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Kaarttik Krishn 13, 14, Amaavasyaa, Shukla 1, Shukla 2

There are four main festivals in North India, one each for four Varn. Rakshaa Bandhan for Braahman, Dashaharaa for Kshatriya, Deepaavalee for Vaishya and Holee for Shoodra. These characteristics manifest themselves in the method of their celebrations also. Holee is celebrated in a rash way as of Shoodra nature, Rakshaa Bandhan in a very quiet and decent way as of Braahman way, Dashaharaa with weapons in Kshatriya way, and Divaaleein a prosperous way as of Vaishya way.

Divaalee or Diwali or Deepaavalee is celebrated on Kaarttik Amaavasyaa. This festival is celebrated as a five-day festival :--

Dhan Teras (on Trayodashee)
Narak Chaudas (on Chaturdashee)
Divaalee (on Amaavasyaa)
Govardhan Poojaa (on Padavaa or Pratipadaa)
Bhaiyaa Dauj (on Doyaj or Dwiteeyaa)

(1) Dhan Teras

This day is worshipped Lakshmee Jee and Dhanvantari Jee - Dhan for Lakshmee and Dhan for Dhanvantari. Dhanvantari is called Sudhaa-paani also as he came out of the Saagar carrying Sudhaa (Amrit) pot in his hands. People buy pots, utensils, gold, silver on this day to get prosperous. According to Aayur Ved this day is the birthday of Dhanvantari. This day people offer Neem leaves and sugar to Dhanvantari Jee and distribute its Prasaad also. If one chews 5-6 Neem leaves daily, then there are rare chances of any disease. Gandhi Jee had included Neem leaves Chutney in his meals because of its benefits. There are two legends related to this day --

(1) Dhanvantari Legend
According to the other legend in the cosmic battle between the gods and the demons when both churned the ocean for "Amrit" or divine nectar, Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu, emerged carrying a pot of the elixir. So, according to this mythological tale, the word Dhan Teras comes from the name Dhanvantari, the divine doctor.

(2) Yam Deep Daan Legend
This day 13 wheat flour lamps are made, lit with oil and kept outside the house facing southward in the evening. Otherwise a lamp is never kept facing southward on any other day.
--First water is sipped from the palm and released (Aachaman), breathing exercises (Praanaayaam), thereafter utterance of time and place are done.
--Thereafter, resolve is made about Yam Deep Daan. While making resolve, the following Mantra is chanted. मम अपमृत्‍यु विनाशार्थम्‌ यमदीपदानं करिष्‍ये । [Meaning: I am performing Yam Deep Daan to prevent my untimely death.] Then the flour lamp is placed in the copper platter and is lit. Then keep the lamp on the center point of the Rangolee of Shree Krishn Yantra worship it with sandalwood paste, turmeric, vermilion and Akshat, flower etc. In the last obeisance is paid to the lamp.

(3) Legend for Yam Deep Daan
Once Yam Raaj asked his people that whether they felt any pain sometimes when they were taking somebody's life? They told him that once they felt such pain when they were taking life of a Prince because he was married only for 4 days. As he died all started crying in the palace. After taking his life we also got very sad. Is there no way that one does not die "Akaal"? Yam Raaj said - "Who ever will light the lamp in my name and remember me on Dhan Teras, he will not fear from Akaal Mrityu."

(4) Another Legend for Yam Deep Daan
There was a King named Him. he had a son after long time passed to his marriage. His horoscope predicted that he would die on the 4th day of his marriage. Time passed, his marriage was performed and the 4th day had also come. Everybody was worried thinking about the death of the prince but the Prince's wife was not worrying at all. The newly-wed wife of the Prince was very intelligent. She did not allow her husband to sleep on the fourth day of the wedding. She had full faith on her Lakshmee Bhakti. On that day the princess lighted the whole palace with lamps. When Yam's people came to take his life, they could not dare to enter the palace to see the Princess' Bhakti of Lakshmee. She had laid out all her ornaments accompanied with heaps of gold and silver coins at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. Then she started singing melodious songs to keep her husband and herself off from falling asleep. Seeing this Yam Raaj himself entered the palace assuming the form of a snake.

When Yam Raaj (Death God) came to take the Prince in the guise of a snake, his eyes got dazzled and he was temporarily blinded by the sharp light of lamps and jewelry. The serpent was not able to enter the chamber till morning and therefore, he climbed on top of the gold coin heap and sat there the entire night enjoying the songs sung by prince's wife. In the morning, he silently went away, as the time of the Price's death has already passed. This saved the young prince from his early death and since then this day is celebrated as Dhan Teras or Yam Deep Daan. In few houses ladies light earthen lamps or (Deepak) and these are kept burning throughout the night to glorify Yam (the god of Death).

(5) Lakshmee Legend
There is yet another legend for this festival. Once Lakshmee Jee accompanied Vishnu in His Yaatraa to Bhoo Lok. He told her not to fall for earthly temptation and she must not look in the Southern direction. But Lakshmee Jee was tempted to look in the Southern direction and as soon as She got an opportunity She looked in the southern direction. In the Southern direction she saw yellow mustard flowers, sugarcane fields and started dancing in the fields and decorated herself with the yellow mustard flowers and was enjoying the sugarcane juice. She had fallen for earthly temptations. Shree Hari told Lakshmee Jee that as you have violated the conditions, you will need to spend 12 years as laborer in the field of the person to whom these sugarcane and flowers belonged. With the arrival of Lakshmee Jee as a laborer, the farmer became very prosperous. Twelve years passed and it was time for Lakshmee Jee to return to Vaikunth, but the farmer was not ready to relieve a good laborer like Lkshmee Jee but Lakshmee was not ready to stay there further either.

Lakshmee Jee asked the farmer and his family to take a pilgrimage to Gangaa River and they will decide on her future stay there on his return.  Lakshmee Jee also gave four small shells to the farmer to offer to Goddess Gangaa. When the farmer was offering the shells to River Gangaa, four hands came up and accepted the offering. Farmer soon realized that the shells he offered were no ordinary shells and the person who gave it was no ordinary woman. He prayed to Gangaa to enlighten him. Gangaa then revealed that the woman at the farmer's home was Lakshmee Jee. The farmer returned home happily realizing that it was Lakshmee Jee who was staying in his house. He requested her not to leave. Lakshmee Jee said that she caould not live on Earth permanently and had to return. But she also said that she would visit him on all Dhan Trayodashee Day. She asked the farmer to keep the house clean and light an earthern lamp.┬а The farmer did as directed by Goddess Lakshmi
He became very prosperous and people who came to know about the incident started performing the same ritual on this day.
[From Skand Puraan]

(2) Narak Chaudas or Narakaa Chaudas

This day is associated with the legend of the demon Narakaasur. This holy day marks the vanquishing of the demon Narakaasur by Krishn and his wife Satyabhaamaa. According to Puraan, Narakaasur, the son of Bhoo Devee, acquired immense power as a blessing from Brahmaa after a severe penance. He soon unleashed a reign of terror in the kingdom of Kaam Roop, harassing the celestial beings with his invincible might. Unable to bear the tyranny of the demon, the celestial beings pleaded with Lord Krishn to save them from his torture. But Narakaasur could not be easily killed as he had a boon that he could face death only at the hands of his mother Bhoo Devee. So, Krishn asked his wife Satyabhaamaa, the reincarnation of Bhoo Devee, to be His charioteer in the battle with Narakaasur.

When Krishn feigns unconsciousness after being hit by an arrow of Narakaasur, Satyabhaamaa takes the bow and aims the arrow at Narakaasur and kills him instantly. Later Krishn reminds her of the boon she had sought as Bhoo Devee. At the time of dying Narakaasur asked a boon from Krishn that he should be remembered by all on the day of his death and whoever takes bath after massaging oil in his body, he should go to Swarg. The slaying of the Narakaasur by Satyabhaamaa could also be taken to interpret that parents should not hesitate to punish their children when they stray on to the wrong path. The message of Narak Chaturdashee is that the good of the society should always prevail over one's own personal bonds.

People start this day by an oil massage, then a bath in the early hours of morning - before sunrise. It is because Narakaasur asked for this boon. People light some Diyaa on this day too. One special Diyaa which is a must on this day is an oil Diyaa for Yam Raaj and is kept outside the house. Otherwise normally 5 Diyaa are compulsory - (1) one for Yam Raaj - kept outside the house facing southward, (2) one for Tulasee Jee - kept close to a Tulasee plant, (3) one for Varun Devtaa - kept at a water source such as river, tank, pond, well; but now a days in cities people keep it near the water taps; (4) one for Vishnu Bhagavaan - kept in a temple or in Dev Sthaan; and (5) the last one for Peepal tree. If there is no Peepal tree around, one can keep it under any tree.

Why Oil Bath is Taken on Narakaa Chaudas Day?
It is said that Krishn had an oil bath to rid himself of the blood spattered on His body when Narakaasur was killed. The tradition is followed and people offer prayers on the previous day of the Narakaa Chaudas to the vessel in which water is being heated for having bath. Hindu light fireworks, which are regarded as the effigies of Narakaasur who was killed on this day. Taking oil bath is a must on this day. That Mahaa Lakshmee would be getting from the bed. It has been said to perform pooja according to usage and custom. This day marks the special presence of Ganngaa Devee in the water and Lakshmee Devee in the oil.

Krishn blessed Narakaasur that those who will take Tailaabhyaang Snaan on this Day, Ashwayuj Bahulaa Chaturdashee will have Putra, Pautra (grandsons), Aishwarya (prosperity) and everything. As this is called as Narakee Chaturdashee, they will not fear of Narak also. Abhyaang Snaan is a full body massage and ritual bathing on the Narak Chaturdashee day during Divaalee. In some regions, Abhyaang Snaan is performed before sunrise. Before doing Abhyaang Snaan first have (Oil) from a Sumangalee stree (married pious woman), then do have normal Snaan. Then do the Abhyaang Snaan to the idols in your house. Then remains of the oil used for Devataa Samarpan to be mixed with the oil and to be applied to the other members of your house. Everybody has to take Abhyaang Snaan. Even Sanyaasee have to take Abhyaang Snaan on this day.

(3) Amaavasyaa - Divaalee

This is the festivals of lights and sweets. Many lights and many sweets. Divaalee is celebrated as the celebration of King Raam's homecoming, as in Raamaayan. Raam, King of Ayodhyaa, returns to his kingdom with his wife Seetaa and brother Lakshman, after His exile of 14 years, and killing the demon King Raavan. The people of Ayodhyaa welcome their King, light up earthen Diyaa (lamps) and fireworks in every home of Ayodhyaa, thus lighting up the whole kingdom. It took place on the night of the New Moon of Kaarttik, and the tradition is carried out even today.

People worship Lakshmee and Ganesh along with Saraswatee, Hanumaan and Kuber with Rolee and unbroken rice. Offer Naivedya of various sweets. They light Diyaa (lamps) all over the house, inside and outside, eat sweets and distribute sweets among their relations and friends. Parched Dhaan and Bataashaa and sugar toys are used to worship and then after the Poojaa they are eaten and distributed to friends and relations as a sign of wishing for prosperity. In some houses people play cards also whole night and wait for Lakshmee Jee to come to their house. Normally people like to celebrate this festival in their own house.

In Uttaraakhand and UP, the Shankh or Conch is not blown after the worship of Lashmee on Divaalee night, This is because the Shankh is also born from the ocean, like the goddess herself, so it is given a day of rest.

It is believed that Lakshmee (wealth) goes only to those houses which are clean and where the people are hardworking. She does not visit the places which are unclean or dirty or where the people are lazy. That is why people clean their houses before Divaalee. After Dashaharaa is over cleaning, whitewashing and painting etc is started for Divaalee.

Why to Celebrate Divaalee

(4) Pratipadaa - Govardhan Poojaa

It is believed that Krishn worshipped Govardhan Parvat on this day after lifting it for seven days and seven nights consecutively on the smallest finger of His left hand. In Brij area, a mixed vegetable is prepared in houses and in temples and Prasad of that vegetable with Pooree is distributed to devotees.

Pratipadaa - Annakoot
Next day of Divaalee celebrations is also observed as Anna-Koot, which literally means 'mountain of food'. On this auspicious day the people prepare 56 or 108 different varieties of delicious dishes to offer to Lord Krishn as 'Bhog'. In the temples, specifically in Mathuraa (UP) and Naathdwaaraa (Raajasthaan), the deities are given milk bath, dressed in new shining attires and decorated with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones and metals. Then they are worshipped, offered prayers and Bhajan and also offered delicious sweets, fruits and eatables that are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the idols.

Pratipadaa - Bali Pratipadaa or Bali Pdyaami
This day is called Bali Pratipadaa also. Raajaa Bali (Daitya King) donated Tri-Lok to Vaaman Bhagavaan. Read his story here. It is said that when Vaaman Bhagavaan had sent him to nether world and asked him to ask for a boon, he asked - "You have taken all my kingdom, give me at least three days in a year to come to Prithvi and see my people." Bhagavaan granted him this boon, so three days - Chaturdashee, Amaavasyaa and this Pratipadaa are those three days when he comes to see his people. That is why this is called Bali's reign too. The scriptures say that during Bali's reign one can behave as one wishes. However, one should refrain from acts prohibited by the scriptures. Eating prohibited foods, smoking and drinking prohibited drinks are the three prohibited acts. Hence on these days people do not drink liquor. On Bali Pratipadaa a picture (rangoli) of King Bali and his Queen Vindhyaavalee is drawn with a special powder of soft white stone on the floor, decorated with five colors and worshipped and offered meat and liquor as Naivedya. Then for the sake of Bali, lamps and clothes are donated. On this day after an early morning bath with an oil massage (Abhyang Snaan) women move lit lamps in front of their husbands' faces. In the afternoon they feast on a meal with delicacies. People wear new attire and celebrate the whole day through.

Pratipadaa - New Year Day
This day is celebrated as the first day of 'Vikram Samvat' as Vikram Sanvat was started from this Padavaa day.

(5) Dwiteeyaa - Bhaiyaa Dauj or Yam Dwiteeyaa

On this day, Yam Raaj went to his sister Yamunaa and she wished welfare for her brother. So normally brothers go to their sister's house and eat food cooked only by her. Sisters wait for their brothers and wish well for them. If one does not have his own real sister, he should go to his cousin sister's house. He should take some food, clothes, jewelry, money etc for her. Actually people do not eat food this day cooked by their own wives. If any woman does not have a brother, she can feed her cousin, or some other man, or in the basence of everything "The Moon"
[Bhavishya Puraan, 4/5]

One should worship Yam Raaj on Dhan Trayodashee, Narak Chaudas and Yam Dwiteeyaa to prevent Apa mrityu (untimely death) by chanting his 14 names.

Worshipping in Divaalee Days
14th Day - If one takes bath in Gangaa - Gangaa Snaan - in the early morning during Narak Chaturdashee, one does not see Yam Lok.

Taile lakshmeerjale gangaa deepaavalyaash chaturdasheem !
Praata: snaanam ya: kuryaat sa: Yam Lokam na pashyati !!
[Oil is Lakshmee,  Water is Gangaa]

Amaavasyaa Day
(i) Daamodar Poojaa
Recite Daamodar Ashtakam and perform Daamodar Poojaa

(ii) Ketaar Gauree Vrat
Shoolam damarookam chaiva dadhaanam hast yugmake !
ketaar devameeshaanam dhyaayet tripur ghaatinam

Aayushcha vidyaam cha tathaa sukanch saubhaagya vriddhim kuru dev dev !
sansaar ghoraambunidhau nimagnam maam raksha kedaar namo namaste!!

(iii) Evening Lighting Deep
Lighting Deep in the house and temples, one gets rid of Narak Bhaya and enjoys happiness
Datto deep Shchaturdashyaam narak preetaye mayaa
Chaturvartee samaayukta: sarv paapaanuttaye

(iv) Evening Lakshmee Kubera Poojaa
Pradosh samaye lakshmeem poojayitwaa tata: kramaat !
deep vrikshashch daatavyaa: Shaktyaa dev griheshu cha !!
swalankrutena bhoktavyam sheet vastrop Shobhinaa !!



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 11/01/13