(October 14, 2019 - November 12, 2019)
Kartik masa or Damodar masa coincides with the month of October November of the Gregorian calendar. It begins when the sun enters the sign Scorpio. The presiding deity of this month is Radharani (Brahma Khand), therefore also this month is very dear to Lord Sri Krishna. This year kartik masa started on 13th October which coincided with Shrad Purnima and the appearance day of Laxmiji it will end by the 12th of November. The glories of this month are endless many “lilas” associated with Lord Sri Krishna were performed in this month. Spiritually this month is considered to be very potent and a little loving service rendered to Sri Krishna bestows upon the devotee the highest benediction (Skanda Puran).
The Srimad Bhagavatam, which is described as ‘the ripened fruit of Vedic knowledge’, defines the Absolute Truth Lord Sri Krishna as being Supremely independent meaning that Sri Krishna has no cause because He Himself is the cause of all causes. Thus, under no circumstance does He come under anyone’s control. The opening verse of Srimad Bhagavatam confirms this as follows:
oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi
“O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth."
[Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1]
The Lord Himself proclaims in the seventh chapter of the Bhagavad Gita:
mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat
kiñcid asti dhanañ-jaya
mayi sarvam idaṁ protaṁ
sūtre maṇi-gaṇā iva
“O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.” [7.7]
However, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is always victorious and who can never be controlled by penance, wealth, ego, knowledge, beauty or strength is completely bound by just one power - Love. Pure love with not a tinge of desire for materialistic gains is what binds the supreme Lord. The so called ‘love’ in this material world is born out of lust (sense gratification), which is just a perverted reflection of that unalloyed and unmotivated, transcendental love that exists in the eternal abode of Sri Krsna. Even the Lord of liberation Sri Mukunda is completely bounded by the love of His pure devotees. The subtle difference between lust and love is beautifully explained in the Chaitanya Charitamrita,
ātmendriya-prīti-vāñchā — tāre bali ‘kāma’
kṛṣṇendriya-prīti-icchā dhare ‘prema’ nāma
“The desire to gratify one’s own senses is kāma [lust], but the desire to please the senses of Lord Kṛṣṇa is prema [love].” [Adi Lila 4.165]
This transcendental expression of love between the Supreme Lord and His dear devotees is the epitome of bhakti which makes even the Father of this entire creation appear as a helpless and wailing child in the lap of Mother Yashoda.
Every living entity in this world, knowingly or unknowingly, is actually looking out for Krishna. One may be after wealth, beauty, fame, strength, knowledge or renunciation in this material world, which are nothing but the reflection of Lord Krishna’s infinite opulence. It is our natural constitutional position to render loving devotional service unto the Lotus Feet of Sri Krishna, but due to our materially contaminated consciousness that natural inherent love for Godhead has become dormant. The Lord, out of His causeless mercy for the unfortunate souls of this age, descends Himself or sends His devotees or messengers to show us the path of self – realisation leading to liberation of the conditioned soul from its present miserable situation. The guidance of a bonafide spiritual master is necessary to achieve the highest perfection of life. Austerities performed in the month of Kartika bestows upon one the Lords blessings as the Lord out of His causeless mercy grants us the opportunity to render loving devotional service unto His Lotus feet for His satisfaction.
dvadasu api masesu kartikah krsna vallabhah tasmin sampujito visnur
alpakair apy upayanaih dadati vaisnavam lokam iti evam niscitam maya
“Among all twelve months, the month of Kartika is dear to Lord Sri Krsna. If somebody performs a little worship of Lord Sri Hari in this month, He offers that devotee His own abode” (Padma Purana)
This month is also referred to as Damodara Masa, because it is during this auspicious month that the Supreme Lord manifested His most charming and wondrous pastime of being bound by His mother Yashoda to the grinding mortar. “Dam” refers to rope and “udara” refers to belly and hence the pastime is known as Dambandhan Leela or Damodara Leela. This particular pastime is cherished as a priceless treasure in the hearts of the pure devotees of the Lord and is incomparably more enchanting and sweeter than even elixir (drink of immortality). This month of Kartika is the dearest to Lord Krsna and is a chance for all of us to become dear to Him. The Lord says in Padma Purana,
"Of all plants, the sacred Tulasi is most dear to Me, of all months, Kartika is most dear, of all places of pilgrimage, My beloved Dvaraka is most dear, and of all days, Ekadasi is most dear."
(Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda 112.3)
The Kartika Masa is the jewel amongst all months as one can easily achieve the Lord’s loving service by even a minimal effort to satisfy Sri Krishna. Just as the Lord is infinite, the glories of the Kartika Masa are also infinite. The Skanda Purana states,
kartika khalu vai masam sarva masesu ca uttamam punyanam paramam punyam pavananam ca pavanam
“The month of Kartika is the topmost of all other months. It is the most meritorious and purified of all other pure months.”
na kartika samo maso na krtena samam yugam na veda sadrsam sastram na tirtha gangaya samam
kartikah pravaro maso vaisnavanam priyah sada kartikam skalam yastu bhaktya sevate vaisnavah
“There is no other month equal to Kartika and there is no other yuga equal to Krta-yuga. There is no other scripture equal to Vedas. There is no other place of pilgrimage equal to Ganges, therefore, the month of Kartika is very dear to the Vaisnavas (people dedicated to Visnu).” (Skanda Purana)
Devotional Activities recommended during Kartika Masa
One must rise early (in Brahma Muhurat), bathe, perform Mangala Aarti and Japa – chanting the Holy Names of the Lord. One who sincerely performs these activities is sure to receive the mercy of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. The Padma Purana states,
snanam jagaranam dipam tulasi vana palanam kartike ye prakurvanti te nara visnu murtayah
“Any person who performs bathing in the month of Kartika, remaining awake, offering lamps, giving charity or planting and transplanting Tulasi, he achieves the same form as Lord Sri Visnu.” (Padma Purana - Lord Krsna speaks to Satyabhama)
One must worship Tulasi Devi every day and pray for eternal service to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Krishna.
One must maintain celibacy for the entire month.
Offering Ghee lamp to Lord Damodar every day and singing the Damodarashtakam is considered to be greatest devotional service that one can perform to satisfy the Lord completely. The Vedic scriptures affirms this,
damodara astakam nama stotram damodara arcanam nityam damodara akarsi pathet satya vrata uditam
“In the month of Karttika, one should daily worship Lord Damodara and sing the Damodarastaka (the eight prayers of Lord Damodara) which pleases Lord Damodara, written by the sage named Satyavrata.” (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 16/198)
kalpa koti sahasrani patkani bahuny api nimesa ardhena dipasya vilayam yanti kartike
“If even for a short time somebody burns a lamp in the temple of Lord Sri Hari, then whatever sins he has acquired for millions of kalpas (one kalpa equals 1000 yugas) are all destroyed.” (Skanda Purana conversation between Lord Brahma and Narada Muni)
One must make nice offerings for Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (BG 9:26) “that if one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water I will accept it”. One must take this opportunity to offer beautiful scented flowers and prepare nice bhoga for the Lord. By doing so, all sins committed will be completely eradicated by the mercy of the Lord.
malati malaya visnuh pujito yena kartike papaksara krtam malam hathat saurih pramarjjati
“In the month of Karttika (October-November), any person, if he worships Lord Visnu with Malati (white Jasmine) flowers, whatever sinful activities are registered against him by Yamaraja, death personified, are removed.” (Skanda Purana conversation between Lord Brahma and Narada Muni)
Associate with Vaisnavas, Read and Listen to Srimad Bhagavatam daily. It is most beneficial to recite Gajendra Moksha Lila-stava given in the 8th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.
Recite Sri Siksastakam given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and meditate on its meaning.
Daily read Updeshamrta by Srila Rupa Goswami
One must engage in charitable works such that others too may get to know about the Lord and His divine instructions. The Skanda Purana injuncts as follows,
kartike'smin visesena nityam kurvita vaisnavah damodara arcanam pratah snana dana vrata adikam
“Specifically, in the month of Damodara (Karttika), one should daily worship Lord Damodara (Krsna) and take bath early in the morning, give charity and fast by eating just once. This is the duty of Vaisnavas.”
One must perform austerities; for instance, one can give up one’s favourite food sweet/salted for the entire month or take prasadam just once a day. Austerities are not meant to punish us but to actually purify our consciousness which is diseased at the moment with the desire of sense gratification. By doing austerities, we curb our evil tendency to gratify our senses rather we should engage our senses to satisfy the Lord by rendering loving service unto Him. The Skanda Purana states,
pravrttanam ca bhaksanam kartike niyame krte avasyam krsna rupatvam prapyate muktidam subham
“Whatever one usually eats, if he gives up some of the ingredients of it in the month of Karttika, then he achieves the same auspicious form as Lord Sri Krsna undoubtedly.”
Observe Ekadashi fasting sincerely.
Deep-daan and Singing the Damodarashtakam
Lord Krishna, in the Kartika Masa is worshiped in His sweet Damodara form. The devotees offer ghee lamps every day as an expression of their surrender and devotion unto the Lord’s lotus feet and pray to the Lord for His loving divine service. The Vedic scriptures state that there is no sin in the three worlds which cannot be eliminated by offering ghee lamp to Lord Krishna in the month of Kartika. The offering of ghee lamp is accompanied by the singing of the Damodarashtakam. The Damodarashtakam comprises of eight verses which have been composed by the sage Satyavrata Muni in the praise of Lord Damodara (Sri Krishna). The Damodarashtakam beautifully describes the Damodara pastime of Lord Krishna, in which Mother Yashoda binds Him with ropes to a grinding mortar. These beautiful and enchanting transcendental eight verses are sure to fix the mind unto the lotus feet of Lord Damodara. The eight verses along with the meaning are given below:
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam
paramrstam atyantato drutya gopya
“I bow down to the supreme controller, Sri Damodara, whose form is the embodiment of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. His glistening earrings swing playfully to and from upon His cheeks. He manifests super-excellent pastimes in Gokula, stealing fresh butter suspended from the rafters of the gopis’ storerooms. In fear of Mother Yashoda, He jumps down from a wooden grinding mortar and quickly runs away. She runs swiftly after Him and finally catches Him from behind.”
rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mrjantam
sthita-graivam damodaram bhakti-baddham
“He cries and rubs His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are fearful and His breathing quick. As Mother Yashoda binds His belly with ropes, He shivers in fright and the pearl necklace shakes upon His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conch shell. To the Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound by His mother’s pure love, not by rope, I offer my humble obeisances.”
sva-ghosam nimajjantam akhyapayan
tamtadiyesita-jnesu bhaktair jitatvam
punah prematas tam satavrtti vande
“O my Lord, by Your own childhood pastimes, You continually immerse the residents of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. You reveal to those who are attracted to Your majesty and opulence, that You are only conquered by the love of Your pure devotees. Again, I offer my obeisances with love and devotion hundreds and hundreds of times.”
varam deva moksam na moksavadhim va
na canyam vrne ’ham varesad apiha
idam te vapur natha gopala-balam
sada me manasy avirastam kim anyaih
“O Lord Damodara, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for liberation, nor the supreme goal of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor for any other boon. My only desire, O Lord, is that Your form as Bala Gopal in Vrindavana may constantly remain in my heart. I have no use for any other boon besides this.”
idam te mukhambhojam atyanta-nilair-
vrtam kuntalaih snigdha-raktais ca gopya
muhus cumbitam bimba-raktadharam me
manasy avirastam alam laksa-labhaih
“Your supremely enchanting face, encircled by shining locks of dark blue curling hair, resembles the fully blossomed lotus, tinged with a reddish luster, due to being kissed again and again by Mother Yashoda. May this vision of Your lotus face, with lips as red as bimba fruit, remain forever in my heart. Millions of other benedictions are of no benefit to me.”
namo deva damodarananta visno
prasida prabho duhkha-jalabdhi-magnam
grhanesa mam ajnam edhy aksi-drsyah
“O Damodara! O Lord of divine beauty and unlimited mercy! O all-pervading Vishnu! I offer my obeisances unto You. May You be pleased with me. I am drowning in an ocean of sorrow and feeling almost dead. Shower Your nectar laden glances upon me, thereby uplifting me and enthusing me with life. Please accept me, O Lord, and become visible before my eyes.”
kuveratmajau baddha-murtyaiva yad-vat
tvaya mocitau bhakti-bhajau krtau ca
tatha prema-bhaktim svakam me prayaccha
na mokse graho me ‘sti damodareha
“O Lord Damodara, although Mother Yashoda bound Your divine form to a wooden grinding mortar, You mercifully delivered the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva and Nalakuvara, who were cursed to stand as trees, and You gave them the gift of devotional service. Please bless me in this same way with Your most wonderful prema bhakti. I have no eagerness for any other type of liberation.”
namas te ‘stu damne sphurad dipti-dhamne
tvadiyodarayatha visvasya dhamne
namo radhikayai tvadiya priyayai
namo ‘nanta-lilaya devaya tubhyam
“O Lord, I offer respectful obeisances unto Your belly, the abode of the entire universe, which is bound by Mother Yashoda with a brilliantly effulgent rope. To this rope I offer my humble obeisances. I offer repeated obeisances to Your dearmost beloved Srimati Radharani, and I bow before You, who are performing unlimited super-excellent pastimes.”
Everyone must participate in singing the Damodaraashtakam along with the offering of ghee lamp to Sri Sri Radha Damodara and pray to the All merciful Lord to always fix our mind unto the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna which are the resting place for the entire creation. Just like fragrance can never be separated from the flower, Srimati Radharani too can never be separated from Krsna. Hence during the month of Kartika, Lord Krsna in the Damodara form must be worshipped along with Srimati Radharani.
tatah priyatama visno radhika gopikasu ca kartike pujaniya ca sri damodara sannidhau
“Among all other gopis, Srimati Radharani is the most-dear to Lord Krsna. Therefore, in the month of Karttika, one should worship Lord Damodara with Srimati Radharani near Him.” (PADMA PURANA)
Deep-daan (Ghee Lamp Offering to Lord Damodara) at GIVE
We, at GIVE, will be celebrating each day of Kartika Masa with ghee lamps. Every morning and evening while singing Damodarashtaka ghee lamps will be offered to Lord Damodara. We take this opportunity to invite every soul to our ashram along with their near and dear ones to participate in this divine event and make their lives successful. Moreover, GIVE can arrange kirtan, lecture and ghee lamp offerings in your house, thus you too can derive unlimited benefits by utilizing this rarest opportunity to achieve the complete mercy of Sri Sri Radha Damodara.
To arrange a Kartika Program at your home, please contact 72100-82100 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Importance of Charity in Kartika Masa
ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ
bhaktiṁ mayi parāṁ kṛtvā
mām evaiṣyaty asaṁśayaḥ
“For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.” (18.68)
na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu
kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād
anyaḥ priya-taro bhuvi
“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (18.69)
In the above two consecutive verses of the eighteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, the Supreme Lord Damodara states that whoever explains this supreme secret (Bhagavad Gita) to the devotees, such a person is the dearest to the Lord.
Charity is considered to be very auspicious in the month of Kartika. Out of the numerous charitable activities, the charity for knowledge is considered to be the highest. Knowledge means light and ignorance is darkness. We, the transcendental souls, part and parcel of the Supreme are simply suffering in this material world due to ignorance. The Knowledge of Self Realization is the only key to success (happiness) and Gaurannga Institute for Vedic Education (GIVE) is endeavouring to fulfil the mission of our diksha guru His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Thakur Srila Prabhupada, who at the age of 69, out of compassion for the fallen souls, travelled to the West to propagate this knowledge of self-realization. We, under the guidance of our siksha guru and disciple of Srila Prabhupada, His Grace Shri Vrindavanchandra Das ji, have just one mission and that is to spread the message of Bhagavad Gita to one and all. Hence, we invite one and all who would like to participate in our mission to spread this knowledge to as many individuals as possible are welcome to do so. Make this Kartika memorable and auspicious by following the does and do-nots mentioned above and become the dearest devotee of Lord Sri Radha Damodara by attaining unalloyed devotion unto the Lotus Feet of Sri Sri Radha Damodara.
JAI SRILA PRABHUPADA
JAI SRI SRI GAUR NITAI
JAI SRI SRI RADHA DAMODARA
WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND AUSPICIOUS KARTIKA MASA! MAY YOU GET CLOSER TO SRI SRI RADHA DAMODARA!