The Glories of Kartik Month
The auspicious Month of Kartik, more popular as the Month of Damodara.The Kartik Month is the period when the enchantingly beautiful child Krishna starts playing this sweet pastime of stealing butter. During thus Damodara month, devotees get the opportunity to personally offer Arati to Lord Damodara with ghee lamps and sing the very enchanting ‘Damorashtakam’, to receive the special mercy of the Lord. The Glories Of Kartik month“Pure devotional service to Me which, because it places Me under My devotee’s dominion, is very difficult to attain, is easily attained by following this vow in Mathura during Karttika.”“In the month of Kartik, which is very dear to Sri Hari, one who bathes early in the morning attains the merit of bathing in all places of pilgrimage. Anybody who offers the Lord a ghee lamp in the month of Kartik, O brahmana, becomes free from all kinds of sins, such as killing a brahmana, and he goes to the abode of Lord Hari.” (Brahma Khanda).In the month of Karttika, one should daily worship Lord Damodara and sing the Damorashtaka (the eight prayers of Lord Damodara) which pleases Lord Damodara, written by the sage named Satyavrata. - (HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/198)
Month of Damodara, also known as Kartika Masa
This marks the period when Krishna's pastime took place of being chased by Mother Yasoda and tied to a wooden grinding mortar, which is very endearing to His devotees.
During this time devotional service has increased potency and people take vows to increase their chanting and service to the Lord. Each evening in the temple lamps are offered by everyone after 7 o'clock arati and the sweet Damodarasatakam prayers are recited.
It was during Kārttika that Krishna allowed Himself to be bound with ropes by His mother, Yasoda. Out of loving anger at her transcendentally naughty child, she tied him (dama) around the abdomen (udara) with ropes. Thus the month of Kārttika is also known as the month of Damodara, “He Who was bound around the abdomen”.
Srila Prabhupada discusses this at some length in Nectar of Devotion (quoting Padma Purana):
“During this month, in Vrndavana it is the regulative principle to pray daily to Lord Krishna in His Damodara form. The Damodara form refers to Krishna in His childhood when He was tied up with rope by His mother, Yasoda. Dama means ‘ropes,’ and udara means ‘the abdomen.’ So mother Yasoda, being very disturbed by naughty Krsna, bound Him round the abdomen with a rope, and thus Krishna is named Damodara.” (Chapter 5, page 42)
He elaborates on this in the section “Performing Devotional Service in Kārttika:”
“… in the month of Kārttika (October-November); especially in Vrndavana, there is a specific program for temple worship of the Lord in His Dāmodara form. “Dāmodara” refers to Krishna’s being bound with rope by His mother, Yaśodā. It is said that just as Lord Dāmodara is very dear to His devotees, so the month known as Dāmodara or Kārttika is also very dear to them…
The execution of devotional service during Ūrja-vrata in the month of Kārttika is especially recommended to be performed at Mathurā. This system is still followed by many devotees. They go to Mathurā or Vrndavana and stay there during the month of Kārttika specifically to perform devotional services during this period.”
Prabhupada makes a point to say it is “especially recommended” to perform devotional service during Kārttika in Mathura, or Vrindavana. This is not to say that Kārttika’s benefits are exclusively available there, but devotees who are able to go make the trip if at all possible.
“Urja-vrata” refers to the acceptance of special vows during Kārttika. Devotees often take vows to increase their hearing, chanting, worship, or to observe restrictions in their eating. Making and keeping such vows during the month of Damodara guarantees compounded benefits.
Prabhupada ends Nectar of Devotion’s section on Kārttika with an interesting commentary from Padma Purana:
“…the Lord does not award devotional service to ordinary persons who are not serious about it. But even such unserious persons who execute devotional service according to the regulative principles during the month of Kārttika, and within the jurisdiction of Mathurā in India, are very easily awarded the Lord’s personal service.” (N.O.D., Chapter 12)
If even an “unserious” person can attain Krishna’s personal service, simply by “executing devotional service according to the regulative principles during the month of Kārttika”–wouldn’t it then also be a seriously good time to get serious?
Benefits of offering a lamp to Sri Damodara
“When one offers a lamp during the month of Karttika, his sins in many thousands and millions of births perish in half an eye blink.”
“Please hear the glories of offering a lamp during pleasing to Lord Kesava. O King of brahmanas, a person who offers a lamp in this way will not take birth again in this world.”
“A person who during the month of Karttika offers a lamp to Lord Kesava has already performed all yajnas and bathing in all holy rivers. ”
“The ancestors say: When someone in our family pleases Lord Kesava by offering to Him a lamp during the month of Karttika, then, by the mercy of the Lord who holds the Sudarsana-cakra in His Hand, we will all attain liberation.”
“By offering a lamp during the month of Karttika one burns away a collection of sins as big as Mount Meru or Mount Mandara. Of this there is no doubt.”
“O Narada, no sins exist anywhere in the three worlds that will not be purified by offering a ghee lampto lord Kesava during Kartik".
All glories to beautiful Lordship Sri Sri Radha Damodarji!