Dhanteras, known as Dhanavantri Trayodashi and Dhanatrayodashi, hold a significant place in the Hindu calendar as they signify the beginning of Diwali celebrations across India. Falling on the 13th lunar day (Trayodashi Tithi) of Krishna Paksha or the Dark Fortnight, this year Dhanteras is celebrated on November 10th. It’s a day that inspires people to invest in utensils, jewellery, vehicles, and various metal items, as they believe it’s an auspicious time to acquire metals. Devotees unite to offer their prayers to Goddess Lakshmi on Dhanteras, seeking happiness, prosperity, and wealth.
Historical and Mythological Significance
Dhanteras is deeply intertwined with Hindu mythology, boasting three captivating tales that illuminate the essence of this auspicious day.
The Legend of Lord Dhanvantri:
In Hindu tradition, Lord Dhanvantri is revered as the god of Ayurveda and Medicine. It is believed that he bestowed the knowledge of Ayurveda upon humanity, helping them combat diseases and ailments. On Dhanteras, devotees honour Lord Dhanvantri, seeking relief from chronic illnesses through Ayurveda.
According to ancient Hindu texts, Lord Dhanvantri was not just a healer but also the personal physician of the Hindu gods. Mythology states that Dhanvantri emerged from the Samudra Manthan, the churning of the cosmic ocean, holding a book on Ayurveda and the pot of Amrit (the nectar of immortality) in his hands.
The Tale of Goddess Lakshmi
Another enchanting narrative related to Dhanteras revolves around Goddess Lakshmi. Hindu mythology tells of Goddess Lakshmi’s emergence from the churning of the cosmic ocean, seated on a lotus, holding a vessel brimming with gold. This symbolizes good fortune, prosperity, happiness, and wealth. To welcome and seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, devotees decorate their homes with beautifully crafted rangolis and illuminate them with earthen lamps.
In Hindu households, daughters are often seen as embodiments of Goddess Lakshmi, symbolizing good luck. Dhanteras rituals also include the tradition of daughters or daughters-in-law leaving their footprints at the entrance of their homes using ‘kumkum,’ a gesture believed to bring success and prosperity to the family.
The Legend of Lord Yamaraj
The most intriguing of the Dhanteras legends centers around King Hima’s son. His horoscope predicted that he would meet his demise on the fourth day of his marriage due to a snakebite. In a bid to change her husband’s fate, his newlywed wife took extraordinary measures. She kept him awake throughout the night by narrating stories and ensuring he did not fall asleep.
To thwart the snake’s arrival, she placed all her coins and ornaments at the entrance of their sleeping chamber and lit numerous earthen lamps. When Yamaraj, the god of death, arrived in the guise of a serpent, the brilliance of the lamps and the metal items blinded him. Yamaraj spent the entire night there and left the next morning without claiming King Hima’s son. This legend is why Dhanteras is also known as Yamadeepdaan, with people offering earthen lamps to Lord Yamaraj to appease him and pray for the long lives of their loved ones.
On the evening of Dhanteras, devotees fervently seek the blessings of Lord Dhanvantri and Goddess Lakshmi to bring peace and happiness into their homes. In Hindu culture, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi only enters clean and well-kept households. Therefore, people engage in thorough cleaning to attract and invite the goddess into their abode. Lighting earthen lamps, creating intricate rangolis, and adorning the entrances with torans are common practices to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.
Many also perform rituals to worship Lord Yamaraj at night, seeking his blessings for the well-being of their families. Dhanteras is considered highly auspicious for the purchase of silverware, gold jewellery, and other metal items, as it is believed to bring good luck and wealth. Moreover, people in various professions, such as shopkeepers and farmers, also worship their main sources of income for prosperity.
Dhanteras is not merely a festival; it is a celebration that beautifully blends captivating mythology, hope, devotion, and festivity. Across India, people adorn themselves in traditional attire and celebrate the day with utmost enthusiasm. Dhanteras is a reminder of the rich tapestry of Indian culture, highlighting the importance of faith, togetherness, and the pursuit of prosperity.
As the festival of Dhanteras dawns, it is an occasion to welcome new hopes, cherish fresh dreams, and create cherished memories. Wishing you a joyous and prosperous Dhanteras!