Karkidakam or Aadi Masam
Sree Rama Rama Rama Sree Ramabhadra Jaya
Sree Rama Rama Rama Sree Sithabhirama Jaya
Sree Rama Rama Rama Lokabhirama Jaya
Sree Rama Rama Rama Ravananthaka Jaya
Sree Rama Mama Hridi Ramatham Rama Rama”
These verses will be reverberating along with the chilling torrential rain showers of south west monsoon, with extreme divinity and spiritual fervor, on every house of Kerala, from the commencement of the righteous month, Karkkidakam popularly known as Ramayana Masam (month). Karkkidakam is the last month in Malayalam Calendar or Kollavarsham. The Sanskrit word Karkkidaka means cancer (in Malayalam Njandu). In Tamil calendar Karkkidakam correspond to Aadi masam.
Dakshinayana Samkramam (Karkkidaka Samkranthi)
Dakshinayana is the southern transit of the Sun. In Hinduism, a human year is equal to one day of gods. There are two pakshas (fornight) in every month. Six months constitute an ayana and two ayanas a year. There are thus twelve months in every year. The names of the two ayanas are Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. Each Ayana has three seasons. While humans pass through uttarayana, the gods pass through only one day. Similarly. when humans pass through dakshinayana, the gods pass through merely one night. One year for humans is equivalent to a time span of one day and one night for the gods. Dakshinayana lasts for six months or till Makara Sankranti. Uttarayana period starts with Makar Sankranti. Dakshinayana is also the southern transit of Sun and nights are longer during this period. For calendars followed in South India, Dakshinayana begins on July 16, 2012. In Kerala the month Karkkidakam and in Tamil Nadu, the month Aadi marks the beginning of Dakshinayana. There are two methods followed in calculating the movement of the sun. In Drika Siddhanta method Dakshinayana starts when sayana sun enters cancer and this method is followed by some regional calendars. In this system, Dakshinayana begins on June 21, 2012. But majority of Hindus in South India follow the Nirayana System and in it Dakshinayana starts when ‘nirayana surya’ enters cancer. In this system Dakshinayana starts on July 16, 2012 and Uttarayana on January 14 or 15, 2013. Dakshinayana Samkrama day is auspicious for doing theertha snana (holy dip) and for offering prayers at temples.
Karkkidakam is referred as the Ramayana Masam, which starts on 17th July and ends on 16th August. As the name specify, this holy month is destined for undertaking pious Vratham and recitation of Adhyathma Ramayanam Kilippattu: the epic life of Lord Sree Rama, which is the most virtuous and conversant contribution from Thunjathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, called as the Father of Malayalam Language. He was born in Malappuram district in Kerala about 450 years ago. The tradition of reciting Ramayanam started from 16th century, when Ezhuthachan wrote Adhyatma Ramayana in the form of Kilippatuu ( narrated by parrot ) in pure and simple Malayalam language which easily accepted by common people of Kerala, to whom, the grammatically moulded Manipravalam style of literatures was not at all perceivable at that time. The Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilippatuu was uncomplicated and also simple to understand by the lay men. Through Ramayanam Kilippatuu, Ezhuthachan gave Malayalam Language an innovative measurement and trail, which is following till now. The ferocious plunge of the rains in the month of Karkkidaka brings out many discomforts in the forms of ailments, scarcity, dearth, destructions etc. During this month the agrarian population of Kerala receives a retarded production in crops and other rural food products.
The month of Karkkidakam is often referred as “Panja Masam” (the month of extreme scarcity) in traditional Malayalam language. A shade of discontent will make its triumph due to these factors. Ramayana recitation during this time is considered as a propitious practice that will mend all the discomforts and agony both to the individuals and community. An unrivaled spiritual solace can be attained through the habitual and devoted reading of Ramayana during the 31 days of Karkkidakam. Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilippatuu is recited in homes and temples during the month of Karkkidakam. The reader should sit in the front of lighted lamp (Nilavilakku) and read the verses in particular rhythm. It is recommended that the book must be completed on the last day of Malayalam Month.Marriges, new undertakings etc are not held during the month of Karkkidakam.
Sheer spirituality is not the subject matter for observing the Ramayana month. More than that it is a commitment to our own traditional customs and beliefs, which is now days are seen thinning due to the less practices and follow ups.The rapid moving life styles and trends, which is the result of generation gaps and imitations to western cultures, is gradually altering the living model of the society. Ramayana reading has now becoming rare in many of the Kerala homes, predominantly in the city life. It has not completely ended as certain houses sternly pursue the Ramayanam month rituals. Almost in all the temples especially Vishnu temples, Ramayana is recited during the month of Karkkidakam. Grandmothers in houses regularly recite Ramayana on these occasions.
Spiritual organizations arrange venues now a days to conduct “Ramayana Paaraayanam “ during the month of Karkkidakam. Media strongly support the importance of Ramayanam month and Karkkidakam through some authentic programs on prime times. Majority of the Malayalam Television chancels telecast programs, discussions, recitations etc related with Ramayana during the month of Karkkidakam.Advacement of technology is reflected as the Ramayana recitation can now get in the form of CDs and DVDs!.
A small child of 10 or 11 can easily read Ramayana under the guidance of his / her family member (may be mother, father, grandmother or grandfather). The simplicity of language used in this legendary work, makes it approachable to every human being .What he has to develop is a genuine interest for reading and knowing the essence embedded in it. Then he should find out time. The month of Karkkidakam is apt for this and 31 days quite enough to complete the book in a good rhythm. It’s a most effective way to use the time of difficulties and worries (the month of Karkkidaka) by reciting Ramayana .It will purify the mind and the penance in this month will sanitize the illness of body, which in turn results spiritual purification of body and mind.
Ramayana holds its significance not only due the spiritual element embedded in it but the core concepts that are deeply rooted in this epic are appropriate to the daily life. Ramayana is the legend of Lord Rama. But it is not just an account that should be read during a particular period or a poem of mere presentation. It tells the story of a noble human being, his bonding and relations, how a man should behave, which are the paths that is to be chosen for a good life etc.We can trace out what is the duty of a younger brothers to elder one which is reflected in Lekshmana and Bharatha. The extreme and untainted attachment to his master can be seen in Lord Hanuman. The unadulterated loyalty to husband and tolerance can be spotted in mother Sitha. All of these are morals to the present society Ramayana focus on fraternity of brotherhood, lenience, endurance, dedication and devotion. The new generation might be unfamiliar to such things. These aspects we can’t make them understand simply by saying straight. It needs a rigid pedestal to communicate .Ramayana undoubtly can be marked as an indisputable base to divulge the vital and inevitable aspects of mankind.
Nalambalam Darsanam - Nalambalam Yatra(Pilgrimage)
The Naalambala Darshanam during the month of Karkkidakam is a worth notable pilgrimage. The Hindu religion focuses on the healthy and lovable relations among the kith and kin of one’s own families. If the bondings connecting the members are brittle, the family can’t stand rigid for a long time. Ramayana tells us the righteous and reputable relations among the four brothers Sree Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrughna. The down to earth character of Lord Rama to leave the kingdom to his brother Bharatha, the dedicated effort of Lekshmana to follow the foot prints of Rama to forests, the unparalleled love and respect of Bharatha and Shatrughana to Rama is depicted in Ramayana.
Nalambalam pilgrimage is gaining more and more popularity today. Nalambala Darsanam is an annual pilgrimage to four well-known temples in central Kerala during the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam (July 17 to August 16). Nalambala Darsanam involves offering prayers at the Triprayar Sree Rama Temple, Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam Temple, Moozhikkulam Lakshmana Temple, and Payammal Shathrughna Temple, which are dedicated to Lord Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana and Shathrughna respectively, on a single day. Karkkidakam is the last month of Malayalam Era. Salient feature of Karkkidakam is that it is period of famine and illness. To overcome sufferings people resort to medical treatment and spiritual enrichment. A special way of living and worship of Rama is the general trend of the period. Chanting of Ramamantra and recitation of Adyatma Ramayanam Kilippattu written by Thunchathu Ezhuthachan echoes in each and every house. To get rid of the difficulties of this month, people of Thrissur region started the Nalambalm pilgrimage centuries ago. It’s origin was at a time when vehicles were not available and pilgrimage to these four temples – as a ritual it had to be completed within one day between daybreak and noon - was an ardent task, yet devotees did it right out of their deep devotion. Great pains earned them great gains. Now these four temples are well connected with roads. It has become very easy now to visit these temples in a single day. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the State will visit these temples every year during Karkkidakam. These temples also attract devotees from neighbouring States. More Details >>
Also go through Rama, Seetha, Bharatha, Lakshmana, Sathrughna, Hanuman Temples in Kerala
Lakshmi Pooja - Sheepothi Orukkal
Karkkidakam is considered as the month of Goddess Lakshmi. Special poojas will be conducted during this month for pleasing Lakshmi Devi. On the last day of Mithunam, the Chetta (Jyeshta Devi,Alkshmi or Ashree) from the house is being thrown out.The interior and exterior of the house is thoroughly cleaned and old and damaged utensils, brooms , pots etc are blown or destroyed before the sunset. This is called Chettaye Purathakkal. Then the house is purified by sprinkling dung water (which is considered as sacred among Hindus) and make ready to welcome Mahalekshmi. Not only the exterior clean is done on this occasion but the purification of mind and body is also observed. From Karkkidakam 1 onwards a set of auspicious things including Ashtamangalyam and Dasapushpams will be arranged infront of the nilavilakku in the morning.The normally used auspicious things are gold, rice, sandalwood, small casket containing vermilion, vaal kannadi (a special kind of handled mirror), small lamp, kindi (metal water pot with a spout) and kasavu mundu (dhoti with a gold brocade border). Dasa pushpams include tulasi, karuka, mukkutti, kayyunnyam, krishnakranti, cheroola etc. This ritual is often called Lekshmiku Vaykkal or Sheepothi orukkal for prosperity.
Karkkidaka Vavu - Pithru Tharppanam
Amavasi or new moon day in Karkkidakam is called Karkkidaka Vavu and is famous for Pithru Tharppana or Vavubali. Vaavubali is a significant rite, which is performed, at the places of water bodies (rivers, lakes, sea) for the sake of the souls of ancestors and intimates. Bali-tharpanam' will be held with religious fervour at various temple ghats and other ‘theertha ghats' in Kerala. Usually Lakhs of people including women and children will offer ‘bali' at specially arranged ‘balippura' on the banks of the holy rivers, sea and ponds. Hindus believe that the ritual performed on the new moon day in the month of Karkidakom will propitiate the spirits of their forefathers and bring good fortune in the year ahead. Purana's prescribe that pithrubali(offerings for ancestors) is the most noble deed one should do in this life. It is beleived that human body maintains the characteristics of 40 previous generations and hence it is expected that one pays homage to as many as well as the Gurus and maha Rushi's who are guiding us. In reality we assume that all beyond three generations have joined lord and hence generally limit offerings to three previous generation and then the guiding forces. According to Astrology, Sun is the "Pitru Karaka". Karkkidaka is the month when Sun is in its own constitution. Both Sun and Moon stays on the same house of the astrological chart on a new moon day indicating the presence of both paternal and maternal lineage. There are references to lord Rama doing Pitrubali on this day during his journey through the forest in Ramayana.
Travancore Devaswom Board, Cochin Devaswom board, Malabar Devaswom Board, local karayogams attached to the Nair Service Society, sakha yogams attached to Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham, Kerala Kshetra Samrakshana Samithi, Viswa Hindu Parishad, Viswa Brahmana Sabha and other Hindu religious organiations and temple trusts will make elaborate arrangements for the event. The most important places in Kerala for performing Karkkidakavau Bali are
- Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple
- Thirunelli Papanasini
- Aluva Manappuram
- Thiruvilwamala Pamapady Ivar Madam
- Thirunavaya Navamukunda Temple
- Varkkala Janardhana Swami Temple - Papanasam Kadappuram
- Sanghumugham Kadappuram
- Neyyattinkara Rameswarm Mahadeva Temple
- Aruvippuram Shiva Temple
- Aruvikkara Devi Temple
- Thirumullavaram Mahavishnu Temple - Kadappuram
- Thrikkunnappuzha Sastha Temple
- Kadappattoor Mahadeva Temple
- Vedagiri Sastha Temple
- Vennimala Rama Temple
- Todupuzha Krishna Temple
- Chelamattam Krishna Temple
- Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple
- Pamapa Thriveni Samgamam
- Elamkunnappuzha Subrahmanya Temple
- Vyttila Nettoor Mahadeva Temple
- Thrikkarippor Chakrapani Temple
Pilleronam or Onam of Children is celebrated on Karkkidaka Thiruvonam day. This Onam is celebrated as a mini Onam. Pilleronam was a prominent ritual in Kerala once upon a time but had faded as years went by. Pilleronam was usually celebrated 27 days before Thiruvonam in the month of Chingam. It was believed that there would be a break of about 10 days from the rains in Karkkidakam month and Pilleronam was celebrated in one of these days. It is a shortened version of the Onam, sans the Onakkodi (new dress), Athapookkalam (floral decoration), etc. except the Onasadya (Onam feast).
Pilleronam used to be an occasion to brace up for the forthcoming main festivaland the children were particularly eager to make merriment as it was their Onam (The Malayalam word ‘piller’ means children). A sumptuous meal, a mini-Onasadya, was an essential part of the celebrations. Swings were spotted on the tree branches in the compound. In fact, it could be a smaller version of a larger one to be set up a month later. The ‘Arppo Aiyyo’ sound used to rend the air. It was fun time throughout the day for the children. The changes in the Malayali lifestyle have relegated the pilleronam to the background. While Onam, appropriately called ‘Ponnonam’ (golden Onam), is being celebrated with renewed vigour, with a complement of commercial activities, one wonders whether the ‘pilleronam’ would regain its past glory.
The season of monsoon is reflected with much of diseases and sufferings. The body needs to be rejuvenated at this time. Karkkidakam Kanji, a porridge made out of Ayurvedic medicines is a best food which is consumed by the Keralities during the month of Karkkidakam. This is considered as a good medicinal food to keep good health in the time of Karkkidakam. Due to the stopped agricultural jobs, the farmers who will be remaining in their homes will make this time for invigorating their body through such Ayurvedic practices.Karkkidaka Kanji is a traditional Ayurvedic blend which is used as a medicine for body purification since many centuries. The ingredients of Karkkidaka Kanji are boiled Navarra ari (rice), Jeerakam, Thiruthalli, Uzhinnigi, Bala, Attibala,Chathurjatham,Jathikka,Gathipathari,Danakam,Kalasam,Assalli,Satkuppa,Manjal ,Kakkankaya, etc.The ingredients are boiled using coconut milk or cow milk along with coconut jagarry and pinch of salt .The Karkkidaka Kanji can be consumed during early mornings or in dusk timings.
Ganapathy Homam and Bhagavathi Seva
Most of the temples in Kerala will conduct Ganapathy Homam in the morning and Bhagavthi Seva in the evening throughout Karkkidakam. This is to protect the villegers from natural calamities, illness etc. So offer a Ganapathy Homam and Bhagavathy Seva at your village temple for the wellness of your familiy and village.
Anayoottu and Sukha Chikitsa for Elephants
During Karkkidakam temples in Kerala will witness Anayoottu. Marking the beginning of the treatment season for elephants, a mass feast for elephants will be held at the Vadakkumnathan Temple at Thrissur on Karkkidakam 1, attracting elephant lovers from far and wide. Freshly bathed jumbos with sandal-paste and vermilion on their foreheads will line up at the southern tower of the temple, to be fed with balls of rice mixed with ghee and turmeric, fruits, cucumber, dried coconut, sugarcane and jaggery. The occasion called `anayoottu' also offers the jumbo fans a chance to give a lump of candy or jaggery to the majestic animal. Similar feasts will be organised in other temples also.
Karikkdakam is the month in which elephants of Kerala (especially of the Guruvayoor Sri Krishna temple) have a 30-day time-off for ayurvedic revitalisation treatment of body wraps, special diets and herbal tonics. Known in local parlance as `sukha chikitsa', the treatment helps elephants regain their sanguine, vitality and get-up. The 30-day course will be followed by nearly a month's `total rest'.
|July 16||Monday||Karkkidaka Masa (month) begins
Karkkidaka Seeveli at Thiruvananthapuram Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple
Smakranthi Vanibham Begins at Pakkil Dharmasastha Temple Kottayam
|July 18||Wednesday||Amavasi, Karkkidaka Vavu, Pithrutharppanam|
|July 21||Saturday||Amrutha Lakshmi Vrata|
|July 22||Sunday||Naga Chathurthi|
|July 23||Monday||Garuda Panchami, Sashti Vratam,
Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Temple Illam Nira
|July 24||Tuesday||Sashti Vratam|
|July 25||Wednesday||Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Temple Illam Nira|
|July 27||Friday||Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple Chothi|
Avani Avittam, Raksha Bandhan
|August 3||Friday||Vara Lakshmi Vratam, Chinmayananda Swami Samadhi Day|
|August 15||Wednesday||Pradosham, Swathnathrya Dinam|
|August 16||Thursday||Karkkidakam/Ramayana Masam ends, Aadiyaruthi|
|August 17||Friday||Chingam 1, Kollavarsharambham|
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