Karthika Masam is known to be the most sacred month for the followers of Sanatan Dharma.The season starts right after the Diwali Amavasya when both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are prayed. The month starts from Aswayuja Suklapurnami and is known to be a very auspicious month for both Shaiva and Vaishnava followers.
Devotees offer their prayers and also observe Vratham or fast which is considered to bring prosperity and good tidings to the devotees. Upavasam is performed on every Monday of the month and is believed that by doing such rituals people attain Moksha or liberation.
Important Rituals in the Holy Month of Karthika
People pray to lord Shiva and Vishnu and seek their blessing by doing various rituals around the month. The most common of them all is lighting Deepam or lamp in front of the main gate of the house, near the Tulasi (Basil) plant, or in temples of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. On the second day of the holy month, Bhai Dooj is observed where the brother goes to his sister’s house to eat food cooked by her. Ekadasi, Ksheerabdhi Dwadasi, Karthika Deepam and Karthika Purnami Pooja are also performed. Specific Mantras and Stotras are chanted during the period.
Since our regular life has changed in a drastic way, following rituals elaborately and full context has become next to impossible. But there are some important rituals that can be still performed. One should observe ten days of prayers which can be divided into two halves. The starting five days and the last five days before the Purnima are considered to be very important and one must offer their prayers in these days.
According to the Puranas, it is believed that there is no God as good as Vishnu, no scriptures as Vedas, no river as revered as Ganga and no month as sacred as Karthika Masam.
• Chanting “Hari-hari” in devotion
• Chanting Mantras, Stotras and Chalisas
• Reading Vishnu and Shiv Puraan
• Offering Prasadam, oil lit Deepam, flowers, etc
Significance of Deeparadhanam
Deeparadhanam or lighting oil lit lamps has a special meaning during this holy month. According to Padma Puranam, there is a tale that goes like this; Once a hungry mouse in his desperate search for food tried to eat the ghee in the lit Deepam but while eating the wick got stuck in the mouth. Due to the heat of the lit wick the mousebegan to jump in front of the Vishnu Murti and as a result he died. But Lord Vishnu accepted the jumping of the mouse as “Aarthi” and granted the mouse liberation. It is said that just by lightening one single Deepam, one can wash his sin of 1000 Yugas.
Deepam of sesame oil or Til are also lightened for prosperity and happiness. On the full moon day, Hindus celebrate Karthika Purnima where a huge beacon is lit on the holy hill of Arunachala which is in South India. Taking bath three times a day or taking bath in the river is considered very auspicious and relaxing. It is compulsory to take bath in the river as the river after rain has fresh water which by now settles down absorbing the energy from the moon.
Some Pujas and Rituals to be performed
Here are list of festivals, Pujas and Rituals performed during the holy month.
• KarthikaSnanam: Holy dip in the river
• KarthikaDeepam: Lighting Deepam
• Tulasi Puja: Praying to the Tulasi Plant which is considered very auspicious
• Damodara Pooja: Harmony between the two lords Shiva and Vishnu
• KarthikaSomawaram: Special Mondays where Hindus fast and pray to Lord Shiva.
Karthika was the son of Lord Shiva and Masam means month which means month of Lord Karthika, the son of lord Shiva. It is the most auspicious month whose end will commence winter season in India. Observe your prayers to attain Moksha and transcendence.