Hindus celebrate Kartik

5383516-word-cloud-concept-illustration-of-hinduism-religion-glowing-light-effectThese include the Hindu trinity of Lord Brahma (the Creator), Lord Shiva (the Destroyer) and Lord Vishnu (the Sustainer). 
Others worshipped are Mother Lakshmi, during the festival of Divali, and Lord Surya. 
The Kartik Purnima is celebrated on the last day of the month of Kartik, which is also a full moon which occurred last night. Kartik Purnima is also known as Tripuri Purnima and Ganga Snaan. 
This day also coincides with the founder of Sikhism and the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak’s birthday. 
Several stories, according to Hindu mythology, accompany the festivity. Satyanarayana (incarnation of Vishnu) stories are read on this day, along with excerpts from the Shiv and Bhagwat Purana.
Lord Vishnu at the time of creation took the form of a tortoise (Kurma), supporting Mount Mandara upon its back. 
The gods and demons churned the ocean of milk where 14 items came from the ocean. 
It is also on this day that Lord Vishnu took the avatar form and appeared as Matsya (fish incarnation). 
It is in connection with the flood myths told in the Puranic scriptures where Manu, the first man, was warned of the impending flooding. 
Another story was the descent of Mother Ganga upon Earth. According to Acharaya Pundit Jeevan Changoor Maharaj, there are many variations to Ganga’s descent. 
One such story, unknown to many, was Bhagiratha’s sons going into battle with a powerful Persian ruler. The Persian army defeated the princes in India, burning their bodies. Bhagiratha, being a powerful individual, prayed to Lord Shiva for a flood of water to wash away his slain sons for their souls to gain liberation.
As Ganga left the heavenly region Lord Shiva captured her in his hair and with one strand he allowed her to flow onto the Earth, cleansing the souls of those defeated. 
Another variation to Ganga’s descent was King Sagara and his sons. The King had hundreds of sons and asked them to find the sacrificial horse which went missing. 
The sons in their arrogance burnt and destroyed places in their search. They came to the hermitage of Sage Kapil and disturbed him while he was meditating.
Upon opening his eyes, Sage Kapil burnt the princes. King Bhagiratha, a descendant of King Sagara prayed for the liberation of his ancestors. 
Mother Ganga who was in her heavenly abode descended onto the Earth and was captured by Lord Shiva in his hair. Lord Shiva then allowed her to flow calmly onto the Earth washing away the ashes of his ancestors. 
Today in India, the Ganges and other connecting rivers are said to be all linked to Ganga when she descended to Earth. 
Despite different stories being told, Pt Changoor Maharaj said that this is the reason for the ritualistic bath being taken by devotees. He said that it is a cleansing from all impurities. 
Another story is with Lord Shiva which marked a victory of the slaying of the demon Tripurasura during this period. Hence it is known as Tripuri Purnima and he was given the name Tripurantaka (killer of Tripurasura). 
Offerings of items including flowers, rice, milk, sugar, coins, honey and rice are placed into the water. Religious songs and mantras are chanted, praising God.
The devotee then takes a bath (snaan-ritualistic bath). Deep daan (lighting of a lamp or deeya at the entrance of the house or a tulsi plant) is performed with prayers. 
Pt Changoor Maharaj said that prayers offered are for the protection of the individual and environment for there to be peace and harmony. 
Charity of food, money and clothing is given to the poor and considered highly auspicious.

Source: Trinidad Express