The Power of Karthika Somavaram

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The Power of Karthika Somavaram

November 22, 2022 | Total Views : 90
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In Hinduism, the days of the week are associated with certain deities. It is believed that observing a fast or performing special Poojas for these deities on their favorite days can bring their blessings and many benefits.

Monday is Shiva’s favorite day. But Karthika Somavaram, or the Mondays in Karthika month (November-December) of the Hindu calendar, have special importance. One of Shiva’s names is Soma or Someshwara, meaning ‘the one who wears Soma or the crescent moon on his hair or head’.

How to Observe Karthika Somavaram?

On Karthika Somavaram, people wake up before dawn and have a holy bath in a river or pond or take a head bath at home. They visit Shiva temples and perform Rudrabishekam and Archana. They also offer Bilva leaves to the deity.

The fast is from morning till evening. It is broken by eating fruits or dinner. Some light diyas when the stars come out or light a 1000-wick ghee diya in the Shiva temple. They may also do Deepa danam to a Brahmin in the evening. Some devotees seek blessings from an elderly couple. This is believed to be seeking blessings from Shiva and his consort, Parvathi.

Karthika Somavaram Vratham Benefits

Fasting and performing Poojas on Monday elevates our consciousness which gets tuned into the higher realms. The planetary ruler of Monday is the Moon, which rules our minds. It is believed that if one performs Pradosha vratham on Mondays and meditates on Shiva, one can experience God and even attain siddhis. The Scriptures say that a person who fasts on Mondays till evening, feeds a Brahmin, and eats food after seeing the stars will receive Shiva’s grace.

By fasting on Mondays, one can gain mastery over the mind. Shiva bears the crescent moon on his head. This indicates that has control over the movements of the Moon. So he is called Chandrashekara.

The Power of Karthika Somavaram

The story of Karkasa, a beautiful girl who became a dog, and how she was restored to her original form reveals the power of Karthika Somavaram.

The Karthika Puranam has 2 sections:

Section 1 describes how Sage Sootha narrates the Kartika Puranam to Saunikadi Maha-rishis, and Maharshi Vashistha explains the rules of the Karthika Puranam to King Janaka. The section talks about what to do during the holy month of Karthika.

Section 2 narrates a story about the Kartika Somavara Vratham (fasting on the first Monday of Kartika month). It revolves around Nishturi, the daughter of a Brahmin, who acquires bad habits during her teenage years. Because of her bad habits, people often called her 'Karkasa'.

When it was time to get her married, Karkasa's father found a groom for her. He was Misra Sharma, a Brahmin from Saurashtra. Sharma was a good, humble, and well-educated young man who was also very religious. Even after her marriage to Sharma, Karkasa continued her wayward behavior, as he was a mild-mannered man. As the days passed, she started taking advantage of her husband’s gentle nature and began to abuse and beat him.

Misra Sharma tolerated everything in silence as he did not want to spoil the good name of his family in society. This further emboldened Karkasa, who began to befriend other men. She had physical relationships with these men, too, and did not bother what her husband and in-laws thought about it.

One day, one of her lovers pointed out that they had to meet at odd times due to her husband and that they would be better off if her husband was not there. That night, Karkasa killed her husband by hitting his head with a hard rock. She took the dead body to the city’s outskirts and threw it into an old well. Her in-laws were too afraid of her and could not do anything. They fled the place for their own safety. In the absence of her husband and in-laws, Karkasa had more freedom and continued her debauchery with renewed vigor. She even forced her male lovers to snatch money from their wives.

After some years, Karkasa’s beauty faded. She developed many diseases. As she had relationships with many men, she suffered from sexually transmitted diseases. It was not long before she lost her money, and there came a time when she could not even get water, food, clothes, or a place to stay. Eventually, she died, and nobody volunteered to take her body to the cremation ground.

After her death, the agents of Yama, the God of death, arrived and took her to him. Yama gave her many punishments for her evil deeds. She had to stick to a hot-iron pillar for disrespecting her husband and cavorting with other men. She was struck on her head with a hot mace for killing her husband. Hot mercury was poured into her ears for yelling at her husband and beating him.

On account of her evil deeds, her family in 10 previous births and the later 10 births also had to suffer. After suffering many torments in Yama loka for some time, she was born on earth as a dog for fifteen births.

In her fifteenth birth, she was born as a dog in the land of Kalinga. She was staying at the house of a Brahmin. It was the month of Karthika, and the Brahmin who followed the Karthika Masam traditions left some food outside his house at night, which the dog ate. On eating the food, the dog recalled her past life and shouted for help. The Brahmin was very surprised to hear the dog speak. He asked the dog about her past.

The dog told him that she had been a dog 14 times before her current life and that she did not know how she could suddenly remember her past lives.

The Brahmin, however, realized what had happened by using his spiritual power. He then told the dog about her past. When she heard the story, the dog begged the Brahmin for Moksha. So he transferred the Punya he had gained by observing one Karthika Somavaram vratham to the dog. Thanks to this Punya, the dog turned into a beautiful woman again and attained Moksha.

Supposedly, the Moon observed Somavara Vratham to get relief from the curse of his father-in-law, Daksha, and to get Shiva’s blessings as well as a place in his matted locks.

Karthika Somavaram 2022 dates fall on October 31, November 7, November 14, and November 21.

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