According to the Hindu calendar, Kartika, the eighth lunar month, is the holiest month of the year.
The auspicious day is celebrated for five days as Purnima is observed on the fifteenth day and Ekadashi falls on the eleventh day of the Kartika month. The celebrations begin on the day of Prabodhini Ekadashi.
Bhishma Panchaka, Tulsi Vivah, Dev Diwali and Vaikunth Chaturdashi are some of the festivities of Kartik Purnima celebrated across these days.
The month is also referred to as the Damodara month as per Vaishnava tradition, as Damodara is one of the numerous names given to Lord Krishna.
During the Kartik month, the ritual of holy dip begins on the day of Sharad Purnima and it culminates on Kartik Purnima.
Kartika month holds great significance as it is the month which is dedicated to worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva both.
Devotees throng temples of both deities to offer prayers and seek blessing on this pious day. Hindus perform religious ceremonies on Kartik Purnima. The ceremonies performed on this pious day are believed to bring prosperity and happiness to the family. The occasion is also marked as Deva Diwali or Tripuri Poornima in various parts of the country.
It is believed that performing the Kartik Snan during this month is equivalent to 100 Ashvamegha Yagyas being performed.
Many devotees also observe a day-long fast to honour the gods. It is believed that the occasion of Kartik Purnima is the one of the most auspicious occasions to perform the Satya Narayana Swamy Vrat.
When it Begins and Last For
Karthika Masam begins from Aaswayuja sukla pournami up to one month on the day after Deepavali and also marks the beginning of winter season. It begins in the eight month of the year after the sun entering into Scorpio. There are several rituals and customs that have to be followed during this month.The most interesting fact is
Lord Vishnu goes to sleep on Ashadha suddha ekadashi and wakes-up on Karthika suddha ekadashi.
In this season one should take bath 3 times a day. Water is only solvent which can wash not only all kind of physical impurities but also mental impurities and can cleanse the astral and emotional currents. Treating water as god or as a form of a energy (energy hidden in the atomic constituents) if we take bath it bath by chanting those sacred hyms related Lord Varuna and this would refresh all the atomic substance of the body as well as mind. Also it would benefit us in terms of both spiritual and mundane plane in many ways. It is the presence of that consciousness which makes the water as the universal solvent. Sacred waters are offered to Lord Shiva as offering in Abishekam. Especially in this month all the waters are charged with the special electro-magnetic currents hence bathing is very important in this month.
The Day Starts early in the morning by taking bath with cold water, going to temple, lighting deepam, fasting and saligrama pooja. The most auspicious days in this season are Mondays which is very important to Lord Shiva. As per the puranas it is believed that by performing the Kartika Masam Vratham we can drove away the past karmas and the sins committed can be destroyed. Lighting Lamps with ghee made from the cow’s milk during the sunrise and sunset brings prosperity, wealth, health into our lives. It also burns the material desires in between our birth and death.
Also Tulasi plant is prayed and worshiped daily by lighting a deepam during this month. There is story behind this Tulasi came as a sister of Goddess Lakshmi when amrita Mantham Ocean is churned. Tulasi wanted to marry Lord Vishnu but Lakshmi did not like this and cursed her to become a plant. But Lord Vishnu took pity and for fulfilling her wish he gave a boon that when he is in form of saligram, tulasi will be close to him. On Kartika Shukla Dwadashi Tulasi plant is decorated and prayed.
Monday’s in Karthika masam is special according to the Skanda puranam. One of the name of Lord shiva is Soma, the Lord Someshvara, Who wears the soma, the waning moon on the matted hair.
The normal process of Karthika Somavara Vratham would be to fast for the whole day, perform the Rudra Abhishekam by chanting the Rudra Namakam and Rudra Chamakam. Then eat after seeing the stars.
Lord Damodara is worship of Lord Vishnu is Lord Shiva temple. Because it is during this month Lord Vishnu prays Lord Shiva and vice versa. Both the lords are like the state of being aware of self existence and the world around. They are like circle and the point which are inseparable, when there is a circle there is centre unless there is a centre there is no circle. Centre of self existence is called Lord Shiva and the circumference of other existences is called Lord Vishnu thus one who worships both as one attains the highest state of nirvana that is observing the every form in the world as your own image.
On the last day, light deepam with 31 wicks (mainly with puvvu vottulu 31 mainly because for the whole Karthika Masam) on a banana trunk or plantain stem (aarti dimma) and leave in the river. If not possible to light deepam near the river you can also light a deepam near the tulasi plant at home and in a big tub place filled with water and place the deepam.