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November 27, 2012

Karthika Poornima

Image depicting lamps lit in a pond/koneru
 at  Tirupati  on the eve of Karthika Poornima
Karthika Poornima is also celebrated to felicitate Lord Shiva & Lord Vishnu as They defeated demon foe Tripurasura ,hence the Tripura Poornima name also came into existence.
According to Puranas Tripurasura one of the demon king is said to gain a  boon from Lord Ganesha, Tripurasura, who became indestructible, grew into an evil force and defeated all the kings of Earth and the Gods in Heaven. According to Lord Ganesha’s boon, Tripurasura could be killed only by Lord Shiva. Hence Tripurasura  created three cities in space, together called "Tripura". After witnessing the evil deeds and destruction unleashed by Triupurasura, Lord Ganesha approached Tripurasura in the guise of a Brahmin and performed 64 different arts before the Demon King, as the King was  so pleased at the art of  the Brahmin, He offered to grant him any wish he asks for . Then the  Brahmin asked for the Idol of 'Chinthamani' which is with Lord Shiva. 
As Lord Shiva refused give away  the Idol, the Demon King waged  a war against Him .In this war Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu defeated the King and restored the World peace. The Chariot that Lord Shiva rode in this war is described as( Prithvi ) Earth  with the Sun and Moon as its wheels and the bow as Meru (the huge mountain) and Lord Vishnu as the arrow. 
This single arrow from Lord Shiva destroyed all the materialistic boons that Lord Ganesha offered to Tripurasura. The speed and force of the arrow caused heavy lightening which made Tripurasura faint and that was said to be his end.  
This day is also called "Dev-Diwali" - the Diwali of the gods. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights 

Kartik poornima is also the birthday of Matsya, Lord Vishnu's fish-incarnation (Avatar ). It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the personification of the Tulsi plant and of Kartikeya, the God of War and Son of Shiva. This day also is considered dear to Radha- Krishna - Vishnu's incarnation. It is believed that Krishna and Radha danced rasa and Krishna worshiped Radha on this day. This day is also dedicated to the  dead ancestors

Kartik Poornima is an important religious day for Jains who celebrate it by visiting Palitana one of the most famous Jain pilgrimage center.Thousands of Jain pilgrims flock to the foothills of Shatrunjay hills of Palitana taluka on the day of Kartik Poornima to undertake the auspicious yatra (journey). Also known as the Shri Shantrunjay Teerth Yatra, this walk is an important religious event in the life of a Jain devotee, who cover 216 km of rough mountainous terrain by foot to worship the Lord Adinath temple atop the hill.

Palitana Temple
Considered as a very auspicious day for Jains, the day also assumes significance for the walk as the hills, which are closed for public during the four months of monsoon, are thrown open for the devotees on Kartik Poornima. The day of Kartik Poornima holds significance in Jain religion and devotees are kept away from worshipping their lord for four months of monsoon and hence the first day attracts the maximum number of devotees. According to Jainism, Adinath, the first tirthankara, sanctified the hills by visiting it to deliver his first sermon. According to Jain texts, millions of sadhus and sadhvis have attained salvation on these hills
People take spiritual baths  in the holy rivers today. They visit Temples and offer prayers. ‘Abhishekam’ is performed to Lord Shiva. During this entire month and specially today oil lamps are lit at Temples, at holy rivers and houses with hundreds of wicks, sometimes thousands of wicks (‘Karthika Deepa-aradhana’) and in modern days 365 wicks to represent the days of the year.

There is a well practiced and famous custom of leaving the lit lamps in near by Koneru (rivers,lakes,ponds) placing on a Plantain stem .All women follow this tradition on Poornima night (Full moon Night) and Amavasya  (No moon Night ) morning in the month.Some follow this daily. 

Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi along with all the Gods are said to visit and reside under Amla that is Usiri or Gooseberry trees by the side of Tulisi plants that is Basil plants, in this month. Hence a lot of prominence is given to these plants, prayers are offered to the plants on this day and in this month.

People lit lamps made of Rice flour and Amla Fruit called Usiri Deepaalu as a tradition ,where we place wicks soaked in either cow ghee or gingelly oil on top of Amla fruits  and lit them . They look really wonderful . As told above Amla has prominence in worshiping and is also considered as Lord Vishnu in Tulasi marriage /Vivah .
Rice Flour Lamps

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