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Festival Indian Mythology

Dhanteras festival

The festival of Dhanteras

Dhanteras festival is believed to mark the beginning of good times and celebrated a day before Diwali, a major hindu festival. Dhanteras holds special significance for the businessmen due to the customary purchases of precious metals on this day. Dhanteras indicates the beginning of Diwali celebrations. It is on this day on which people purchase precious metals with a belief that they will bring prosperity. Dhanteras is also known as Dhantryaodashi or Dhanwantri Triodasi.

Dhanteras festival

Dhanteras is observed differently by different communities. It is considered to be highly auspicious day to do new purchases and investment. Most people complete the Diwali shopping on the day. The first lamps of Diwali are lit on the day. People hang up paper lanterns with festoons and sends out the message of the arrival of Diwali.

Legend behind Dhanteras

An interesting story about this day is of the sixteen year old son of King Hima. As per the stars,  he was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that fateful day, his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband’s boudoir and lighted many lamps all over the place.

Yamraj

Then she went on telling stories and singing songs. When Yama, the god of death arrived there in the guise of a serpent, he got blinded by that dazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the prince’s chamber. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he went away without harming the boy.

The legend of Samudra Manthan

But as with almost any Hindu festival, there is more than one mythological tale behind it. Another version has it that when the gods and demons were churning the ocean in search of amrit, the elixir of life, Dhanvantari, the physician of all gods, emerged from the ocean with the amrit in his hands. That day became known as Dhanteras, and it marks the discovery of Ayurveda, the science of healing using natural ways. Explains Hemanand Joshi, another senior priest with Hanuman Mandir, “Dhanteras is the day of amrit sidhi yog. Also, an atte ka diya is placed outside the house for Yamraj pooja to avoid akaal mrityu (premature or untimely death)”.

Dhanvantri bhagwan

During Samudra manthan (churning of ocean), it is believed that Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Vishnu) emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras.

Dhanvantri Stotram

The legend of Vishnu and Laxmi

Once Goddess Lakshmi wanted to accompany Lord Vishnu to the earth during one of His visits. Lord Vishnu agreed to take Her with him provided She will not will not look in the southern direction and fall for earthly temptations. But Goddess Lakshmi looked in the southern direction and she saw yellow mustard flowers and started dancing in the fields and decorated herself with the flowers. She fell for earthly temptations.Further south she saw sugarcane fields and started enjoying the sugarcane juice.

Lord Vishnu soon found out that Goddess Lakshmi had violated the conditions and said that now you will need to spend 12 years as laborer in the field of the person to whom the sugarcane and flowers belonged.

With the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi as laborer the farmer became very prosperous. Twelve years passed and it was time for Goddess Lakshmi to return.

But the farmer was not ready to relieve a good laborer. So he offered Goddess Lakshmi more wages. But Goddess Lakshmi still wanted to leave; the farmer offered more things and this denial and offers continued.

Finally, Goddess Lakshmi asked the farmer and his family to take a pilgrimage to Ganga River and they will decide on her future stay there on his return. Goddess Lakshmi also gave four small shells to the farmer to offer to Goddess Ganga. When the farmer was offering the shells to River Ganga, four hands came up and accepted the offering. Goddess Ganga then revealed that the woman at the farmer’s home is Goddess Lakshmi.

The farmer returned home happily realizing that it was Goddess Lakshmi who was staying in his house. He requested her not to leave. Goddess Lakshmi said that she cannot live on earth permanently and has to return. But she said that she will visit him on all Dhanteras day. She asked the farmer to keep the house clean and light and earthern lamp.The farmer said as directed by Goddess Lakshmi and he became very prosperous and people who came to know about the incident started performing the same ritual on Dhanteras day

 

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Indian Mythology

The legend and significance of Rahu and Ketu

The legend and significance of Rahu and Ketu

According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, Dhanvantari came out with a pot of Amrit and immediately there was a mad scramble for it among the Devatas and Asuras. Seeing this, Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini (a beautiful dancer) and offered her services in distributing the amrit equally to both the Asuras and Devatas.

She made both of them sit in two different rows but she gave the Amrit to the Devatas only. Towards the end, one of the Asuras saw through her trick. He went and sat among the Devatas and drank the Amrit. The moment Chandra (Moon) and Surya (Sun), who were sitting besides him, saw that he was a Asura, they informed Mohini. Lord Vishnu came in his real form and let out the Sudarshan Chakra (wheel) at the Asura. The Asura’s neck was separated from the body, but he did not die as he had drunk the Amrit. His head was called ‘Rahu’ and his torso ‘Ketu’. According to legend, Rahu and Ketu swallowed the moon and sun to have their revenge, causing an eclipse.

Rahu, Ketu, Shani and Hanuman

Hanuman chasing Rahu

During his childhood, Hanuman saw Rahu the dragon making his way to devour the sun and thus cause an eclipse. Thinking him to be a worm, the restless Hanuman dashed towards Rahu and attempted to catch Rahu. Rahu sought shelter in the refuge of Indra, the lord of the skies. Indra picked up his deadly thunderbolt, mounted his white elephant named Airavata and made off in search of Hanuman. As he wanted to restrain his seeming impudence. The clouds rumbled and lightning thundered across the vast skies in an expression of Indra’s wrath. But neither this scary scenario, nor the mightily armed Indra on his high mount, was sufficient enough to induce even a trace of fear in the heart of Hanuman. On the contrary, the spectacle only served to fuel his excitement and mistaking Airavata for a toy, he made a grab for the pachyderm, seized its trunk and leapt on its back. Taken aback by the child’s spirited and playful defiance, Indra stuck at Hanuman with his thunderbolt, and the wound thus inflicted hurtled him speedily down to the earth. His father Vayu immediately sprung to his rescue and caught him in mid air. This incident led Vayu to withdraw air from whole world. Later he was pacified and Hanuman was blessed by a number of gods, including Brahma. Brahma also given him the famous boon of evading even the Brahmastra.

Another legend involving Rahu and Hanuman

On another occasion, during the Ramayana war, Ravana imprisoned the Navagrahas. Hanuman arrived and released them. They were grateful to Hanuman, saying “people devoted to you are blessed by us too.” All the grahas thanked Hanuman individually for releasing them. Thus, it is believed that Rahu’s negative influence will be subdued when one worships Lord Hanuman.

Interesting ritual associated with worship of Rahu

At Vinayaga temple, the idol of Rahu in Rahu-sthalam is given milk abhishekam everyday. When milk falls over the body of Rahu, it turns blue and becomes white once it leaves the body. it is believed that doing  Milk abhishekam(especially on Sundays) here for Rahu during Rahu kalam (period of 1and 1/2 hours occurring every day), the malefic effects of Rahu like marriage obstacles, lack of progeny, troubled marital life, Kalasarpa Dhosham, Kalasthra Dhosha, Sarpa Dhosha are all neutralized