The Tamil month of Karthigai falls between November 16th to December 15th every year. Known as Vrischika masam – it is the month that lights up every place that is dark. Yes from the first day of Karthigai, it is a practise to light two earthern lamps at the threshold. The entrance to a house is an auspicious place. Sri Nrisimhavathara took place on the steps at the entrance which fulfilled Hiranyakasipu’s condition of ”neither inside nor outside”. That is why this holy spot is cleaned and kolams are drawn on it.
There are several questions about lighting lamps:
- What kind of lamps should we light?
- How many lamps to light?
- Which is the best time to light lamps?
- What medium to be used for lighting lamps?
- Who should light lamps?
If it is affordable golden lamps with lotus wicks can be lit using cow’s ghee. Silver kutthuvillakus with ghee or sesame oil can be lit. Five mukhams can be lit or atleast two should be lit. Brass lamps are as auspicious. Cotton wicks or thread wicks doubled up can be used. Lamps should be lit at dawn and dusk everyday to the chanting of Laksmi stotrams. In the evening, it is a practise to chant Chatusloki of Alavandar. Sri Stuthi chanting ushers in all prosperity. The lamps should be lit by the housewife who is known as Grihalakshmi. The flame should face East-West when two mukhams are lit. When the flame is to be put off the wick should not be touched by hand or blown off. A piece of turmeric or betel leaf can be used. For the festival of Karthigai, rows of earthern lamps are lit all around the house especially in the courtyard, balconies etc. This festival falls on Pournami when the star Krithika is on the ascendant. Vethillai-paku with manjal is given to sumangalis and special offerings are pori urundai, appam etc (Karthigai Special: Pori Urundai, Kadala Urundai & Appam). It is advisable to wear 9 yards traditional attire and offer deepams to Perumal-Piratti.
Karthigai Krithikka is an important day in the SriVaishnava calendar as it marks the Thirunakshatram of Thirumangai Azhwar. This day marks the beginning of Anadhyayana utsavam in SriVaishnava temples. Srirangam is most festive during this period. This year Karthigai Karthikkai lamp festival falls on November 18, 2013 and the Thirunakshatram of Tirumangai Mannan is on December 15, 2013, as there are two Krithikas this month.
At Srirangam, it is a practise to light Sahasra Deepams (thousand lamps) infront of different sannidhis according to the nakshatram of the deity. For example, on Revathi, which is Sri Ranganatha’s star, Sahasra Deepams are lit in front of Sri Ranganatha Sannidhi. When the star is Utthiram, sahasra deepams are offered at Thayar Sannidhi, when the star is Chitra, sahasra deepams are offered at Chakrathazhwar Sannidhi. At KatuAzhagiasingar, sahasra deepams are offered every Sunday and on Swathi. At Dasavathara Sannidhi, Karthigai Hastham is when sahasra deepams are offered. Let us all light lamps of Gnanam and end darkness. Let Karthigai Deepams light up everyone’s life with meaning and purpose and spread happiness all around.
Courtesy: Smt Vyjayanthi Sundararajan