October 16, 2014, In: Festivals, Puja, Traditions

Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated traditionally all over India. Dhanteras is the first day, where “Dhan” means “Wealth” and “Teras” means “The 13th day” as per the Hindu calendar. This festival, also known as Dhanvantari Trayodashi, is celebrated on the Trayodashi i.e. the 13th lunar day of the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight) in the month of Kartik.

On this auspicious day, people worship Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and Lord Ganesha for a prosperous life and wellbeing.

During Dhanteras, there is a custom of purchasing precious metals like gold, silver and other utensils as it believed that this welcomes prosperity to our homes.

There is an interesting fable revolving around the festival of Dhanteras. It is said that, Once upon a time, King Hima’s sixteen year old son was fated to pass away just by the snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. His wife cleverly, did not allow her husband to sleep on the fourth day of their marriage. She made heaps of Gold ornaments and Silver coins at the doorway to her husband. Moreover, big bright lamps were lightened all around the palace.

When the God of death (Yama) came to her husband in the guise of a snake, he was stupefied by the dazzling light of the lamps, silver coins and gold ornaments. So Lord Yama could not enter his chamber. He then tried to climb on top of the heap and was amazed by the melodious songs sung by the princess. The next morning Yama had to return back to his world and this is how the princess cleverly saved his husbands life. That’s why, Dhanteras is also known as the Yamadeepdaan. Hence on this day diyas or candles are kept blazing whole night in respect of the God Yama.

Another myth of Samudramanthan is at the core of the celebration. Lord Indra, who was once riding his elephant, came across a sage named Durvasa who gave him a garland, which was Prasad of Fortune. It was accepted by Lord Indra but due to his arrogance he made his elephant wear it. The elephant knowing his Lords arrogance and ego flipped the garland on the ground. The angry Durvasa cursed Lord Indra that Laxmi (Goddess of wealth and fortune) as “The pride of wealth that has entered his head”. After hearing this, Lakshmi- the Goddess of wealth left Lord Indra. As Lakshmi is the goddess of power, bravery, enthusiasm and radiance left, Indra’s life became miserable. The demons or asuras led by demon King Bali, who was awaiting such an opportunity raided heaven and defeated Indra and his devtaas. Indra and his devtaas lost their kingdom and hid out of the sight of the demons.

Number of years passed by, Indra’s teacher Brihaspati thought of finding solution for Indra’s troubles. Brihaspati along with other gods went to Lord Brahma, who went to Lord Vishnu. The only solution was to churn The Sea of Milk for Elixir (amrit). It was a difficult task and hence getting assistance of the demons was required. But the demons had to be handled diplomatically and Lord Vishnu, made sure that it was only the gods would receive the elixir. An alliance was formed by the Gods and the Demons and Mountain Mandara was used as a churning rod and Vasuki – the king of the serpents, was used as a churning rope. The Vasuki was held on both the ends by the demons and the gods to churn the sea alternatively and this process came to be known as Samundar Manthan.

The clever Brihaspati managed to befriend the demons and they agreed to support in the hope of receiving the elixir (Amrit) and wealth. Lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise to raise the Mount Mandara in the milky sea and then the churning started.

First, Kalakuta, a lethal poison came out which Lord Shiva drank which relieved the Gods and Demons. Next emerged a horse by named Uchaishravas and Kalpavriksha who had the power to grant what is wished, and Kamdhenu and other heavenly articles took form. Lord Cishnu continuously encouraged the Gods and Demons churning of the sea continued.

After that in the midst of the waves of the Sea of Milk, a goddess with heavenly beauty came into form. She was standing on a fully blossomed lotus, wearing a lotus garland. She was holding a lotus in her hand. She was attractive and was radiantly smiling. She was Goddess Lakshmi.

The sages began relating hymns in praise of her. The apsaras danced. The elephants on either side sprinkled sacred holy Ganga water on the goddess and bathed her. The holy water sprinkled on Goddess Laxmi by elephants christened her “Gajalakshmi”. Because she was born in the Sea of Milk, she was named “Samudratanya”. The king of the sea appeared in his natural form and comforted Lakshmi as a daughter. When she looked at Indra kindly, he gained an exceptional radiance.

The gods and demons continued to churn the ocean for Amrut or nectar, Finally Dhanavantri materialized carrying a jar of the Amrut. Both the asuras and devas wanted the Amrut, but finally Vishnu managed to give the immortal nectar to the gods and asuras were defeated. Thus the churning of the ocean concluded in the immortality of devas and was the reason for Lakshmi’s emergence.

Date : Tuesday, 21st October 2014

Day : Dhanteras

Day Choghadiya

Night Choghadiya

06:29 – 07:53     Rog  17:42 – 19:18         Kaal
07:53 – 09:17     Udveg (Vaar Vela)  19:18 – 20:54         Labh(Kaal Ratri)
09:17 – 10:41     Chal  20:54 – 22:30         Udveg
10:41 – 12:06     Labh  22:30 – 24:06+       Shubh
12:06 – 13:30     Amrit  24:06+ – 25:42+     Amrit
13:30 – 14:54     Kaal (Kaal Vela)  25:42+ – 27:18+     Chal
14:54 – 16:18     Shubh  27:18+ – 28:54+     Rog
16:18 – 17:42     Rog  28:54+ – 30:30+     Kaal

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