The festival of lights is less than a week away, while you gear up to de-clutter your home and usher in the positive energies, take out some time to also know about the uniqueness of this festival. The festival is a harmony of five varied philosophies, with each day to a special thought or ideal. Here are simple steps to celebrate each of its five days of festivities with true understanding:
DAY 1 DHANTRAYODASHI – for welcoming the Goddess of wealth
The word “Dhan” means wealth and “teras” means the thirteenth day. Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanteras is celebrated in honour of Dhanavantri, (the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu), who emerged on this day (when the gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrit or nectar), carrying a jar of the elixir (Ayurveda) for the welfare of mankind.
- It is a time for a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering of the premise, for the belief is that Lakshmi enters only clean and nicely decorated houses/offices etc. related to cleanliness, hygiene and health you should shed old things and make way for new opportunities
- Next use Rock Sea Salt water for the final mopping of the floors in the morning. This unrefined pure salt has a unique property to absorb negative energies from the environment and making it healthy and conducive to positive thoughts. Mix approx. 5 tsp of salt in one bucket of water.
- To increase the positive energies it is an ancient tradition to burn Dhoop – incense. The Omved Shuddhi Dhoop is specially formulated according to the Panchatattva shuddhi method to purify your Vastu. It extracts the positive energy from the five basic natural elements of the universe – the panchbhootas/tattvas, namely, Akash (SKY), Prithvi (EARTH), Paani (WATER), Agni (FIRE), and Vayu (WIND).
- Place the sholar (traditional material to infuse positivity) rangollis on either side of your doorstep to invite Lakshmi. The rangoli designs and lights encourage the positive urja
- Place the handmade Kirtimukha Vastu Bhandarwar on the top/side of your door to ensure the blockage of negative energies that enter one’s house.
- On this day at sunset, one should bathe and offer a lighted oil diya with prasad (sweets offered at worship time) to Yama Raj, the Lord of Death and pray for protection from untimely death, preferably near a Tulsi plant (the Holy Basil) or any other sacred tree/plant that one might have in their home/yard. To celebrate the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi one must keep the oil lamp burning throughout the night.
- It is tradition to sing “Bhajans” – devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi at midnight to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. At the end of the worship it is auspicious to lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedya to the Goddess and is later distributed amongst near and dear ones.
- Welcome Goddess Lakshmi to the puja room by stamping/drawing small footprints with rice flour and vermilion powder from the entrance of the house to the puja room. Make sure they are not placed haphazardly. These footprints also bring in positivity.
- Since this day represents “dhan” wealth, and “svasthya” health/Ayurveda, it is auspicious to buy metal. Kansa/bronze is the tridoshic metal of choice since it represents both health and wealth and has a very high Sattvic guna content.
DAY 2 NARAKA CHATURDASHI – (chotti Diwali)
The second day celebrates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narkasura, the embodiment of untidiness, dirtiness and diseases.
- On this day, one should rest so that Diwali can be celebarated with vigour and devotion.
- It is customary to take an early bath with traditional ubtan – cleansing grains made with select grains, herbs and fragrant powders.
- The Mangal Maruti bhandarwar can be worshipped with Hanumaani sindhoor and akshat along with prayers to Sri Hanuman and hung in the North east of ones house or in ones car.
DAY 3 LAXMI PUJAN – for worship of Goddess Laxmi
Goddesss Laxmi, the bringer of prosperity and happiness is worrshipped on the third day of the festivities. During this auspicious day, the following rituals are followed:
- Early morning before sunrise and after bath, recite the mantra – “Tamasomaa jyotirgamaya” (Lead me from darkness to light). This means that where there is darkness may light fill in.
- It is best to avoid wearing black colours on this Diwali. Also avoid giving black colored clothes and other items in the gifts. Wear red, yellow, purple, white, cream, blue colours to add to the joy and cheer.
- Draw a kumkum swastika back to back of your entrance.
- Hang the Laxmi Ganesh Bhandarwar for the removal of obstacles and negativity and to increase peace and prosperity.
- Light earthen diyas with pure ghee or linseed/mustard oils and ensure that each and every corner of the house is lit properly. These oils have beneficial health affects and kill harmful germs and insects. Whenever you light up dark corners or brighten your home in general, you bring sunlight and positive energy into the area and dispel any stagnant or negative energy. Place them in multiples of five, as each diya represents the reigning deity of Diwali – Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesh, Lord Kuber, Lord Gajendra and Lord Indra.
- The entrance door must be particularly well lighted – place a diya on either side along with a pair of copper Laxmi paglas as well. Light a diya at every opening in the house.
- A string of fresh marigold flowers and mango leaves tied to the frame of the main door represents nature’s abundance and attracts good luck.
- A Vastu tradition is to move 27 things in your home on Diwali for prosperity to arrive. Moving 27 things is harder than you think, but remember it will also be counted if you just move salt and pepper shakers so they sit on the other side of each other.
- Refill your normal sugar reserves in the kitchen to ensure sweet days ahead.
In the evening:
A traditional Laxmi Pujan (also called Chopada (books) Pujan, Sharda Pujan) is performed after sunset to achieve the blessings of wealth and prosperity, the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Lakshmi Pujan consists of a combined puja of five deities: Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every auspicious act as Vighnaharta; Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms – Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (the goddess of books and learning), and Mahakali; Kuber (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshiped
Follow the instructions in the Laxmi Pujan booklet
DAY 4 – NUTAN VARSH – New Year’s Day
- The New Year is celebrated by early bath before sunrise and praying the Gayatri Mantra and shanti shlokas.
- It is traditional for people to visit friends and relatives, and to renew good relations amongst them all. Elders are bowed to for their blessings
- Distributing sweets and dry fruits is always treated to be auspicious. Sweets belong to the planet Mars and it gives us excitement and courage.
- Gifts are exchanged as a symbolic gesture of sweetening one’s relations with one another. Do not give fire crackers, leather goods and knives as gifts as it not good for either the giver or the receiver. It affects the relationship and or the health.
Some of the other traditional celebrations for this day are:
- Thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna caused the people of Vraja to perform Govardhan Pooja and saved the cowherds and their herds from torrential rains by holding up the mountain Govardhan like an umbrella over them. From then on, every year people worship the mountain Govardhan (Govardhan puja) on this day, by making a heap of cow-dung and tucking durva (a sacred grass) and flowers into it. Images of Lord Krishna, the cowherds, Lord Indra, cows and calves are arranged alongside and also worshipped.
- Another ritual performed on this day is called ‘Annakoot’ meaning mountain of food. To perform Annakoot people distribute Bhog (food) to the needy.
- People in South India celebrate this day as ‘Kartik Shuddh Padwa’ or ‘Bali Padyami’ / Balipratipada. It is believed that on this day King Bali come to visit the people on earth from Patalaloka (netherworld) as per boon given by Lord Vishnu.
- Some also celebrate Gudi Padwa on this auspicious day wherein husband and wife re-affirm love and devotion between them. A wife should apply red tilak on her husband’s forehead and pray for his long life and garland him and performs arti of him. For this affectionate gesture, the husband pampers wife with gifts.
DAY 5 BHAI DUJ
The fifth and last day of Diwali is known as ‘Bhai dooj’ ‘Bhratri Dooj’ or ‘Bhai Bij’. The name itself denotes the day of the festival i.e it falls on Dooj, the second day after the new moon. Bhai means brother and this festival celebrates the loving ties between brothers and sisters.
Many moons ago, in the Vedic era, Yama (the Lord of death) visited his sister Yami on this day, and she put an auspicious tilak on his forehead for his welfare. He gave his sister a Vardhan (a boon) that whosoever visits her on this day shall be liberated from all sins. They will achieve Moksha or final emancipation. From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to enquire of their welfare.
The ritual to be performed when the brother arrives is:
- Sisters make their brother sit on an asana on the floor (lesser option -chair )
- She applies sacred kumkum tilak on his forehead followed by some akshat.
- Sister then performs arti of her brother and simultaneously prays for his long life, safety, success and well being.
- After this, brother and sister share a piece of mithai – sweet.
- Brother blesses his sister for her affection and promise to support her under all circumstances.
- An exchange of Bhai Dooj gifts between brothers and sisters takes place at the end of ceremony. Brother is then treated with a lavish meal prepared by the sister.
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