13th Oct, 2016. Gurgaon.
In the Padma Puräëa it is said, “The Lord may offer liberation or material happiness to a devotee, but after some devotional service has been executed, particularly in Mathurä during the month of Kärttika, the devotees want only to attain pure devotional service unto the Lord.” The purport is that 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 Kärttika, and within the jurisdiction of Mathurä in India, are very easily awarded the Lord’s personal service.
(NoD chapter 12)
As we read the above lines from Nectar of Devotion, we can not help but appreciate that if ‘unserious’ persons can be awarded so much benefit then surely Krishna may bestow on us, aspiring devotees, something even more valuable to hold on to and cherish all our life. Kartika is the month which is most dear to Krishna. We receive so many articles/ whatsapp messages/emails glorifying Kartika and how Krishna is easily pleased by anyone who renders even little devotional service to Him during this special month. So we can not even imagine what great benedictions await each one of us, aspiring devotees, if we make some sincere and serious endeavour to please Krishna, and Srimati Radharani, this Kartika.
It is known as Kartika because..
The predominating deity of Kartika month is Kirtika-kumari, the young daughter of Kirtika, Srimati Radharani. So this month is called Kartika. It a great month to please Srimati Radharani by keeping special vows to please Her. We may offer whatever little benediction we earn in this month at Her lotus feet. If, somehow, we are able to please Srimati Radharani then Krishna too would be very pleased.
Month of Lord Damodara
“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.”
(NoD, Chapter 5)
We can keep devotional vows to please Lord Damodara this Kartika and pray to Srimati Radharani to bestow upon us a drop of pure love by which a devotee can bind Krishna!
“In the month of Kartika one should worship Lord Damodara and daily recite the prayer known as Damodarastaka, which has been spoken by Sage Satyavratra and which attracts Lord Damodara.
(Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa 2.16.198)
We hanker all our life to somehow attract Krishna and now simply by singing the most sweet Damodarastakam prayers in right consciousness we can attract the most attractive!
Offering Deep daan
“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.”
The only doubt is in our mind! With faith and conviction in the words of shastras all sins could get removed this Kartika.
Offer Tulasi to Krishna
“The result one obtains by giving ten thousand cows in charity can be obtained by offering only one tulasi leaf to the Supreme Lord during the month of Kārttika.”
(Sri Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa, 7.335)
Daily offer Tulasi leaves to deities at home and/or temple.
Visit Sri Vrindavan Dhama
Spectacular, magical, spellbinding, miraculous, mysterious, enchanting, otherworldly, extraordinary, astonishing, inexplicable, stupefying, incredible, unfathomable, enigmatic or simply transcendental ! No words can describe the experience of offering lamp to Lord Damodar with hundreds of devotees from all over the world, their eyes tinged with salve of love.
Krishna has given us so much, so easily. Still it is finally up to us to take advantage of it. Our conditioned nature may sometimes have trouble with this, for such nature tends to be a little gross, doubtful and forgetful. Perhaps the preciousness and potency of what Krishna has given us has not really impressed upon our hearts. Perhaps with the passing of time our enthusiasm has waned or perhaps been crushed by following the process mechanically. So let us take a vow to take advantage of the most Holy month Kartika and who knows we may discover that I had one devotional life before 2016 Kartika and altogether another one after this Kartika!
Just as a mother picks up her child and feeds him her breast milk, the compassionate Lord affectionately gives shelter to sincere devotees who offer Him prayer with devotion.
(Sri Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa, 8.351)
In the meanwhile, in Vrindavan, Gopīs sing of Kṛṣṇa as He wanders in the forest this time of the year..
The gopīs said: When Mukunda vibrates the flute He has placed to His lips, stopping its holes with His tender fingers, He rests His left cheek on His left arm and makes His eyebrows dance. At that time the demigoddesses traveling in the sky with their husbands, the Siddhas, become amazed.
Kṛṣṇa moves about the forest in the company of His friends, who vividly chant the glories of His magnificent deeds. He thus appears just like the Supreme Personality of Godhead exhibiting His inexhaustible opulences. When the cows wander onto the mountainsides and Kṛṣṇa calls out to them with the sound of His flute, the trees and creepers in the forest respond by becoming so luxuriant with fruits and flowers that they seem to be manifesting Lord Viṣṇu within their hearts. As their branches bend low with the weight, the filaments on their trunks and vines stand erect out of the ecstasy of love of God, and both the trees and the creepers pour down a rain of sweet sap.
Maddened by the divine, honeylike aroma of the tulasī flowers on the garland Kṛṣṇa wears, swarms of bees sing loudly for Him, and that most beautiful of all persons thankfully acknowledges and acclaims their song by taking His flute to His lips and playing it. The charming flute-song then steals away the minds of the cranes, swans and other lake-dwelling birds. Indeed they approach Kṛṣṇa, close their eyes and, maintaining strict silence, worship Him by fixing their consciousness upon Him in deep meditation.
Let us pray, and keeping our material mind and intelligence aside, and again read the most nectarean songs gopīs sing to express their feelings of separation from Kṛṣṇa when He goes to the forest during the day. Let us read these lines slowly, relishing each word as as we fix our consciousness on Krishna, His Name, His Form, His qualities and His pastimes. Who knows what may happen to our heart!
All glories to the most glorious Kartika month.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.