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, “0 Sutaji! All of us are humbly requesting you to please 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 listen to 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, “0 sages, please to listen me. I first went to Puskara Tirtha, then after visiting thousands of other holy places, I reached Hastinapura. There, on the bank of the 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 lotus Vyasasana to Sukadeva Goswami, which was meant for the speaker who would speak Krishna katha to Pariksit Maharaja.”
Suta Goswami continued, “0 sages, I have just come from Hastinapura where I heard the whole Shrimad Bhagavatam from the lotus mouth of Sukadeva Goswami, so now I will tell you about the All-attractive activities and pastimes of the Lord.
“Once, long ago, Shri Narada Muni reached Badrika Ashram, the residence of Lord Narayana Rsi. The river Alakananda was flowing down from His lotus feet. Narada paid his obeisances to Narayana and prayed, “O Lord of the demigods. O ocean of mercy! O master of creation! You are all truthful, the essence of all truths. And so I am paying 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, “0 Narada, please listen to narrations about the supremely pious pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, for they will diminish all sinful reaction. 0 Narada, 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 Purusottama 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.”
Naradaji inquired, “0 Lord, I have heard the glories of all months including Kartika, Chaitra, etc, but which month is this Purusottama month? 0 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 tasting in this month? Please tell me everything in detail.”
Suta Goswami said, “0 sages, after hearing all these questions from Narada, Lord Narayana began to speak from His moon-like lotus mouth. “0 Narada, I am going to tell you something which was previously explained by Lord Shri 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 Shri Krishna. After this incident, Yudhisthira Maharaja along with his brothers and wife left his kingdom and lived in Kamayaka forest.
Once, Shri 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 Krishna’s darshan. They paid their obeisances at their Lord’s lotus feet. Seeing the miserable living condition of the Pandavas, Lord Shri 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, “O 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 Purusottama month.
O Arjuna! 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, so 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, 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 started praying to the Lord, “O ocean of mercy! I have come to You helpless. I have been rejected and blasphemed by all peoples of the world. Please protect me, please show me Your mercy. Please do not be indifferent towards me.”
Saying these words, the extra month continued crying in front of Lord Vishnu and sat down before Him in a dejected mood. Seeing the humble and deplorable position of the extra month, Lord Vishnu became very merciful towards her. He told her, “Do not lament, I shall give you protection from all of your miseries. Please stop crying. It is not proper to lament after taking shelter at My Lotus Feet.”
Being so consoled by the Lord, the extra month began speaking in open-hearted language. “O Lord, You know all about my painful condition. No one is in a more miserable situation in these three worlds than me. 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] do not 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.” O Narada, this extra month 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 some time she got up and began to speak again, “Oh Lord of the Universe, I am in need of Your shelter, so please protect me.”
Lord Vishnu told the extra month, “Oh child, please don’t lament, all of your miserable conditions will be finished very soon. Get up and come with Me to Goloka Vrndavana, which is even unattainable by great yogis. Goloka is the abode of Lord Shri Krishna. Here Lord Shri Krishna is in His two-handed form, surrounded by gopis and enjoying His eternal pastimes. The Supreme Shri Krishna of Goloka will deliver you from all your miseries, please come with Me.” Speaking in this way Lord Vishnu took Malamasa (the extra month) to Goloka by the hand.
From a distant place Lord Vishnu and the extra month 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 farther until He reached the main gate. There the doorkeeper paid his respects to Him. Having reached the Supreme Abode, Lord Vishnu met Lord Shri Krishna who was surrounded by many devoted gopis. Lord Vishnu, who is the Husband of Ramadevi, paid His obeisances to Lord Shri Krishna. Then He made the extra month also offer her obeisances at the lotus feet of Lord Shri Krishna, even though she was crying loudly.
Immediately Shri Krishna asked, “Why is she crying? She is in Goloka Vrndavana, why is she crying?” Hearing these words from Lord Shri Krishna, Lord Vishnu got up from His seat and started explaining the whole miserable condition of the extra month. He begged Him to please protect this 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.
“Then Lord Purusottama, Shri 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 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 ‘Purusottama Month’ in this world.
“O Janardana, now that she has imbued My qualities I Myself will become the husband and protector of this Purusottama month. And being equal to Me, this month will be the master of all other months. Now this month will become worshipful 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. I am making this month desire-free, unlike other months, which are full of some desire or another. The worshipper of this month will be able to burn all his past sinful reactions to ashes, and after enjoying a blissful life in the material realm he will return back to Godhead.
“O Garudadhwaja,” Lord Shri 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 Purusottama month and becoming a devotee one can easily cross over this material ocean and return back to Godhead. Observance of this Purusottama 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 Purusottama 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 Shri Krishna and His devotees, does not behave properly to brahmanas, makes enmity with others and who blasphemes the Purusottama month will go to hell for an unlimited period.” Lord Shri Krishna continued, “How can a person make his life successful unless he performs devotional service in this Purusottama 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 Purusottama month by:
- Taking a bath in a Holy river
- Worshiping Me, Shri Krishna, by chanting My Holy Name
- Giving in charity
A fortunate person who follows My instructions and observes this Purusottama month properly, and in a faithful way worships Me will attain fame, opulence and a good son in this very life and after enjoying a happy life, he will return to Goloka Dhama. By following My instructions, everyone should worship this sacred month. I have made it the best among all other months. O husband of Rama Devi (Vishnu), give up all kinds of mental speculation about this extra month. Just take this Purusottama month with You to Your Vaikuntha abode.”
After narrating this brief history of the Purusottama month. Lord Shri Krishna glanced very mercifully upon Yudhisthira and Draupadi, and then began speaking to Arjuna.
“O, lion among men, can you now understand the reason why you Pandavas are suffering? You did not acknowledge or honor the presence of Purusottama month, which has just recently finished. That month which is most dear to Vrndavana Chandra has passed, but you Pandavas were in the forest and did not worship Purusottama month. So now you are suffering. You have been following the ritualistic principles given to you by Vyasadeva, but unless you worship Purusottama month you cannot perform pure devotional service to Me.”
Lord Shri 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 Sri Hari.
“This made his daughter even more miserable. Fortunately, the great sage Durvasa Muni appeared in her asrama 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. O 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.
Durvasa rsi began to speak,
“O beautiful one, three months from now the most auspicious Purusottama month will begin. This sacred month is most dear to Lord Shri Krishna. Just by taking a holy bath in this month a man or woman can become completely sinless. This Purusottama 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 Purusottama 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 holy water of Ganges or Godavari when Brihaspati [Jupiter] enters to Leo [lion]. 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 forth¬coming Purusottama 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, “O 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,
“O ignorant soul. I am not going to curse you because your father was a good friend of mine. You are in such a helpless condition being an ignorant child, you cannot understand the sastric 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 Purusottama 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 Shri Krishna told Arjuna,
“O sinless one, when Durvasa Muni left that place the brahmin girl [Draupadi in her previous birth] lost all of her opulences in a moment. Being an offender to Purusottama month, her body began to look very ugly, and she lost all of her bodily effulgence. She then decided to worship Lord Siva who is known as Asutosa, one who is very easily pleased.
This young brahmani then began to perform great austerities to please Lord Siva, 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 brahmin girl because he was pleased by her worship and austerities. When Lord Siva appeared before the girl in his spiritual form, the girl immediately stood up rejuvenated. In the presence of Lord Siva all of her bodily weakness disappeared and she again started to look beautiful. Seeing Lord Siva 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 Siva said,
“Oh performer of austerity, all good fortune to you Now please ask some boon from me. I am pleased with you and shall grant whatever you want.”
Hearing these words from the mouth of Lord Siva the girl said,
“O 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 Siva replied, “Let it be. You have asked for a husband five times, and so you will get five husbands.”
Hearing Lord Siva’s words, the girl became very ashamed. She said,
“O Lord, it is most abominable for a girl to have five husbands. Please retract your words.”
Lord Siva 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 Purusottama month by not following the kind advice of sage Durvasa. O brahmana girl, there is no difference between the body of Durvasa and mine. All the demigods, including Lord Brahma and all the great saints like Narada, worship this Purusottama month in accord with the order of Lord Shri Krishna. A devotee of Purusottama month achieves all good fortune in this life and at the end of his life he goes back to Goloka Dhama, the abode of Lord Shri Krishna. Being an offender to this sacred Purusottama month, you will get five husbands in your next life.”
The girl became very remorseful, but Lord Siva immediately disappeared from the place. After Lord Siva’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 Shri Krishna then said,
“O 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. O Arjuna, the same daughter of Medhavi Rsi has now became famous in the world as Draupadi – she is none other than your present wife. Because she blasphemed Purusottama 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 [Shri Krishna] and took My shelter. Forgiving her offenses, I protected her from that most abominable condition and saved her from the hands of Dushasana. O dear Pandava brothers, please don’t forget to worship the forthcoming Purusottama month. A person who blasphemes Purusottama month and doesn’t worship her, and doesn’t worship Me, will never attain good fortune. This Purusottama 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 Purusottama month sincerely, for it will bestow all good fortune upon you.”
Giving full consolation to the Pandavas in this way Lord Shri Krishna then left that place for Dwaraka.
After a few days, when Purusottama month appeared, Maharaja Yudhistira reminded his younger brothers and wife Draupadi of the words of Lord Shri Krishna. All of them followed the instructions He had given them. They worshiped Purusottama Shri Krishna in various ways during this sacred month. The merit they achieved by performing Purusottama vrata meant they regained their lost kingdom, and after enjoying a happy life they all returned back to Godhead by the grace of Lord Shri Krishna.