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Kartik Purnima - History

BY Mr Shiv Sagar June 12,2020
Kartik Purnima - History

Kartik Purnima – History

Kartik Purnima, Kartika Purnima

Kartik Purnima History – Kartik Purnima holds equal importance to both Hindu and Jain sects, celebrated on the Poornima (full moon) day or the fifteenth lunar day of Kartik (November–December). It is also known as Tripuri Poornima. The festival is also renowned as Deva-Deepawali – the festival of lights of the gods, in many regions.

Religional Celebration:

Hinduism: Tripuri Poornima derives its name from Tripurari i.e., the foe of Tripurasur. According to Hindu scriptures: this day of Kartik Purnima, Bhagwan Shiv eliminated the demonic sons of Tarkasur and since then, he is also known as Tripurari among his devotees. Shiv in his form as Tripurantaka (“Killer of Tripurasur”) killed Tripurasur, the triad of three demon brothers who had conquered the whole world and defeated the devas.

They created three cities/planets in space, together called “Tripura“. The killing of the demons and destruction of their cities/planets with a single arrow – by Shiv finally liberated the devas of their agony. They declared the day as a festival of illuminations. Thence the day is also known as “Dev-Diwali”, the Diwali of devas.

Kartik Poornima is also noted as the day of Matsya, Bhagwan Vishnu‘s first-incarnation (avatar). It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the personification of the Tulsi plant and of Kartikey, the lord of war and son of Shiv. This day also is considered special for Radha, the lover of Krishn – Vishnu’s incarnation. It is believed that Krishn and Radha performed ras-leela and Krishn worshipped Radha on this day. This day is also dedicated to the pitrs, dead ancestors.

''The festival has even more significance when the day falls in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) Krittika and is then called Maha Kartik. The nakshatra is Bharani, the results are stated to be special. If it is Rohini nakshatra, then it benefits people much more. Any philanthropic act on this day is supposed to bring benefits and blessings equal to the performing of ten yagyas.''

Kartik Poornima is closely associated with Prabodhini Ekadashi which marks the end of Chaturmas, a four-month period when Vishnu is believed to sleep. Prabodhini Ekadashi signifies the awakening of Bhagwan. Chaturmas penance ends on this day. Many fairs that begin on Prabodhini Ekadashi end on Kartik Poornima, Kartik Poornima usually being the most important day of the fair. 

Fairs that conclude on this day include Prabodhini Ekadashi celebrations at Pandharpur and Pushkar Fair. Kartik Poornima is also the last day to perform Tulsi Vivah ceremony that can be performed from Prabodhini Ekadashi.Also, it is believed that Vishnu, on this day, returns to his abode after completing his stay in Pataal, Asur King Bali’s abode.

A ritual bath at a tirtha (a sacred water body like a lake or river) at a pilgrimage centre is prescribed on Kartik Poornima. This holy bath is known as “Kartik snana”. A holy bath at Pushkar or in the Ganges, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Kartik Poornima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi. Annakuta, an offering of food to the deities, is held in temples. People who have taken vows on Ashvin full moon day, end them on Kartik Poornima.

''On this occasion temple complexes in southern India are lit up throughout the night. Deepmalas or towers of lights are illuminated in temples. People place 360 or 720 wicks in temples, to secure escape reaching hell after death. The 720 wicks symbolize 360 days and nights of the Hindu calendar. In Varanasi, the ghats come alive with thousands of diyas (brightly lit earthen lamps). People gift lamps to priests. ''

The lamps are kept throughout the night in houses and Shiv temples. This day is also known as “Kartik Diparatna” – the jewel of lamps in Kartik. Lights are also floated in miniature boats in rivers; it is believed to be very auspicious. Lights are placed under Tulsi, Sacred fig and Amla trees. The lights in the water and under trees are believed to help fishes, insects and birds who saw the light to attain salvation.

In Tamil NaduKarthikai Deepam is celebrated where the Poornima corresponds to the Krittika nakshastra. People light rows of lamps on their balconys. In Tiruvannamalai, a ten-day annual festival is held to celebrate Karthikai Deepam. In Telugu households of Andhra PradeshTelangana, Kaartheeka maasam (month) is considered very auspicious. The Kartheeka month starts on the day of Deepawali.

''From that day till the end of the month, oil lamps are lit every day. On Kartheeka Pournami (full moon of Kartheeka month) oil lamp with 365 wicks, prepared at home, are lit in Lord Shiv temples. Apart from that, Kaartheeka puranam is read and fasting is observed till sunset, every day for the whole month. Swaminarayan Sampraday also celebrates this day with faith and fervor.''

Jainism: Kartik Poornima is an important religious day for Jains who celebrate it by visiting Palitana a Jain pilgrimage centre. Thousands of Jain pilgrims flock to the foothills of Shatrunjay hills of Palitana taluka on the day of Kartik Poornima to undertake the auspicious yatra (journey).

Also known as the Shri Shantrunjay Teerth Yatra, this walk is an important religious event in the life of a Jain devotee, who covers 216 km of rough mountainous terrain on foot to worship at the Lord Adinath temple atop the hill. Considered to be a very auspicious day for Jains, the day also assumes more significance for the walk, as the hills, which are closed to the public during the four months of Chaturmas, are then opened for the devotees on Kartik Poornima.

The day of Kartik Poornima is very significant in Jainism. As devotees are kept away from worshipping their lord for four months of the monsoon season, the first day attracts the maximum number of devotees. Jains believe that Adinath, the first tirthankara, sanctified the hills by visiting it to deliver his first sermon. According to Jain texts, millions of sadhus and sadhvis have attained salvation on these hills.

Sikhism: There are no auspicious days in Sikhism. Any month, day or moment a person remembers the Divine is considered auspicious. Guru Nanak was born on 1 Vaisakh, April 14, according to the (Sikh) Nanakshahi calendar. It happened to be a full-moon night. Nanakpanthi Hindus and other followers of Guru Nanak’s philosophy celebrate this festival on Kartik Poornima, according to the (Hindu) Bikrami calendar.

''Kartik Poornima is celebrated as Gurupurab or Prakash Parva that is Guru Nanak Jayanti World.''


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