Description: This article provides information about how various festivals are celebrated during Diwali.
Diwali is celebrated on four consecutive days – the thirteenth (Dhanatrayodashi), the fourteenth (Narak Chaturdashī) and the new moon day (Amāvasyā – Lakshmi puja) of the dark fortnight of Āshwin and the first day of the bright fortnight of Kārtik (Balipratipadā). In this article, we will explain how the various days of Diwali are celebrated.
Lakshmi puja (3rd Day of Diwali)
Lakshmi puja falls on the new moon day (Amavasya) of the dark fortnight of Ashwin. Generally, the new moon day is considered inauspicious; however, this day is an exception to the rule. Though this day is considered auspicious it is not so for all events, such as weddings, etc. On this day, worship of Goddess Lakshmī is done with th e spiritual emotion (bhav) that She has provided us the wealth and in future too, She will give us the necessary wealth. In addition, Deity Kuber (treasurer of wealth) is also worshipped.
Worship of Goddess Lakshmi (Lakshmi puja)
- At the break of dawn, one should have an auspicious bath, and then worship the Deities.
- In the afternoon, a rite for the departed souls (parvanshraddha) and an offering of meals to Brāhmaṇs (Brāhmaṇbhojan) is done.
- In the evening, in a decorated area, Goddess Lakshmi, Deity Vishnu, other Deities and Deity Kuber are worshipped. A legend says that on this day Deity Vishnu along with Goddess Lakshmi liberated all the Deities from Bali’s prison and thereafter they all slept in the ocean. To represent that, everyone should enjoy themselves at home and light lamps everywhere.
When ritualistically worshipping Goddess Lakshmi (Lakshmi puja), an idol of Lakshmi should be installed on a seat on which either an octapetalled lotus or a swastik is drawn with consecrated rice (akshatā). Next to Her, an idol of Deity Kuber is placed on a pot (kalash). Then all these Deities including Lakshmi are offered a Naivēdya (Holy food item), a mixture of coagulated cow’s milk (khava), sugar, cardamom and cloves. Then items like coriander, jaggery, corn obtained from parched, uncleaned rice, sugar candies (battase), etc. are offered to Goddess Lakshmi and then distributed to well-wishers and friends. Holding a bundle in the hand guidance is offered to ancestors. Brahmaṇs and the hungry are offered meals. One stays awake in the night.
The Purāṇa narrates that on the new moon night of Ashwin the Goddess Lakshmi goes everywhere in search of an ideal home. Though undoubtedly cleanliness, beauty and excellence attract Her yet She loves to live in a home inhabited by men who are faithful, dutiful, merciful, righteous, have control over passions and are devotees of God, and women who are virtuous and chaste.’
Ritualistic worship of Deity Kuber
Just as the Deities Lakshmi and Deity Indra are worshipped on the religious festival of Kojagari, Goddess Lakshmi and Deity Kuber are worshipped on this new moon day. Lakshmi is the Deity of wealth but Deity Kuber is the treasurer. Several people possess the art of earning money but do not know how to save it. However saving money and spending it appropriately is far more important than earning it. Since most people do not know how to spend money, their spending is unwarranted and ultimately, they become bankrupt.
Kuber is the Deity who teaches the art of saving money as He Himself is the treasurer. Therefore, in this ritual the worship of Goddess Lakshmi and Deity Kuber has been recommended. Though all people celebrate this festival, the business community in particular does so with great enthusiasm and splendour.
Coriander seeds and parched corn from parched, uncleaned rice are offered in this ritual of worship, the reason for this being that coriander seeds (dhane) denote wealth and parched corn represents prosperity. If a few grains of parched, uncleaned rice are roasted one gets a handful of parched corn. Since one aspires to acquire the prosperity of Deity Lakshmi, parched corn is offered symbolically.
Driving off poverty (alakshmī)
Development of virtues gains importance only if in the process defects are overcome. Just as one makes efforts to acquire wealth (Lakshmi), poverty (alakshmi) should also be destroyed. To signify that, on this day a new broom is bought. It is called Lakshmi. At midnight one should sweep the house with that broom, accumulate the garbage in a dust pan and throw it out. This is called ‘driving off’ of alakshmi (garbage – poverty). Sweeping the house and throwing the garbage out at night is forbidden on other days. When removing the garbage alakshmi is driven out even by sound created by striking a sifting pan and an earthen vessel covered with a hide.
Source: Publication – Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances, published by Sanatan.
Note: FHA will shortly upload the ritualistic worship of Goddess Lakshmi (Lakshmipujan)