Diwali is one of the most important festivals in Hinduism and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. It is a five-day festival of lights that marks the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
Diwali: The Festival of Lights
The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras, which is a day to honor Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. On this day, people clean their homes and businesses, buy new clothes and jewellery, and light diyas (lamps) to welcome Lakshmi into their homes.
The second day of Diwali is called Naraka Chaturdashi, which is also known as Chhoti Diwali or Kali Chaudas. On this day, people celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasura. This is a day to pray for protection from evil and to seek the blessings of Krishna.
The third day of Diwali is called Lakshmi Puja, which is the most important day of the festival. On this day, people wake up early in the morning, take a bath, and wear new clothes. They then light diyas and decorate their homes with flowers and rangolis (coloured rice or sand designs).
In the evening, people gather together to pray to Lakshmi and seek her blessings for prosperity and happiness.
The fourth day of Diwali is called Annakut, which means “mountain of food.” On this day, people prepare a feast of delicious food and share it with family and friends. This is a day to celebrate the abundance of food and to give thanks for all that we have.
The fifth and final day of Diwali is called Bhai Duj, which is a day to celebrate the bond between siblings. On this day, sisters pray for the long life and prosperity of their brothers. Brothers give their sisters gifts and perform a puja to protect them from evil.
Naraka Chaturdashi Puja
The puja on Naraka Chaturdashi is a simple but meaningful ritual. The following are the steps involved in the puja:
- Clean your home and surroundings. This is a symbolic act of cleansing your mind and body of negative thoughts and emotions.
- Set up a puja space. This can be a small altar in your home or a designated area in a temple.
- Gather the necessary materials. These include diyas, flowers, incense, fruits, and sweets.
- Arrange the materials on the puja space. Place the diyas in front of the deities, and the flowers, incense, fruits, and sweets around them.
- Invoke the deities. Call upon the deities you wish to worship, such as Lord Krishna, Lakshmi, or Ganesha.
- Offer prayers and offerings. Offer prayers to the deities and place the fruits and sweets as offerings.
- Light the diyas. The diyas symbolize the light of knowledge and wisdom that will dispel the darkness of ignorance.
The following are some prayers that you can offer during the Naraka Chaturdashi puja:
- To Lord Krishna:
O Lord Krishna, you are the slayer of Narakasura. You are the embodiment of truth, love, and compassion. Protect us from evil and grant us your blessings.
- To Lakshmi:
O Goddess Lakshmi, you are the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Bless us with your grace so that we may live a happy and prosperous life.
- To Ganesha:
O Lord Ganesha, you are the remover of obstacles. Remove all obstacles from our path and help us achieve our goals.
The Naraka Chaturdashi puja is a beautiful way to celebrate the victory of good over evil. It is a time to reflect on the importance of light and knowledge and to pray for protection from harm.