"durlabho bhakti-yogo me mama vasya-vidhayakah
karttike mathurayam ca vratenanena labhyate"



“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.”

Kartik Holiest month

Kartik is the holiest month of all the months. It usually overlaps with the months October & November in the English calendar. Kartik Maas, also known as Damodar Maas, is described in the scriptures as the best among months for performing austerities.Kartik or the festival of offering lamps to Lord Krishna, glorifies Lord Krishna’s pastime of being bound with ropes by Mother Yashoda. Observing vrata in the month of Kartik is glorified in the Puranas.

Following are excerpts from some scriptures (Puranas) describing the glory of the pious Kartik month:

  • “If someone performs even a little worship of Lord Shri Hari in this month, He offers that devotee His own abode.”
  • “If someone 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.”
  • “Of all gifts, the gift of a lamp during the month of Kartik is the best. No gift is its equal.”
  • “O Narada! I have personally seen that a person who happily reads the Bhagavad Gita in the month of Kartik does not return to the world of birth and death.”
  • “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.”

Padma Purana describes the legend of Matsya Avatara of Lord Krishna

Once Satyabhama wanted to know about the holiness of Kartik month. In reply, Lord Krishna explains her the wonderful pastime of His incarnation as fish (Matsya).
Once the demon known as Sankha Asura (Conch Shell demon) stole the Vedas hid them under the sea. He was very powerful demon who harrased everyone by his stealing nature. To kill him and get the Vedas back, Lord Sri Maha Vishnu incarnates as Matsya and restores the Vedas by killing him. It is said that the incarnation of Matsya Avatar has taken place on the 11th day of month Kartik. Since importance of Vedas were revived during this month it is considered the most sacred month.

Celestial Marriage of Tulasi & Saligram

Kartik month
is an auspicious month and on the ekadasi day (eleventh day from no-moon day) a unique festival called Kartik Puja is performed by women on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi.
This also happens to be the day of celestial marriage of Tulsi with Saligram Shila. There are two types of Tulsi – one is Rama Tulsi with light green leaves and the other is Krishna Tulsi with dark green leaves. Its is a prerequisite for the worship of Vishnu and Narayan. A Saligram Shila is an ammonite fossil can generally be classified under Cephalopoda class which is roughly 425 million years old. This stone is one of the most sacred stones for Hindus.

The origin of the Saligram Shila goes back to the Puranic or mythological era. Vishnu and Lakshmi once had a terrible quarrel and cursed one another. Sarawati’s curse transformed Lakshmi into a Tulsi plant destined to live on earth forever. Vishnu, however, intervened and said, “Lakshmi, you will live in the world as a holy Tulsi plant and when the curse has been completed you will come back to me.


Kartik Purnima day

On that day a river named Gandaki will start from your body which will be in the shape of a Tulsi plant. On the bank of that river I will remain as a stone image (Saligram). There will be many worms with strong tusks and teeth which will pierce the stone into the shape of the sudarshan chakra (quoit) and it will create numberless Saligram.” Puranic sources further state that Tulsi and Saligarm Shila are married on earth on Kartik Purnima day.
Women celebrate the celestial marriage. One group adopts Saligram as Krishna and the other Tulsi. The celestial marriage is a unique phenomenon during which women forget their human existence and merge with the celestial figures. The women behave as if they have found oneness with God. During the marriage ceremony they sing marriage songs numbering around 50. They verbally fight amongst themselves – one group taking the side of Krishna and the other that of Tulsi. Both groups trade allegations against each other. For instance the group that adopts Tulsi says. “Your Krishna has no character as he roams around with many gopis (milkmaids)…” Even priests are not spared and they are termed as a “greedy lot”.

Guidelines to devotees during kartik month:

  • Daily offer a ghee lamp to Radha Krishna and sing the Damodarastakam.
  • Daily offer lamp to Tulsi devi.
  • Do 4 parikramas (circumbulation) of Tulasi.
  • Devotees should try to do more Harinam Chanting. Do extra rounds and more kirtana.
  • Hear Srimad Bhagavatam, daily in association of exalted Vaisnavas, if possible. 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.
  • Eat only prasadam. There are some food restriction to be followed in the month of Kartik.
  • Daily recite Siksastaka of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
  • Make nice offerings for Krishna. Devotees should observe the festival of Annakuta, Giriraj Govardhan Puja.
  • Associate more with devotees.
  • Practice the celebacy during the month.

Damodarashtakam