Narak Chaturdashi – The Festival of India

Naraka Chaturdashi is a Hindu festival, which falls on the second day of the festival of Diwali. The day is also known as Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas and Choti Diwali.

The Second Day of Diwali is called Narak-Chaturdashi or more popularly as Chhoti Diwali or kali chaudas which falls on the 14th day of the month of Kartik. Narak Chaturdashi = Narak + Chaturdashi (Fourteenth) = The day when Demon Narakasura was slayed by Lord Krishna, falls on the 14th day of the month of Kartik.  This festival is observed to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king, Narkasur. This day is also celebrated as the birthday of  Hanumanji or Hanuman jayanti. Also, on this day  Hanumanji reached Ayodhya to deliver the long-awaited message of Lord Rama’s return. Just like diwali people light diyas on chhoti diwali to fill their homes with light, worship Goddess Laxmi and offer prayers to Her and they also burst firecrackers but all these things are not as grand as they are on the day of main diwali .

Legends :

The Story of Narakasur :

Narakasura was the king of Pragjyotisha, identified with present-day Assam. He was the demon son of Vishnu’s avatar Varaha and the earth-goddess Bhumi (Prithvi). He conquered the three worlds: heaven, earth and underworld. On earth, he captured 16100 princesses of defeated nations.

The captive women were imprisoned at Audaka on the top of the mountain Maniparvata in his kingdom. Indra came to Dwarka, requesting Krishna, to save the universe from Narakasura’s terror. Krishna and his second wife Satyabhama flew on Garuda to Pragjyotisha. Krishna slayed Narakasura and rescued the captive women.

On this day Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and liberated the 16,100 princesses the demon held captive.

 Vamana, The Incarnation Of Lord Vishnu Killed King Bali:

Here is another story about King Bali of Treta Yuga. By conquering all space of the universe, Bali became very powerful and started terrifying Devaloka. All Deva (Gods) prayed Lord Vishnu to help them out.

To help Gods, Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the form of a dwarf Brahmin Vamana, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Vamana begged Bali to give him three paces of land. Seeing miniature Brahmin, Bali agreed to give Vamana what he asked for. The dwarf then changed his size to that of a giant.

In his first step, he covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Bali understood that Dwarf Vamana is none other than Lord Vishnu. He offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. Pleased with his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.

Celebration:

The puja is performed with oil, flowers, and sandalwood. Coconuts are also offered to Hanuman and prashad of sesame seed, jaggery and rice flakes(poha) with ghee and sugar.

On this day, a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar (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 Kul Devi, in order to cast off evil spirits.

People create Rangoli on the floor. At dusk, Diyas and candles are lit in the house to mark the celebration of Chhoti Diwali. On this day, people also burst firecrackers but on small scale compare to main Diwali.

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