Diwali, Deepawaali the festival of lights, the most important festival for Hindus. Diwali is a five day festival which starts with DhanTeras and is marked with puja of Lakshmi, Goddess of Fortune. This post is about Diwali, The five day celebration, myth surrounding Lakshmi. Why chasing Lakshmi is not good? What is the significance of donation in Tirupati Balaji Temple? Gods of money in other cultures and how America proclaims In God we Trust
Happy Diwali to you all
Diwali falls on the one new moon night between mid-October and mid-November. There are various reasons for celebrating Diwali, the main one is from Ramayana(or Rama’s journey as Ayana means going or advancing). On this very day, the sun enters his second course and passes Libra which is represented by the balance or scale. Hence, this design of Libra is believed to have suggested the balancing of account books and their closing. Despite the fact that this day falls on an Amavasya(New Moon) it is regarded as the most auspicious.
Ram returns to Ayodoya from exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman after defeating Ravana the king of Lanka, who had abducted Sita. As it was new moon night or Amavasya the people of Ayodhya lit diyas.
Different colourful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas and candles all around their house. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. The festival of Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts.
Five-day celebrations of Diwali
Deepavali is celebrated for five days according to the lunisolar Hindu Calendar.
- The festival starts with Dhanteras.
- The second day of the festival, Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi, marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
- The third day marks the worship of Lakshmi.
- The fourth day of Deepawali,
- Kartika Shudda Padyami, that Bali went to patala (underground world) and took the reins of his new kingdom in there.
- Govardhan Puja & Annakut: this day commemorates the incident in the Bhagavata Puran when Bhagwan Shri Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill to provide the villagers of Vrindavan shelter from torrential rains. The incident is seen to represent how God will protect all devotees who take singular refuge in him. Devotees offer a mountain of food, metaphorically representing the Govardhan Hill, to God as a ritual remembrance and to renew their faith in taking refuge in God
- New Business Year: Among the business communities of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, Diwali is the festival when the new business year begins.
- The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya also called Bhai Dooj, and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes. Yama (Yamraj, the Lord of death) visited His sister Yamuna(Yami) and she put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, they ate talked and enjoyed together and exchanged special gifts as a token of their love for each other and Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister on this day will never be thrown to hell.
- According to another popular legend, after slaying the evil demon Narkasur, LordKrishna visited his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately applied tilak on Krishna’s forehead.
Goddess Lakshmi or Laxmi
Diwali is associated with pooja of Goddess Lakshmi with Ganesha. Lakshmi, also called Laxmi, is the goddess of fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. As fortune is usually associated with wealth, she has come to be associated with wealth. In Indian mythology, God of wealth is Kuber, the brother of King Ravana.
Lakshmi is the divine consort of Lord Vishnu. She is as inseparable from Vishnu as a speech from meaning or knowledge from intellect, or good deeds from righteousness. She resides with Vishnu in Vaikunta (Paramapadhamand) on the three-folded Serpent Sesha Naga. As the consort of Vishnu, she is born as his spouse whenever he incarnates. When Vishnu appeared as Vamana, she appeared as Padma or Kamla, when Vishnu incarnated as Parasurama((axe-wielding Rama) she appeared as Dharnai, when Vishnu incarnated as Rama she appeared as Sita, when Vishnu incarnated as Krishna, she appeared as Rukmini.
To know more about Names of Laxmi, Birth of Laxmi(Shree Devi, Bali and Vamana , Indra), Samudra Manthan(her birth during Samudra Manthan), Sita(her avatar with Lord Vishnu as Rama), Rukmini(her avatar with Lord Vishnu as Krishna), Tulsi, Padmavati(her avatar with Lord Vishnu as Srinivasa, as in Triputi)
Why are Lakshmi and Ganesha worshipped together on Diwali?
What is wealth without prosperity? What is money without the wisdom to use it properly? Will all the material gains in the world be permanent without intelligence? Can anybody attain any great prosperity without removing the obstacles on the path?
Qualities of Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha are complementary so our custom requires us to worship both of them together. This reminds us that we don’t have to aim only for material wealth but also have to aim for prudence and wisdom.
Lord Ganesh who is the lord of people (gana) removes various hurdles so that his devotees progress towards their aim (Lakshya); material prosperity (Labha) and spiritual successes.
The relationship between goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha is a mother-son relationship. According to Hindu tradition, the husband should always stand at the right side of wife. Since Lord Ganesha is the adopted son of goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha’s actual position is at the left side of Goddess Lakshmi.
More in our article Lakshmi and Ganesha, Ganesha and Kuber, Durga Pooja
Video on Ganesha
Who is Ganesha, God of beginnings, His family – his parents, his wife and children, Names of Ganesha, Why do we celebrate Ganesha Puja? Stories of Ganesha, Kuber and Moon and Race Around the world
Video on Diwali and Gold : Devdutt Pattanaik
Author Devdutt Pattanaik discusses the arrival of Goddess Laxmi that symbolizes prosperity and the auspiciousness of festive days like Dhanteras for bringing gold into your home.
Do you know the Significance of donation at Triputi Balaji temple?
Vishnu as Srinivasa needed money to get married again to Lakshmi as Padmavati. Vishnu was broke and had to borrow money from Kuvera to meet the marriage expenses and entered into a bond with Kuvera to pay interest on the loan till the crack of Doomsday! At the famous Tirupati Balaji temple in India, pilgrims are assured that their donations go to working off the Lord’s loan. To know more click here.
Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga
Everybody wants to be happy. we cannot be happy if we have no food to eat, no place to live or no clothes to wear. Hence we pray to Lakshmi. You must never chase Lakshmi rather she should chase you so the wise say else Lakshmi will come into your life with her twin sister, goddess of quarrels. Alakshmi, A house filled with wealth as well as strife is a house inhabited by both Lakshmi and Alakshmi.To make yourself worthy of Lakshmi, and to ensure that she comes without Alakshmi in tow, you have to pursue Saraswati, goddess of knowledge.
Therefore, we seek Shakti, goddess of power or Durga. Durga is derived from durg or fort. Durga is sanctuary, emotional sanctuary, a place where we feel secure and wanted. As Durga, Shakti rides the tiger, fearless and holds weapons in her hands, protecting us, unafraid to go to battle for us. We want her in our lives.
To feel secure and included, we have to make others feel secure and included. So to get Durga into our lives, we have to give Durga. We have to be sensitive and differentiate between what is ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’ for which we need Saraswati. So to be happy, we require all three goddesses: Lakshmi (L), Saraswati (S) and Durga (D).
Mythology and Money
Money and God seem poles apart, but are they? “In God, We Trust” is the official motto of the United States and first appeared on the Two-cent piece in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957. A long-standing joke is, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.
Most of the cultures of the world have Mythology associated with Money. In India mythology, Lakshmi (Laxmi) is Goddess of fortune and God of wealth is Kubera. Other than India, there are other cultures also which have God of wealth such as Chinese, Tibetan, Chinese, Greek. Infact America loudly proclaims the relationship between money and God by putting the words For example In Greek Mythology, Plutus is the God of Wealth.
Article Mythology and money: Indian,Greek,Chinese,Roman,Norse , shows how the Mythology of different cultures is related to Money. This is also covered in our bookLets Learn Money.
We wish our readers a very Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year.
Do you think we need to chase Lakshmi? What would make Lakshmi come into your life? Do you think festivals like Diwali should be celebrated? How are you celebrating Diwali this year?