The biggest festival of India, Diwali or Deepawali is celebrated for five days according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar. This auspicious festival starts with Dhanteras. Dhanteras is also known by the name Dhana-trayodashi or Dhanwantari Triodasi. Dhanteras falls on the 13th day of the second half of the lunar month. This festival name is made of two words i.e. Dhana means wealth and Trayodasi means 13th day. This day is considered propitious for buying gold, utensils etc. In this article, we are sharing the myths and stories regarding Dhanteras.
DhanTeras and Yama and King Hima’s son:
It is said that king Hima’s sixteen-year-old son was doomed to die by a snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage as per horoscope. On the fourth day of his marriage, his wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of silver and gold coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband’s boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on telling stories and singing songs.
DhanTeras and Birth of Dhanvantari, the Physician of Gods:
When Yama (god of death), arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes 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 quietly went away. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of “Yamadeepdaan” and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam, the god of Death.
DhanTeras and Birth of Dhanvantari, the Physician of Gods
This day is also related to the birth of God Dhanvantari, the Physician of Gods, who came out during Samudra Manthan, the churning of the great ocean by the gods and the demons. He emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras. Dhanvantari brought knowledge of medicine, Ayurveda to this material world. The people who worship Lord Dhanvantari by lighting earthen lamps (Diya) on the threshold of their houses are blessed with good health and are protected against untimely death.
DhanTeras and Yama attendants:
It is said that once Yamraj asked his attendants: Did you ever feel pity for someone while taking his/her life? Then the attendants said that once upon a time a king named Hansa went for hunting in the forest but suddenly he got separated from his soldiers. Then the king reached the palace of king Hemraj, who was childless. But a cute son was born to him after the arrival of king Hansa. When the child was baptized on the sixth day of his birth, it was foretold that he would die on the fourth day after his marriage and as per the forecast, he got married to a beautiful and well-mannered girl. But death took him away from her. At that time, tears rolled down the cheeks of the attendants after seeing the girl’s condition. But they were bound by Yamraj’s order and thus were helpless.
At that time, Yamraj told his attendants that he too was moved with this incident and further added that if people worship God Dhanvantri on the day of Dhanteras by lighting lamps on their threshold, then untimely death can never touch them.
DhanTeras and Lakshmi and Vishnu:
Once Goddess Lakshmi wanted to accompany Lord Vishnu to the earth during one of His visits. Lord Vishnu agreed to take her with him and asked to 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 a labourer in the field of the person to whom the sugarcane and flowers belonged.
With the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi as a labourer, 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 labourer. 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 an earthen 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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