“As Sat- yuga is the best of yugas (ages), as the Vedas are the best among scriptures , as Ganga is best of rivers, so Kartik is the best of months , the most dear to Lord Krishna”. – Skanda Purana
Kartika (or Kartik) month or Kartik maas is considered to be the holiest month. This month is very dear to the devotees of Krishna because it is very dear to Lord Krishna. And whatever is dear to Krishna is dear to the devotees.
Kartik month (Kartik maas) 2021 begins on 20th Oct and ends on 19th Nov.
So, the devotees of Iskcon in 2021 will be celebrating the sacred Kartik month from 20th October, Wednesday to 19th November, Friday.
Lord Shri Krishna says, “ Of all plants, the sacred Tulasi is most dear to Me ; of all months, Kartik is most dear, of all places of pilgrimage, My beloved Dwarka is most dear, and of all days , Ekadashi is most dear.” (Padma Purana, Uttara Khand 112 .3 )
The scriptures says that any devotional activity performed during this holiest month is very pleasing to Krishna.
Kartik is special because it represents Srimati Radharani, beloved of Krishna, and our eternal mother. In Bhagavad Gita 10.35, Krishna says, “Of months I am Margasirsa [November-December]”. Kartik month [October – November] represents Radharani and it precedes Krishna’s month.
Srimati Radharani is also known as Kartika Devi. If we can please her with our sincere devotion during this auspicious month then Krishna will also be pleased.
Skanda Purana glorifies the Kartik month, “ As Sat- yuga is the best of yugas (ages), as the Vedas are the best among scriptures , as Ganga is best of rivers, so Kartik is the best of months , the most dear to Lord Krishna.”
11 reasons why Kartik Month is so sacred
Kartik month (Kartik maas) is the best of the month for spiritual progress. Scriptures say that Kartik month is the holiest month. Sacred Vedic literatures sing the glories of the auspicious month in the following ways:
- If one offers a lamp during the month of Kartika, his sins of many thousands and millions of births perish in half an eye blink.
- Even if there is no mantras, no pious deeds, and no purity, everything becomes perfect when a person offers a lamp during the month of Kartika.
- A person who during the month of Kartika offers a lamp to Lord Keshava has already performed all yajnas (sacrifice for the pleasure of the Lord) and bathing in all the holy rivers.
- The ancestors say “when someone in our family pleases Lord Keshava by offering Him a lamp during the month of Kartika, then by the mercy of the Lord who holds the Sudarshan-Chakra in His hand, we will all attain liberation.”
- To one who either at home or in a temple offers a lamp during the month of Kartika, Lord Vasudeva gives a great result.
- A person who offer a lamp to Lord Krishna during the month of Damodara (Kartika) becomes very glorious and fortune.
- By offering a ghee lamp during the month of Kartika one burns away a collection of sins as big as Mount Meru or Mount Mandara. Of this there is no doubt.
- No sins exist anywhere in the three worlds that will not be purified by offering a lamp to Lord Keshava during Kartika. (Source: Skanda Purana)
- A person who offers a lamp to Lord Damodara during Kartika attains the eternal spiritual world. In the spiritual world there is no suffering.
- One who offers a steady ghee lamp to Lord Hari during the month of Kartika enjoys pastimes in Lord Hari’s splendid spiritual world. (Source: Padma Purana)
- Of all gifts the gift of a ghee lamp during the month of Kartika is the best. No gift is its equal. (Source: Narada Purana, in a conversation of Sri Mohini-devi and Sri Rukmangada)
Devotees take special vows called urja – vrata during this month. The purpose is to utilize most of the time and energy in practicing devotion to Krishna.
How to observe Kartik month?
Since Kartik is the holiest month, so the scriptures say that we should worship Krishna in a special way. This is described below:
Offering Ghee Lamp to Lord Damodara
During this month the Damodara pastime took place wherein mother Yashoda binds Krishna to a grinding mortar with a rope. The pastime illustrates that how Krishna who is the Supreme Lord and supremely powerful can be conquered by love.
- So, during Kartika which is also known as damodara month devotees offer lamp to the picture or deity of Krishna. Devotees choose that picture or deity of Krishna where he is bound by rope of love by his mother, Yashoda.
- Sanatana Goswami in Hari Bhakti Vilasa says that during Kartika month we should offer ghee lamp daily to Krishna.
- The lamp can be offered both in the morning and in the evening. If devotees do not have time they can offer lamp as per their convenience either in the morning or evening.
- While offering lamp with love we should sing Damodarashtakam prayers written by the sage Satyavrata.
Chanting the names of Krishna
- Chanting the holy names of the Lord is very important. Those of us who have taken a vow to chant 16 rounds of Hare Krishna mahamantra daily should chant more sincerely.
- Those who are chanting less than 16 rounds of mahamantra can increase their round at least by one or two.
- We should daily read scriptures either Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita or any of Srila Prabhupada’s books.
- Reading is very important as it purifies our intelligence and clears many of our doubts.
Hearing about Krishna
- We should try to hear lectures of Srila Prabhupada or senior devotees this month.
- We should try to associate more with the devotees. Spiritual association will help us to develop spiritual consciousness and by seeing other devotees’ resolve we too get impetus to practice devotional life with sincerity.
- If possible we should try to visit the temple and participate with the devotees in offering lamp to the Lord.
- Chanting, singing, dancing and offering lamp to the deities in the temple is always very pleasing and brings joy to our heart.
Worshiping Lord Krishna at home
- But if we are staying at a place where temple is not nearby then we can invite devotees, family members, neighbours, office colleagues and together we can offer ghee lamp to the Lord.
- It is true that we may not be able to invite people every day to our homes but at least once in a week specially on weekends we can do so and rest of the days of the weeks we can offer the lamp with our family members at home.
Eating Only Prasada
- During this month we should try to eat only prasada i.e. food offered to the Lord.
- If some devotees have still not started offering food to the Lord then they can start doing it from this month onwards.
- Or at least to begin with some food items should be offered to the Lord and then eaten.
- Prasada means mercy and so we should not deprive ourselves from getting the mercy of the Lord.
- At lease this month we can try to observe the vows of celibacy.
What not to do during this auspicious Kartik month?
Don’t break four regulative principles
- Since this is a very auspicious month so we should not indulge in any inauspicious things.
- During this month we should try our best to observe the four regulative principles – no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxication and no illicit sex.
Try to give up meat and intoxicants at least this month
- Suppose that you have just started practicing devotional life and have not been completely able to give up meat eating or intoxication then you can try to not indulge in it at least during the holiest month of Kartik.
- And if you can observe it during the Kartika month then Krishna and Srimati Radharani will be very pleased and give determination to give up meat eating and intoxication forever.
What about tea and coffee?
- Those who take tea and coffee, if possible, can also stop it at least for this month and instead take herbal tea and herbal coffee if they need it.
Krishna will be pleased with our resolve to observe regulative principles.
- Whether it is tea or coffee or meat or intoxicants these are not necessary for our body but unfortunately many of us because of social pressure or may be due to ignorance started consuming it and now find it difficult to give it up.
- But if at least in the month of Kartik we take a vow to not indulge in any activity which is forbidden by the scriptures then Krishna will strengthen our resolve to give up all those things which is coming between us and him.
- Let us not try to indulge in social media too much this month. Most of us are addicted to Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter.
- We spend hours checking messages, forwarding messages, compiling messages, identifying the right emoticons to be sent with the messages.
- Although the message may be spiritual but we need to ask ourselves if it is helping us to come closer to Krishna.
- I have observed that I get hundreds of messages on social media and most of it I rarely read. And this is true for many others.
- Many times while chanting we check our whatsapp messages or facebook or Twitter.
- We need to use the social media judiciously so that it does not impact our devotional journey.
Kartik month is the holiest month because this month belongs to Srimati Radharani. Any spiritual activity we do in this month is going to please Srimati Radaharni.
And if Radha is pleased then Krishna is pleased.
If we observe the auspicious Kartik month as per the guidelines of scriptures then we will attain success in our spiritual life. We will attract the mercy of Krishna and Radharani.
Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa 2.16.198 says, “In the month of Kartik one should worship Lord Damodara and daily recite the prayer known as Damodarastaka, which has been spoken by Sage Satyavratra and which attracts Lord Damodara.”
Vedic Scriptures and pure devotees have explained the importance of Kartik month. They say that Kartik is the holiest month. So during the Kartik month, we should always try to meditate on the beautiful Damodara pastimes of the Lord. And try to bind Krishna within our heart with love.