Narak Chaturdashi: Second Day of Diwali

By | October 18, 2017

Sita ram everyone :Today is the 2nd day of Divali. It’s called NARAK CHATURDASHI.

The second day of the Diwali festival, is the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashvin, and is called Narak-Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas and also known as Chhoti (-small) Diwali. This day is dedicated to the victory of Lord Krishna over the wicked demon king Narakasur.


On hearing of this proposed battle Satyabhama, Lord Krishna’s wife, took this task upon herself and with his help killed Narkasur with Krishna’s sudarshana chakra (originally given to him by Lord Vishnu). As a symbol of the victory Lord Krishna smeared his own forehead with the demon’s blood. On his return, the womenfolk massaged his body with scented oils and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth.

Naraka Chaturdashi Celebrations

The custom of taking a bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice. People get up early and have an oil-bath (तेल अभ्यन्गम). The tradition of taking oil baths has its origins in ayurvedic medicine. Preparations for this ritual bath begin the night before as water pots are cleaned, venerated, decorated with marigolds and mango leaves and filled with water in readiness for dawn. They are heated next morning and the hot water is used for ritual baths.
The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age. Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

After their hot water bath, an aromatic paste of herbs in scented oils is applied. Everyone then dresses up in new clothes and the celebrations begin with the bursting of fireworks and distribution of sweets that have been first offered to God. The courtyards are decorated with rangoli (drawing of traditional motifs with colorful powders) and the attention shifts to the feasting on different sweet and savoury snacks prepared for the festival. Typical sweets like laddus, chaklis, sakkaparas, badam halwa and various savouries are made for this evening.

Roop Chaturdashi

Roop Chaturdashi is a Soundarya Siddhi Diwas i.e. on this day one can perform some Sadhana for gain of beauty and magnetism. Just as flowers and leaves cannot appear on a dry tree similarly a person who is deprived of handsomeness, joy and vigor cannot rise in life. He remains angry, tense and troubled throughout life. In life beauty and good looks are just as important as good health.
Over the ages people forgot the significance of this day and businessmen used the occasion to perform worships for the expansion of their business. This is not the real purpose of this wonderful days. The rituals performed on the Roop Chaturdashi lay stress on the point that it is the duty of every human to take care of one’s body and maintain its good looks. Keeping the physique fit and healthy and also improving one’s appearance through external means are equally important. Roop Chaturdashi is the day when one can pray for both these boons i.e. a healthy and beautiful body.

Roop-Chaturdashi in the north is mainly a day of rejoicing and is heralded with firecrackers. In all north Indian States, such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhaya Pradesh, the second day of Diwali is also known as Roop Chaturdashi. On this day, Hindus takes a ritual bath and perform Sadhana (Meditation). On Roop Chaturdashi day, one can pray for both these boons i.e. a healthy and beautiful body. In Maharashtra also, traditional early baths with oil and “Uptan” (paste) of gram flour and fragrant powders are a `must’ on this day.

The day before Diwali is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali / Narak Chaturdasi or ‘small Diwali’. It is Diwali on a smaller scale, with fewer lights lit and fewer crackers burst. The morning after 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. In Hindu homes, Chhoti 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.

Legends behind Chhoti Diwali

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 divine 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.

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 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 a paste by mixing Kumkum in oil, symbolizing blood 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.

The day to propicate Lord Yamraj

The god of death, Yamraj is also worshipped on this day to get freedom from fear of untimely death and attain good health. According to an ancient tale, once a king named Ranti Deva was a religious and wise man. At the time of his death Lord Yamraj came to take his soul. The moment he stepped towards the king, he asked him that, despite of not doing any evil deed throughout life, why he had come to take his soul to Narak. Hearing the compassionate voice of the King, Lord Yamraj told him, that once he let a priest go back hungry from his door. The King asked them to grant him a year time. Lord Yamraj pardoned his life for another 1 year. After departure of Lord Yamraj the king visited the saints and let them know the entire story.

The saints advised the king to observe the fast on the Kartik Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi, feed the priests and apologize before them for his mistake. As per the rituals told by the saints king observed the fast and got relief from his sin. Since then this fast is observed on Kartik Chaturdashi to get freedom from going to Narak. On this day one should lit a lamp of four mouth along with sixteen small diyas and worship the god with roli, kheer, jaggery, abeer, colours and flower. After that one should keep the diyas in different corners of the house.
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