(Excerpts from the writings of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja)
I was delighted to know you are observing Ūrja-vrata with your mother. In the month of niyama–sevā, one must, in a regulative manner, perform various limbs of bhakti, knowing “sevā se niyama – service is that regulation.” Every day, it is absolutely obligatory to perform worship (pūjārcana), behold ārati, attend class and kīrtana, study various sacred books, recite Dāmodarāṣṭakam and various stavas and stotras. It is imperative to read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Śrī Kṛṣṇa–prema–taraṅgiṇī. Hearing and chanting the Bhāgavata is the main sādhana of bhakti. Bhagavān and His devotee followers are called bhāgavata. Śabda–brahma in book form is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; its worship is bhāgavata–kīrtana. The hearing, chanting, remembering, etc. of Śrī Bhagavān’s name, form, qualities, and narrations of His pastimes is real upāsanā (worship).
– Patrāmṛta (Letter 52)
“Saṅgīta-carcā-dvārā prabhu ānanda-vidhāna-pūrvaka kārtika-māsa jāpana karibe – one should spend the month of Kārtika delighting the Lord with musical recitations.” This statement instructs us to dance, sing, and play instruments before Śrī Bhagavān during this time. That, without a doubt, constitutes service to Him, and it is by such activity that one avoids rebirth.
– Patrāmṛta (Letter 41)
It is good that you go to Vṛndāvana and other dhāmas every year during the month of Dāmodara to observe Ūrja-vrata. To observe Kārtika-vrata at home is to be rather constrained. “Tīrthe kārtikaṁ kuryāt – one should observe Kārtika in a holy place.” According to this statement of scripture, there is special recommendation to go to a dhāma or tīrtha to observe Dāmodara-vrata. If you observe the vrata at home, you will end up having to go to the store or workplace and will surely have to fulfill the obligations and duties of material existence. No one is exempt from these daily activities and duties. Therefore, it has been observed that if one goes to the śrī dhāma and, without any worries, chants śrī nāma, keeps one’s body, mind, and life force engaged in hearing hari–kathā and iṣṭa–goṣṭhī, then there is a greater chance to obtain ultimate auspiciousness.
– Patrāmṛta (Letter 76)
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team