Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Swami: Why do Gaudiya Vaisnavas observe Kartik Vrata? Gaudiyas especially observe Kartik Vrata for the purpose of worshiping and pleasing Shrimati Radharani. Because Radha is most famous as Karunamayi Radha, we very strictly follow all the rules and regulations of the Kartika Vrata, NIYAMA SEVA, so that Shrimati showers us with Her divine compassion.
The goal of this month, our lives and every moment is simply to gain a glance of mercy and favor from our beloved Swamini Radha.
May Shri Radha, all Her merciful sakhis and manjaris, Shri Krishna, Nitai-Gauranga, and all the Gurus in our parampara bless us with gopi-bhava and Shrimati Radhika’s eternal loving service in the groves of Shridhama Vrndavana.
For Gaudiya Vaisnavas, Kartik Vrat is more important than any other vrata in the year. Other vratas observed for the satisfaction of Syamasundara and His expansions last for one day at most, but Shri Radha’s pleasure vow of Kartik LASTS FOR ONE MONTH.
In Stavamala, Shri Rupa Gosvamipada describes Shri Radha in one verse as Kartiki-devi Shrimati Radharani. In Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, he describes Kartik Vrata as the Urja-vrata. Urja means power, strength and empowerment. And who is the source of this urja, power and spiritual strength? Urjeshvari Radha and only Radha. Kishori Radha is the Goddess or the Queen and one and only worshipable Deity of the month of Kartik.
Kartikidevi Shrimati Radharani ki jai! Urjeshvari Radhika ki jai!
All Vaisnavas, including Gaudiyas, observe many other vows, vratas, and fasting days to honor Bhagavan or His various expansions on days such as Janmastami, Ramnavami, Nrsimha Chaturdashi, Vamana Mahadvadasi etc.
It is interesting to note that these shaktiman Purusha Bhagavan Vratas only extend for one day or half a day at most. But in case of the shakti, sarva-sakti-mayi powerhouse source, Radharani, the vrata extends for one month. It is not one day long or fasting till midnight like Janmastami or fasting half a day. It is one entire month called niyama seva month.
And yes, like other Vaisnavas, we will sing about and full-heartedly glorify Lord Damodara of Gokula throughout this month and devotedly worship Bhagavan Shri Krishna in this most mischievous and beautiful form. But this most auspicious and wonderful month of Kartik, we Gaudiya Vaisnavas especially focus on worshiping and performing special observances for the pleasure of our most worshipful Aradhya-devi Shrimati Radharani.
Niyama means doing extra and special sevas simply to please Radharani; more Nama-japa and kirtana, extra prayers, extra puja, extra reading, extra preaching, extra Hari, Guru, Vaisnava seva and more—all for happiness of Shrimati Radharani. This is the goal of our sadhana.
Our prayojana is Radharani’s pleasure! We observe Kartik Vrata only for the purpose of bringing more joy to Radhika. And if Swamini so desires, She will be compassionate to us, purify us, and make us eligible to attain Her eternal divine service in the groves of Vrindavana.