|Kartik is the best, the purest of purifiers, and most glorious of all months. Kartik month is particularly dear to Lord Sri Krishna. This month is full of bhakta vatsalya. Any vrata, even the smallest, will yield huge results. The effect of performing a Kartik Vrata lasts for one hundred lifetimes, whereas ordinary vratas only last for one lifetime!
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Essence is to do more devotional practice during this month.
Those who have not started one month long Kartik Vrata from Ekadasi, can start after Purnima. Kartik starts in west from Oct 27th. They can still end it on Utthan Ekadashi on 22nd Nov and observe the festival of the appearance day of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharaj. Optionally they can observe the Bhisma Panchak for next five days till Purnima.
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math observe the intense sadhana of eight period of devotional service as mentioned in the Bhajan Rahasya. Srila Gurudev recommends that everyone should try to come for the Kartik Vrata observance, at-least for few days. They can go to any branch of the math near to them. For the devotees not living near the Math, Srila Gurudev recommends the following practices for Kartik Vrata. Everybody should try to follow at-least some portion of it according to their capacity.
1. Daily offer a ghee lamp to Krishna and sing the Damodarastakam, meditating on meaning. Srila Guru Maharaj has translated the Damodarastakam in English. It is included in the Kartik Handbook.
2. One should always remember Supreme Lord Hari. Devotees should try to do more Harinam Chanting. Do extra rounds and more kirtana.
3. Hear Srimad Bhagavatam, daily in association of exalted Vaisnavas, if possible. All other duties should be given up in favor of hearing the scriptures from sadhus during this month. It is most beneficial to recite and read Gajendra Moksha Lila-stava from 8th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, which teaches complete surrender/dependence of Supreme Lord.
4. Eat only prasadam. There are some food restriction to be followed in the month of Kartik.
5. Daily recite Siksastaka of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and meditate on its meaning. Read the commentary on Sikastaka by Bhaktivinode Thakur as recommended by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. In the Bhajan Rahasya translation, Srila Gurudev has covered the commentary of Sikastaka. (In Kartik Handbook)
6. Daily Read the the Updeshamrata of Srila Rupa Goswami as recommended by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada.
7. Daily offer lamp to Tulsi devi and pray for eternal residence in Vrndavana and eternal service of the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna. Do 4 parikrama (circumbulation) of Tulasi.
8. Make nice offerings for Krishna. Devotees should observe the festival of Annakuta, Giriraj Govardhan Puja. Srila Gurudev has written about the the Giriraj Goverdhan in Kartik Handbook.
9. Associate more with devotees.
10. 22 Nov 2004 Monday is the 100th Appearance Day of Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj, the founder-acharya of Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math. All devotees should observe that.