In 2012, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation with instrumental in convincing the then Honorable Minister of Endowments of Andhra Pradesh, Sri C. Ramachandraiah to declare Karthik Purnima as Nadula Arthi Day across the state. The Government of Andhra Pradesh issued G. O. (Government Order) requiring the major Hindu Temples close to the sacred rivers in the State to conduct Arthi to the rivers. Krishna, Godavari, and Tungabhadra rivers are identified as the major sacred rivers where the Arthi will be offered annually. In 2012 more than 15 locations were identified to do Nadula Arthi. More than ten lakh Hindu devotees attended the Karthik Purnima festival, took dip in the sacred rivers and offered Karthik Deepam. Almost all the TV channels and many newspapers had covered the Nadula Arthi festival. Some devotees traveled hundreds of kilometers to attend this unique festival.
Later the then Endowment Minister Sri P. Manikyala Rao in 2016 expanded the event to Daily Arthi to Godavari and Krishna Rivers. It is done similar to the Arthi in Ganga River in Kashi.
Festivals play a vital role in the lives of Hindus who make plans for days to conduct the festivals with faith, gusto, and commitment in order to maintain and practice their rich cultural tradition. In India, each festival has a special significance, and it is also associated with many stories. Puranas, Itihasasa and other scriptures describe the astrological location of the cosmos, it’s effect on the human beings, and the benefits one would accrue by conducting certain worship services. The stories associated with these festivals have spiritual significance. In fact, these festivals invigorate the inner meaning of life and elevate the divine element in each human being. Participation in these festivals reinforces the presence of God in one’s own life and ignites the awareness of the interconnectedness of the Panchabhutas that includes every known element in the universe.
Why offer Arthi to Sacred Rivers on Karthik Purnima.
For Hindus, lighting Deepam, worshipping rivers, and Karthik Purnima have special meaning and significance. Hindu scriptures are replete with the information on all these rituals. India is rich with customs and traditions. Everything is connected, ever thing has meaning, everything has relevance, everything is divine, and everything has importance.
Skanda Purana and Padma Purana have glorified the month of Karthik Masa:
Skanda Purana states:
Karthik khaluvaimasamsarva, masesucauttamam
punyanam paramam punyam, pavananamca pavanam
The month of Karthik is the topmost of all other months. It is the most meritorious and purified of all other pure months.
Padma Purana also talks about the importance of Karthik Masa:
Dvadasu apimase su kartikah Krsna valabhah
tasmin sampujito visnur alpakair apy upayanaih
dadati vaisnavam lokam iti, evam niscitam maya
Among all twelve months, the month of Karthik is dear to Lord Krishna. If somebody performs a little worship of Lord Sri Hari in this month, that devotee is offered His own abode.
Significance of Kartika Masa and Rudrabhishekam
Out of all the months in Dakshinayana, Karthika Masa is best suited for Sadhana. Any austerity, be it a pooja, charity, penance etc. performed during the Karthika Masam is more meritorious than one performed on ordinary days. Any austerity performed during the month of Karthika would help the sadhakas to free themselves from all sins and leads them towards moksha. This year (2020) November 29th happens to be Kartika Pournami day. Kartika Pournami tithi is very auspicious; worshipping Lord Shiva leads to Moksha. Puranas state that on Karthika pournami Lord Shiva kílled Tripurasuras and protected the world. Devotees of Lord Shiva perform the Rudrabhishekam for the whole month of Karthika Masam to please Lord Shiva. Performing Rudrabhishekam bestows one with health, wealth and happiness and offers protection against enemies, negativity, and evil.
Significance of Karthik Deepam
Deepam is light. It is lit every day in many houses in the morning and evening. Symbolically, light evokes Chaitanya (consciousness). It is considered the source of knowledge, remover of darkness, eradicator of ignorance, and germinator of higher ideals. Whenever the knowledge is awakened, the negative Vasanas are slowly eliminated while new seeds (Vasanas) are sown for this and next life. Also, the light always burns upwards implying that one should grow upward better living. Hindus also light the lamp before starting any auspicious event. In fact, Hindus call it Divya Deepam – Divine Lamp.
Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi Peetham aptly documented the significance of offering earthen lamps to the sacred river in Karthik Masa. The sloka given in the shastraas is as follows:
keedaa: patangaa: masagaascha vrukchaa: jale stale ye nivasanti jeevaa: I
drushtvaa pradeepam na cha janma baajaa bavanti nityam svabasaa hi vipraa: II
This means, “We pray that, whosoever sees this lamp that we are lighting, they be worms, birds or mosquitoes or trees and such plants; all life forms which live in water or on earth; or may be human beings of whatever caste or creed; seeing this light may have the effect on them that all their sins are washed away and they may transcend the cycle of life and death and reach everlasting happiness”!
It is customary to start our daily prayers as well as any major functions by lighting an Oil lamp by chanting this sloka:
Subham Karoti Kalyanam,
Arogyam Dhana Sampadah,
Shatru Buddhi Vinashaya
Deepa Jyotir Namostute.
“I salute the One who lights the lamp that brings auspiciousness; prosperity, good health, abundance of wealth, and the destruction of the intellect’s enemy (These 6 enemies are Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya)’.
After lighting the lamp, we also chant the following sloka or prayer:
Deepo me haratupaapam,
Deepa Jyothir Namostute
“I salute the Brahman, the sustainer of the creation, in the form of this light. I salute the Lord, may He destroy afflictions resulting from my omissions and commissions.”
People who Lights up a Deepam in Karthika Masam will receive the blessings of Pitrudevatulu (our ancestors) and also the blessings of SIVA and VISHNU. It is recommended that the Deepam be lighted up only in Mud Plates (Matti Pramidas).
The wick represents body; the ghee represents purity and clarity. When the wick is lit, it stands for illumination. Similarly, an individual should serve as wick to illuminate others and should not be selfish. Just the way light removes darkness, individual efforts should be directed to get rid of ignorance and exuberate knowledge.
To celebrate the killing of Tripurasura, images of Lord Shiva are carried in procession. Temple complexes in Southern India are lit up throughout the night. People offer Deepam consisting of 360 wicks in the Temples to secure escape from reaching hell after death. Some people offer 720 wicks to symbolize 360 days and nights. In Varanasi, the Ghats come alive with thousands of diyas (brightly lit earthen lamps. The Deepas (lamps) are kept throughout the night in houses and Temples, especially Shiva temples. This day is also known as "Karthik Diparatna" - the jewel of lamps in Karthik. On this day Deepas are offered to the sacred rivers. It is sight to see so many Deepas floated in the rivers.
A ritual bath at a Tirtha (a sacred water body like a lake or river) at a pilgrimage center is prescribed on Karthik Purnima. This holy bath is known as "Karthik snana". A holy bath at Pushkara or in the Ganges River, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Karthik Purnima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi.
In Karthi Masa (month) Ganga Mata (Goddess Ganga) enters into all the rivers, canals, ponds and wells and makes them as sacred as Ganga. Hence taking bath in any rivers on this day is as good as taking bath in Ganges.
According to some scientific reports, water will acquire more magnetic power from Earth and will be stored in water before the Sunrise in Karthik Masa. Anybody, who takes bath in flowing water, is relieved of stomach problems, liver disorder, and other health related problems.
Also, in this month, Lord Vishnu, who goes to sleep on Ashadha Suddha Ekadashi, wakes-up on Karthik suddha ekadashi. Ayyappa Deeksha is also taken in Karthik Masam.
Importance of Karthik Purnima
Na kaarthika samo masa
Na Deva Kesavaatparam
Nacha Vedasamam Shaastram
Na Teerdham Gangayaasamam
"There is no month that is equal to Karthik Masa, there is no god equivalent to Lord Kesava (Sri Hari), there is no scripture equal to Vedas, and there is no Teerdha equal to Holy Ganges."
According to Padma Purana, anyone, who performance pujas in the Karthik Masa, will amass more merit than conducting them at other months. These merits are more powerful than even the study of Vedas and performance of japa, charity, and austerity.
Karthik Purnima is also called Tripuri Purnima. In some legends Tripurasura, a demon king, had conquered the whole world, defeated the Gods, and created three Puras (cities), also called "Tripura". The killing of the demon(s) and destruction of his/their cities with a single arrow by Shiva overjoyed the gods and they pronounced the day as a festival of illuminations. Since Lord Shiva killed three sons of Tripurasura on Karthik Purnima day, it is called Deva Diwali – the Diwali of Gods.
Karthik Purnima is also the birthday of Lord Vishnu in Matsya Avatara -Vishnu's fish-incarnation. It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the personification of the Tulsi plant and of Karthikeya, the god of war and son of Shiva. This day also is considered dear to Radha, the lover of Krishna - Vishnu's incarnation. It is believed that Krishna and Radha danced rasa and Krishna worshipped Radha on this day.
Padma Purana elaborately describes the importance and glorious attributes of Tulasi plant in thirty chapters. Tulasi is very special for the followers of Vaishnava tradition. "Just by looking at Tulasi, all of one's sins are removed. Just by touching Her, one's body becomes purified. All diseases are removed by praying to Her. Watering Her destroys fear of death. Just by planting or transplanting Her, one achieves realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If someone offers Her leaves at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, Tulasi will award liberation and devotion to Lord Sri Krsna."
Encourage your friends and relatives
GHHF strongly recommends our readers to encourage all their friends and relatives, who live in and around these cities, to participate in Arthi to Sacred Rivers initiative. Hindu society will be enriched spiritually and religiously by their full participation in this Arthi. Hindus can make their religion more vibrant, dynamic, colorful, energetic, lively and active by participating in their festivals.