Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The following is a wonderfully inspiring prayer written by Gaudiya Vaisnava rasika acharya Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada.

By reading this prayer and absorbing his heart’s moods, the burning candle of desire to hear, and directly serve in Krishna’s Vraja lilas will manifest in your heart.

Sri Krishna is the dashing young son of Yashoda, and the most charming boy in all the universes. Madan Gopalaji is the wealthiest of capitalists, possessing a vast, unlimited treasury of transcendental love.

Nagarendra Shyama is immersed in the sentiments of ever-fresh and amorous love divine. Ananda Bihari always increases the ocean of spiritual joy. Madhava ever delights in the magical mellows of madhura rasa. Pranakantha is the divine necklace adorning Radhika’s graceful neck. All glories to Shyamachandra!

Srimati Radharani is the life and soul of Sri Vrindavana-natha. As the transcendental desire-creeper of brilliant divine rapture, Navina-kishori Radha is forever overwhelmed by intense, amorous love for Nandanandana. Sriji is splendid, virtuous, charmingly youthful and very playful. All glories to Radhika!

Flowing through the amorous pastimes of Radha-Madhava is a sweet river of transcendental joking words. Brahmaji, Shivaji, Naradaji and Sukadeva Gosvami all desire to see the astonishing amorous pastimes of Lila Yugala Radha-Krishna.

I pray that my mind may fully submerge in Radha-Krishna’s immaculately pristine pastimes of sweet divine love. The forest of Vrindavana is the natural home of Radha-Gopinatha’s madhurya-lilas. The ever-fresh nectar of Priya-Priyatama’s pastimes is always manifest in the minds and hearts of Their devotees.

The blissfully fulfilling, divinely sweet lilas Sri Sri Radha-Krishna make impersonal liberation taste completely bitter. Syamaa-Shyama’s pastimes give everyone the most sumptuous experience of Sri Hari’s sweeter than sweet lotus feet. At every moment, the enchanting pastimes of Rasika Yugala, which resemble a vast transcendental ocean of sweet nectar, display the inconceivable zenith of divine amorous love.

Munivara Sukadevaji proclaims that when one understands Radha-Ghanasyama’s Vraja-lila, then even the most exalted post of Brahmaji seems trivial and unimportant. The captivating, heart-thrilling and mind stealing ecstatic divya lilas of Radha-Shyamasundara are far far beyond the dull and insignificant play of Maya.

Radhika’s priya sakhis and manjaris can always directly see Her playful pastimes with Prananatha. But even the essence of the four Vedas can never perceieve them. The scintillating spiritual love of Radha Rasabihari innocently expresses itself in an unlimited variety of divinely crooked lilas.

I, Prabodhananda Sarasvati, pray that the overheated, mad elephant of my mind may plunge into the cooling sweet river flow of Srimati Radharani’s astounding transcendental pastimes, which can easily extinguish the manifold miseries burning everyone in this world!  (Sangita Madhava Cp. 15)

Radha-Krishna nitya vraja lila ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

I. Tattva / Identity

Sources: Padma Purana and Hari Bhakti Vilasa, 14th vilasa (verses in brackets)

If one does not take Magha snana, his life is meaningless. Magha snana pleases Krishna more than observing vows, austerities and charity. This is the best month to do pious activities. (160) One should observe Magha vrata every year.

(76) It is the duty of every human being to bathe in a holy place during Magha masa to please  Krishna. (127) Water is pure and destroys unlimited amount of sins during Magha masa because the devatas place all their individual potencies in water. (163)

Dattatreya explains, “The human body is useless without Magha snana.” (P.P. Vol. 46, Pg. 2763). These five acts are very pleasing to Sri Krishna: (i) observe Magha vrata; (ii) observe Karttika vrata; (iii) chant twelve–syllable mantra “Om -Namo -Bhagavate –Vasudevaya”; (iv) worship Sri Visnu daily with sixteen articles; and (v) maintain a Tulasi grove. There is also a triad of vows which is very dear to Sri Visnu ─ Magha vrata, Karttika vrata, Ekadasi vrata.

II. Magha Vrata Summary

It is best to bathe before or at sunrise in a holy place. One should give gifts esp. sesame seeds and gur to brahmanas. Worship Suryadeva and keep the ghee lamps lit in the home or temple.

III. Date to Start and Finish the Vow

Start on pausa Purnima and end on Magha Purnima. (67) On Magha Purnima, feed brahmanas, give charity and break your fast.

IV. The Daily Bath

1. Time:  Best before sunrise (90, 138) or pratah kala (6:00 – 8:30 a.m.).

2. Place: Outside in a pond, lake, kunda or river. Ganga bath awards 1,000 times the benefit. By bathing in Triveni, one gets 1,00,000 times the benefit. Every step one takes to go outside for bathing burns the reactions of sins that have not yet fructified and pleases Yama. (93) It is a sastric injunction to bathe in a holy place only to give pleasure to Sri Krishna. One must bathe outside the home at least 3,5 or 7 times in the month. Even bathing in a mud puddle awards mukti.

House Bath: Set a bucket outside in the open air overnight, bring it inside the next morning and bathe. This equals bathing in a holy place. Such a bath bestows all desirable objects. (Add a drop of Ganga, Yamuna or Radha Kunda water).

3. Sankalpa Mantra Vow: Upon waking in the morning, one should recite this: “O Supreme Sri Madhava! I will bathe every morning without fail during Magha masa.”

maghamasam -imam –purnam, snasye’ham -deva -madhava

4.  Mantra Before Bathing: “O Acyuta, O Govinda, O Madhava! I bathe in the month of Magha when the sun travels to the Makara rasi. O Bhagavan, kindly bestow upon me the appropriate fruit of this vow.”

makaraste -ravau –magha, govinda -acyuta -madhava
snanen-anena -me –deva, yathokta -phalado -bhava

5. Benefits of Magha Snana in a Holy Place: Grave sins committed knowingly or unknowingly are destroyed. (79) Sri Brahma says, “All sins committed with the mind, speech or action are destroyed by bathing in a holy place. Any pious acts (e.g., chanting mantras or yagyas) performed for the pleasure of Sri Krishna give unlimited benefits.” (81) If one person from a family bathes in a holy place, all the past and future relatives get liberated by Sri Krishna. (83) All sins are vanquished. (141, 145).

Just by bathing in a holy place for three days, one gets wealth and long life. One becomes free from all distress and sins and goes to Svarga. (60) One goes to Vaikuntha with 21 generations. (78, 154, 164) Nothing is more effective in destroying sinful reactions than bathing in a holy place. Magha snana in a holy place is the best remedy for conditioned souls because it instantly destroys all sinful reactions. It is more beneficial than all vows. It awards all types of boons. (115)

Gives good health, beauty, good qualities, wealth and long life. (118) Daily Magha snana destroys all sins and calamities, pleases Sri Visnu, and gives liberation. Magha snana fulfills all one’s desires. If one takes Magha snana anywhere outside of home, he will experience no sorrows in this or next life. Magha snana at Prayaga is equal to worshiping Sri Visnu at a 100 crore of other places. The fruit of fasting for ten years is equal to three days Magha snana at Prayaga.

6. Bath rules: You don’t have to follow any other vow. Nothing else is required except bathing in a holy place. If you bathe in a holy place, you don’t have to do anything else. (88) One should bathe in silence. (31, 85) Put clay on your head before bath (tilak). While bathing, offer oblations to Suryadeva. Brahmanas should remember the names of Hari, Madhava, Vasudeva and Visnu.

V. Magha Vrata

1. Rules: (i) One should control the mind and senses, observe celibacy, sleep on floor and follow proper behavior; (ii) no oil on body; (iii) don’t eat food cooked or given by others; (iv) eat once a day; (v) give up receiving gifts; (vi) renounce your favorite object. (106)

2. Deity Puja: Worship the Supreme Sri with special care and attention, offering lamps, food, incense and sandalwood paste. By worshiping the supreme Sri with care and attention, one attains spiritual world. (69) One should worship a brahmana couple with food, sandalwood paste, blanket, cloth, jewels. (46)

Light an akhanda-dipa from sunset to sunrise near Deity, offer lots of tulasi leaves and manjaris to the deity. Offer fragrant rice. If you offer lotus or campaka flower, you’ll go to Vaikuntha. Bathe the Deity daily in water and milk. Offer sesame seed preparations to the Deity, khichri with dry fruits, kheer and ghee fried items.

4. Charity: Give charity according to your capacity throughout the month. Blankets, warm clothes, shoes, wood, waterpot, umbrella, ghee, oil, cotton wicks are preferred items. Giving food items with sesame seeds and gur destroys your sins, especially on Sankranti. Magha masa is a special month to give gifts to brahmanas.

It destroys sins, awards happiness and residence in heaven. Austerities and penances performed without giving gifts don’t shine like sky without sun. Whatever gifts one gives to brahmanas, one gets inexhaustible results. One should also offer food to ancestors.

Sri Krishna says: “On Sankranti, Amavasya or Purnima in Magha, Vaisakha, Asadha and Karttika, if you give charity to a brahmana, you will receive a house, happiness, other enjoyable things and liberation.” It especially pleases Krishna if we give blankets, quilts, warm clothes, shoes, rice, ghee, oil, wood, ghee lamps and kumkuma. (47)

VI. Special Puja Days

Everyone should observe Vasanta Pancami, Bhaimi Ekadasi and Varaha Dvadasi. (166)

Krishna Paksa: 1. Makara Sankranti: offer fragrant rice to thakuraji. Offer lotus or campaka flower ─ go to Vaikuntha. One should definitely take Magha snana in a holy place. One must distribute gur and sesame gajjak to brahmanas in public.

2. Amavasya (Mauni Amavasya): One must take a bath in a holy place. Observe complete silence from sunrise to sunset and constantly chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

Sukla Paksa: 3. Tritiya (Manvantari): Any gifts given on this day bestow inexhaustible results.

4. Pancami (Vasanta):  It is a very important bathing day. Bathe the Deity with milk and coconut water. Offer lots of fruits. Decorate the temple with mango leaves. Dress them in new, fine clothes. Illuminate the house with lamps. Offer whole coconut, grapes, sugarcane juice, green vegetables and yellow food items like saffron rice.

Worship Surydeva, Ganga and Mother Earth. Worship Saraswati, and also worship Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita, Guru-Parampara, and articles which are worshiped as dwelling places of Saraswati like notebooks, pens, papers, musical instruments e.g., karatals, mrdangas etc.

Keep everything on the altar and cover the picture of Saraswati with yellow cloth. Serve vaisnavas, sing and dance. (167) Play musical instruments in Vasanta raga. If you worship Sri Krishna on Vasanta Pancami, you will become very dear to Supreme Sri. (170)

5. Saptami: It is a special day to worship Surya Bhagavan (Sun–God). If you fast on this day, you get liberation and attain the punya equal to observing a solar eclipse.

Recite this prayer: “This seventh day of Magha sukla should destroy the sins of my seven lives, and destroy my diseases and miseries. This saptami day is the mother of all Saptamis! Belonging to the Sun, you have appeared on the seventh day. I offer my respects to you, O devi, living on the Sun planet.”

On Sapatmi, donate grains and red cloth out of love for the sun. Worship Surya Narayana. Offer an arka leaf, a fragrant red flower, badri fruit, rice, sacred thread coated with kumkuma, all inside a copper pot. Offer saffron water. Offer grains and red cloth. Also wear red clothes.

6. Bhisma Astami: For five days, beginning on astami, when bathing stand in water facing North and hang one’s brahmana thread like a flower mala. Offer water to Bhisma with this mantra: “Let me offer this oblation of water to the great devotee Bhisma, who belongs to the Vaiyaghra pada (Lion), who is enriched with spiritual understanding and who had no son. (173)

vaiyaghra -padya –gotraya, sankrti -pravaraya -ca
aputraya -dadyam -ye –tat, salilam -bhisma -varmmane

VII. Breaking the Magha Vrata

On Magha Purnima, feed brahmanas and give them gifts. At the end of Purnima tithi, break the fast.  End with this prayer: “O Govinda, Acyuta, Madhava! Please give me the fruit of Magha vrata and eternal service of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani in the groves of Vrndavana as Her eternal maidservant palyadasi.”

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!