Welcome to the month of Kartik- the most sacred and auspicious month in the Gaudiya Vaishnava calendar!
Throughout the year, we celebrate different festivals, so what makes the month of Kartik different?
During this time of year, we see different sales leading up to the festive period of Christmas and New Years. In a similar way, Kartik can be seen as a ‘spiritual sale’, where one’s offerings to the Lord is multiplied by a thousand. In the sacred Skanda Purana, it is stated that “If somebody burns a lamp in the temple of Lord Shri Hari even for a short time (in the month of Kartik), then whatever sins, he has acquired for millions of kalpas (one kalpa equals 1000 yugas, which is 4 billion earth years) are all destroyed.”
Therefore, devotees usually observe vows, increase spiritual their activities such as chanting and singing prayers, offer ghee lamps to Lord Krishna as His form of a young boy Damodara, in order to deepen their ‘bhakti’ or devotion towards the Lord.
The pastime of Lord Damodara is very significant in the month of Kartik and a prayer of this pastime called ‘Damodarastakam’ is recited daily during this month. It describes how Krishna, in the form of Damodara, was up to childish mischief and so as punishment, His mother, Yashoda, tied him up to a wooden grinding mortar. However, the ropes she tried to tie Him up with were always 2 fingers too short- no matter how many extra ropes she bought over to tie Him with! Eventually, seeing the endeavour of His Mother, Damodara allowed Himself to be bound, symbolising that with our sincere endeavours of serving Him, we can also bind Him within our hearts.
Along with all the auspiciousness that this month can bring a practicing Bhakti yogi, this month of Kartik is also accompanied by lots of festivals such as Diwali, Govardhan Puja, Gopastami etc. All these festivals allow us to remember Krishna and His wonderful pastimes and provides an opportunity for us a chance to offer some service.
Wishing you a blissful Kartik month!