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Diwali : Stories Related To The 5 Day Festival

Dhanteras
A very interesting story about this day is of the sixteen year old son of King Hima. As per his horoscope he was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular fourth day of his marriage his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments & lots of gold & silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's boudoir & lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. & she went on telling stories & singing songs. When Yam, the god of Death arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by that dazzle of those brilliant lights & he could not enter the Prince's chamber. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments & coins & sat there whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "YAMADEEPDAAN" & lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam, the god of Death.

Narka-Chaturdashi
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 & imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods & saints in his harem. On the day previous to Narakachaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon & liberated the imprisoned damsels & also recovered those 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 Narakachaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body & 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.

Another legend is about King Bali of the nether world mighty power had become a threat to the gods. In order to curb his powers Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Batu Waman- a small boy- visited him & begged him to give him only that much land which he could cover with his three steps. Known for his philanthropy King Bali proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that small boy transformed himself into the all-powerful Lord Vishnu. With his first step Lord Vishnu covered the entire heaven & with the second step the earth & asked Bali where to keep his third step. Bali offered his head. Putting his foot on his head Vishnu pushed him down to the underworld. At the same time for his generosity Lord Vishnu gave him the lamp of knowledge & allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness & ignorance & spread the radiance of love & wisdom.

Lakshmi Puja
On this auspicious day Lord Shri Krishna around whom revolved the entire story of our great epic Mahabharat & the philosopher, who preached Karmayog through his Geeta to Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, discarded his body.

Bhagwan, Mahavir, the Jain prophet also attained "Nirvan" on this day.

Swami Ramtirth, the beloved "Ram Badshah" of millions of Indians was not only born on this day & took "Sanyas" but also took "Samadhi" on this day.

Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of Brahma-Samaj with his superb yogic powers greed his soul from his body & mingled with divinity on this auspicious day of Diwali.

We kindle innumerable lights on this day to immortalise the sacred memories of those great men who lived to brighten the lives of millions of their fellow beings.

One very interesting story about this Diwali day is from Kathopanishad of a small boy called Nichiketa who believed that Yam, the god of Death was as black as the dark night of amavasya. But when he met Yam in person he was puzzled seeing Yam's calm countenance & dignified stature. Yam explained to Nichiketa on this Diwali day of amavasya that by only passing through the darkness of death, man sees the light of highest wisdom & then only his soul can escape from the bondage of his mortal frame to mingle with the Supreme Power without whose will not an at ton moves in the world. & then Nichiketa realised the importance of worldly life & significance of death. Nichiketa's all doubts were set at rest & he whole-heartedly participated in Diwali celebrations.

Padwa or Varshapratipada
Govardhan-Puja is also performed in the North on this day. As per Vishnu-Puran the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honour of Lord Indira & worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season but one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. But Krishna saved his Gokul by lifting up the Govardhan mountain & holding it over the people as an umbrella.

Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura & on this day of Diwali people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & Bihar build cowdung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers & then worship them.

Bhaiyaduj
As the legend goes Yamraj, the God of Death visited his sister Yami on this particular day. She put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, garlanded him & led him with special dishes & both of them together ate the sweets, talked & enjoyed themselves to their heart's content, while parting Yamraj gave her a special gift as a token of his love & in return Yami also gave him a lovely gift which she had made with her own hands. That day Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister will never be thrown. That is why this day of Bhayyaduj is also known by the name of "YAMA-DWITIYA" Since then this day is being observed as a symbol of love between sisters & brothers. It became also imperative for the brother to go to his sister's house to celebrate Bhaiyaduj.

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