Kartika Vrata

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - September 29, 2006 7:18 pm

OK, time is coming, get your sankalpas ready!


According to my calculation, vrata declaration should be done on the morning of October 3ed (Pasankusa Ekadasi), and vrata should be completed on November 2nd with breaking fast for Utthana Ekadasi. Last five days (October 28th - November 1st) is Bhisma-pancaka. Bhrigu, please verify.

Note: Fourth month of Caturmasya actually begins on October 6th (Purnima).

Vamsidhari Dasa - September 30, 2006 9:58 pm

Can you explain this a bit more? I thought that the vrata is done for the month of Kartika Oct 6 th to Nov 5 according to the calendar I have. Is there a difference between declaration of the vrata and begining of observance? What are we supposed to do for Bhisma-pancaka?


:Big Grin:

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - October 1, 2006 4:50 am

The last 5 days of the month of Kartika are traditionally known as the Bhishma-panchaka. In the Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa, it is said that if one is capable, one should observe fasting from certain foodstuffs on the Bhishma-panchaka for the pleasure of the Lord. This is optional. According to the Padma Purana, this vow means to take only:

1st day -- Water

2nd day -- Milk

3d day -- Yoghurt

4th day -- Ghee

5th day -- Full fast


Now about dates. According to the calendar you are using, Bhisma-pancaka should start on November 1st, but with Caturmasya ending on November 4th Bhisma-pancaka would contain only 4 days, not five like required. Besides if Bhisma-pancaka starts on Ekadasi day then how could one properly break the Ekadasi fast? So, Kartika vrata should start on Pasankusa Ekadasi and be broken (with the Ekadasi-vrata) in the morning of November 2nd after Utthana Ekadasi.


Where is our paka brahmana? Bhrigupada?

Bhrigu - October 1, 2006 5:43 pm

Here I am! I have been out in the countryside for a couple of days, breathing the fresh autumn air and picking berries with my father. I got back late yesterday evening and have today performed a grihapravesha-homa. But now I'm back on TV!


Regarding the dates, it all depends on when you begun your Caturmasya-vrata, of which Bhisma-pancaka is the last and most intense part. In the HBV, you start Caturmasya on Sayana Dvadasi. That means that the last month of Caturmasya will begin on next Dvadasi (Wednesday over here). Otherwise, you can begin Caturmasya on the full-moon day after Sayana Dvadasi, and then the last month begins also on Purnima (Friday). Both are allowed, even though the HBV favours the first, and if you want to follow Bhisma-pancaka you would have to follow that.


In other words, you should take your vows for Damodara-vrata (a.k.a Urja-vrata or Niyama-seva) either in the morning on Wednesday (not on Tuesday, Ekadasi!) or Friday, and then complete them one month later.


It is good that you brought this up, Nandatanuja, so that we have time to plan good vratas for this year. The name Niyama-seva refers to the fact that this part of the year is one time when you can please Krishna by accepting extra regulations. I haven't decided all of mine yet, but at least I will refrain from Urad dal (that's mandatory) and sweets. It is also usual to take up some extra devotional practices. The HBV recommends especially chanting the Damodarastaka and offering ghee-lamps to Damodara daily. I will do that + read at least one chapter of the Bhagavatam daily + maybe something else. What have you planned, Nandatanuja? Will you do the full Bhisma-pancaka?

Vamsidhari Dasa - October 1, 2006 6:02 pm

OK This is helpful

Thank you for the explanation and clarification.


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - October 1, 2006 6:32 pm

One more clarifcation: 3 Oct 2006, Tusday is a Trisprsa Mahadvadasi which coincides with fasting for Pasankusa Ekadasi in California, so for our location you should take your vows Tusday morning.

Now regarding vrata itself, I will not go into specifics, but I'll try to go as austere as I can, and definitely do Bhisma-pancaka, especially because of Vrindavan pilgrimage in February. Need to do a little cleaning, if you know what I mean :Party:

Bhrigu - October 13, 2008 5:13 pm

At least here in Finland, Kartika begins tomorrow, so it is about time to think about what vratas to take this year. The standard ones are singing the Damodarastaka and offering Damodara a lamp daily, but this is a great opportunity for quicker spiritual process by accepting different kinds of niyamas, extra restrictions or practices. In Vrindavan, many do parikrama of Radha Damodara daily, chant more rounds, refrain from their favourite foods, take cold baths or the like. Generally, it is not recommended that one reveal these vratas, but perhaps we could enthuse each other and give each other examples by doing so here within our TV family? With our baby daughter taking much of our time at present, I don't dare take very complicated vows, but I plan to daily


1. Do the things mentioned above + sing one of the yama-kirtanas

2. Read from one of Swami's books, beginning with Siksastakam

3. Not say one bad word about any devotee

4. Not eat any sweets except on Vaishnava festivals

Rama-priya - October 13, 2008 6:20 pm

Yes, at last Damodara Masa is coming! I couldn't wait to sing Damodarastaka. I wish all of You happy Karika!!

Shreekrishna - October 13, 2008 11:02 pm

I did cold showers last year for the whole month... every shower was a cold one... it was enlivening on many levels!


I think this year I'll actually read the Damodarashtaka prayers (instead of listening to a recording)... I think that'll be more personal. I also plan to invite Tulsi Devi into my home (I get the grow lights this week!). Taking care of Tulsi is one of the activities recommended during this month, so I thought I'd take up the challenge...


A smaller austerity... no television on ekadasis of Kartik... now that's real devotion! :-D