KARTIGAI DEEPAM — KARTIK POORNIMA
(Discourse by N. R. Srinivasan)
This festival of lights like Deepaavali is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Kartigai (November-December) which falls on the ascension of the Star Kritigai. This is one of the ancient festivals celebrated by Tamilians wherever they are settled dating back to Sangam Days (around 200 B.C.). It falls on 21 November in 2010 this year. This is the fortnight culminating in Poornima after the wedding of Tulsi to Lord Vishnu on Dwadashi (twelfth day of the waxing moon) who rises after his four-months repose (Chaturmasa).
This day is also called Deva–Divaali Day to commemorate the day the Lord descended on earth as Matsya, the divine fish that saved the children of the Earth, plants and animals from the cosmic deluge.
On Kartigai day people in Tamilnadu make bonfire in front of temples of Siva in the evening symbolizing the legend that Siva burnt the chariots of several demons torturing sages and celestials.
Siva known also as Tripuraantaka and called affectionately as Tripuri (foe of the demon Tripura) killed Tripuraasura on this day.
Krishna and his beloved Radha danced Raasa on this day called Raasaleela which is celebrated in Brindavan.
This is the birthday of Kartikeya who was nurtured by six Krittikas.
This is an important day to observe Satya Narayana Vrata. This is generally observed on the Full Moon Day of Kartik, Vaisakh, Sraavan and Chaitra Poornima days and the Sankranti Day.
This is the day on which Lord Siva appeared as a column of fire. He is celebrated as Jyotirlinga (as fire on Mount Arunachaleswara) in Tiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu. Huge beacon is lit on the holy hill Arunachala. When the light on the top of the hill is seen on the Kartigai Deepam day, devotees see (have a darsan of) the light and worship. This day is called Mahaadeepam. This day is also called Tripuraari Poornima.
On this day floors are cleaned and Kolams (Rangoli) are made with rice flour by ladies in South India. Lamps are placed on the Kolam and worshipped by ladies. Ladies also place rows of earthen lamps in front of the house on the evening of Kartigai Deepam and worship the Lord and pray to god to annihilate the three impurities, ego, selfishness and delusion.
It is the most sacred day for taking bath in Ganges in Vaaraanasi.
This day coincides with the birthday of Guru Nanak, the Sikh Guru.
Muslims pray for the departed souls and the well being of their dear and near ones on this day.
Pushkar Mela starts on Ekadasi day in Kartik and ends on Kartik Poornima day. This festival is dedicated to Lord Brahma.
Maharashtra observes Kartik Swami Darshan paying obeisance to Lord Kartikeya.
Ayodhya holds Kartik Mela on this day. People take a holy dip in the river Sarayu.
Orissa celebrates Boita Bandana and BaliYatra during this period.
Jains visit Shatrunjaya hills of Palitana the most famous Jain pilgrimage Center dedicated to the first Teerthankara.
Vaishnavites in Tamilnadu celebrate this day as Vishnu Deepam and Saivites as Siva Deepam. They pray to Lord to ward off evil and usher in prosperity and joy.
Some Brahmin ladies of Vaishnavism in South India worship elephant made out of moist clay on this day and send it off to the forest with plenty of food affectionately on the third day. Elephant is symbolic of Gajalakshmi. The legend goes that Gandhari of Mahabarata fame worshipped on this day Gajalakshmi praying for the longevity of her husband, Dhritarashtra. As you know elephant has the longest life amongst mammals and Gandahari also had the longest married life living together with her husband! It is a practice amongst these families to gift their daughter with a silver elephant while sending her away to their husband's place like gifting her with Raja and Rani wooden dolls for celebrating regularly Navaratri festival. Probably this is the way the traditions of celebrating such festivals are kept!
Thus Kartik Purnima is an important day of festivals and a day of religious observance throughout India.
Shubham karoeti kalyaanamaaroegyam dhanasampadah | satrubuddhivinaasaaya deepajyoeti namoestu te ||
I prostrate to the lamp-light, which brings the brilliance, the auspiciousness, the health, the wealth and possessions, and for the destruction of bad thoughts of my enemy.
Deepajyoti parabrahma deepajyoti janaardhana |
Deepoe may haratu paapam deepajyotir namostu te ||
I salute the Lord, the sustainer of Creation who is in the form of this Light. I pay my obeisance to the Light. May he destroy any affliction resulting from my commissions and omissions!
He who sees the Light that is burning eternally in the chambers of his spiritual heart through constant meditation attains immortality.