Events Related to Vishnu
Kartik poornima is the birthday of Matsya (fish) Avatar of god Vishnu, . It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the personification of the Tulsi plant. This day also is considered special for Radha. It is believed that Krishna and Radha danced rasa and Krishna worshipped Radha on this day.
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 the fruitful results are even much more. Any philanthropic act on this day is supposed to bring benefits and blessings equal to the performing of ten yajnas (sacrifices).
Kartik Poornima is closely associated with Prabodhini (Kartik) Ekadashi which marks the end of Chaturmas, a four-month period when Vishnu is believed to sleep. Prabodhini Ekadashi signifies the awakening of the god. Chaturmas penance ends on this day. Prabodhini Ekadashi celebrations at Pandharpur begin on Prabodhini Ekadashi end on Kartik Poornima, Kartik Poornima usually being the most important day of the celebrations. Also Kartik Poornima is also the last day to perform Tulsi Vivah ceremony that can be performed on any day from Prabodhini Ekadashi.
In Pushkar, Rajasthan, the Pushkar Fair or Pushkar mela commences on Prabodhini Ekadashi and continues till Kartik Poornima, This fair is held in honour of god Brahma, whose temple stands at Pushkar. A ritual bath on Kartik Poornima in the Pushkar Lake is considered to lead one to salvation.
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". An holy bath at Pushkar or in the Ganges river, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Kartik Poornima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi.The devotees also take a bath in the evening during moonrise.
Tripuri Poornima is only next to Mahashivratri, amongst festivals dedicated to Shiva worship. To commemorate the killing of Tripurasura, images of Shiva are carried in procession. Shiva temples 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 heaven after death. The 720 wicks symbolizes the 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 Shiva temples. This day is also known as "Kartik Diparatna" - the jewel of lamps in Kartik. Lights are also floated in miniature boats in rivers. 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 see the light to attain salvation.
Tripuri Poornima or Tripurari Poornima derives its name from Tripurari - the foe of the demon Tripurasura. In some legends of Kartik Poornima, the term is used to denote the three demon sons of Tarakasur. Tripurari is an epithet of god Shiva. Shiva in his form as Tripurantaka ("Killer of Tripurasura") killed Tripurasura on this day. Tripurasura had conquered the whole world and defeated the gods and also created three cities in space, together 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 declared the day as a festival of illuminations. This day is also called "Dev-Diwali" - the Diwali of the gods. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. There is a chapter on Tripuri Poornima in Skandha Purana in Kartika Masa Mahatmyam.
In Tamil Nadu, Karthikai 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.
Kartik Poornima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi.The devotees also take a bath in the evening during moonrise and offer worship by way of six prayers to Shiva.
This day is also dedicated to the pitrs, dead ancestors.
Read Skandha Purana - Kartika Masa Mahatmyam.in Sanskrit
Essence of Skandha Purana on Kartik Month
Kartika Mahatmya - Iskcon Publication