Among the most cherished festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. Actively enjoyed by people of every religion, its magical and radiant touch creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity all around. Deepawali is very enthusiastically celebrated for FIVE CONTINUOUS DAYS and each day has its significance with a number of myths, legends and beliefs.
The First Day of celebration- Dhanteras
The first day of Deepawali is called Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanwantari Triodasi. It is al also known as Dhan Theras. Dhan means “wealth” and Trayodashi means “13th day”. In popular practice it is an auspicious day for shopping of utensils and gold. This year it will be celebrated on 9.11.2015.
Laxami, Ganesh and Kuber Puja on Dhanteras- Its Importance
In deeper terms, on this day Lord Vishnu’s un-manifest energy flows through Shri Laxami Devi’s Surya nadi (the right channel of the Kundalini) and the channel is activated. Thus the rays generated during the day are full of the ‘Tej tatva’ or the fire element. These ‘Tej’ rays spread all over the Universe and the whole Universe is illuminated by shiny golden particles.
Goddess Laxami’s chaitanya present in these golden particles provides opulence, prosperity and creates an environment conducive for spiritual practice. Hence on this day Goddess Laxmi is worshipped with utmost devotion. Because of the ritualistic worship with spiritual emotion, the Lord and controller of wealth – Kuber enters the earth’s environment and in this process Lord Ganesha removes the hindrances in way.
Thus by worshiping the coupled Divine energy of Goddess Laxami- the creator of wealth, Lord Kuber- the distributer of wealth and Lord Ganesha – the remover of obstacles in way, devotees are blessed with ability to attract wealth and thus fulfilling their desires.
Popular legends and Rituals-
This day has much significance. Many legends, beliefs and rituals are associated with celebration of this day. Some among this are-
Buying Valuables and Yamadeepdhan-
As per legends, the horoscope reading of King Hima’s sixteen year old son revealed that he would die on the fourth day of his marriage by a snake bite. On knowing this, the prince’s young wife on that particular day laid all her ornaments and coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband’s chamber, lighted lamps all over & starting singing. When Yama arrived in the form of a snake, his eyes got blinded by that dazzle and he could not enter the prince’s chamber.
In a trance-like state, he sat on top of the heap and spent the whole night listening to the melodious songs, thus missing his deadline and sparing the prince’s life. For this reason, this is considered an auspicious time to buy jewelry.
As the intelligence of the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death, Dhantheras is celebrated as a reminder that ills (destiny) in a horoscope can be corrected by the right actions (karma). Thus one should perform good deeds all the time to strengthen his fate.
As per beliefs to appease lord Yamraj and to safeguard once family against sudden calamities or death like situations the oil filled diyas are kept burning throughout the night at main entrance and in southern corner of the house . This ritual is popularly known as Yamdeepdaan.
Lord Dhanvantri and Godess Laxami appearance from Sumundramanthan-
Dhanteras is also an occasion to worship an incarnation of Vishnu.Lord Dhanwantari, the deity of health and the spirit of knowledge, as good health is first and foremost for everybody.
As per legend, Once Lord Indra was cursed by sage Durvasa that “The pride of wealth has entered his head and let Lakshmi leave him.” On account of Durvasa’s curse, Lakshmi left Indra and went away. As Lakshmi- the goddess of power, bravery, enthusiasm and radiance left, Devendra’s life became miserable. The demons that were waiting for such an opportunity invaded heaven defeated Indra.
A number of years passed. Indra went with the gods to Brahma, who went to Vishnu to find out a way. Lord Vishnu advised the devtas to churn the sea of milk. As on churning the ocean among various valuable things, Amrit will also appear and by drinking the same, devetas can become immortal.
Further when the sea is churned, Lakshmi who has disappeared will appear again and her grace will be bestowed on devtas.
After initial difficulties Gods and Demons got ready to churn the ocean. For churning the same, Mandara Mountain became the churning rod and Vasuki, the king of the serpents, became a rope. Lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise and hoisted Mandara Mountain on his back and the churning started.
During churning in the midst of the waves of the sea of milk, a goddess with heavenly looks came into view. She was standing on a fully blossomed lotus. Wearing a lotus garland in the neck, she was holding a lotus in her hand. She was attractive and was radiantly smiling, she was Lakshmi.
The sages began reciting hymns in praise of her. As the elephants sprinkled holy water on her, she acquired the name of Gajalakshmi and as she was born in the sea of milk, she was called Samudratanya. Lakshmi put the garland around the neck of Vishnu. Then she looked at Indra kindly, by this act Indra acquired an extraordinary radiance and blessings of Godess Laxami.
The gods and demons continued to churn the ocean for Amrit or nectar, Finally Dhanavantri emerged carrying a jar of the nectar. Both the gods and demons wanted the amrit, but finally Vishnu managed to give the immortal nectar to the gods and the asuras were defeated. Thus the churning of the ocean resulted in the immortality of the Devtas and was the reason for Lakshmi’s emergence.
Thus on this day by worshipping the Tulsi and the Akashdeep, we symbolically seek the favour of Nature which is the ultimate source of health and wealth. In addition to this “Laxmi-Puja” is performed in the evenings when tiny diya of clay are lit to drive away the shadows of evil spirits.