.

Sage Durvasa told the girl, “Oh unintelligent one, I am not going to curse you because your father was a good friend of mine. You are in such a helpless condition. Being and ignorant child, you cannot understand the shastrik conclusion. I am not going to take your offenses towards me seriously. But at the same time, I cannot and should not tolerate your offences towards Purushottama month. In your next life you will certainly reap the results of your offensive words.” The great sage Durvasa then hurriedly left that place to perform his service for Lord Narayana.

Lord Sri Krishna told Arjuna, “Oh sinless one, when Durvasa Muni left that place the brahmana girl [Druapadi in her previous birth] lost all of her opulences in a moment. Being an offender to Purushottama month, her body began to look very ugly, and she lost all of her bodily effulgence. She then decided to worship Lord Shiva who is known as Ashutosh, one who is very easily pleased.

This young brahmani then began to perform great austerities to please Lord Shiva, the husband of Parvati. She continued her austerities for nine thousand years. In the summer season, she would sit for meditation surrounded by fire and under the hot sun. In the winter season, she meditated under freezing cold water. Observing her great austerities, even the demigods became fearful. Lord Shankara then appeared before the brahmana girl because he was pleased by her worship and austerities. When Lord Shiva appeared before the girl in his spiritual form, she immediately stood up rejuvenated. In the presence of Lord Shiva all of her bodily weakness disappeared and she again started to look beautiful. Seeing Lord Shiva in front of her, she started to worship him in her mind, and then began to recite nice prayers to please Him.

Being very pleased with the girl, Lord Shiva said, “Oh performer of austerity, all good fortune to you. Now please ask some boon from me. I am pleased with you. I shall grant whatever you want.”

Hearing these words from the mouth of Lord Shiva, the girl said, “Oh friend of the poor, if you are pleased with me then please give me a husband.” Repeatedly speaking the same words, “Give me a husband,” five times, the girl then fell silent. Then Lord Shiva replied, “Let it be. You have asked for a husband five times, and so you will get five husbands.”

Hearing Lord Shiva’s words, the girl became very ashamed. She said, “Oh Lord, it is most abominable for a girl to have five husbands. Please retract your words.” Lord Shiva then spoke to her very gravely, “That is impossible for me. What you have asked from me will be granted. You will get five husbands in your next life. Previously you offended Purushottama month by not following the kind advice of sage Durvasa. Oh brahmana girl, there is no difference between the body of Durvasa and mine. All we demigods, including Lord Brahma and all the great saints like Narada, worship this Purushottama month in accord with the order of Lord Sri Krishna. A devotee of Purushottama month achieves all good fortune in this life and at the end of his life he goes back to Goloka Dham, the abode of Lord Sri Krishna. Being an offender to this sacred Purushottama month, you will get five husbands in your next life.”

The girl become very remorseful, but Lord Shiva immediately disappeared from the place. After Lord Shiva’s departure the young brahmani became very morose and fearful about her future life. In this way, after few days, the girl left her body by the arrangement of providence.

Lord Sri Krishna then said, “Oh Arjuna, in the meantime the great king Draupada had been performing an elaborate sacrifice. From this sacrificial fire, the young brahmani took her birth. She appeared as the daughter of Maharaja Draupada. Oh Arjuna, the same daughter of Medhavi Rishi has now become famous in the world as Draupadi. She is none other than your present wife. Because she blasphemed the Purushottama month in her previous life, she was insulted by Dushasana in front of the whole Kuru assembly in the presence of all her Pandava husbands. Fortunately she remembered Me [Sri Krishna] and took My shelter. Forgiving her offenses, I protected her from that most abominable condition and saved her from the hand of Dushasana. Oh dear Pandava brothers, please don’t forget to worship the forthcoming Purushottama month. A person who blasphemes Purushottama month will never attain good fortune. This Purushottama month is fully potent to fulfill all your desires and remove all miseries. Now your fourteen years of forest life is coming to an end. Please worship this Purushottama month sincerely, for it will bestow all good fortune upon you.” Giving full consolation to the Pandavas in this way, Lord Sri Krishna then left that place for Dwaraka.

After some time, when Purushottama month appeared, Maharaja Yudhisthira reminded his younger brothers and wife Draupadi of the words of Lord Sri Krishna. All of them followed the instructions He had given them. They worshipped Purushottama Sri Krishna in various ways during this sacred month. From the merit they achieved by performing Purushottama vrata, they regained their lost kingdom, and after enjoying a happy life they all returned back to Godhead by the grace of Lord Sri Krishna.

An intelligent person should engage himself in hearing Krishna katha from a pure soul. In this way, one should always meditate on Krishna and discuss His pastimes with other devotees. He should take rest thinking of Lord Sri Krishna within his heart. If one is a grihastha, he should perform his household duties in a truthful and peaceful way. He should not commit violence to others and should be merciful towards saintly people as well as to the poor. Protection of animals, truthful speech, mercifulness, and nonviolence are some of the important principles a grihastha should follow.

Suta Goswami then continued to relate this discussion between Lord Narayana and Naradji to the sages of Naimisaranya. He said, “O brahmanas, the great sage Narada Muni became very pleased by hearing all about Purushottama month from Lord Narayana. He paid his obeisances again and again to Him and began to speak, “Oh this Purushottama month is the best of all months, it is the best of all kinds of vratas and austerities. Even if one just hears the glories of Purushottama month faithfully, he will achieve devotional service to the Supreme Lord Purusottama, and all of his sinful reactions will be immediately nullified. One who performs Purushottama vrata and worships Purushottama month properly will achieve unlimited merit and thus attain Goloka.

Narada Muni then told Lord Narayana, “O Lord, now I am fully satisfied and my heart and mind are completely satisfied. All glories to You!”

After so explaining these glories of Purushottama month, Srila Suta Gosvami asked permission from the assembled sages to take their leave, bathe in the Ganges, and perform his other regular duties. They gratefully agreed, and he then paid them his humble obesiances and went to the Ganges. The sages of Naimisaranya then spoke among themselves, “Oh, this sacred Purushottama month is the most glorious, and its history is ancient. It is so merciful that it fulfills all of a devotee’s desires just like a desire tree. How glorious is Purushottama month!”


Simplified Recommended Worship for the Purushottama month:

1. Establish the Deity of Sri Sri Radha Krishna in your home and worship Them with love and devotion.
2. Offer daily puja by chanting the mahamantra:

hare krishna hare krishna
krishna krishna hare hare
hare rAma hare rAma
rAma rAma hare hare

3. Study Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita, especially Chapter Fifteen, Purushottama Yoga.
4. Daily offer a ghee lamp to Sri Sri Radha Krishna.
5. Give charity to qualified Brahmanas. Engage in Go Seva and distribute prasadam.
6. Bathe in the holy rivers and associate with saintly devotees.

For more details see HERE

This information comes from Shyamasundar prabhu's page:

Is the 360 day year advocated for Mahadasa usage some how Moon related and the 365 day year Sun related?
Those who advocate the 360 day year say it is Lunar while the 365 day year is Solar and say something like the following:
"I once had a conversation with a jyotishi here in Australia who told me he uses the 360 day calendar as opposed to the 365 day calendar when calculating Vimsottari dasa. His argument was, why should we use a solar based calendar for calculating a  lunar based dasa system?"

This argument reveals several fallacies:

The first fallacy is that Vimsottari Mahadasa is "lunar based." Simply because the apparatus used for ascertaining what the mahadasa should be is based upon the Moon and Naksatras doesn't mean we should reject the standard year simply because it is based on the movement of the Sun. There are other systems of mahadasa which are not based on the Naksatras does that mean we should shift definitions for the length of the year to suit them? There is also the fact that Satyacarya has suggested that the Janma-naksaträ be chosen from the stronger of the Moon or Lagna. If the Lagna were stronger then this would not be  based on the Moon. In such cases would the length of the year be a different amount?

Of course I want to quickly point out that Satycarya's suggestion of using the Lagna is not followed by any astrologers and the  Moon's position is universally accepted as the standard for the janma-naksaträ.

The second fallacy, is the assumption that since 365.25 is a solar year, we should reject it because mahadasa is a lunar based phenomena and rather accept a 360 day year. The unspoken assumption is that a 360 day year is somehow "Lunar." As we have pointed out before the Lunar year is not 360 days long but rather 360 tithis (lunar days) long, which is about 354.36 solar days long. Thus, since the 360 day year in not "lunar" then it should not be favored and the 365.25 day year should not be rejected for being "solar."

There is a third fallacy in this argument which leads us to the next question.

What is the relationship between the Solar and Lunar year?

The third fallacy is a bit more complex. The implicit assumption is that time measured by the lunar and solar calendar somehow yield different results. If we were to use a 360 day-year rather than a 365.25 day-year, for mahadasa calculations then there would be a difference. After some time they would become more and more divergent. After one year they would only be different by five days, but in six years it would be a gap of 31.5 days (counting leap years). After 35 years it would be about six months out of phase and after 70 years a whole year out of phase. Thus the older the person got the farther out of phase the mahadasas would be. Thus using the 360 d/y Jupiter mahadasa may start at age 35 but at age 35 y 6m using the solar year. This would introduce serious difficulties in timing events especially in regards to the Bhuktis. This difficulty would only increase with age. However, contrary to the implicit assumption of the advocates of the 360 d/y, there is no such discrepancy between the Vedic Lunar calendar and the Solar calendar. Actually the Vedic Lunar calendar is Solar as will be seen from the following quotation from Dikshit's BJS (emphasis mine):

"They purchased 'Soma' juice from the thirteenth month, and hence the thirteenth month is censurable". Aitareya Brahmana

"Should the reins in the horse-sacrifice be twelve cubits in length or thirteen? The year consisting of (six) seasons is a kind of bullock whose hump is the thirteenth month. The horse-sacrifice is the best of all sacrifices. The year in the form of a bullock has got a hump (in the form of the thirteenth month)." Aitareya Brahmana

"It is clear from the above quotations that the year was solar in the Vedic age. The natural means of measuring a year used to be one complete cycle of the seasons, just as the natural means of measuring a day was the period between two consecutive  sunrises or that for measuring a month used to be the period between two full moons. The year as a unit of time could not come into being if seasons didn't exist. It is, therefore, obvious then that the year must have been solar.

". . . the seasons were naturally supposed to recur after 12 lunar months. Although, one complete cycle of seasons required 11 days more than 12 lunar months . . .[and the result of this difference of 11 days]. . . . . the lunar month which used to fall in the  summer must shift to occur in the winter and later on in the rainy season and thus have gradually receded through all the seasons.
 Every month of such a calendar, like the Muharram of the Muslims, was bound to pass through all the seasons, thus completing a revolution in 33 years. [To avoid such a 33 year cycle] . . .to insert an intercalary month; and the fact that such an intercalary month used to be reckoned in the Vedic times goes to prove that the year was solar [even] in those days. This may appear trivial today, but it certainly was no ordinary matter that our people conceived the idea of inserting an intercalary month in those  days of hoary antiquity. As a matter of fact it is extremely significant. The ancient Romans were at one time a very powerful nation, they used to regard the year as consisting of 10 months for quite a long time. . ." (BJS vol. 1, pp. 20-21)

The Vedic Lunar calendar is actually a luni-solar calendar, that is, it is not independent from the Sun. A lunar month starts with the new Moon after the Sun enters into a sign and is named in accordance to the Solar sign or sometimes to the Naksatra in which the full Moon will take place in that Lunar month, the naming conventions differ in various geographical areas of India. In any case the lunar month is tied to the solar month. How the Solar year and Lunar year are linked shall now be explained.

The Lunar year consists of 12 lunar months each consisting of 30 tithis but this does not add up to 30 solar days since in the course of a lunar month a tithi will vary from about 19 hours to 26 hours with an average length of 23h 37m 28s. The lunar month would be 29.530589 days. Because the Lunar year is 360 tithis long, that is only 354.36 solar days long after only three years it would be about one month out of phase with the solar year. However to keep it in phase with the solar year, and thus with the seasons and religious observances, a leap month (adhika-masa) is introduced. The introduction of the adhika-masa is not artificial, but a natural occurrence (Metonic cycle) because about every third year there will be experienced the phenomena of two new Moons while the Sun transits through one Rasi. And since the lunar month is defined as the length of time between successive new Moons and that there can only be one Lunar month corresponding to a solar month, the extra lunar month becomes a leap month. Thus the solar and lunar years would continue to stay in phase perpetually, their difference never being more than about 22 days. In the first year they would be out of phase by 11 days, the second year out of phase by 22 days, the third year the leap month brings them back in phase, the fourth year out of phase by 11 days, etc.

If the Vedic Lunar year were not linked to the solar year then within only a few years there would be very noticeable differences in a change of seasons in relation to the calendar. By an accumulation of about 11 days per year it would not take long before a festival associated with the summer such as Krsna Janmastami would be observed in the spring when Gaura Purnima should be observed. That would be absurd. However, there is a Lunar calendar which is independent of the Sun, the Islamic. In this calendar, based on a cycle of 30 years, 19 of which are 354 days long and 11 of which are leap years, having 355 days each. In 30 years each lunar month will have cycled through all the solar months. Thus the first month of the Muslim calendar Muharram will retrogress through the whole solar Gregorian calendar, and also through the Vedic luni-solar calendar. Returning to our argument; the Vedic lunar calendar is tied to the Sun thus the Vedic Lunar calendar is actually a Solar calendar. It will always be very close to the Solar calendar and never go out of phase as would a 360 day year which would only become more divergent with time.

Holiest Month - Purushottama

May 15, CALCUTTA, INDIA (TUE) — Starting from May 17th, 2007.

This is a summary of a discourse on the significance of Purushottama-month, by HIs Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj, President-Acharya of Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math.

vande navaghana-syam dvibhujam murlidharam
pitambardharam devam saradham purusottamam

“I offer my obeisances to Navaganasyam (Krsna, who has the color of a fresh rain cloud), who is holding the flute with His two hands. I worship Purusottama who is so beautiful in His yellow dress (pitambhara).” “I pray for the causeless mercy of my Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami, to give me strength, to sing the glories of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna and His personal associates, to purify my mind and to get exclusive one-pointed devotion to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. I pay my innumerable prostrated obeisances to my most revered siksa gurus and I pay my due respects to all who are present here.

By the will of the Supreme Lord we have come back to India during this month of Purusottama, which is actually the holiest month.

According to our almanac every three years, one month is added. This is done to harmonize the lunar month (Chandra-maas) with the solar month (Soar Maas). The inserted month is known as ‘Purusottama’, and is technically called an ‘intercalary month’. According to some smarta Brahmins, this month is unholy. They call it ‘tarnished’.

Prescribing various holy functions for all months of the year, they left out this additional month taking it to be unholy (’tarnished’) for no holy activity can be performed therein.

Yet Vaishnava devotees object to this, arguing that not a single moment is to be spent without the worship of the Supreme Lord. If you spent it to the contrary, your life will be spoiled. If we shall not do any holy work in this month, then if we will die in this month we shall go to hell? This is not the purpose. But these karma-kandis, who prescribed these rituals and regulations were inclined to observe them merely for achieving material benefits in this world and being uplifted after death to heaven. Taking this to be the aim and not being able to understand the purpose behind it, they encourage the observance of rules and rituals. So, they neglected this month.

As everything has got consciousness in the background — the example is given of the sun, which is presided over by the Sun god, the moon which is presided over by the Moon god and Srimati Ganga Devi, who is the presiding Deity of the river Ganges — so similarly this month has a presiding deity.

Being depressed due to her seemingly useless existence, the personified deity of this month approached Lord Narayana. This incident is described in the scriptures. She went to Narayana, asking, ‘What offense did I commit? No one is performing any pious activities during my time. Why?’ Lord Narayana directed her towards Lord Krsna: ‘You come with Me, I shall take you to Lord Krsna.’ Upon being approached by her, Lord Krsna responded: ‘I am Purusottama and I can not be comprehended by finite beings of this world. They can not comprehend Me by their mental comprehension and sense organs as I am beyond these means.’ Those Brahmins also are under the control of the illusory energy. They give some prescriptions for getting mundane benefits without understanding that these various prescriptions simply have been given to facilitate different classes of persons to finally submit to the Supreme Lord. Yet the purpose is not the achievement of material benefits, but it is to recover from the disease of birth and death and to finally develop loving devotion to the Supreme Lord, and thus experience supreme bliss. They do not understand this.

Krsna explained: ‘This additional month is like Me. I can not be comprehended by the conditioned souls of this world and I am supremely superior to Brahman and Paramatma so I am designated as “Purushottama.” You are identical with Me. You are the holiest month. If anybody observes vrata (vow of austerity) during your time, he can get everything. If as by scriptural injunctions he observes it, it is even more auspicious than Kartik-vrata, the holiest month. So you will be known by the name “Purusottama”.’

Vaisnavas do observe this Purusottama-vrata.

This year Purushottama month is being observed from 17th May to 15th June. (Things to do:) We shall read the glories of Purushottama-Vrata, from the writings of Sri Bhakti Vinode Thakur, in the morning; daily recite ‘Sri Jagannathastakam’ and ‘Chauragraganya Purusashtakamas’ in the afternoon and perform Japam instructed by Kaundinya Muni:-

Goverdhana-Dharam Vande Gopalam Goparupinam,
Gokulotsavameeshaanam Govindam Gopikapriyam.

Then in the evening - Deep-dan (to offer a lamp of pure ghee) before Vishnu-Mandir (a temple of Lord Vishnu, Krishna or Rama), Lastly, at night to read ‘Brahmastava’ 40 slokas, from Srimad Bhagavatam, Chapter 14th, Canto 10th.

But as by the eligibility of those who perform it Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given three categories, known as: ‘Svanistha’ ‘Parinistitha’ and ‘Nirapeksa.’ Svanistha:

Svanistha: refers to those persons who have inclinations with Varnasrama-dharma and are still striving for material temporary benefits.

Being covered by the illusory potency — sattva, raja and tama guna they nevertheless follow some rituals. Prescriptions on how to perform this vrata are given by Valmiki Muni. Yet, hearing them may make you faint. They are very strict, like lying down only on a bed of nails rather than on a normal bed.

Another section, superior in quality yet less in number is called Parinistitha. Parinistitha refers to those who are not striving for any material benefits and are correctly following the prescriptions as given by the respective acaryas of one of the four Vaisnava schools on how to observe this Purusottama-vrata (in a similar way as Kartika-vrata).

The highest form of observance is called Nirapeksa. Nirapeksa refers to those possessing one-pointed devotion to Sri Krsna. They concentrate on worshipping the Supreme Lord by hearing, chanting and remembering the name, form, pastimes and qualities of Sri Krsna day and night for spiritual benefit only. Reasoning correctly that any tendency for material benefit will certainly divert their minds, they observe this vrata by hearing about Krsna, chanting the Maha Mantra and taking prasadam. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends we follow this path.”

Submitted by

Secretary, GOKUL (India)