Art of Living Wisdom.

Karthik Amavasya, Deepavali

The day of Karthik Amavasya, New Moon, is celebrated as the main day of Deepavali and is ascribed to many reasons.

Lakshmi Pooja

In most parts of India, especially the north and west, the Deepavali festival is celebrated as Lakshmi PoojaLakshmi is the divinity for wealth. During this Lakshmi pooja traders start new accounting books for the next accounting year

Lakshmi

Why do the traders in India start new accounting year on Deepawali?

India as a land is a monsoon rain fed Country. The Southwest monsoon rain sets in in the first week of June. This South West monsoon rain lashes throughout India for the next four months. India being an agrarian Society, that is Agriculture being its main occasion, it is during these four months of continuous rain that the primary crop of India is sown and reaped.

By the time the abundance of this crop is harvested and brought to the market to be traded, it is the time of Deepavali. It is the time of plenty. It is the time of fresh arrivals.

Isn’t it but apt that the new financial, new accounts year for the traders start with Lakshmi Pooja? It has been so through the centuries and through the millennia.

In the word Lakshmi you have the root word Lakshya meaning aim, goal.  The aim of a society is to be productive, harmonious and noble. It is when there is bounty that all this is possible. This Lakshmi Pooja is not only significant for the traders to start new account but also encourages the people at large to relish their hard work from the bountiful harvest, share their bounty with one and all, which in turn brings out their nobility, their dharma –  the aim, the goal, the lakshya of people.

Thus Lakshmi Pooja is just not praying to the divinity of wealth but is in fact a culmination of four months of agrarian effort and is a form of thanks giving to the divinity of prosperity for the plentitude showered and also a time for setting goals to lead a noble and harmonious life.

Coronation of Rama and Rama Rajya

Rama, the legendary hero of India was born in Ayodhya and ruled the kingdom of Kosala about 7,100 years ago.

The historicity of Rama has been traced in our book, Historical Rama from the Bharath Gyan Series.  Rama, after his fourteen years vanavas, exile and after defeating Ravana who had kidnapped His wife Sita, Rama returned to His city Ayodhya with Sita and His brother Lakshmana, to begin His rule on this day. Rama ascended the throne in the year 5076 BCE.

This day of His return and the event of coronation as King of Ayodhya, Rama Pattabhishekh, was marked with joy by lighting series of lamps, Deepavali. It has been celebrated since then, every year as Deepavali in North India

Coronation of Rama

The noble rule of Rama, from then on through the Itihasa, Ramayana and the Puranic legends, have come down to our times, our knowledge, as the period of ideal rule. This ideal rule of Kingship is what is eloquently referred to as “Rama Rajya”. The details of this Rama Rajya, the components of this ideal rule and its relevance in the modern management scenario is discussed in our work “Rama Rajya” which is part of the Bharath Gyan Series.

This ideal rule of Rama was so much cherished through the systems, practices, traditions and stories by generations and generations of people through the ages in this land that the people thought it fit to celebrate the coronation of Rama, His Pattabhishekham as the festival of Deepavali so that successive rulers of this land can try to emulate the good components, the good features of the rule of Rama that can make the land and its people prosperous, progressive and peaceful through the ages.

It is for this reason that to this day, the festival of Deepavali is remembered and celebrated year after year, yearning for a good rule from the rulers of the land.

The rule of India is in turmoil today. The rule of India is sans values.

Apart from bursting crackers, wearing new clothes, eating sweets, distributing gifts and sweets and wishing each other a Happy Deepavali, if we can reaffirm to ourselves the reason for which the festival of Deepavali has being celebrated continuously for the last 7,100 years and create in our times, an atmosphere of a Noble Rule and a value based living, then the festival of Deepavali will truly light up our lives.

Return of the Pandava

It was on this day, about 5100 years ago, that the Pandava returned to Hastinapura, after their 13 year exile. It was a day of joy for the people of Hastinapura which they too expressed by lighting lamps to welcome them. This formed another reason for the celebrations of Deepavali since then

Pandava return to Hastinapura

The historicity of the Pandava and the events in their lives can be found in our work Historical Krishna, from the Bharath Gyan Series.

Start of Vikram Samvat

About 2000 years ago, in 56 BCE, Vikramaditya was crowned king of Ujjain on this day. This day marked the start of the Vikram Samvat, Vikram Era which we follow to this day. It is one of the official calendars for the Government of India. The New Year as per this calendar start with Chaitra Amavasya, i.e. around April in present times.

Starting from the day of Rama’s return to Ayodhya with Sita and His coronation, to the day of Pandava’s return to Hastinapura with Draupadi, to the day Vikramaditya was crowned king, thereby starting the Vikaram Era, have all been celebrated across millennia, as days of joy and hope for good times ahead, by lighting lamps and sharing sweets.

Mahavira Pari Nirvana

Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara, attained PariNirvana, liberation from His mortal life, at Pavapuri, in present day Bihar, on the day of Deepavali.

Mahavir

This day is therefore celebrated by the Jains as a day of salvation and enlightenment.

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Naraka Chathurdasi

 

Narakachaturdashi

 

The 14th phase of the dark moon, is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdasi in commemoration of the slaying of Narakasura who was causing menace to the people, by Krishna and His wife Satyabhama.

 

In South India, Deepavali is celebrated as Naraka Chathurdasi. Naraka was an Asura who lived about 5100 years ago. Narakasura ruled from his kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. His rule was a misery to the people of his land.

 

Krishna and his wife Satyabhama slayed Narakasura and freed people from his tyranny. This event of vanquishing Narakasura is celebrated as Naraka Chathurdasi. Chaturdasi is the 14th phase of the moon and is the night before Karthika Amavasya, the day of the Deepavali.

 

It is for this reason that Deepavali is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.

 

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Dhanteras 

Deepavali season starts with Dhanteras on the 13th phase, also known as Dhanvantari Trayodasi, a day of paying obeisance to prosperity, today celebrated by acquiring gold or other forms of wealth.

Dhan Teras or Dhan Trayodasi – the name itself suggests prosperity. Dhan means wealth and terastrayodasi mean the thirteenth day of the waning moon cycle. This day is associated with the emergence of the divinities for health and wealth – Dhanvantri and Lakshmi respectively, when the Universe was created.

Emergence of Lakshmi and Dhanvantri

Emergence of Lakshmi and Dhanvantri  along with pot of Nectar, Amrut Kalash, during Creation of the Universe, Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean – A Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

Dhan Teras is the festival related to wealth. It comes just prior to Lakshmi Pooja. As we have already seen, this is the season post monsoon. Post the monsoon season, the crops would have been harvested and the farmers and the community at large have money in hand.

In the Indian ethos, gold has always been looked at, not just as an ornament to bedeck the women in the house but more importantly as an investment for future expansion or as a saving that one can dip into during a bleak period. With this thought in mind, the joy of having abundance to buy gold, ornaments and decorate one’s house for the festive season was itself a reason to celebrate, a reason for a festival.

Today, in towns, the focus has shifted from Agrarian needs to the needs and demand of a city life. In this commercial world, Dhan Teras has taken on a commercial dimension of buying ornamental gold jewellery and for picking up electronic gadgets.

Dhan is of two types. One Dhan is the material wealth – gold, silver, luxuries, land and such others. These are all ever flowing wealth as they do not stick to one place. They are constantly in circulation, with us one today, gone tomorrow. The other wealth is the wealth of health.

Dhanvantri Trayodasi – Health is Wealth

The wealth of health is denoted by Dhanvantri, the divine physician. Among the Indian pantheon of divinities, Dhanvantri is the divinity for health. In his very name itself, the first part of the name is Dhan. From this it is amply clear that the seers of ancient India believed that good health while one is living, is the most important wealth and the primary divinity for health aptly termed as Dhanvantri.

Dhanvantri

If you closely observe the image of Dhanvantri, you will see that Dhanvantri is coming out of water. Similarly good health in our body is dependent on the waters in our body as 70% of our body is after all, made up of water.

In one palm Dhanvantri holds a leach, Jalloka. The leach removes bad blood from our system so that fresh blood can rejuvenate our system. In the right hand is the Amrit kalasa, pot of nectar. Nectar is the elixir of life. It is that which gives us freshness and adds longevity to our life.

Along with celebrating Dhan teras as the festival of gold and wealth if we can celebrate it to bring about a right balance in our health, which is the true wealth, then celebrating Dhan teras gets a holistic perspective.

If we see, one of the popular traditions in the South of India, especially Tamil Nadu, is the tradition of preparing and consuming an Ayurvedic, herbal, medicinal preparation called Deepavali Lehiyam, paste. This is given along with the sweets and goodies prepared for Deepavali.

This Lehiyam contains herbs that primarily help with improving digestion as well as immunity – 2 important factors required for a season of festivities and chillness due to winter.

One of the important rituals of this day, is to prepare this Lehiyam and seek Dhanvantri’s blessings to endow all with a life rich with good health.

 

By

Rahul Kaimal

Bharath Gyan

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com