The yearly one month long (Jan.-Feb.) world famous Kumbha Mela offers amazing benefits for a daily sunrise bath in a holy river like the Ganga, Yamuna, or especially the Triveni in Allahabad U.P.
Here in a series of articles, we will highlight some of the glories of the “Magha Month Vrata” which focuses primarily on sacred bathing in addition to one’s other daily sadhana.
As Gaudiya Vaisnavas, we follow the teachings of Gita and the Bhagavata, the books of our Mahajana acharyas like the Six Goswamis, and the instructions of our spiritual teachers. One major work is the Hari Bhakti Vilasa, compiled by Srila Sanatana Goswamipada. This is our Gaudiya Vaisnava smrti, which means a book of rules and recommended practices for endearing oneself to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
To prove and establish the immense importance of the Magha snana, the Hari-bhakti Vilasa quotes 160 Sanskrit verses from different Puranas such as the Bhavisottara, Brahmavaivarta, Narada, Padma and Skanda. Here’s a sample:
The Padma Purana (Uttara-khaëòa 126.9) states, “It is an injunction that one must bathe in a holy place during Magha to please Bhagavan Vasudeva [Sri Krishna], priyate vasudevasya, magha snanam prakirttitam.” (HBV 14.54) Skanda Purana: “By bathing in a holy place in Magha, one will not take birth again, snanam karoti yo maghe, samsara na bhavet punah.” (HBV 14.72)
The following benefit befits the bhaktas, who want to be with Radha-Krishna forever serving Their lotus feet: “If one desires to live near Vishnu [Sri Krishna], iccha vishnu vasam, he should bathe every year during Magha, magha snanam tada karyyam varshe varshe. (HBV 14.76)
In Skanda Purana, Narada Muni glorifies the tremendous blessing power of Magha snana: “Magha snana destroys all sins committed by thoughts, words and deeds.” And further, “Bath, charity, chanting and sacrifices done in Magha yield unlimited benefit, snanam danam japa homa, kriyate maghe ananta phalam.” (HBV 14.80-81)
One can take the next quote to mean that a woman will become beautiful, charitable, supremely chaste and fortunate by a Magha snana. “Vashishta Muni said, ‘Because of bathing during the month of Magha, Shachi became beautiful; Arundhati became charitable; Anusuya became most chaste; and Rohini attained good fortune.’” (HBV 14.100-101)
Any contact with the transcendental Yamuna, Ganga or other sacred waters will produce wonderful benefits like good health, purity and promotion to Vaikuntha. So what makes holy waters so especially powerful during Magha month? The Narada Purana answers, “The devatas cast all their respective powers into water during Magha, devata teja pari kshiptam, magha mase jaleshu vai.” (HBV 14.163)
However, of all the holy waters one can bathe in, there is an astonishingly unique value in bathing in Sri Radha Kunda!
Srila Rupa Goswamipada explains, “Even ONE BATH in Radha Kunda can manifest that prema, tat premedam sakrd api sarah snatur avishkaroti.”
What is “that prema” (tad prema) you may ask? Srila Rupa answers saying, “You will receive that special oneness in love for Krishna felt by Radha, the foremost of all Krishna’s beloved sweethearts, radha preyasibhyah uccaih vasati pranaya krishnasya.” (Upadeshamrita 11)
So plan now and try to bathe daily during the entire Magha month either in Radha Kunda, Vrindavana, Navadvipa or Jagannatha Puri. In this regard, Sri Dattatreya said, “Magha month is the best of all months, as far as doing good deeds, masanam magha shreshtha.” (HBV 14.159)
If you can’t spare a month, however, then you can follow Sri Dattatreya Muni who said, “At least bathe for three days during Magha, and you will attain wealth and long life.” (HBV 14.161-162)
When is the bathing period?
“One should begin his Magha snana on Pausha Purnima (Jan. 24) and end on Magha Purnima (Feb. 22).” (HBV 14.67)
Magha Mas Tunda Snana ki jai! Radha Kunda Dhama ki jai!
Gopi Prema ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!