The Significance of the Kartik Month
Sadhguru: What is the point of lighting a lamp? What is the science behind it? This is a culture where we did not do anything that is not scientific and naturally for the enhancement of the human being, so that they can reach towards their ultimate wellbeing or liberation. In this process, the lighting of the lamp is significant because in our visual experience, it is light which makes us see. It plays a significant role in our perception of the world around us. If there is no light, there is no experience of anything around us. Light is important in this context. But the significance of this day is not just about light or about lighting a lamp.
This phase of the year, which is Dakshinayana, is referred to as the Sadhana pada. The Kartik Masam or Kartik month is very significant because this is when the year is starting to move into what is called Kaivalya pada. In terms of sadhana, Dakshinayana is for purification, Uttarayan is for enlightenment. The Sadhana pada was the time of plowing, seeding and cultivating. Now, the time for the inner harvest of whatever sadhana you have done has come. This is the time to take the cream of that sadhana and make it available to yourself. You would have heard many stories about this.
Everyone is definitely aware of how Pitamaha Bhishma waited on the bed of arrows because he did not want to die in the sadhana pada. He wanted to die or leave his body in the Kaivalya pada because that is the time you can harvest the fruits of life. The inner nature can be harvested very easily in the Kaivalya pada. Right now, this is the transition from Sadhana to Kaivalya. The lamp is indicative of enlightenment, awareness, consciousness and ultimate liberation. All this is symbolized with the lamps that we light.
This is not just about lighting one lamp. Usually, the tradition said that as the Kartik month comes, you must double the lamps that you light because one thing is, the day has become shorter so you need a little more light to do your daily activity. Another thing is to indicate that you are multiplying the light in your life.
We need 700 crore (7 billion) lamps for every human being on this planet. You cannot do all that by yourself, but I would say, every day in this month, you must at least do this much – light one lamp for yourself, one for somebody who is dear to you and one for somebody whom you do not like.
Editor's Note: Often, many practices in Indian culture that we label as superstition have a scientific reasoning behind them. Read more about the context and relevance of many aspects of Indian culture.