गुरुवार, 15 अक्तूबर 2009


The day before Diwali is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali / Narak Chaturdasi or 'small Diwali'. It is Diwali on a smaller scale, with fewer lights lit and fewer crackers burst. On this night Hanuman, the son of Anjana, the divine son of the god of air (Pavan) was born. So it is also observed as Hanuman Jayanti. This festival is observed since the day lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasur.

The morning after Choti Diwali, the women of the house make beautiful, colored rangoli in the doorway and courtyard. Tiny footprints made out of rice paste are a special feature of the rangolis made for Diwali. In Hindu homes, Chhoti Diwali celebrations involve a ritual puja to Goddess Lakshmi and also to Rama in the evening. Songs in honor of the god are sung and aarti is performed.


The story goes that the demon king Narakasur ruler of Pragjyotishpur (a province to the South of Nepal) after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess (the ruler of Suraloka and a relative of Satyabhama, Lord Krishna's wife) and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods and saints in his harem.

On coming to know about this, Satyabhama was enraged by Narakasura's malevolence towards women, and she appealed to Krishna to give her the golden chance to destroy Narakasura. The legend also says that Narakasura was given a curse that he would be killed by a woman. Krishna granted Satyabhama a boon to fight with Narakasura. With Krishna as the charioteer, Satyabhama entered the battle field. During the war, Krishna swooned for a while, a preordained divinely act adopted to empower Satyabhama to kill the demon. After Narakasura was beheaded, the imprisoned women were released, and Krishna accepted to marry them.

So on the day previous to Narakachaturdashi, Lord Krishna's divine intervention led to the killing of the demon, Narakasura and liberation of the imprisoned women as well as recovery of the precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king's blood. Krishna returned home in the very early morning of the Naraka chaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice specially in Maharashtra.

In South India that victory of the divine over the mundane is celebrated in a very peculiar way. People wake up before sunrise prepare a paste by mixing Kumkum in oil, symbolizing blood and after breaking a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon King that was smashed by Krishna, apply that mixture on their foreheads. Then they have an oil bath using sandalwood paste.

There is also a legend that after victory from Lanka when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya , then he along with Ma Sita gave gifts to all the warriors. Ma Sita gave a pearl necklace to Shri Hanumanji. Shri Hanumanji being a bhakt of Lord Rama started searching Lord Ram’s name in the necklace. But he did not get it , so he requested Ma Sita to give a gift which has Lord Ram’s name in it.Ma Sita gave her sindoor to Hanumanji and said I put this with name of Lord Rama and he feels happy with this. On hearing this Lord Hanuman put that sindoor on his whole body.This day is also celebrated as day when Hanumanji received Sindoor from Ma Sita.

This festival is also the day of worship of Yama, the god of death. So after oil massage and bath in early morning (before sunrise), gratification should be shown to him. After that offer handful of water three times to Bhishma Pitamah of Mahabharata. According to Hindu scriptures, libation to the ancestors should be offered particularly by those whose fathers are alive. This is the only day in the whole year when a son with a living father can offer libations and water to the ancestors, which is very pleasing to them and the fear of death vanishes.

In the evening, burn four lights in reverence to Yama and then other lamps are lit. The lamps lit in name of Yama make year long good deeds in the household permanent, failing which there may be obstacles in life.

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