Dhanteras is celebrated every year and serves Indians with an opportunity to buy gold. Which is a little strange if you think about it, since most Indians are happy to buy gold at the drop a hat. But jokes apart, there are some reasons rooted in mythology that validate Dhanteras
The word ‘Dhanteras’ is made up of two words – ‘dhan‘ meaning gold, and ‘teras‘ meaning thirteenth day. Thus, Dhanteras marks the beginning of the 5 days of celebration of Diwali. God Kubera is worshiped along with Goddess Lakshmi.
1. The return of Lakshmi
Indra could often be pompous and arrogant. Due to his nature he was cursed by sage Durvasa, and Goddess Lakshmi and the gods left the heaven, till it was conquered by demons. To find a solution for Indra’s trouble, his teacher, Brihaspati, went to Lord Vishnu, and the solution was to churn the sea of milk. It was a difficult job, but nevertheless, the gods and the demons started churning. Soon came goddess Lakshmi wearing a lotus garland. On further churning of the sea, Dhanvantari emerged with a jar of elixir or amrit.
2. The games of Shiva and Parvati
Card parties and Diwali go hand in hand, but do you know why? It is believed that Shiva and Parvati were playing when Parvati threw down the dice and won. Maa Parvati proclaimed that whoever played on Diwali and won, would prosper for all of the next year.
3. Goddess Lakshmi and the farmers
In many traditions, people fast on Dhanteras. The story goes as such – once Goddess Lakshmi requested Vishnu to take her to see the Earth. Vishnu asked her to promise not to look in the south direction, and not to get attracted to things on the Earth. However, when Goddess Lakshmi arrived, she could not resist herself and looked towards the south. She was attracted by the flowers and sugarcane juice. On seeing her attraction, Vishnu was enraged and told her to stay on Earth for the next 12 years as penance.
During the next 12 years, the farmers prospered and became very rich. So when Vishnu came to take the Goddess back, they refused. Goddess Lakshmi told the farmers who she was, and promised to return every year. Till date we clean our homes in preparation of her visit .
4. The son of King Hima
King Hima’s 16-year-old son was predicted to die in his sleep due to a snake bite on the fourth day after his marriage. His wife decided to light diyas and put gold on the house entrance. She started singing songs and told stories so as not to let her husband fall asleep. As predicted, Lord Yama came in the guise of a snake, but was dazzled with all the finery. He climbed atop a heap of gold and got lost in the songs the wife was singing. The next day, he left without biting the husband. This is why people buy gold on Dhanteras, and light diyas for the next 5 days.
Here’s wishing all of you a very Happy Diwali! May Goddess Lakshmi shower you with good health, wealth and prosperity!