Karthika /Karthik is the eighth lunar month in Hindu calendar.This holy month of Karthika is considered to be a very auspicious month for Hindus. During the entire month, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are worshipped with immense devotion. It is also known as “Purushotama Masa”. This month overlaps between October and November. It is also said to be the favourite month of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
The 15th day of this holy month of Karthika, the ‘Shukla Paksha’ or the full moon is called Karthika Pournami. Karthika or Kartika is a popular Indian name derived from the god ‘Kartikeya’, who is the son of Lord Shiva which means “bestower of courage”.
Karthika Masam or karthika month is also derived from a star called ” Krithika”
This holy month of Karthika starts with Deepawali and ends with Karthika Amavasaya.
It is also known as Tripuri Purnima and Tripurari Purnima. Karthik Tripuri Purnima or Tripurari Purnima derives its name from Tripurari (another name of Lord Shiva) -the destroyer of the demon Tripurasura or Tarakasura(Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha, and Viryavana.)
Legend behind the holiness of Karthik Pournami
The demon Taraka was killed by Kartikeya. Taraka’s three sons Tarakasura’s or Tripurasura performed severe penance for Lord Bramha and got a boon that they would live for thousand years in three cities called as Tripuri and will only be destroyed by an arrow that sets them on fire. After the end of a thousand years of negative rule of the three demons, the Gods went to Lord Shiva and prayed to him to demolish the three asuras. Lord Shiva performed ‘Rudra Tandava’ (dance of Lord Shiva which is like an earthquake and also known as dance of destruction). Rudra Tandava rocked the tri-cities Tripuri. Lord Shiva’s arrow pierced through the three asuras and the fire from his third eye burnt Tripuri down.
The killing of the Tripurasura’s and destruction of their cities by Lord Shiva overjoyed the gods and they declared the day as a festival of illuminations. This day is also called “Dev-Diwali. “The Diwali of the Gods”
Karthik Pournami is only next to Maha Shivaratri amongst festivals dedicated to Lord Shiva.Karthik Pournami is also the birthday of Matsya, first of ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, as on this day Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya(Fish) or Matsyavatram to save Manu from Mahapralaya.
In this appearance Lord Vishnu saved the world from a great flood. Manu, the first man, caught a little fish that grew to a giant size. When the flood approached, Manu saved himself by tying his boat to the horn on the fish’s head.
Karthik Pournami is also very significant as many rituals and festivals culminate on the day of Karthik Pournami. The festivities of Karthika Pournami begin on the day of Prabodhini Ekadashi. Ekadashi is the eleventh day and Pournami is the fifteenth day of Karthika month. Hence Karthik Pournami festivities last for five days.
Prabodhini Ekadashi marks the end of Chathurmas, a four-month period when Vishnu is believed to be asleep. Prabodhini Ekadashi signifies the awakening of the god. Prabodhini Ekadashi celebrations at Pandharpur and Pushkar are very popular.
Tulasi-Vivah which begins on the day of Prabodhini Ekadashi culminates on the day of Karthik Pournami. As per religious books, Tulasi Vivah can be performed on any suitable day between Ekadashi to Pournami in the month of Karthik. However, many people choose the day of Karthik Pournami to perform marriage rituals of Goddess Tulasi ( Basil) and Lord Shaligram, an iconic representation of Lord Vishnu.The Tulasi wedding signifies the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the wedding season in India.
The significance of this festival increases when it falls in the Nakshatra Krittika (lunar calender). This is when it is called Maha Karthika.
Karthik Pournami is also the birth day of Sri Guru Nanak and is celebrated with great devotion by Sikhs.
Rituals during Karthik Pournami
The Hindu legend says that on this day, Gods had descended to the earth into the sacred rivers. This is why, during Karthik Pournami, the devotees bathe themselves in sacred rivers, and believe that they receive the blessings of Gods.
People take a holy dip in the Ganges before sunrise and in the other holy rivers every day during the month of Karthik. The ritual of holy dip during Karthik month begins on the day of Sharad Pournami and ends on Karthik Pournami.
This holy bath is known as “Karthik snana” Or Nadi Snaana
A holy bath at Pushkar or in the Ganges river, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Karthik Pournami is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi The devotees also take a bath in the evening during moonrise and offer prayers.People also pray to Lord Shiva and observe a day long fast. There is also a tradition of performing Rudra abhishekam of Lord Shiva, by bathing him in milk and honey. Karthik Pournami is also considered to be one of the most auspicious days for performing the Satya Narayana Swamy Vrat. According to scriptures, Karthik Pournami is one of the most loved days of Lord Vishnu, therefore some devotees also perform the Satya Narayana Vrat on Karthik Pournami .
Karthik Deepam is one of the most ancient festivals that has been celebrated in India, it is symbolic of the festival of lights, and is called the Chiru Deepawali means small or minor Deepawali.
In Andhra Pradesh on the full moon day of Karthika Pournami, a big lamp with 365 wicks is lit to ward off evil and the holy text of Karthika Puranam is recited to invite auspiciousness and good fortune. Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu temples are lit with lamps. The women in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a tradition of placing lit lamps in a banana stem or leaf and set it afloat in the river or in a plate of water at home.
In Varanasi, the ghats come alive with thousands of diyas (brightly lit earthen lamps). Oil/ghee lamps are lit and are kept throughout the night in houses and at Lord Shiva and Vishnu temples. This day is also known as “Karthik Deeparatna” – the jewel of lamps in Karthik. Lights are also floated in miniature boats in rivers.The lamp/diya symbolises our body and the light symbolises our soul. When we light a lamp , we cleanse our mind and free it from all the accumulated negativity in the form of darkness, ignorance, anger, greed, jealousy, hatred, bitterness and resentment
Karthik Pournami celebration at Divya Babaji Sushumna Kriya Yoga Foundation
Karthik Pournami is the full moon day in this month of Karthik – (November) falls on 18th November, and is very auspicious and extra special for all of us at Sushumna Kriya Yoga foundation.
This day marks the birthday of our Parama Gurus Sri Sri Sri Bhognath Siddhar and Sri Sri Sri Mahavatar Babaji.Parama Gurus Sri Sri Sri Bhognath Siddhar and Sri Sri Sri Mahavatar Babaji imparted the Supreme technique of Sushumna Kriya Yoga to Guru Maa Puja Sri Aathmanandhamayi Mataji on 7th September 2005 during the Brahma Muhurata on the auspicious occasion of Vinayaka Chaturthi. Our Guru’s birthday is a special day for Sushumna Kriya Yogis to seek their blessings and progress to higher state of consciousness. Divya Babaji Sushumna Kriya Yoga Foundation celebrates Karthik Pournami every year and the special occasion will be commemorated by a unique celebration on 18th November 2021.
Let us celebrate this holy Karthika month with Purity and Devotion and receive the grace and blessings of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and all our ParamaGurus in abundance.