Kartik (Damodar)…The Holiest Month…
Kartik (Damodar) is the best, the purest of purifiers, and most glorious of all months. Kartik month is particularly dear to Lord Sri Krishna. This month is full of bhakta vatsalya. Any vrata, even the smallest, will yield huge results. The effect of performing a Kartik Vrata lasts for one hundred lifetimes, Kartik or the festival of offering lamps to Lord Krishna, glorifies Lord Krishna’s pastime of being bound with ropes by Mother Yashoda.
Everybody should follow following practices in Kartik (Damodar) month:
1. Daily offer a ghee lamp to Krishna and sing the Damodarastakam, meditating on meaning.
2. One should always remember Supreme Lord Hari. Devotees should try to do more Harinam Chanting. Do extra rounds and more kirtana.
3. Hear Srimad Bhagavatam, daily in association of exalted Vaisnavas, if possible. All other duties should be given up in favor of hearing the scriptures from sadhus during this month. It is most beneficial to recite and read Gajendra Moksha Lila-stava from 8th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, which teaches complete surrender/dependence of Supreme Lord.
4. Eat only prasadam.
5. Daily recite Siksastaka of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and meditate on its meaning. Read the commentary on Sikastaka by Bhaktivinod Thakur.
6. Daily Read the the Updeshamrata of Srila Rupa Goswami .
7. Daily offer lamp to Tulsi devi and pray for eternal residence in Vrndavana and eternal service of the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna. Do 4 parikrama (circumbulation) of Tulasi.
8. Make nice offerings for Krishna. Devotees should observe the festival of Annakuta, Giriraj Govardhan Puja.
9. Associate more with devotees.
10. Practice brahmacharya – celibacy.
11. Perform austerities.
Following are excerpts from some scriptures (Puranas) describing the glory of the pious Kartik month:
“If somebody performs even a little worship of Lord Shri Hari in this month, He offers that devotee His own abode.”
“If somebody burns a lamp in the temple of Lord Shri Hari even for a short time (in the month of Kartik), then whatever sins, he has acquired for millions of kalpas (one kalpa equals 1000 yugas) are all destroyed.”
“A person, who for the entire month of Kartik eats only once a day, becomes very famous, powerful and heroic.”
“A person who happily reads the Bhagavad Gita in the month of Kartik does not return to the world of birth and death.”
“Of all gifts, the gift of a lamp during the month of Kartik is the best. No gift is its equal.”
“The pious result obtained by bathing in all holy places and giving all charities is not equal to one ten-millionth part of the result obtained by following the vow of Kartik.”