Kartik month is very auspicious. One gets unlimited spiritual benefits by observing this holy month. In Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Srila Sanatana Goswami lists down five most important spiritual activities which should be performed during Kartik month.
Hari Jagaranam – Keeping an all-night vigil for the sake of Lord Hari
Nights are in mode of ignorance and so there could be a possibility that if someone is not careful in night then he/she may indulge in sense gratification, may even break regulative principles.
But if we take a vow that during night, we will engage in happily chanting and singing the glories of the Lord then we can rise above the modes and engage ourselves in devotion to Lord.
Also practicing devotion during night is an austerity so if we are able to do it then it will please the Lord.
The most important point is that night should not be wasted in non-devotional activities which degrades our consciousness.
During night as much as possible we should chant the names of Lord, read Srimad Bhagavatam.
Pratah Snanam – Bathing early in the morning
Brahma Muhurta is auspicious. And Brahma Muhurat in the holy month of Kartik becomes more auspicious.
So devotees should get up during Brahma Muhurat, take bath and then chant the names of the Lord.
Although rising early in the morning is tiresome but if one is able to do at least this one month in entire year then he/she will get unlimited spiritual benefits.
Srila Sanatana Goswami says that one should promise the Lord, “O Lord Damodara, O Lord who rescues the devotees from sufferings, O master of the demigods, to please You and Goddess Radha, I shall bathe every morning during the month of Kartika.” Text 172, Chapter: Sixteenth Vilasa, Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa.
Tulasi Sevanam: Serving Tulasi
Tulasi is very dear to Lord so one should nicely serve Tulasi Maharani and worship her.
If possible, one should sit in front of Tulasi Maharani and chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
Udyapanam: Properly concluding the vow
Devotees sometimes take vows during the month of Kartik.
Some devotees decide to eat just one time in a day, some decide to take only fruits, some give up certain items which they like a lot such as sweets during this month.
So, after completion of the Kartik month one should give that particular item which they had decided to abstain from during the Kartik month to a genuine brahmana or a Vaisnava in charity.
After that they can resume taking those items.
Dipa Danam: Offering a lamp
Ghee Lamp or sesame oil lamp should be offered to the deity or picture of Lord Damodara.
While offering the lamp one should recite the Damodarastakam prayers reverentially contemplating on its meaning.
This beautiful prayer written by Satyavrata muni describes how Lord Damodara should be worshipped.
When one recites this prayer then one attracts the Supreme Lord.
“In the company of the Vaisnava one should regularly serve the words glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Day and night a lamp of ghee or sesame oil should be used to worship the Lord.” Text 178, Chapter: Sixteenth Vilasa, Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa
In the Kartik month mother Yashoda tied Krishna with the rope of love. We too in this month of Kartik can bind Krishna with our love if we follow the above guidelines given by Sanatana Goswami.
Krishna is extremely merciful. If we show a little intent that we love him, we want to live with him then he will come running towards us with open arms to embrace us.