The Month of Kartik or Damodara

Images of ISKCON art courtesy

During the Kartik month of October-November, the energies of the Supreme Divine are specially available for liberating one from material bondage.

The month of Kartik (October-November) is a very specially blessed month. In commemoration of a specific childhood pastime of Krsna, the month is also known as Damodara. Daamu means rope, and udara means stomach.

This was when Krsna liberated two demigods, while Himself being tied up by his mother with a rope around his abdomen, to a large mortar.

Krsna had been in a very naughty mood, and mother Yashoda feared that He would get up to mischief and harm Himself while she was busy with household chores. Mother Yashoda tied Him up so that He could move around but not wander away.

The importance of the Kartik month

Of all the months, Damodara or Kartik Maas is described in the scriptures as the best among months for performing austerities and worshiping Sri Kṛṣṇa, chanting the Mahamantra, studying the Bhagavad Gita and performing other spiritual self-development works.

Lord Shri Krishna says, “Of all plants, the sacred Tulasi is most dear to Me; of all months, Kārtik is most dear, of all places of pilgrimage, My beloved Dwarka is most dear, and of all days, Ekadashi is most dear.” (Padma Purana, Uttara Khand 112.3).

“In the month of Kārtik (October-November) one should worship Lord Damodara and daily recite the prayer known as Damodara-ashtakam, which has been spoken by the sage Satyavrata and which attracts Lord Damodara.” (Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2:16:198).

For karmic healers, during this month of Kartik the practices they follow should be done with greater dedication, with a focus on some additional things.

These include:

  • During Kartik month include chanting of the Damodara-ashtakam
  • Doing their healing with greater focus on the energy flow
  • Understand better the ‘super-karma’ or spiritually liberating energies of akarma
  • Meditating on the guidance given, especially the Reiki principles and their expanded knowledge
  • Connecting with the universal life-force (Brahma) energies and its heart expansion as the Param-atma or Supersoul within and in all living beings
  • Chanting the Mahamantra regularly
  • Studying the Bhagavad Gita
  • Applying the practical principles of Reiki and the Gita to daily life
  • Follow the ekadashi fasts (if so inclined)

Here is an uplifting ISKCON Bangalore chanting video of Damodara-ashtakam, with Srila Prabhupada’s commentary in between. (Video includes the verses).

For more from ISKCON Bangalore click here.

Chanting Damodarashtakam during Kartik

Song Name: Namamisvaram Saccidananda Rupam
Official Name: Sri Sri Damodarastakam
Spoken by: Satyavrata Muni in a conversation with Nārada Muni and Śaunaka Ṛṣi
Author: Vyasadeva
Book Name: Padma Purana

  1. namāmīśvaraṁ sac-cid-ānanda-rūpaṁ
    lasat-kuṇḍalaṁ gokule bhrājamanam
    yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād dhāvamānaṁ
    parāmṛṣṭam atyantato drutya gopyā
  2. rudantaṁ muhur netra-yugmaṁ mṛjantam
    karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram
    muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha-
    sthita-graivaṁ dāmodaraṁ bhakti-baddham
  3. itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
    sva-ghoṣaṁ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
    tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaṁ
    punaḥ prematas taṁ śatāvṛtti vande
  4. varaṁ deva mokṣaṁ na mokṣāvadhiṁ vā
    na canyaṁ vṛṇe ‘haṁ vareṣād apīha
    idaṁ te vapur nātha gopāla-bālaṁ
    sadā me manasy āvirāstāṁ kim anyaiḥ
  5. idaṁ te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
    vṛtaṁ kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
    muhuś cumbitaṁ bimba-raktādharaṁ me
    manasy āvirāstām alaṁ lakṣa-lābhaiḥ
  6. namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo
    prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam
    kṛpā-dṛṣṭi-vṛṣṭyāti-dīnaṁ batānu
    gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyaḥ
  7. kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
    tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca
    tathā prema-bhaktiṁ svakāṁ me prayaccha
    na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha
  8. namas te ‘stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
    tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne
    namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai
    namo ‘nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam


  1. To the Supreme Lord, whose form is the embodiment of eternal existence, knowledge, and bliss, whose shark-shaped earrings are swinging to and fro, who is beautifully shining in the divine realm of Gokula, who (due to the offense of breaking the pot of yogurt that His mother was churning into butter and then stealing the butter that was kept hanging from a swing) is quickly running from the wooden grinding mortar in fear of mother Yasoda, but who has been caught from behind by her who ran after Him with greater speed–to that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.
  2. (Seeing the whipping stick in His mother’s hand) He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conch shell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother’s pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.
  3. By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbued with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence. With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times.
  4. O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for the boon of impersonal liberation, nor the highest liberation of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon (which may be obtained by executing the nine processes of bhakti). O Lord, I simply wish that this form of Yours as Bala Gopala in Vrndavana may ever be manifest in my heart, for what is the use to me of any other boon besides this?
  5. O Lord, Your lotus face, which is encircled by locks of soft black hair tinged with red, is kissed again and again by mother Yasoda, and Your lips are reddish like the bimba fruit. May this beautiful vision of Your lotus face be ever manifest in my heart. Thousands and thousands of other benedictions are of no use to me.
  6. O Supreme Godhead, I offer my obeisances unto You. O Damodara! O Ananta! O Vishnu! O master! O my Lord, be pleased upon me. By showering Your glance of mercy upon me, deliver this poor ignorant fool who is immersed in an ocean of worldly sorrows, and become visible to my eyes.
  7.  O Lord Damodara, just as the two sons of Kuvera–Manigriva and Nalakuvara–were delivered from the curse of Narada and made into great devotees by You in Your form as a baby tied with rope to a wooden grinding mortar, in the same way, please give to me Your own prema-bhakti. I only long for this and have no desire for any kind of liberation.
  8. O Lord Damodara, I first of all offer my obeisances to the brilliantly effulgent rope which binds Your belly. I then offer my obeisances to Your belly, which is the abode of the entire universe. I humbly bow down to Your most beloved Srimati Radharani, and I offer all obeisances to You, the Supreme Lord, who displays unlimited pastimes.

Kartik is also the month that the Karva Chauth festival is celebrated on the 4th day of the waning moon. Married women in north and north-western India do this for the long life of their husbands.

There is a little known secret for the reason behind this festival. Read the special article on karva chauth and learn the secret universal energy reasons for the festival during the Kartik month.