Naraka Chaturdashi : Story and Origin

What is Naraka Chaturdashi?

Narak Chaturdashi is a part of the famous Diwali festival in India. People decorate the house in traditional style with hanging lanterns at the entrance of homes & office & also design Rangoli. Needless to say, lighting Diyas (oil lamps) all over the place is an important ritual for many reasons. It is celebrated on the 14th day (Chaturdashi in Hindi) in Krishna Paksha of Ashwin month as per the Hindu calendar. 

Narak Chaturdashi Story

Once a demon names Narakasura received a boon that only his mother would be able to kill him. He was the son of Goddess Dharitri, the Goddess of Earth. As soon as Lord Brahma granted his wish, he began to disrupt the three worlds and attack the divine Gods as well. He held many innocent lives as hostages and prisoned a lot of people. Nobody was capable of defeating Narakasura and that is when the Gods approached Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Shri Krishna and went to fight against the demon. During this battle, His charioteer was His consort Satyabhama. Lord Krishna used His power to defeat Narakasura but unfortunately, He was unconscious due to a severely hit arrow. Enraged Satyabhama decided to battle and successfully destroyed Narakasura. This was possible because Satyabhama herself was an avatar of the Earth Goddess (the mother of Narakasura). People celebrate this day as Narak Chaturdashi as good had attained victory over evil in Kartik month.

Before Narakasura died, he pleaded for wish fulfillment in front of Satyabhama. His wish was to be alive and immortal. He wanted that everyone should light a Diya on Narak Chaturdashi so he could stay alive in people’s memory. This is where the custom of lighting up the house with gleaming oil lamps began.

There is one more version of the story where Narakasura had held 16,000 girls as hostages and exploited them. When Lord Krishna found this after the battle, He freed them. Since Societal shaming had those girls worried, Lord Krishna gave them a higher status by accepting & marrying them.

Also Read: How to celebrate your favorite festival in this pandemic

Tale of Narakasura & Goddess Kali:

Another tale narrates the killing of Narakasura by Goddess Kali & this is one of the reasons why people also call it Kali chaudhas. Some communities worship Goddess Kali on this day and revere Her glorious victory.

Some even worship Lord Hanuman on Narak Chaturdashi and there is a lesser-known story behind it. When Lord Hanuman was little, He thought the Sun was a mango fruit and swallowed it. This created darkness in the world leaving everyone in worry. The Gods went to little Hanuman on Narak Chaturdashi and besought Him to remove the Sun from His mouth. An adamant Hanuman did not release the Sun which is when Lord Indra took an action. He hit Lord Hanuman’s mouth with a strong bolt of thunder and the Sun instantly released. The world was bright and joyous with the light again.

Narak Chaturdashi Rituals

Donations made on Narak Chaturdashi tend to be auspicious because of the spiritual importance of this day.
We advise donating clothes & food to Brahmin and underprivileged people on this day. Also, light Diya outside the house to celebrate the victory of positive forces over negative. In the state of Goa, the local people make statues of Narakasura and burn them resembling his kill on Chaturdashi. The Bengali community honors their ancestors on this day by lighting 14 Diyas for forefathers from the last 14 generations. Maharashtrians visit their relatives and exchange homemade sweets & savories. Wear new & fresh clothes to attract positive energies. Out of all the rituals followed on Narak Chaturdashi, Abhyanga Snaan is special. It involves applying Ubtan and sesame oil to the body before taking bath. People believe that one who performs Abhyang Snaan on Narak Chaturdashi does not visit hell on Narak Chaturdashi. People also apply kajal to keep the evil eye away. Some also say that it signifies the beginning of harvest season which is why all the food is prepared from the fresh items from harvest. Other than this, firecrackers are burst, friends are invited for dinner and dear ones gather together since it is also called “Chhoti Diwali”. This day is celebrated with great enthusiasm in all parts of the country.

Best Wishes to you and your family for a prosperous Diwali!

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