Katyayini Vrata

graphic footer

We are now blessed with the auspicious month of Margashirsha, the first month of the winter season after Caturmasya. Margashirsha is also famous in Vraja as Katyayani Vrata. In regards to this month, Sri Krsna himself says in the Bhagavad-gita (10.35): 

bṛhat-sāma tathā sāmnāṁ
gāyatrī chandasām aham
māsānāṁ mārga-śīrṣo aham

ṛtūnāṁ kusumākaraḥ

Of the hymns in the Sāma Veda I am the Bṛhat-sāma, and of poetry I am the Gāyatrī. Of months I am Mārgaśīrṣa [November-December], and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring. 

This blessed month, which is the representative of Sri Krsna himself, is yet another opportune time to increase one’s spiritual practices and strive to come closer to Sri Krsna. However, it is more famous for the wonderful vrata that the Vraja gopis kept during this month. The young unmarried gopis of Vraja would perform austerities to please Goddess Katyayani, so that with her blessings they could get Nanda-gopa-suta, the son of Nanda Maharaj, Sri Krsna, as their husband. In order to perform this austere vrata, every morning they would go to the banks of the River Yamuna and bathe in her cold waters, after which they would worship the deity of Katyayani devi at the banks of the Yamuna with various articles of worship. Only eating unspiced khichadi once a day, they would constantly pray to the Goddess to obtain the Lord of their hearts, Sri Krsna, as their husband. While doing this vrata, they would everyday chant the following verse:

katyayani mahamaye mahayoginyadhisvari
nandgopsutam devi patim me kuru te namah

At the end of the month, Sri Krsna came and stole the clothes of the gopis, while they were bathing in the Yamuna, thus forcing them to come in front of Him without their clothes. In this way, He fulfilled their heart’s desire, as it is only in front of the husband that a women can come unclothed.  Thereafter, on Sarad Purnima the next year, he attracted the minds of all the gopis with the song of his flute, making them leave their homes and families and come running to him in the forest to perform rasa-lila. He then performed many intimate pastimes with the vraja-ramanis in the forest groves of Vraja and in the waters of the river Yamuna, thus fulfilling all their amorous desires.

Following tradition, some women also perform austerities to obtain a qualified husbandRemembering the pastimes of Vrajendranandan Sri Krsna and the Vraja gopis, we pray to Katyayani devi to bless us with unalloyed pure love for the divine fair and dark complexioned couple of Vraja, Sri Radha-Syamasundara, who perform various beautiful pastimes in the forests of Vraja, along with their dear gopi friends.