Thursday, November 4, 2010

Naraka Chaturdashi/ Narak chaturdashi

Naraka Chaturdashi is a Hindu festival, which falls on the second day of the festival of Diwali.  It is celebrated one day prior to Deewali (Kartik: Amaveseye. On this night Hanuman, the son of Anjana, the divine son of the god of air (Pavan) was born. So it is also observed as Hanuman Jayanti. This festival is observed since the day lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasur.

Narkasur was a very powerful demon king, who had a big army. He over powered every other king and imprisoned them with their queens. His terror was so much that even the gods were frightened. The earth trembled and the life had become miserable.

To counter act this terrorism, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Krishna, so as to end these demoniac cruelties. Krishna appeared, massacred Narkasur, released the kings and queens, who in remembrance and reverence of lord Krishna ordered illumination in their domains, on this day. This day is observed as Narak Chaturdashi and Hanuman Jayanti, since then.

This festival is also the day of worship of Yama, the god of death. So after oil massage and bath in early morning (before sunrise), gratification should be shown to him. After that offer handful of water three times to Bhishaift Pitameha of MahSbharata. According to Hindu scriptures, libation to the ancestors should be offered particularly by those whose fathers are alive. This is the only day in the whole year when a son with a living father can offer libations and water to the ancestors, which is very pleasing to them and the fear of death vanishes.

Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas( kali means evil and chaudas means fourteenth) is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life. The strength to protect others is referred as Kali, and if its used for God's work is called Mahakali.

The pooja is performed with oil, flowers, Chanda and Hinduism. Coconuts are also offered to Hanumanji and prashad of Sesame seed, Brigadoon and rice with ghee and sugar.

The rituals of Kali Choudas is strongly suggestive of the origin of Deepavaali as a harvest festival is performed. On this day delicacies are prepared from pounded semi-cooked rice (called Poha or Pova). This rice is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time. This custom is prevalent both in rural and urban areas especially in Western India.

On this day, a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar or kan parvai  (evil eye). Some say that those who are into tantra, learn their 'mantras' on this day. Alternatively, people offer Nived (food) to the goddess that is local to where they are originally from. This goddess is called their 'Kula Deivam', in order to cast off evil spirits. Some families also offer food to their forefathers on this day. The second day of Diwali is known as Kali Choudas in Gujarat, Rajasthan & few part of Maharashtra.

This day celebrates the victory of the God Krishna over the demon of filth, Narakasura. On this day Hindus get up earlier than usual. The men will rub their bodies in perfumed oils before bathing. Afterwards, clean clothes are worn; some people wear new ones. A large breakfast is enjoyed with relatives and friends. In the evening, a mix of bright and loud fireworks are set off in an atmosphere of joyful fun and noise. Special sweet dishes are served as part of the midday meal. House are lit with oil lamps during the evening.

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