Kartika month is considered very auspicious and the full moon day or Purnima day of the Kartika month is celebrated as Dev Deepawali – Diwali of Gods. The day is also known as Raas Purnima and Tripuri Purnima.
Kartik Purnima festival also coincides with Sri Guru Nanak’s birthday and Jain light festival. Kartik Purnima is also the last day to perform the Tulsi Vivah ceremony that can be performed from Prabodhini Ekadashi. The day is a public holiday in Odisha state.
Rasa Purnima in 2021 will fall on 18th November, Thursday.
The month of Kartik or Damodar Maas is very dear to the devotees of Krishna because it is very dear to Lord Krishna. In Sanskrit, “dama” means rope, and “udara” means belly. Damodara refers to Krishna who was bound with a rope by His mother Yashoda.
On Rasa Purnima, Lord Krishna Performed the Rasa dance with gopis approximately five thousand years ago. The divine form of Bhakti is ‘Rasa’ where the entire ‘Kunja bana’ dance with the sweetest tune of Krishna’s flute. Folk dances are organized based on scenes from the life of Krishna.
This day also marks the victory of Lord Shiva over three demons Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana hence also called Tripuri Purnima.
In Odisha people make miniature boats from banana stems are set afloat on Rasa Purnima. Also, Odia people celebrate this to remember and recall the old tradition of doing business in Boita (a gigantic boat) in other countries.
As the Bhagavata Purana has it, on the ‘Kartika-Purnima’, Krishna, dragged by the inciting splendor of the full shining moon turning Yamuna’s sandy banks into a molten mass of silver, reached the Yamuna and under his favorite ‘Kadamba’ tree began playing on his flute.
The enchanting melody, emitting from his flute, reached far and wide and into the ears of the ‘gopis’. Their husbands opposed, but against their husbands’ will they left homes. They knew not who they were and what had dragged them out of their abodes.
Their feet moved first to take them to the Yamuna and then to dance. They danced, each one desiring that Krishna danced with her singly and with her alone. Then, Krishna multiplied himself into as many forms as were ‘gopis’ and danced with them singly and in a group.
We cannot understand the affairs of the spiritual world on the basis of our experience in the material world. The parakiya-rasa of the spiritual world should not be discussed, except by one who is very advanced in pure devotional service. The parakiya-rasa in the spiritual world and that in the material world are not comparable.
Traditions of Rasa Purnima
During this whole month, Hindus refrain from eating fish, meat, and egg. People wake up early, bathe and visit temples. They then swarm near water bodies to set afloat toy boats made of Paper and Banana stem with diyas, flowers, beetle leaves (Pan), milk, supari, and coins to mark the rich maritime legacy of ancient Odisha.
The last five days of this month are considered more sacred, in which there is wide participation of devotees. Together these days are called ‘Panchuka’ and the last day is Kartika Purnima.
Devotees from all around the world come to Vrindavan throughout this month to spiritually surcharge themselves so they could proceed to preach Krishna consciousness all around the world.