The month of Kartika is one of the most auspicious months in the Vedic lunar calendar. The lunar calendar has been divided into Dakshin Ayana (winter solstice) and Uttarayana (Summer Solstice). Kartika Month comes under Dakshin Ayana. Out of the two “ayanas,” Dakshinayana is set aside for Sadhana, which is a process by which one would achieve salvation. Out of all the months in Dakshinayana, Kartika Month is the best suited for Sadhana. Hence, Kartika Month is one of the most auspicious months of the Vedic lunar calendar.
The most important significance of Kartika Month is that both Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu will also be worshiped during Kartika Month in the form of “Kartika Daamodara.” During Kartika Month, it helps the devotee to understand and embrace within themselves that there is no difference between Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva and that both are one.
The most important ritual of the month of Kartika is the lighting of the Diya or lamp. During Kartika Month, diyas are lit and placed in front of the Tulasi plant and near the house’s main entrance before sunrise and just before sunset. Temples light a Diya and bring it to the top of the Dhwaja Sthambam (flagstaff) in the temple and tie it there on Kartika Purnima/Pournami. This diya is called the Akasa Deepam.
Kartika Pournima is celebrated similarly to Diwali, in that the whole house is decorated with diyas. Crackers are also burnt on this day. Bathing in a river or Nadi Snanam is another essential practice done during the month of Kartika. The rivers receive freshwater during the monsoon season, which is comprised of Shravan and Bhadrapada Months. Because the riverbanks overflow during these months, bathing in the rivers is prohibited during this time. However, the rivers return to a calm state as Kartika Month begins.
In addition, the Moon during the Sharad Ritu (Autumn) is a special one. Sharad Ritu (Autumn) is known for the Moonlight. Sharad Ritu comprises Aswayuja or Ashwin month and Kartika Month. Throughout Aswayuja Month, rivers absorb the energy from the Moon. By bathing in these rivers during Kartika Month, one can absorb this energy from the river. Therefore, it is mandated that one should perform Nadi Snanam during the month of Kartika.
This month is a very auspicious month to give offerings to Lord Siva. Throughout the entire month, the Yagyas are divided into four specials weekly Yagyas. You may choose to participate for the whole month for collective benefits, or you may choose to participate in weekly Yagyas for the specific desired effects. Your participation in these Yagyas will be very influential in your personal and professional lives during these trying times.
I wish you all a happy and auspicious month of Kartika.