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Karthika Puranam in Telugu
Karthika Masam belongs to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Tulasi. It is said that he who performs daily Shiva Pooja this month will attain Salvation. Hence this month many observe the ‘Somavara Vratam’ and the 30-day Shiva Puranam. It must be noted that Karthik month in North India is generally dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
In Hinduism, Mondays are generally dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. But the Mondays in the month of Shravan and Karthik are considered special by Lord Shiva devotees. Mondays in the month of Karthika is observed as Karthika Somavara Vratam in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is believed that the moon observed Somavara Vratam to escape from the curse of Daksha and to get the blessings from Lord Shiva and a spot in His matted locks.
Section 1 primary tells us about how Sage Soothe (Soothe Maharshi) tells the Kartika Puranam to Saunikadi Maha-rishis and Maharshi Vashistha telling about the rules of the Kartika puranam to King Janaka. The section was elaborated on what to do during the month and how to start about it. The beautiful explanations by Vashistha keep readers close to their ears.
Section 2 comprises a story as a part of the Kartika Somawara Vratham (the first Monday of Kartika Masam). The story is about Nishturi, the daughter of a Brahmin, who falls into bad habits during her teen years. Nisthuri was deep into bad habits that she is often referred to as ‘Karkasa’ by everyone.
As time for marriage comes, Karkasa’s father decides to marry her to ‘Misra Sharma’, a Brahmin from Saurashtra. Misra Sharma is good, humble, and a well-educated young Brahmin who follows religious traditions with great devotion. Karkasa marries Misra Sharma and because of the humble mentality of Misra Sharma, Karkasa continues to enjoy all she wants to do. As days pass by, she takes more advantage of the gentleness of Misra Sharma and begins to shout at and even beat Misra Sharma. Misra Sharma continues to bear with her even when she does bad things in order not to hamper the good name earned by his family in society. Karkasa however makes use of the situation and continues to be enjoying in the presence of other men. She even began to have physical relationships with other men disregarding her husband and in-laws.
One day, one of her comforts tells her that they are meeting at odd times because of her husband and that they can enjoy even better when her husband is not there. The same night, Karkasa kills her husband by banging a large hard rock on his head. She even takes the dead body to the outskirts of the city and throws it into an old well. Her in-laws, afraid of her and unable to do anything, remain calm and runs away from. With no husband and in-laws to stop her, Karkasa felt more freedom and enjoyed even more. She even made men get her money grabbed from their wives.
As time passed by, her beauty and vigor began to get down. With her blood becoming lighter, she began to be easily prone to diseases. Since she had physical intimacy with many men, she was even prone to sexually transmitted diseases. Soon she lost all her money and began to it find it difficult to get food, water, clothing or even a place to stay. The diseases have led her to death. No one in the society came forward to take her to the burial ground.
Upon her death, soldiers from the Yama Lokam – the land of the dead, comes and takes her to Lord Yama, the Lord of Death. Yama Dharmaraja assigns a variety of punishments to her. She is made to stick to a hot-iron pillar as punishment for ignoring her husband and spending time with other men. She is banged in her head with a hot mace for killing her husband. Hot mercury is poured into her ears for shouting at her husband and beating him. Because of her cruel acts, her family in the prior ten ages and the later ten ages were also made to suffer. After suffering in the Yama Loka for some ages, she is allowed to be born on earth as a dog for fifteen ages.
In her fifteenth age, she took birth in the land of Kalinga as a dog. She used to stay at the house of a Brahmin. The Brahmin who was following the traditions during the month of Kartikam, at night, has left some food outside his house which the dog eats. As soon as the dog ate the food, she began to get to know her past and began to shout for help. The Brahmin comes out of the house and was first surprised to see a dog speak. He then enquires what has happened to her. The dog tells him that she was born as a dog 14 times prior to her current life and that she does not know how she was able to get to know what has happened to her in her past lives.
The Brahmin, using his power, gets to know the whole episode of the dog, and tells it about what has happened in the past. The dog, upon knowing her past, began to beg the Brahmin for Moksha. He then decides to transfer the Punya gained by him on one of his Kartika Somavaram (The Monday of Kartika Masam) to the dog. The dog upon taking the Punya leaves the avatar of the dog and turns into a beautiful woman.
“Hence, you should follow the Kartika Somavaram”, says Vashistha to King Janaka.
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