margashirsha month importance image

The sanskrit month of Margashirsha, also known by the names of mArgazhi, mArgashiram or agrahAyaN is known to be one of the most prominent months for spiritual growth.

Be it the daily chants of stotras or the observance of various pUjAs and vratas, this month is considered to be extremely holy, be it for the sAdhakas of Shiva, Shakti or Vishnu.

Lord Krishna even mentions in Bhagavad Gita, that among the months, he identifies himself with the month of Margashirsha.

In this article, let's learn more about this month, explore the reasoning behind it's spiritual significance, and also learn a few simple practices one could follow to benefit from this auspicious time of the year. The month Margashirsha is so named after the star, mRgashiras.

The month in which the full moon appears closest to this star, is called as Margashirsha.

It falls between the gregorian calendar dates of 27th November to 26th December. The word Margashirsha literally means "that which leads us towards the path", it is a combination of two words, mArgaH meaning "path" and shIrShaH, meaning "head". This is seen as the month that leads one on a path towards one's goals.

The significance of this month is also mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita. In the 35th shloka of the 10th chapter, called as vibhUti yogaH, Lord Krishna says,
"mAsAnAm mArgashIrShoham", meaning, "Among the months, I'm Margashirsha" , indicating that he is the one that leads us on the path towards the divine.

It is also in this month that we celebrate gItA jayanti, the day when Lord Krishna gave the secrets of the science of yoga to Arjuna. gItA jayanti falls on Margashirsha shukla EkAdashI, the 11th day of the waxing phase of the moon.

This month also holds some of the most prominent spiritual observances of mitra saptamI, kAlabhairava aShTami, Arudra darshanam, dattatreya jayanti, vaikunTha EkAdashI and so on...

But why is this month so significant? What is it, that makes it so special? If we look at the seasonal changes, this is the period when the temperatures are coldest.

Since the days are shorter than the nights and overall temperatures are low, the body becomes capable of withstanding rigorous practices in this month. One doesn't get tired easily, the bodily fire recedes inwards and one is able to digest and assimilate food quickly.

Also, this is the final month of dakShinAyaNam, the southern run of the Sun. With this month, the second half of the year called as sAdhanapAda=or the period of practice comes to an end. The upcoming Sun's norhern run called as uttarAyaNam starts in the next lunar month. The period of uttarAyaNam, called as kaivalyapAda, brings in the results, both in terms of crops in the field, and the attainments for one's efforts made in the sAdhanapAda. This makes Margashirsha, the last month of opportunity towards doing any kind of sAdhana in sAdhanapAda. In other words, if one has spent most of the dakShinAyaNam not doing any sAdhanA, this is the one last month where one can still put in some effort to reap the benefits that start to manifest with the Sun's northern run coming in the next month.

Traditionally, there have been a lot of practices which have been set up in this month for this exact same reason. This is the period when the gopikas of vRdAvanam performed kAtyAyanI vrata sAdhanA. This is also the period when devotees take on various kinds of vratas corresponding to deities like durgA and ayyappa. They follow strict observances of dietary and lifestyle rules to make use of this last month of sAdhana.

People are encouraged to wake up early in the morning at around 3:30AM called as the brahma muhUrtam. If possible, one can take a dip in a river, or have a cold water bath, and spend time doing any kind of a spiritual sAdhana of their choice. Some people chant the thiruppavai, a series of devotional chants on Vishnu, by gOdA dEvI, an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, and seen as the very incarnation of goddess Lakshmi. People also chant the gOdA aShTottaram during this time. This sAdhanA is said to provide the devotees with the grace of Lord Vishnu and mahAlakShmI, confering them with prosperity and well-being. dEvI upAsakas chant stotras like lalitha sahasranamam, lakshmi ashtottaram and soundarya lahari whereas devotees of dattatreya chant stotras corresponding to him. 

In general, people are encouraged to do some kind of chanting=japaH, austerities=tapaH, meditation=dhyAnam, charitable acts=dAnam, worship=pUja, observance=vrataH all of which have maximum impact and provide maximum results when done during this time of the year. In conclusion, the month of Margashirsha is earmarked for sAdhana in this tradition.

Whichever path one is on, and whatever one's pursuit may be in life, strengthening one's focus and practice during this period of the year is said to be of immense support in reaching one's goal.

I hope you found this article useful. Wish You All A very Happy and prosperous month of Margashirsha. Share this article across with people whom you think might benefit from this.