All Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) run schools were closed to allow for entire families to pray together. Kartik Snaan is the name given for the months of October/November in the Hindu calendar. During this holy time Nav Ratri, Divali and Ramleela are observed and celebrated.
Pundit Varma Maharaj told Newsday that during the holy month of Kartik, one who bathes early in the morning attains the punja or religious merit of having taken a bath in places of pilgrimage.
“One who is lucky to take a bath in the Holy Ganges in India can attain Moksha liberation from one’s sins,” Pundit Maharaj said, adding that persons who perform puja at sea for Kartik in any part of the world, attains the same liberation. Devotees also worship Lord Kartikeaya (the brother of Lord Ganesh).
Hindu scriptures say that Lord Ganesha was designated as Pratham Puja (the first deity to be worshipped), his younger brother Kartikeaya inquired as to what would be his role and position. It was determined that a month in the year would be dedicated to Kartikeaya and this month would be called Kartik. During this month also the scriptures give an account of Lord Shiva as he destroys Tripurasur (a demon) to make the world once again a safe place to live in.
Kartik Nahan, Pundit Maharaj says, represents a period of spiritual purification, at it affords the devotees the opportunity to rid themselves of all sins or negative ‘karma’ whilst simultaneously praying for their spiritual upliftment.
Kartik has been practised in TT for as long as Hindus have been here, but it was only in 1956 that it was observed on a large scale. In June 1952, Act 41 of the Parliament of TT incorporated the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS). This not only led to the introduction of Hindu schools throughout Trinidad, but also to the organisation of the first and probably largest gathering of Hindus on the occasion of Kartik Snaan in 1956.
According Swaha’s message on Kartik Snaan, far from being a mere allegory, this scriptural episode of Kartik bears direct relevance to our own spiritual condition. The immersion into the vast expanse of water symbolises inner cleansing of negative qualities. This as the people seek to attain victory over the six enemies (lust, hate, anger, greed, envy, pride) which, quite often control the reins of people’s lives, giving direction to actions, shaping judgements and defining relationships.