Five-day Mega Festival of Deepaavali
Autumn in India, is full of festivals. After the nine-day Durga Puja & Navaratri and Dusserah, we have witnessed the Kojagari Lakshmi Puja. Next comes the five-day mega festival of Deepaavali or the Festival of Lights.
In fact among all the Hindu festivals of India the two most popular socio-religious festivals are the Deepaavali the festival of lights and Holi the ‘Festival of Colours’, which in ancient times was called Vasantotsav or Madanotsav. These two festivals are widely observed throughout the peninsula from North to South as well as from East to west.
The five-day festival of Deepaavali consists of five ceremonies on five days starting two days prior to the main festival Deepaavali and concludes two days later. Each day has its own special ceremony.
They are (1) Kartik Krishna Trayodasi or Dhanteras (Dhanatrayodashi); (2) Narak Chaturdasi of Kartik Krishna Chatardasi; (3) Deepaavali and Sri Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja on Kartik Krishna Amavasya; (4) Annakut Utsav and Govardhan Puja on Kartik Sukla Patipada; and (5) Yama Dwitiyaa or Bhratri Dwitiyaa or Kartik Shukla Dwitiya
Dhanteras or Dhana Trayodashi falls this year on Tuesday, 21st of October 2014. This day, according to Skanda Purana, is called the day of Yama Deepam. In the evening the ceremony of Yama Deepa Daan is to be performed by lighting the earthen deep outside the house which will be kept burning throughout the night and adoration of lord Yama, the god of death, is to be performed to avoid untimely and immature death.
On this day lord Dhanwantari, the divine physician, emerged with golden pitcher full of Amrita or ambrosia in his hand from the sea when it was being churned by the gods and the demons. The worship of lord Dhanwantari is to be performed in the first hour of this lunar night. As lord Dhanwantari is the divine physician, the worship of the god Bighna Vinashak (Destroyer of obstacles), in the first hour of the night in order to acquire health, longevity, wealth and prosperity is prescribed. On this night the white owl, the vehicles of goddess Lakshmi, is worshipped. On this occasion the rich people buy valuable metals like gold and silver and common man or even the poor buy utensils of brass, copper or bell-metal which can, in hard days, bring money in exchange.
On this day the people take cold bath in the morning. The businessmen close their Account and Ledger books and assemble at the place of worship and take food in the evening after the worship and Dhan Teras Brata Katha are read.
Do’s and Don’ts
1.On Dhantrayodashi, do not make unnecessary expenditure; buy things that you need for use.
2.On Dhantrayodashi, prayers should be offered to Dhanwantari early in the morning. By worshipping Dhanwantari, one is blessed with a good health. After the pooja, Yama tarpan rituals should be observed.
3.On this auspicious day, avoid borrowing or lending money to anyone.
4. It is extremely auspicious to buy metal utensils, gold and silver ornaments in the afternoon. It is believed that doing so marks the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi into your house.
5.In the evening, light several diyas in the pooja room to brighten it up with light.
6.Around 8 pm, sit in the pooja room, take a red cloth and place Kuber Yantra, Sphatik Shreeyantra, Lord Kuber’s image and idol, Goddess Lakshmi’s image and idol on it. Then worship these by offering vermilion (roli), mauli thread, rice, dhoop, flowers, diya and naivaidya.
The Narak Chaturdashi is so named because Lord Krishna had killed demon Narakasur on this very day. As lord Krishna freed the earth of sin by killing Narakasur, the embodiment sin, injustice and torture, according to Bhavishya Purana and Padma Purana, so people in order to get rid of sin and injustice should take bath after smearing the body with mustard oil in the early hours of the night after seeing the waning moon. At the time of bath, a lump of clay from the ploughed field should be gathered and a branch of thorny plant with leaves should be put together and encircle it around the head several times and chant the following mantra addressed to lord Yama:
Seetaloshtra saha yukta Sakantaka Dalaanvita,
Hara Paapamapaamaarga Bhraamyamaanah Punah Punah.
Meaing, Oh lord, I am encircling this clay and thorny branch of the tree around my head again and again. Please rid me of my sins.
And after bath water-offering to Yama and Bhauma should performed thrice each by the palms. While offering water to lord Yama all the fourteen names of lord Yama should be uttered. They are: Yamaaya Namah; Dharmaraajaaya Namah; Mritwe Namah; Swayambhootaakshaaya Namh; Audumbaraaya Namah; Daghnaaya Namah; Neelaaya Namah; Parameshthine Namah; Vrikodaraaya Namah; Chitraaya Namah; and Chitraguptaaya Namah. In the evening of Kaartik Krishna Chaturdashi a four-wick Deepak (earthen lamp) should be lighted for lord Yama. After that the earthen lamp should be lit in the cowshed, under holy tree, in the kitchen and bathroom etc. The daily puja rituals should be performed only after that. This year this ceremony falls on Wednesday, the 22nd October 2014.
On this day worship of lord Krishna, Yamaraj, goddess Lakshmi, Durga and Ganga can also be performed. This day is considered auspicious for mantrasiddhi or attainment of success in devotion through mantras. After the puja performance Narak Chaturdashi Vrata Kathaa should be read and the Brahmins should be offered food and money. This Narak Chaturdashi is also called Roop Chaturdashi because it is believed that those who observe this vrata, the hell (Narak) is removed from the body and it becomes graceful and attractive.
Do’s and Don’ts
B). Sri Hanuman Jayanti
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated, one day prior to Deepavali, and falls on 22nd October this year. It is believed that Hanuman Ji took birth on this day. There is a slight controversy regarding the birth of Hanuman ji as the day of Chaitra Purnima is also considered to be the day when He was born. Nevertheless, both these days are celebrated with devotion and much fanfare by the devotees.
Do’s of Hanuman Jayanti
Kartik Krishna Amavasya - Deepawali
worship of new idols of lord ganesh & goddess lakshami
& worship of lord kuber and books of accounts.
On Kartik Krishna Amawasya (moonless night) in the morning the Pooja Chamber in the house should be cleaned thoroughly and thereafter bath should be taken.
In the night of Kartik Krishna Amavasya new idols of Lord Ganesh, Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped. The new idols drapped in fine clothes are established on an eigh-petal lotus drawn on silk cloth in red sandal with a pomegranate or woodapple pen.
It is said that Lakshmi together with all the gods were kept imprisioned in the prison of King Bali. On the very day of Kartik Krishana Amavasya, God Vishnu had got all of them liberated from confinement. On liberation all the Gods accompanied Goddess Lakshmi and had slept in the Kshir-Sagar (Ocean of Milk).
Therefore, on Kartik Krishna Amavasya beautiful new idols of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped. Beautiful arrangements are made for their sleep, so that instead of going to the Ksheer-Sagar (Ocean of Milk), they remain in our house.
Goddess Lakshmi never goes anywhere else and never leaves those who welcome her in this manner. On the other hand those who do not worship or lazily or sleepily worship Goddess Lakshmi, they always suffer from poverty.
In the Skanda Purana it is mentioned that Deep daan or light offering should be made to the deities in the evening. In the Bhavishya Purana it is written that along with offering light to the gods and goddesses the worship of goddess Kaalee should be performed in the dead of the night. The Deepaavali falls on Thursday, 23rd October 2014.
In the Skanda Purana it is mentioned that in the evening of this auspicious day a 4-wick earthen lamp, representing chaturvarga or four pursuits or goals of human life, should be lighted on a big plate and be kept burning throughout the night and 26 earthen lamps should be lit around the four-wick lamp. The fuel of the lamps must be mustard oil.
After a while the 26 earthen lamps should be taken away one by one and be placed on two sides of the main entrance, near the Tulsi (sacred basil) plant, in the puja room, in the kitchen, in the study room, in the temple, in the adjacent garden, in the cowshed and on the house-roof etc.
This ceremony of Deep Daan has a great significance. As our body is made of 5 elements or Panchabhoot i.e. earth, water, fire, air and sky, so the lighted earthen lamp represents: (1) The earthen lamp itself is Prithvi or earth; (2) Oil or ghee (the fuel) itself is Jal or water; (3) the wick made of cotton represents Akash or atmosphere; (4) The sucking power by which the oil reaches up to the flame represents Vaayu or Air and (5) The fire represents Agni or heat.
Do’s and Don’ts
Namah Swahayay Swadhayay Nityameva Namoh Namah’ 11 times remembering your forefathers and seek blessings for a happy life. Then read the 7th adhyay of Bhagawad Gita.
The first day of the Bright Fortnight (Sukla Paksha) of the month of Kartik falls on Friday, 24th October, 2014. Interestingly excepting Bhratri Dwitiya, all the 4-days of 5-day mega festival of Kartik falls in the month of Aswin this year.
On this day one should smear his/her body with oil and take bath in the morning. Thereafter Govardhan Pooja (Annakoot Pooja) should be performed. Heap of rice resembling a mountain should be made and a replica of mount Govardhan the famous hill of Vrindavan should be made with cowdung. The heap of rice resembling the Govardhan mountain is called Annakoot or the mountain of grains. And it is worshipped solemnly with the offerings of Paadya, Arghya, Gandha-Pushpa, Deep, Naivedya, Aachaman, Tambul and Dakshina respectivel. This festival is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that if Lord Vishnu is offered with the small mountain of kharif crops, the worshipper gets the blessings of Lord Vishnu and he gets good crops and enlargement of his herd of cattle. The word ‘Govardhan’ has also a meaning—enhancement of the number of cows. In this day Lord Krishna and the cows are worshipped. Remember Cow is symbol of wealth and all round prosperity.
Do’s of Govardhan Pooja
5. kartik shukla dwitiya or bhratri-dwitiya (yama- dwitiya on Saturday, 25th october, 2014)
On Kartik Shukla Dwitiya, the moon should be viewed. If possible, bath should be taken in the Yamuna, if not possible then at home after rubbing oil all over the body.
After taking bath etc. at noon time, one should go to his sister's house and wish her with gifts of clothes and materials etc. and take lunch at her place itself.
In the Brahmanda Purana it is mentioned that on this day the brothers should not take their lunch elsewhere except only in their sister’s house. It they have no sisters of their own they will go to their cousin sister’s house or sisters of the friends and relatives and take their lunch and exchange greetings and gifts. It is also mentioned that the brothers and sisters become happy and prosperous and the sisters do not become widows if they observe this day is this way.
In the Skanda Purana, it is found that on this day the Kayasthas of Eastern and northern India worship Lord Chitragupta, the divine secretary of Lord Yama.
In this respect an ancient story thus goes -- In the olden times, on Kartik Shukla Dwitiya Yamunaji had made her brother Yama the god of death take meal and honoured him. On that day the hellish creatures got rid of tortures and they were made contented, They got rid of sins and became free. They celebrated a great festival which was to extend happiness to the kingdom of 'Yamlok'. Therefore this date became renowned in the three worlds as 'YAMA DWITIYA’.
In the evening before lighting the electric lamp. Deep-daan (Offering of light-pots) should be done by lighting a four-wicked light-pot for Yamraj, outside the house.
In Bengal : The sisters take bath in the morning and wear new clothes and chanting mantra for the longevity of their brother and put holy marks with sandal paste and collyrium on the forehead of their brothers with their ring finger of left hand and feed them with sumptuous meals and exchange gifts.
Things to do