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Today is Karthika Purnima. A day when Krithika star is with the full moon. A very auspicious day which enlightens our manas. To show this symbolically, lamps are lighted before the Lord. Lamps remove darkness enabling us to see things around us. Similarly, we pray the Lord to light our inner lamp – jnanam to realize the truth and reach our ultimate goal.
To show that, the three alwars lighted two lamps – one showing the external world and the other showing the internal world while the third alwar revealed the Supreme Lord.
This lamp should be lit in our manas which makes us understand and realize that there is a Supreme power, thathva which supports both external and internal worlds. Such lamp is the real lamp. Externally how many ever lamps we light, we will be the same. If the inner lamp is lighted, we can perceive everything around us.
The one which can bless us with such thejas is this Purnima – Karthika Purnima. Kruthika star’s presiding diety is Agni Devatha. This month is called Karthika because star Kruthika is with the moon. Hence, this month gives us thejas. Lamps are lighted in the temple from today. We will be blessed when we light a lamp knowingly or unknowingly.
The moon light we see and feel is the reflection of Sun light on moon. God can bless us with knowledge but just like the Sun’s natural light but we cannot bear it. However, we all enjoy its light when it reflects from the moon. Simiilarly if we receive jnanam from acharya instead of from the Lord directly, such knowledge will be helpful, enjoyable and pleasant. It moulds us such that we can see the thathvam. Karthika Prunima symbolizes this.
Seers conclude their chathurmasam today. Agamas dictate to light lamps 15 days prior to Karthika purnima in homes and 15 days after purnima in temples. Today, the priests light 9 lamps in palikas in the temple. Lord is brought out from the sanctum sanctorum along with deepa palikas. Other deepas are lighted in the temple. Then lord is taken out in a procession and brought in front of the temple where a wooden staff wrapped with oil cloths is lighted with the fire from the palikas. Thus Karthika Purnima is celebration is concluded with lighting of sparkling fire crackers.

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