Lord Krishna performed his most wonderful lila, Damodara Lila during this Kartika month. Mother Yasoda bound Krishna to a wooden mortar with ropes. Little Krishna from then on came to be known as Damodara – ‘Dama’ means rope and ‘udara’ means belly. Thus Damodara means the little Krishna bound by ropes around His belly.
Lord Krishna, the supreme Lord is not even obtained by the great yogis. But a simple cowherd woman like Mother Yasoda could catch and bind him. Padma Purana says that Mother Yasoda did not bind Krishna with ropes, she bound him with pure love. Through this lila, Lord demonstrates that he can be obtained only by pure love. To commemorate this event a grand festival is celebrated in all ISKCON temples all across the world, throughout this Kartika month.
The temple is decorated with hundreds of lamps during this month, everyday. A diorama depicting the Damodara Pastime of the Lord is placed in the temple hall. At 8:00pm, grand arati is performed with the accompaniment of soul-stirring Damodarashtakam bhajan sung by the devotees. After the arati, all the visitors to the temple are given an opportunity to offer ghee lamps to Their Lordships. Donna Prasadam is served to all the visitors.
The Sundays in the month notice grand festival celebrations with Sri Sri Krishna Balaram adorned in various alankaras. Breakfast prasadam is served to all the visitors, from 9:30am to 10:00am. The night Damodara Arati is followed by Shayana Pallakki Utsava. A grand feast is served to all the visitors after Shayana Pallakki Utsava.
It is said in the Vedic literatures that Kartika (Damodar) is the best, the purest of purifiers, and most glorious of all months. Any seva, even the smallest, will yield huge results. It is also said that the effect of performing a Kartika Seva lasts for one hundred lifetimes.
This year, we are celebrating Deepotsava from 28th October 2023 to 27th November 2023.