Diwali – The Festival of Sparkling Lights
In India, Diwali is undoubtedly the festival of happiness, positivity and celebration of good over evil. It is a 5 day long festival in which friends, family and loved ones gather together for a cheerful celebration by decorating homes and illuminating them to eradicate darkness as Diwali is celebrated on ‘Amavasya’ which is the new moon day. It is the day of celebrating Lord Ram’s victory over Ravan. In the Ramayana, it is said that Diwali is celebrated on account of Lord Rama’s win and return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. In fact lighting and decorating of home is done actually to signify the welcoming of Lord Rama.
An important part of Diwali festival is the Maha Lakshmi Puja. This Puja is carried out in each household, especially by the business community. Being the New Year business people open new accounts on this day after the ritual of praying to the Goddess of wealth, Maha Lakshmi.
The actual time for this Puja is decided by religious scholars and Pundits. For this traditional Puja, idols of Lakshmi – Ganesh, Kalash, Roli, Mouli, Coins, Rice grains, Kumkum for Tilak, Betel leaves and Betel nuts, Incense sticks, Camphor, Flowers and Garlands are required. Prasad, sweets and fruits are distributed to all after the Puja.
One essential before the puja is a neat and clean house illuminated with earthen lamps, welcoming Goddess Maha Lakshmi and driving away evil spirits. Rangoli is drawn at the entrance and small footprints with rice flour and vermilion are also drawn to indicate the long awaited arrival of Goddess Maha Lakshmi. Oil lamps are kept burning throughout the night to guide Maha Lakshmi after her secret arrival in the night time.
It is considered very auspicious to start every Pooja by chanting Shri Ganesh’s name and so is true with Lakshmi Pujan as well. The Deities are then consecrated by Shodasha Upachar. There are 16 Upachars to be executed for worship. It is usually rendered with the Vedic chanting’s. The Shodasha Upachar Puja is a standard practice in temples and also at home on special occasions. All these 16 steps are symbolical representations of the various forms of expressing reverence like offering the deity a platform to be seated, washing feet, washing hands, offering water to drink, ceremonial bathing with sacred water, offering new clothes, anointing with sandalwood paste and other perfumes, adorning of jewels, worshipping with flowers, offering of fragrant incense, lighting the lamp, offering Prasad, fruits and sweets, performing Aarti and seeking the blessings of the deity.
It is to be noted that this Puja is a combined worship of five deities. Lord Ganesha is worshipped first. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in all her three forms as Maha Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, Maha Saraswati – the Goddess of Learning and Maha Kali – the Goddess of destruction of evil. Lord Kuber – the Treasurer of Gods is also worshipped on this day.
On Diwali, the ritual that spreads happiness, love and cheerful moments around is the ritual of gifting which is of great significance among the people of India. Just like every other important Diwali custom, the ritual of gifts sharing is of great importance among all. It is the way of strengthening the bond of love with near and dear ones, sharing happiness and love. Rudraksha, being of divine origin has been extolled in the Shastras since millennia. One can wear or gift Rudraksha on this day. Wearing of a 7 mukhi ushers in prosperity as it blessed by Goddess Maha Lakshmi herself. A combination of two beads of 7 mukhi and one bead of 8 mukhi Rudraksha is said to remove hurdles and obstacles and is helpful in giving success in all endevours. This combination is known as the Ganesh – Lakshmi Bandh as it blessed by Lord Ganesh and Goddess Maha Lakshmi. One can also wear a 16 mukhi Rudraksha as it blessed by Lord Ram, it is said to be a powerful bead giving overall protection from evil forces and unfair competition. The person leads a peaceful, harmonious and successful life. So celebrate Diwali with fervour and with utmost safety with family and friends.
Following are the auspicious time periods (Chaughadiya) for performing the Maha Lakshmi Puja.
06:33 a.m. till 08:02 am / 10:56 a.m. till 03:17 p.m.
04:44 p.m. till 07:45 pm / 07:45 p.m. till 09:17 p.m.
12:23 a.m. till 01:56 a.m.
For one desiring to perform the Puja when fixed ascendants are rising as per Vedic Astrology the timings are as follows.
Scorpio Ascendant rises from 08: 50 a.m. till 12:05 p.m.
Aquarius Ascendant rises from 02: 00 p.m. till 04:30 p.m.
Taurus Ascendant rises from 07:30 p.m. till 9:30 p.m.
Leo Ascendant rises from 02:25 a.m. till 04:35 a.m.
The period of Pradosh is also considered to be good for performing this Puja.
05:30 p.m. till 06:30 p.m.