How is Narak Chatudasi Puja performed?
Well, every festival carries a great and enriched history along with it and festivals are all about fun, food, masti and fashion isn’t it? The day before Diwali is celebrated as Narak Chaturdasi or ‘ Choti Diwali’.
As the name suggests this is Diwali on a small scale, but people celebrate it on a large scale. In the morning of Choti Diwali, the women of the house make beautiful, colored rangoli in the doorway and courtyard. Tiny footprints made out of rice paste are a special feature of the rangolis made for Diwali.
These tiny footprints are actually the symbols of goddess Laxshmi. Hindu homes, Choti Diwali celebrations involve a ritual puja to Goddess Lakshmi and also to Rama in the evening. Songs in honor of the god are sung and aarti is performed.
History behind this Narak Chaturdasi
Well, everyone is very well aware of the fact that why we celebrate Diwali, we do so because on this day Lord Rama and his beloved wife goddess Sita and Lord Rama’s brother Lord Lakshma came back to their palace after spending 14 years in a jungle. But do you know why we celebrate Choti Diwali or Narak Chaturdasi?
The story goes like this 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 (the ruler of Suraloka and a relative of Satyabhama, Lord Krishna’s wife) and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods and saints in his harem.
On coming to know about this brutal incidence Satyabhama was enraged and filled with anger by Narakasura’s malevolence towards women, and she appealed to Krishna to give her the golden chance to destroy Narakasura.
The legend also says that Narakasura was given a boon that he would be killed by a woman. Krishna granted Satyabhama a boon to fight with Narakasura. With Krishna as the backbone Satyabhama entered the battle field. As Lord Krishna was with truth Satyabhama killed the demon After Narakasura was beheaded, the imprisoned women were released, and Krishna accepted to marry them.
So on the day previous to Narakachaturdashi, Lord Krishna’s divine intervention led to the killing of the demon, Narakasura and liberation of the imprisoned women well as recovery of the 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 Naraka chaturdashi day.
The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and 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 especially in Maharashtra. Therefore, taking bath before sunrise on this day is like a blessing from a god.
It is interesting to note that Bhudevi, mother of the slain Narakasura, declared that his death should not be a day of mourning but an occasion to celebrate and rejoice. Since then, Deepavali is being celebrated by people every year with joyous celebrations with lot of fun and frolic, and fireworks.
Happy Choti Diwali guys!