by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Directions for Karttikavrata which is chapter 6 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the sixth chapter of the Karttikamasa-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1. Listen, O Nārada, I shall mention (the details about) the great Kārttikavrata, on hearing which you will be absolved of all sins and attain salvation.
2-1. At the advent of the Kārttika month one should avoid all prohibited things. Anointing the body with oil, consuming oil, partaking of other people’s food, fruits with many seeds, leguminous grains etc. should be avoided in the month of Kārttika. There is no doubt about this.
One who observes the Kārttikavrata shall avoid pot-gourd, turnip, brinjal, Solarium indicum linn (known as Ḍorle in Marathi), stale cooked food, burnt rice or parched grain, Masūrī variety of pulse, taking food twice, liquor, taking food from other people, taking food in a bell-metal vessel, Unguis doratus, Masūra pulse, mushroom gruel, foul-smelling substances, group-food, food offered by courtesans, food offered by village sacrificer (offerer of sacrifices or conductor of ceremonies for every villager—even of the undeserving one), food offered by Śūdras or contaminated by Śūdras, food polluted on account of recent child-birth, food from Śrāddha, food offered during domestic festivals, viz. consummation of marriage, post-natal rites and naming ceremony, the Śleṣmāntaka fruit (Cordia latifolia, called Bhokar in Marathi).
8. The devotee should not take food on forbidden leaves. In the holy Tīrtha Puṣkara the devotee should never take food on the (leaves of) following trees: Madhu (a sort of citron), trumpet tree, plantain tree, jujube tree, Plakṣa (Ficus infcctoria) and Makūṭikā(?)
9. In the month of Kārttika one who takes Vanabhojana (food beneath the Emblica officinalis tree in a garden) goes to the great world of the discus-bearing Lord Viṣṇu.
10. Bath should be taken early in the morning and Hari should be worshipped. O sage, listening to the story (of the Lord) in the month of Kārttika is praiseworthy.
12-13. Gifts of plantain fruits, the fruits of Emblica officinalis, garments to a Brāhmaṇa distressed due to cold, gift of vegetables etc. and particularly of cooked food and the gifts of Śālagrāma (with a Cakra within) to a Brāhmaṇa—all these are to be made.
15. One who worships the Lover of Kamalā (goddess of fortune) with lotus-flowers acquires merit. There is no doubt about it.
16. One who devoutly offers a Tulasī leaf to Viṣṇu in the month of Kārttika, becomes liberated from worldly existence and goes to the great region of Viṣṇu.
18. If a person makes a gift of a conch marked with discus, his sins perish merely by means of that gift. There is no doubt about this.
19. If a person regularly reads the Gītā in the month of Kārttika which Viṣṇu likes well, it is not possible to recount the fruit of his merit even in hundreds of years.
20. He who regularly listens to Śrīmad Bhāgavata, becomes liberated from all sins and attains the greatest bliss.
21. He who observes fast on the eleventh lunar day, abstaining from all types of food, is liberated from the sins committed in the previous birth. There is no doubt about it.
22. By talcing in the Naivedya of Śālagrāma (i.e. eatables offered to Śālagrāma), one shall attain the fruit of crores of Yajñas. If one takes in the Naivedya of any other deity he should perform the expiatory rite of Cāndrāyaṇa.
23. A man who rings the bell at the time of the worship of the Lord, gives greatest satisfaction to Had. There is no doubt about it.
24. One who abstains from (taking in) other people’s food in the month of Kārttika for the propitiation of Viṣṇu, secures the greatest satisfaction of Dāmodara.
25. If a person devoutly worships a guest who comes to his house at the proper time and who is tired due to continuous walking along the path, that holy rite is conducive to the destruction of thousands of births.
27. If a person sees Brāhmaṇas devoted to the Lord but does not meet them eagerly (and does not honour them) by approaching them, Hari does not accept his worship for a period of twelve years.
28. After hearing someone who speaks ill of the Lord and of the people devoted to him, if a person does not go away from that place, he is also not a favourite of Lord Hari.
29. If a person circumambulates Keśava in Kārttika, he obtains the fruit of a horse-sacrifice for every step. There is no doubt about it.
30. If a person prostrates in front of Keśava like a long rod in the month of Kārttika, he secures the fruit of Rājasūyas and horse-sacrifices. There is no doubt about it.
31. O tiger among Brāhmaṇas, if a person feeds (his) family with great devotion, his merit is infinite.
32. If a man commits adultery in the month of Kārttika, it is impossible to say where (and when) his sins will come to an end.
33. If the sectarian mark made on the forehead with clay of Tulasī is seen in a person, even Yama dares not to look at him, what to speak of his Messengers!
34. A green leaf, or a bit of salt or whatever one has, should be gifted away in the month of Kārttika for the sake of the propitiation of the Lord having the Śārṅga bow.
35. These are the various pious activities. They are pleasing to Viṣṇu when performed in the month of Kārttika. One shall perform these rites which cause satisfaction to the Lord. One should do them in accordance with one’s capacity.
36. For the purpose of propitiating Hari one has to abandon certain objects one may like much. At the end of the month they must be given to an excellent Brāhmaṇa for the sake of the completion of the Vrata.
37. On one side there are all the Vratas (holy rites) and on the other side there is Satyavrata (the holy vow of truthfulness) alone. Therefore one should always endeavour by all means to speak the truth.
38. In regard to other holy rites, entitlement to perform them is subject to family and caste distinctions. But in regard to the holy rites of the Kārttika Vrata, all the people are equally entitled.
39. If the rite of Gogrāsa (offering a morsel of grass or food to a cow as an ancillary to an expiatory rite) is performed by people in the month of Kārttika, even Pitāmaha (God Brahmā) is incapable of recounting the fruit of their merit.
40. If, in the month of Kārttika, anyone sweeps the temple of Viṣṇu in the morning, his abode in Vaikuṇṭha is firmly ensured.
41. If a person gifts away plenty of firewood and timber for the purposes of holy rites, his merit does not perish even in the course of hundreds of crores of Kalpas.
42. If a person plasters or whitewashes the temple of Viṣṇu in Kārttika or paints pictures on the walls, he rejoices in the presence of Viṣṇu.
43. If taxes are levied on temples or holy Tīrthas by vicious kings and if some people come forward and pay them off, their merit is eternal.
45-47. At Vārāṇasī the devotees should stay for three years and perform Kārttikavrata along with the ancillary rites and observances. They should perform it with great devotion. They will enjoy the fruit thereof in this very world directly, such as affluence, progeny, fame, pious mind and activities.
They should avoid garlic, meat, beds, Śṛṅga (a kind of medicinal plant called Jīvaka), Sauvīraka (jujube fruit), Rājika (grains of Senapis ramosa) and articles causing madness. They shall eschew beaten rice.
48. The devotee observing Kārttikavrata should avoid Dhātrīphala (Emblica officinalis) on Sundays. He should not go to alien lands except to the holy places (in them).
49. One who observes Kārttikavrata should avoid derogatory remarks about Devas, Vedas, Brāhmaṇas, preceptors, cows, those who observe Vratas, women, kings and great men.
50.. On the Naraka Caturdaśī day (fourteenth lunar day) the devotee may take oil bath. He should avoid oil bath on other days in the month of Kārttika. He should avoid radish, pumpkin, lotus stalk, the wood-apple.
51. The person who observes the Vrata shall not speak to a woman in her menses, to a Śūdra, a barbarian, a fallen fellow, a person who does not perform Vratas, those who hate Brāhmaṇas, and those who are excluded from the Vedas.
52. A person who performs this Vrata should not eat what is seen by these people or by crows, food polluted on account of recent childbirth, what is twice cooked and burned (parched) grain.
53-55a. Beginning with the first lunar day the devotee should avoid the following things in due order everyday: pumpkin, egg fruit, Taruṇī(?), radish, Bilva fruit, Kaliṅga(?), Dhātrīphala (Emblica officinalis), coconut, pot-gourd, snake-gourd, brinjal, Khurja fruit, Cavalī(?) (probably a kind of pulse (cf Marathi Cavaḷī), basil plant as cooked vegetable.
55b-56. In this manner in Māgha too the devotee should maintain the various pious observances.
Even the four-faced Lord Brahmā is not capable of recounting the merit of a person observing Kārttikavrata in the manner it has been laid down.
Footnotes and references:
A holy shrine at Vārāṇasī.
Several plants such as Wrightia antidysenteria are given in the dictionary but the specific fruit implied here is not clear.