The history of Diwali celebrations is nearly as old as the history of India. It is not easy to say now what really the reason behind the origin is. Different people believe different events to be the cause of this festival, be it the epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata or our sacred Bhagavata Purana. It is also believed that on this very Diwali day, the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi rose up from the ocean. The Hindu scriptures tell us that long ago both Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) were mortal. They had to die sometime or other, like us. But they wanted to live forever. So they churned the ocean to seek Amrita, the nectar of immortality (an event mentioned in the Hindu scriptures as \"\"Samudra-manthan\"\"), during which many divine objects came up. Prime among these was Goddess Lakshmi, the daughter of the king of the milky ocean, who arose on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month. That very night, Lord Vishnu married her. Brilliant lamps were illuminated and placed in rows to mark this holy occasion. This event is supposed to have given rise to an annual celebration at the same time each year. Even today, Hindus celebrate the birth of the Goddess Lakshmi and her marriage to Lord Vishnu on Diwali and seek her blessings for the coming year. This festival dedicated to Lakshmi is considered by Hindus to be one of the most important and joyous festivals of the year.
On the second day of the five-day long celebration of Diwali, a ritual that is strongly suggestive of the origin of Diwali as a harvest festival is performed. Worship of the Goddess Lakshmi and performance of Aarti are a part of the harvest festival. On this day delicacies are prepared from pounded semi-cooked rice called Poha or Pauva. This rice is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time.
We know how important it is to get this age old ritual right on this auspicious day. So we have listed down the correct method of Pooja to be performed step by step.
First of all, you will need the following things or samagri for performing the Lakshmi Pooja:
Agarbatti (incense sticks), Batasha (Sugar drops), Beetle nuts, Chandan (sandalwood paste), Cloths – Red, white and yellow, Deepak (Lamp), Dhaan Ki Kheel (Puffed rice), Elaichi (Cardamom), Ganga Jal (Holy water), Ghee (Clarified butter), Gulab Jal (Rose water), Gulal (Red powder), Haldi Gath (Turmeric root), Haldi Powder (Turmeric Powder), Honey, Itra (scent), Janeu (sacred thread), Kala Till (Black sesame), Kamal Gatta (lotus seeds), Kapoor (Camphor), Kesar (saffron), Kumkum (Vermillion), Laung (Cloves), Long Batti ,Milk, Mishri (Crystallized sugar), Moli (Red and yellow thread), Panch Meva (Dry fruits mixture), Peeli Sarson (Yellow mustard), Rice, Round Batti, Sapthdhan (Seven grains), Shringar Samagri (Bangles, mirror, comb, etc.), Sindur , Sugar, Till oil and Wheat.
Method of Pooja :
After gathering all the required samagri, you can start the Pooja as following:
1. Pavithrikaranam, Aachamana and Aavahanam:
Worship Lord Ganesha at the beginning and pray for all the deities to arrive at the place of worship without any obstacles. Tie the sacred thread on your wrist before proceeding to the next step of the pooja.
2. Pooja resolution (Sankalp):
Sankalp is an oath taken before starting a prayer by informing the gods and Goddesses of what we are going to offer them and what we want for our effort. You can use the following Sankalp for any prayer you might wish to do.
Mamo Partha Samastha
Sri Narayana Preethyartham
Sri Lakshmi Prasada Sidhyartham
3. Kalash Poojanam:
Kalash is a brass, mud or copper pot is filled with water. Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red or white thread is tied around its neck. When the pot is filled with water or rice, it is known as purnakumbha representing the inert body which when filled with the divine life force gains the power to do all the wonderful things that makes life what it is.
Reason behind worshipping the Kalash:
The water in the Kalash symbolizes the primordial water from which the entire creation emerged. It is the giver of life to all and has the potential of creating innumerable names and forms, the inert objects and the sentient beings and all that is auspicious in the world from the energy behind the universe. The leaves and coconut represent creation. The thread represents the love that “binds” all in creation. The Kalasha is therefore considered auspicious and worshipped.
Start by filling the Kalash with water and two-three Tulsi leaves. Then you worship the Kalash by offering flowers, beetle nuts, coins, raw rice (akshata), turmeric and vermillion (kumkum).
4. Shankha Poojanam:
Shankham\"\" comes from the two Sanskrit words \"\"Shum\"\" which means something good and the \"\"Kham\"\" meaning water, translating the word Shankam to \"\"The conch holding the sacred water\"\". As the story goes, the demon Shankhaasura defeated Devas and went to the bottom of the ocean. The Devas appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. He incarnated as Matsya Avataara - the \"\"fish incarnation\"\" and killed Shankhaasura. The Lord blew the conch-shaped bone of his ear and head. The Om sound emanated from which emerged the Vedas. It represents dharma or righteousness that is one of the four goals (purushaarthas) of life. The sound of the conch is thus also the victory call of good over evil and that is why it is worshiped.
Apply sandalwood paste to the Shankam and offer flowers.
5. Ganesha Poojanam:
Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the god of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies. You can worship the deity in the following manner:
Panchamrut Snaanam : Milk, curd, ghee, honey & sugar.
Arghya Snaanam : Sprinkling water with flower, Sandalwood paste and scent
Ushnodak Snaanam : Offering hot water
Shuddhodak Snaanam : Turmeric, Vermillion (Kumkum), Flower
6. Lakhsmi Poojanam:
Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. She is the wife and Shakti (energy) of Vishnu, Lakshmi is also called Sri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and is the divine strength of Vishnu. In Hindu mythologies, she was born from the churning of the primordial ocean (Samudra Manthan) and she chose Vishnu as her eternal consort.
Lakshmi Pooja can be performed anytime during the year but performing it during Diwali has a special significance.
Follow the same ritual as mentioned above for the the Ganesha Poojanam. At the end, offer Goddess Lakhsmi the special Lakshmi lotus.
7. Kuber Poojanam:
Kubera, also spelt Kuber, is the Lord of Wealth and the god-king of the semi-divine Yakshas in Hindu mythology. He is regarded as the regent of the North (Dik-pala), and a protector of the world (Lokapala). While Kubera still enjoys prayers as the god of wealth, his role is largely taken by the god of wisdom, fortune and obstacle-removal, Ganesha, with whom he is generally associated
Start Kuber Pooja by placing a jewellery box or a small safe (as a symbol of the deity) on a hand drawn swastik near the place of worship. Offer rice to the deity and ask him to grace your home with his presence. Light a lamp (deepam) first and incense (dhoop) after. You then offer sweets or fruits as nevedyam to the deity. After this, you say the matra ‘Om Vitteshwraay Namah’ 108 times
8. Shree Yantra Poojanam:
The Shree Yantra, also called Sri Chakra, is a diagram formed by nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate out from the central (bindu) point. It represents the Goddess in her form of Shri Lalita or Tripura Sundari, \"\"the beauty of the three worlds\"\" - Bhoo, Bhuva and Swa. (Earth, Atmosphere and Sky(heaven))
Kumkumarchan Vidhi – Place Yantra on a plate and wash it with water, and milk mixed with saffron . Then wash it again with water . Light incense and sprinkle water where the Yantra is to be kept chanting \"\"Aim Hreem Namah\"\" . Place yellow cloth and a sheet of silver/gold and place Yantra on it . Put Kum Kum/ Sandal paste and a coral mala on the Yantra . A Shivling is also placed near the Yantra during Pran Prathistha . Offer flowers (yellow) , Gur (jaggery) , raw turmeric and incense to the Yantra . Chant 108 times the following mantra on a Lotus seed rosary: \"\"Om, Shreem Hreem Shreem Kamle Kamalalaye Praseed, Praseed, Shreem, Hreem Shreem Om Mahalaxmaye Namah\"\"
Then cover Shree Yantra with red cloth .
9. Alakshmi Poojanam:
Alakshmi is the older sister of Lakshmi and the Hindu Goddess of misfortune. She sometimes takes the form of an owl that is portrayed accompanying Lakshmi. It is believed the owl is the representation of “arrogance and stupidity that often accompanies fortune (brought by Lakshmi) and heralds misfortune. It is for this reason that Lakshmi\'s devotees are wary of the owl.
During Diwali, Pooja of both Goddess Lakshmi and her sister Alakshmi (in the form of a broom) is done together. Devotees pray to Goddess lakshmi that she bring them good luck and prosperity. They pray to Goddess alakshmi that she stay right outside their door and keep all the evil spirits away from them.
After worshipping all forms of Lakshmi i.e. coins, currency notes, gold and silver along with Goddess saraswati and offering food to all the deities, the Pooja comes to an end.
We wish you a very happy Diwali and a prosperous year ahead.