What is the month of Damodar?
The glorious month of Karthik or the Damodara month is the month during which the sweet Lord Krishna was bound to the wooden mortar by Mother Yashoda for stealing butter, more than 5000 years ago.‘Damo’ refers to the belly and ‘Udhara’ refers to the ropes. Lord Damodara, although known for his mischiefs, is none other than the Supreme lord himself and this wonderfully sweet pastime denotes that the all merciful Lord allows himself to be bound by unalloyed pure Love.
Srila Prabhupada recommended that devotees perform Vratas during this auspicious month and increase their devotion to Lord Krishna. Hearing more to scriptures, offering ghee lamps to the Lord, increasing ones reading etc are some of the vows devotees commit to during this month.
What do the scriptures say about Damodar Month?
According to various scriptures, the effects and benefits of performing devotional activities during this month is unlimited.
“In the month of Kartik, which is very dear to Sri Hari, one who bathes early in the morning attains the merit of bathing in all places of pilgrimage. Anybody who offers the Lord a ghee lamp in the month of Kartik, O brahmana, becomes free from all kinds of sins, such as killing a brahmana, and he goes to the abode of Lord Hari.” -Brahma Khanda.
As Satya-yuga is the best of yugas, as the Vedas are the best of scriptures, as Ganga is the best of rivers, so Karttika is the best of months, the most dear to Lord Krsna – Skanda Purana
“Suta Goswami says, “If anyone fasts and observes the Kartik-vrata according to the rules and regulations, the Yamadutas, the messengers of Yamaraja, run away from him, just as an elephant runs away by seeing a lion. This dear fast [vrata] of Lord Vishnu is even better than performing one hundred great sacrifices that would take him to heaven because the person who observes the Kartik-vrata goes to the spiritual world.” -Padma Purana
“When one offers a lamp during the month of Karttika, his sins in many thousands and millions of births perish in half an eye blink.” – Skanda Purana
“By offering a lamp during the month of Karttika one attains a pious result ten million times greater than the result obtained by bathing at Kuruksetra during a solar eclipse or by bathing in the river Narmada during a lunar eclipse.- Skanda Purana
“Even if there are no mantras, no pious deeds, and no purity, everything becomes perfect when a person offers a lamp during the month of Karttika.” Skanda Purana
Efforts by the devotee community
To spread the mercy of this auspicious month, devotees from all around the world have started encouraging everyone to show ghee lamp to the sweet Lord. As a preaching method, devotees conduct house programs, public programs, school programs and many more in order to reach out to as many souls as possible to receive the mercy and blessings from lord Damodara. Every year devotees come up with more innovative ideas to reach to the people. Some devotees go door to door, armed with ghee lamps and picture of Lord Damodara. Some devotees organize programs in large scales in public places like shopping mall, bus stands and etc. Like this, with every year, more and more number of souls are benefitting by offering lamps to the lord.
His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on celebrating the Damodar Month:
“We had to keep track how many people are offering, but also to reach out to get to Counsel Groups, Bhakti Vriksha Groups or Namahatta Groups to reach out and also to give them to everybody. They did that in our Kaula Lumpur. First year, they did 500 people. So they felt, “ Oh that’s pretty good.” Next year, they got about 1000. Last year I think they did about 172,000 lamps. Hari bol!(devotees chant). Now, Somebody got an idea that in some flea market outside of some big temple, they do this set up. So he bought one booth where he did a big picture of Damodar and Yashoda of the lila; as you know, there’s a lila in the month of Damodar and so he inaugurated it with Prabhavishnu maharaj and some sannyasis and they started to invite all the people to come and offer the lamp. So like that, he got tens of thousands of people in the market-place to come and offer. So, like this, he really boosted the whole thing. So like that, last year we heard that Damodar Desh in the Middle East reached about 4000 homes for offering and this year their goal is to double it to 8000. So, like this, the Damodar month is a very good opportunity to give people a lot mercy.” (Jayapataka Swami, 21st October 2010, Mumbai)
This beautiful month of Damodara, not only gives us the opportunity to purify ourselves but dive deeper into our own krishna consciousness lives and even better is that it is a great opportunity to preach and spread the mercy to everyone and bring them closer to the Lord!
All glories to Lord Damodara!!