The festival of Dhanteras acts as the harbinger heralding the approaching festival of Deepawali. On the day of Dhanteras people clean their houses and in the evening, after lighting lamps, conduct invocation prayers for invoking Goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth).

The scriptures mention the divinity called Dhanvantary emerging from the churning of the ocean with a container (kalash) filled with Amrit (drink that confers immortality). Hence the tradition of praying to Lord Yama (god of death) on this day to win his favours (for long life).

It is also believed that the main divinity of Ayur-Vignan (knowledge of life) called Dhnvantary first manifested on this day. Hence the importance attached to this day for the healing profession practising the disciplines of Vaidya (practitioners of Ayur-Veda). All over India, the Vaidyas organise joyful celebrations of the annual Dhanvantary festival.

Narak Chaturdashi

Narak Chaturdashi is also known as the small Deepawali. Lord Krishna, who is the bestower of beauty and good looks, is worshipped on this day. Lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasur on this day. It is believed that the observance of vrata (fasting etc) on this day paves the way to heaven.

It is customary to get up early in the morning, massage the body with a mixture of oil, flour and haldi (tumeric) before the daily bath. In the evening, tarpan (act of satisfying by offering oblations of water) is offered to Yamaraj (god of death).


Deepawali (The festival of lights)

Throughout the world all Hindus celebrate Deepawali with great pomp and enthusiasm. This is the great festival honouring Mother Lakshmi (goddess of wealth).

The historic origins of some of the various Hindu festivals revolve around their special significance for each of the four castes. Sravan is primarily a festive month for the Brahmins (priests). Dassera (Vijay Dashmi) is a festival primarily for the Kshatriyas (warriors). Holi is a festival primarily for the Sudras and Deepawali is a festival primarily for the Vaisyas.

These distinctions are not rigid and generally all Hindus participate and celebrate all these festivals.


BHAI BEEJ is a day on which all married sisters will invite their brothers for meals. The sisters will wish their brothers longevity, health, prosperity and happiness, thereby also renewing their affection.

Thus Deepavali must be understood in its wider context. The festival of lights does not simply mean lighting lamps. Hearts must be enlightened with goodwill for peaceful co-existence with fellow human beings and the rest of creation. Enlightenment (light of knowledge) leads to the dispelling of spiritual ignorance