In Pushti Marg, the four main sakhis (Shree Radha, Shri Lalita, Shri Chandravali and Shri Yamuna) serve the Lord during the year. Each sakhi’s term of service lasts three months. During the winter months of Kartik, Maghsar and Poosh, Shree Lalitaji serves the Lord.
Maghsar or Gop Mas (month):
Maghsar-mas is also known as the “Gop-Mas” or "Gopya Mas", where the leela in this month is gopya i.e. secret. Many Goswami Balaks are born during Gop-mas and hence we celebrate their utsavas in this month, making it one of the most “Festive month” - "Utsav Mas" of our calendar.
In this month, the kirtans of Vratcharya (time when gopies performed special penances) are especially sung before Shree Prabhu and we also celebrate the "Chappanbhog", a veritable feast with innumerable delicacies being offered to the Lord.
In Vallabh Sampradaya, this month is considered to be "Sarvottam" i.e. the best, amongst all the months. This is mainly due to what the Lord Himself said in the 11th Skandh of Shreemad BHagwat Mahapuran i.e.
"Masanam Margashirshoham NakShattranaam Tathabhijitam" (11-16-27)
And in the VibhutiYog of Shreemad Bhagwad Geetaji, Shree Krishna also states that, "Masanam Marghashirshoham Rutunam Kusumakar".
The Nitya and Utsav Kram in Pushtimarg is based on the Shreemad Bhagwat Mahapuran. Hence, the celebrations during Gop mas are also based on Shreemad Bhagwat. In the Tenth Skandh of Shreemad Bhagwat Mahapuran in 22nd Shloka, the leela is described as,
"Hemante Prathame Maase Nand Vraj Kumarika ||
Cherurhvishyam Bhujjanam Katyayaniarchayanvratam||"
In the first month of Hemant Rutu (winter), the Vraj Kumarikas (little girls of Vraj) performed the Vrat (penance) of Katyayani devi. The Vrat consisted of them waking up before dawn to take a dip in the holy waters of Shree Yamuna. They sang the praises of Hari as they went towards the sacred river. On the banks of the holy river, they made an idol of the Devi was made from the sacred sand (valuka ) of Shree Yamune Maharani and worshiped it with flowers and food. They did this Vrat to obtain Shree Prabhu as their husband.
AcharyaShri Vitthanathji Shree Gusaiji has described the entire leela in his beautiful literary work called "Shrungar Ras Mandan".
At the end of the Vrat, Shree Prabhu did the "Vastraharan" Leela of the Vraj-kumarikas, snatching their clothes and jewels as they bathed in Shri Yamuna. The Lord returned these once the girls had unreservedly declared their love for Shri Hari, openly and publicly !
As a result, during this month, we sing the Ashtapadi of Vratcharya, celebrating this lila of the Lord. We sing such padas as "Vrajanand Kandam Vrajaanand Kandam Ghosh Pati Bhuvijatam" in the presence of the Lord. Vratcharya Padas encompass 9 different Rasas. Here are some examples of the padas and rasas
- Shrungar Ras
"Hari yash gaavat chali Vraj-sundari nadi Jamuna ke teere"
- Vir Ras
"Tum Hari hare keval chir"
- Karun Ras
"Shita tan laagat bhaari"
- Adbhut Ras
"Basan hare Hari kadamb chandiye"
- Hasya Ras
"Hasat Shyam Vraj gharko bhage"
- Bhayanak Ras
"Hamare ambar dehu Murari"
- Bibhatsa Ras
"Mohan basan hamare deege"
- Raudra Ras
"Deho Brajnath hamari angi"
- Shant Ras
"Nike tapa kiyo tan gari"
The color of Shrungar during this month is generally dark i.e. “Shyam”.
After the “Gop-mas”, comes the Poosh, also known as “Dhanur-mas”, and the season of festivals continues!