As per the Solar calendar, this month is called Dhanur masam. In Dhanur masam, the rashi(constellation) is dhanur. The crossing of the Sun from one nakshatra (rashi) to another is called Sankranti. The Sun leaves the Dhanur nakshatra and enters the Makar nakshatra on the day called Makar Sankranti.
As per the Lunar calendar it’s called Marghali masam or Marg-shirsh maasam. The full Moon and one star are taken as the point of reference for calculating the dates in the Lunar calendar. In this month, the raashi or Nakshatram (Star) is the Margshirsham .
BG(10.35): Masaaanam marghshirshoham
मासानां मार्गशीर्षोऽहमृतूनां कुसुमाकरः।।10.35।।
Of months, I am Margasira (Nov-Dec). And of seasons I am the season of flowers.
This is the month of harvest i.e. harvest reaches home. Season too is very conjurial. This is the month of Pious dharmaas. People perform dharma-anusthaan in the month. In this month, the Sattva Guna is most dominant.
Supreme Lord Narayana although shares the creation responsibility with Brahma, and with Rudra the responsibility of dissolution of the Universe, but He doesn’t give the duty of protection to anyone. He himself is the protector as Vishnu. That’s why Krishna says that among all the months, He is Maargshirsh.
This month is the Brahma-muhurt of Devas, as our one year is one day for them; our uttarayan being their day and dakshinayan being their night. This month is also cold, so people of Gokula are not coming to disturb the divine leela of Gopikas with Krishna.
‘Maarg’ means way. Karma, gyaan and Bhakti are the ways. In all these ways one relies on their own
power of Karma, Gyaan or Bhakti to achieve God. But the best way is Bhagwaan himself, the safest and the surest way. That’s why he is ‘maarg-shirsh’ i.e. topmost maarg. This vrat is also “Marghshirsh vratam”.
In general examples we see the goal and the means to be different. For example, to reach a College, the goal is the College, and the means are some means of transport like bus or bike etc. But, to achieve God, God himself is the means. Just like for a crying child, The Upey(goal) is the Mother and the Upaay (means) too is the Mother only. He/She wants to get to the mother’s lap and cries. How would he/she go into the Mother’s lap? Mother herself picks and places him/her in her lap. Take another example. To call a cow we show him grass and when it comes we feed grass itself. In case of param Purusharth too, God is goal and he himself is the means to reach him.
Brahm means: bruhyati, brahmyati iti brahm. That which is big and makes everyone who reaches him equally big.
Goda wanted to reach Krishna. She asked her guru and father, Sr Vishnuchitt Swami. He recommended her to do the vratam that gopis did in Dwapar to get Krishna.
Thus, in Sri Goda’s mind, Lord Sri Vatpatrashaayi became Krishna, Sri Villiputtur became Gokul, and her friends became Gopikas. Krishna had special love for a special gopi: Nappinai (Nila devi). She was daughter of his maternal uncle. Krishna wanted to marry her but he had to tame 7 bulls to marry her.
Goda could actually smell the fragnance of Krishna and gopikas i.e. makhan and ghee. That much was she immersed in the bhavana. Goda devi became a gopika in her bhavana. Her language even changed to that of a gopika, although she being born in Brahmin family.
The 30 verses are divided into group of 5 verses each. Each group of verses carries very deep meaning.
Gopikas got Krishna only for certain period but Sri Goda got his eternal association. Although She simply imitated, but still she got greater grace. If we too imitate her, we too would get even higher grace. There is no limit of his grace. Since our Aandal is with him to say, “Hey! They are my sons and daughters.”
She sung the Thiruppavai and gave the essence of the Vedas.
Details of vrata:
1) Take Snanam(Bath) before sunrise
2) Perform Anusthanam(Rituals).
3) Take Sripad Tirtham of Acharyas and Chant the guru-parampara mantra.
4) Do dhyanam of Narayana mahamantra.
6) Offer havish (pongal)
7) Sing the Thirupavai
8) Offer Aarati
9) Sattumurai (final two verses)
10) Spend the month singing glory of the lord.
She enjoyed, and shared our Lord with all the children like us. Like mom feeds her children, Goda too feeds us, her children the nectar of her songs.