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Significance of Karthika Masam

Karthika Puranam is a Hindu religious text that is recited or read during the Karthika Masam, which is the eighth month in the Hindu lunar calendar. This month typically corresponds to October-November in the Gregorian calendar. The Karthika Puranam consists of a series of stories, legends, and rituals associated with the significance of the Karthika month, particularly its importance in Lord Shiva worship.

During Karthika Puranam, people read it for 30 days, focusing on different stories and rituals each day. Many devotees follow religious practices, visit temples, and fast during this month to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.

Some common themes and practices associated with Karthika Puranam include ..

- Karthika Vratam: Devotees observe a fast during the entire month, especially on Mondays. Mondays are considered highly auspicious for Lord Shiva worship.

- Lighting of Lamps: Lighting lamps or diyas (especially with sesame oil) is a common practice during Karthika. It is believed that the light symbolizes the removal of darkness and ignorance.

- Devotional Stories: Each day of the Karthika Puranam is associated with a specific story or legend related to Lord Shiva, Parvati, and other deities. Devotees listen to or read these stories to understand the religious and moral lessons they convey.

- Charity and Acts of Kindness: Many people engage in charitable activities and acts of kindness during this month. Giving to the needy is considered a virtuous practice.

- Visit to Shiva Temples: Devotees often visit Shiva temples, especially the Pancharama Kshetras, during the Karthika month. Offering special prayers and performing rituals at these temples is believed to bring spiritual benefits.

- Bathing in Sacred Rivers: Taking a dip in sacred rivers or holy water bodies during the Karthika month is considered purifying and auspicious.

The specific stories and rituals associated with each day of Karthika Puranam may vary based on regional traditions and individual preferences. It is advisable to consult with knowledgeable

Suti Maharshi, the storyteller, shared the Kartika Purana story with the wise sages. He showed respect to the creator of the universe, Lord Anantakoti Brahma, and, following the suggestion of the esteemed sage Naimisaranya, paid homage to Sage Shaunaka and others. He urged everyone to listen to the story of Kartika, which cleanses the impurities of Kali Yuga and brings salvation. Today marks the beginning of the Kartika month, so the sages requested daily reading of the Kartika Purana for blessings. In response, Nootarshi, a disciple of Vyasa, shared that the great sage Vyasa explained the importance of Kartika Mahatmya in the eighteen Puranas, including Skanda and Padma Puranas. Vashishta narrated it in the Skanda Purana to King Bushira and Janaka. The Padma Purana also talks about Kartika's greatness to Satyabhama, Lord Krishna's beloved. We're fortunate to start the Kartika month today, and we should actively recite the Kartika Purana daily. Let's begin by listening to the Kartika Mahatmya told by Vashishta in the Skanda Purana.

King Janaka adopted the Kartika Vrata Dharma

Once, during a Yagna in his hermitage, the affluent and righteous Sage Vashishta received a visit from King Janaka. Adhering to the sage's protocol, Janaka respectfully explained the purpose of his visit. Delighted by Janaka's adherence to proper etiquette, Sage Vashishta happily agreed and stated, "O Brahmarishi! I will certainly contribute to your Yagna with the required resources. However, share with me the subtle essence of Dharma, which has the power to eliminate all sins. Enlighten me about the significance of Kartika month, considered superior to all other months, and the exemplary observance of Dharma associated with it." Intrigued, Janaka inquired, "Why is this month held in such high regard, and how should one fulfill the associated vows?" In response, Sage Vashishta, wearing a wise smile, proceeded to narrate the virtues of the Kartika Vrata, emphasizing its exceptional commitment to righteousness.

"Hey King Janaka! Even if you did lots of good things before, real purity of mind comes from Kartika. This month is like a super cleanser, washing away all the bad stuff and giving a fresh start. It's extra good for folks like you, who've done many good deeds. So, Videha, I really want you to understand how important Kartika is. Think about all the good things it brings and the special virtues it has. When the sun moves in Kartika, starting with Tulasankramana, doing special things like bathing, giving, chanting, and rituals gets even better results. Start doing Kartika Vrata from Tulasankramana, focusing on keeping your body and mind pure. This special practice will take you to really high spiritual levels. So, with a devoted heart, do the suggested rituals, and feel the divine blessings of Kartika."

“Sarva Papa haram Punyam Vratam Karthika Sambavam

Nirvighnam kurume deva, damodara namaste”

"O Damodara! Let my vow be completed smoothly." After offering respectful prayers, start with a strong determination and begin your Kartika Snana. The goodness of bathing in the Kaveri River during sunrise in the Kartika month is beyond words. When the sun enters Libra, the Ganges River flows through all rivers as a divine liquid. In Kartika, a Brahmana should enter the river, focus on Hari, immerse himself in water up to his neck, purifying body and soul. Offer Tarpana to deities, ancestors, and the water lord. Then, using the Aghamarshana mantra, do Japa, take three palmfuls of water, and pour them into the jug, offering it as Tarpana to deities. Clean the place with soil, wear white clothes, remember Hari, and apply Gopichandana on twelve points of the body. During Sandhyavandana, chant the Gayatri mantra and do Achamana. Sit comfortably, perform Brahma Yajna, offer flowers to Lord Vishnu with devotion using sixteen rituals. Read or listen to the Kartika Purana, participate in Shravana, and return home. Worship the deity, serve food to gods and guests, and repeat the Purana in the evening.

In the evening, they should cease other activities, go to the temple—be it dedicated to Shiva or Vishnu—light lamps with devotion, worship the deity there, offer delicious food, and praise them with pure words. Those who observe this Kartika Vrata in this manner attain Vaikuntha, the realm of Vishnu, without undergoing rebirth. Through the practice of Kartika Vrata, even the sins accumulated in past lives are eradicated. Without any distinction of caste, age, or gender, whoever performs this vow becomes eligible for liberation. King Janaka, even if someone fails to observe this vow personally but witnesses others doing it with pure joy and without envy, that person, who is free from jealousy, enjoys the same benefits. On that day, the sins committed are offered in the fire of Vishnu's grace.

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