year in Sridhama Mayapur between the 16th of May and the 13th of
June, the resident devotees will make their way to the temple each
evening through the summer heat for an opportunity that only comes
once every three years. At the temple, the twilight will be illuminated
by hundreds of handheld lamps moving in circular motions as they
are offered to the Deities by the devotees. Simultaneously, songs
written by the Vaishnava acharyas in glorification of Radha and
Krishna will be sung.
An observer will notice other changes in the usual activities of
Mayapur’s residents during the period of time between the
16th of May and the 13th of June. Many will take on vratas, or vows,
for this month. These vratas generally involve restriction of material
activities and an increase in spiritual activity. For example, some
devotees will bathe in the sacred Ganges River every day. Some will
eat only havishya, a simple preparation of unspiced, boiled rice
and dahl. Many will increase the amount of japa they chant and the
time they spend reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. The devotees
make a concerted effort to increase the performance of sadhu-seva
or serving the devotees, and hearing and chanting by assembling
together for the performance of Hari-bhajan, or glorification of
Lord Hari and His associates.
Starting on the 16th of May and ending on the 13th of June 2018,
the month of Purusottama takes place. This month is an unusual one,
for it does not come every year. Every three years or so when the
full moon occurs twice in less than 29 solar days, the extra or
leap month of Purusottama occurs. This month is also known as Adhik
mas or Adhimasa.
This month is especially dear to Lord Krishna and the performance
of spiritual activities during this month is extra potent. The glories
of this month are described in the Skanda Purana, the Padma Purana,
and the Naradiya Purana. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has also described
the glories of this month.
However, this month was not always considered auspicious. The history
and glories of Purusottama month are described in the 31st chapter
of the Naradiya Purana, and there it is explained that Purusottama
month used to be known as malamasa, or the impure month. Because
no holy days occur during this irregular month, the people of the
world used to consider it to be useless and inauspicious. The personification
of this month was upset by this. She went to the Lord to explain
her difficult situation to Him, and the Lord took pity on her and
showed her His mercy.
The Lord stated:
“Just as I am celebrated in this world by the name Purusottama,
similarly, this Adhimasa too will be renowned in the world by the
name Purusottama. Now I offer all My qualities to this month. Becoming
like Me, from today onwards this Adhimasa is the monarch of all
the other months, and is the most worshipable and most adored in
“All other months are sakama, that is, they will grant
worldly desires. This month, however, is niskama. Those who worship
this month, either without any desires (akama) or with all types
of desires, will have all their karmas burnt. Then they will achieve
“My bhaktas sometimes commit offenses, but in this Purusottama
month, they will be protected from committing any offense. In this
adhimasa, those greatly foolish persons who neglect to perform auspicious
activities, such as japa, giving in charity, visiting and bathing
at the holy places, and who are envious of the dvijas (brahmanas)
are deemed wicked, unfortunate and living at the cost of others.
Thus, they will not attain a scent of happiness, even in their dreams.
Conversely, those who are filled with bhakti will take advantage
of this Purusottama month to perform arcana to Me. After enjoying
worldly happiness, such as wealth, sons and so on, they will eventually
attain residence in Goloka.”
There are many recommendations in the scriptures for how Purusottama
month should be observed. Some of the main recommendations are as
- Devotees should worship the Deity or picture of Radha Krishna.
- Every day, devotees should offer a ghee lamp to Sri Sri Radha
- Devotees should increase their reading of Srimad Bhagavatam
and Bhagavad-gita. Especially, Chapter Fifteen of Bhagavad-gita,
“Purusottama-yoga, the Yoga of the Supreme Person,”
should be read.
- Devotees should give in charity to qualified brahmanas, serve
the cows, and distribute prasadam.
- Devotees should bathe in holy rivers and associate with saintly
The Lord provides many opportunities for the fallen souls to easily
attain Him, and the benefits derived from observing Purusottama
month are an example of this. Whether one observes this month while
residing in a holy dhama like Mayapur, at any temple around the
world, or in one’s own home, immense benefit can be obtained.