The month of Kartik falls under the Dakshinayana period and is regarded as highly auspicious for performing Sadhana. This period is significant in Hindu culture since it is the time when the year moves into the ‘Kaivalya Pada’. The Sadhanas pada is the period associated with reaping the rewards of your actions, i.e. what you have sown, you shall reap. Performing Sadhana offers an incredible opportunity to delve into your inner consciousness and benefit from the good actions you have committed. Kartika month is also called the ‘Damodar’ month and considered as a great time for the welfare of mankind, since it glorifies both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Devotees, often observe rituals and Pujas for the duration of the entire month in honor of the deities.
Noteworthy events in the Kartik month
Several favorable events occur during the month of Kartika, which have far reaching implications for humanity. Favorable heavenly events like Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi, Tulsi vivah, Vaikuntha chaturdashi and Kartik Poornima all take place during the month of Kartik. It denotes the start of a propitious period which helps people get rid of their past deeds, including those committed during the past life.
Observing Tulsi Vivah
The Tulsi Vivah ritual is observed on the ‘ekadashi’ (eleventh day of the brilliant fortnight) to poornima (full moon) of the Kartik month. It was on this day that the marriage ceremony of Goddess Tulsi (basil Plant) and Lord Vishnu was solemnized.
Significance of Vaikuntha Chaturdashi
The day of Vaikuntha Chaturdashi is extremely auspicious and observed a day prior to Kartik Poornima. It is of immense significance for young lovers, who take this as an opportunity to worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva together. Vishnu is worshiped at midnight (nishitha) and Shiva is worshiped at day break (arunodaya). It is believed that both the Gods venerate each other on this day. Vishnu offers Tulsi leaves to Shiva and Shiva offers Bael leaves to Vishnu.
The day of righteousness
Kartik Poornima is also observed as Dev Diwali and regarded as the day of righteousness. Celestial Beings celebrate the triumph of good over evil on this day; it is also associated with many other auspicious occurrences. The day commemorates the birth of Lord Kartikeya and Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as ‘Matsya’. It also heralds the birth of ‘Vrunda’ the sacred ‘Tulsi’ (basil) plant.
Achieve the four objectives of life
In the age of ‘Kaliyuga’, observing ‘Vrat’ (fast) in the month of Kartik is perceived to be the easiest means of attaining salvation. Women folk offer salutations to Radha-Damodar at the time of Brahma Muhurat while taking a holy dip. Kartik month is also believed to be ideal for achieving all four objectives of life as enshrined in the holy ‘Puranas’. Since Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva descend to earth during this period, human beings should take the opportunity to achieve well-being and fulfillment in life.
Achieve well-being, success and peace
By observing the ‘Vrat’ (fast) on Kartik month, one can lead a peaceful and tranquil life. The benefit of fasting not only reaches the individual, but also has a positive impact on other family members. The sanctity of this ritual is extolled in Hindu religious texts. It also encourages individuals to adhere by strict standards, while displaying love and affection for the Supreme Being.
Taking a holy dip on Kartik Vrat day
Having a holy dip in a holy river at sunrise on the day of fasting is said to be highly rewarding and brings manifold benefits. The primary aim of his custom is to recall deities like Ganga, Vishnu, Shiva and Surya before starting the fast. If one does not have access to the river, then one can observe the ritual in a stream or any other water body.
Rituals to observe during Kartik Vrata
Married individuals should apply the glue of dark sesame seeds and gooseberry powder during this period. Single individuals or widowers should apply the mud of Tulsi roots (mrittika). Offering salutations to ancestors while taking a holy dip is also recommended. After completion of these rituals, one should wear clean garments and worship Lord Vishnu.
Offering charity and donations
Narrating the Kartik vrata katha while observing the Kartik maas vrata is extremely beneficial for women folk. This is further amplified by sitting under the serene and tranquil shadow of a gooseberry tree on Akshaynavami.
It is also customary to offer gifts and other basic necessities to Brahmins and the poor & needy during the month of Kartik. This is also an ideal time to organize food camps for all those who wish to have a meal.
Celebration of lights
The Amavasya of Kartik month is celebrated as the second Deepawali in many regions of the country. The day is observed by illuminating the premises with earthen lamps which flicker and shine with the radiance of daytime. All the passageways and entrances of houses are lit up to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, who showers wealth and prosperity on this day. Paying salutations to ancestors by observing the custom of ‘Akash Deep’ is also widely prevalent on this day.
Venerating Goddess Tulsi
This month is also auspicious to venerate the sacred ‘Tulsi’ (basil) plant. Worship starts by watering the Tulsi plants early in the morning and praying to the Goddess for her blessings. It is also considered auspicious to plant a Tulsi plant during this period. This practice is considered extremely propitious and brings manifold benefits.