For the holy month of Damodara, devotees in Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley are going door to door to spread the glories of their Lord.
Also known as Kartik and falling between the western months of October/November, the month of Damodara celebrates Lord Krishna’s pastime of being bound with ropes by Mother Yashoda, and is often observed by offering lamps or candles.
Padma Purana, an ancient text, assures, “Even a person addicted to all sins and averse to all pious deeds who somehow offers a lamp during Kartik becomes purified. Of this there is no doubt.”
Inspired by this proclamation and armed with small ghee lamps and figurines of baby Damodara and Yashoda, Malaysian devotees will be visiting thousands of homes from mid October to mid November.
The “Damodar Program” started off in the year 2000 when devotees held only twenty-four home services to bring the spiritual blessings of Kartik to their neighbours. But by 2007, a snowball effect had turned twenty-four homes into 3,800, with a total of 70,000 ghee lamps offered.
Program Coordinator Vishnu Chaitanya das says, “We’ve always done home visits, but to reach larger numbers we had to come up with new and different methods. So last year we launched the Damodara program in a prominent Kuala Lumpur location, attracting a lot of media attention as well as thousands of members of the public.”
Devotees also came up with innovative and creative ways to increase the number of Damodara home programs. By chanting Damodar “carols” on doorsteps, they reached thousands more homes. “We spend ten to fifteen minutes in each home,” Vishnu Chaitanya says. “It’s a wonderful way to connect with people.”
Many senior Vaishnavas, sannyasis and GBC members have endorsed Kuala Lumpur’s Damodar Program and have encouraged its adoption in other parts of the world. Several members of the original Malaysian team have visited countries such as India, Fiji, Australia, Mauritius and South Africa to share their years of knowledge and experience.
All eyes are on Malaysia this year, however, as devotees aim to reach their target of visiting 5,000 homes and 100,000 individuals.