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 – Lakshmīpūjān) 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.
Narakchaturdashī (2nd Day of Diwali)
A powerful demon called Bhoumasur or Narkasur formerly ruled a place named Pragjyotishpur. He began harassing both Deities and the people. He imprisoned sixteen thousand young princesses with an intention of marrying them after winning their kingdoms in battles. He created chaos everywhere. When Shrīkrushṇa heard about this, He attacked the demon, slayed him and set the princesses free.
The dying Narkasur asked Shrīkrushṇa for a boon, “On this day (tithi) the one who takes an auspicious bath (mangalsnan) will not suffer in hell.” Shrīkrushṇa granted him the boon.
Consequently, the fourteenth (Chaturdashī) day of the dark fortnight of Āshwin also came to be known as Narak Chaturdashī and on that day people started bathing before sunrise. On this day when Shrīkrushṇa returned home at dawn, after slaying Narkasur, adorning a spot (tilak) of Narkasur’s blood on His forehead, Nanda gave Him an auspicious bath. The women expressed their joy by moving lit lamps about His face (ovalani).’
Yamatarpan (offering to Yamarāj)
After abhyangasnân one should make an offering to Yamarāj to overcome untimely death (apamrutyu). This ritual of offering (tarpan) is explained in the religious almanac (panchāng). One should consult the religious almanac and then perform this ritual accordingly. Thereafter the mother moves lit lamps in front of her children’s faces (ovalani). Some break karit (a bitter fruit) with their toes to signify the slaying of Narkasur while some apply a little of its juice onto the tongue as his blood.
(Refer our article about abhyangasnân for details about how to do Yamatarpan.)
Malpractices during the Narak Chaturdashi
- An effigy of the demon Narkasur is made and burnt in public places. This creates lot of inconvenience to the general public.
- No Scriptures have recommended burning of Narkasur’s effigy.
- There is no mention of the Deity Krushna, in fact He is the One Who has slayed the demon Narkasur.
- Some people block roads and forcefully extract money from the by passers.
- The burning of Narkasur effigy leads to pollution. The iron, metals, nails used in the effigy create traffic hazards on the roads.
- The vulgar dances to the pop / rock music have adverse impact on the society.
- The youths, who are involved in this waste their precious time and money. They stay awake late at night and consume alcohol at night.
In summary, burning of Narkasur has no spiritual meaning, hence no spiritual benefits. On the contrary, such activities increase the influence of negative energies on the people. Therefore, FHA encourages all readers to create this awareness so that the incorrect practice of burning of Narkasur stops.
Source: Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances, and Diwali video published by Sanatan.