The SECOND day is
called Narka-Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali which falls on the fourteenth
day of the month of Ashwin. The story goes 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, Satyabhama was enraged 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 curse that
he would be killed by a woman. Krishna granted Satyabhama a boon to
fight with Narakasura.
With Krishna as the
charioteer, Satyabhama entered the battle field. During the war, Krishna
swooned for a while, a preordained divinely act adopted to empower
Satyabhama to kill 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 devine intervention led to the
killing of the demon, Narakasura and liberation of the imprisoned
damsels as 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
Narakachaturdashi 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 specially in Maharashtra.
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 fire works.
In South India that
victory of the divine over the mundane is celebrated in a very peculiar
way. People wake up before sunrise prepare blood by mixing Kumkum in oil
and after breaking a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon
King that was smashed by Krishna, apply that mixture on their foreheads.
Then they have an oil bath using sandalwood paste.
In Maharashtra also,
traditional early baths with oil and "Uptan" (paste) of gram
flour and fragrant powders are a `must'. All through the ritual of
baths, deafening sounds of crackers and fireworks are there in order
that the children enjoy bathing. Afterwards steamed vermiceli with milk
and sugar or puffed rice with curd is served.
Another legend is about
King Bali of the nether world mighty power had become a threat to the
gods. In order to curb his powers Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Batu
Waman- a small boy- visited him and begged him to give him only that
much land which he could cover with his three steps. Known for his
philanthropy King Bali proudly granted him his wish. That very moment
that small boy transformed himself into the all-powerful Lord Vishnu.
With his first step Lord Vishnu covered the entire heaven and with the
second step the earth and asked Bali where to keep his third step. Bali
offered his head. Putting his foot on his head Vishnu pushed him down to
the underworld. At the same time for his generosity Lord Vishnu gave him
the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to
light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread
the radiance of love and wisdom.
day therefore is dedicated to lights and prayers heralding a future full
of joy and laughter.