Diwali, which is a more colloquial word for the original festival name ‘Deepawali’ means ‘row of lights’. Deepawali signifies the celebration of improvement of wealth and prosperity. Lovingly known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, the essence of the grand North Indian festival is to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. Rooted in Hindu religious traditions, the festival of Diwali takes place over a span of 5 days. In 2023, the main day of Diwali will be celebrated on 12 November.
This festival usually occurs in autumn, during the Hindu month of Kartik. Specifically, Diwali occurs on the darkest day of the lunar month – the day of new moon. The festival commences on Kartik Krishna Trayodashi (Dhanteras) and concludes on Kartik Krishna Dwitiya (Bhai Dooj) – this usually translates to the new Moon night that falls between mid-October and mid-November as per the Hindu calendar.
Goddess Lakshmi’s Birthday: Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and fortune. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi was born during Samudra Manthan, during which the milky ocean was churned to find the nectar of immortality. Lakshmi symbolizes wealth and prosperity. That is why on Diwali, Lakshmi Puja is conducted. New ventures and new accounting years are also initiated on this day by worshipping Goddess Lakshmi.
Victory of Lord Rama: According to Ramayana, Diwali marks the return of a victorious Lord Rama from Lanka. After being on exile for 14 years and subsequently defeating and killing the evil king Ravana, Diwali marks the homecoming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. The people in Ayodhya welcomed Lord Rama and his entourage by lighting ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) and adorning the streets with candles and firecrackers. Therefore, Diwali came to be known as the festival of lights.
Lakshmi Puja (prayer ritual) is one of the auspicious rituals which is performed during the day of Diwali. This auspicious ritual is performed to invite Goddess Lakshmi into one’s home and seek her blessings. Prayers are offered to the Goddess for seeking blessings, so that the New Hindu Financial Year is filled with peace, wealth and prosperity.
Diwali Lakshmi Puja is on 12 November 2023.
1. Clean the area which is selected for puja.
2. The direction of the puja area should be selected on the east wall of your house.
3. Keep the idol of Lord Ganesha on the left of the idol of Goddess Lakshmi The idols placed in the puja should face east direction to enhance the energy of the puja rituals. Sit facing north-east direction while performing the puja. If you don’t have an idol, you can print a picture or just keep the image in your mind.
4. Steps for performing Lakshmi Puja
If this is not available then you can make do with a pot of water too.
Lighting a Guggal Dhoop is considered auspicious during Diwali which brings peace to the environment. In the absence of all other material, you could use a candle also.
Batasha [a spherical crispy sugar candy], laddoos, fruits of your choice, dry fruits, and sweets can be offered to the Goddess. This offering is called Prasad which will be distributed to all after the Puja. In the absence of traditional Diwali sweets, you could use plain sugar or any other sweet offering that doesn’t have any egg or non-vegetarian component.
5. Puja Vidhi [Procedure]
Now you must take some flowers and rice in your hands.
Close your eyes and meditate on Goddess Lakshmi as you are invoking Goddess Lakshmi for her blessings.
Recite the Mantra of Goddess Lakshmi for abundance of wealth and prosperity:
“OM HREEM SHREEM KLEEM MAHA LAKSHMI NAMAHA”
This is a simple Sanskrit mantra dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.
Now place the idol of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on a clean plate and bathe it with ‘Panchamrit’ made of milk, curd, ghee, honey, and sugar.
Clean the idols with water again and wipe them with a clean cloth. Place the idols back on the chowki [platform].
Apply Kumkum Tilak, offer flowers, including incense to Goddess Lakshmi.
Next make offerings of Prasad for attaining the blessings of the Goddess.
Lastly, perform the ‘Aarti’ of Goddess Lakshmi by singing or through a silent Aarti to Goddess Lakshmi. Meditate on Goddess Lakshmi for her blessings for a good financial year ahead.
Diwali Puja is done after sunset. If some items listed for the puja are not readily available, it is fine. You should give more priority on keeping your surroundings clean and meditating on Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi for their blessings.