People celebrate the 14th day of Kartik Maas as Chhoti Diwali, all over the world. But, do we know why we celebrate it? There are several myths and legends surrounding Deepawali. Here are two popular reasons as to why we observe this festival.
Legends Surrounding Chhoti Diwali
The Tale of King Bali
Chhoti Deepawali is celebrated as Bali Pratipada. The word Pratipada means crushed under opponent’s foot. Since the demon king from south India was crushed by Lord Vishnu’s incarnate therefore, the South Indians observe this festival with great fun and festivities.
As per the legends of South India, King Bali was a powerful leader of Asuras. Even the mightiest of all Gods were afraid of his power. He had dethroned Indra, the King of Gods and reined over both the heavens and the underworld. Frightened by his immense power, Indra and his followers approached Lord Vishnu for help. Knowing that Bali is famous for his generous ways, Vishnu approached the king in the disguise of a dwarf sage. He requested the king to fulfil one of his wishes.
Out of charity, the king agreed to grant his boon. The sage, also known as ‘Vaaman’, requested the king to grant him the land that he could cover in 3 steps. Considering the sage was so tiny, the King fulfilled the wishes and granted him the permission to choose the land. Following the declaration, the dwarf sage immediately attained his true form and covered both ‘Mrityulok’ (underworld) and the ‘Swarglok’ (the heaven) in 2 steps. Seeing that the Lord already covered his entire territory, Bali offered his head for the God to put his foot down the third time. Thus, the king was killed and his kingdom overthrown. But what Bali achieved was unique. He attained ‘moksha’ from the world and fame after death. Millions of centuries after his death, even today, the natives remember him for charitable ways.
Narakasur was the demon king ruler of Pragiyotishpur in North India. His kingdom was located somewhere near southern Nepal. He was infamous for his corrupt ways of living. He had defeated Indra, captured the treasure of Mother Goddess Aditi (mother-in-law of Lord Krishna) and kidnapped sixteen thousand daughters belonging to different saints and Gods for his harem.
Upon hearing his immoral deeds, Satyabhama, the wife of Lord Krishna was enraged. She appealed her husband to let her punish Narakasur for his malevolence. Since Narakasur was cursed to get killed by a woman, Satyabham, with Krishna as her charioteer, entered the battle field to kill the evil demon. Empowered with her husband’s power, Satyabhama defeated the demon and freed all women from harem. Since the imprisoned ladies were already soiled by the demon, nobody would’ve accepted them as their wives.
Krishna ended this misery by volunteering to marry them. Bhumi Devi, the noble mother of Naraksura rather than grieving on this occasion, declared his death to be remembered as a day of festivities. It’s said that both Krishna and Satyabhama returned to their capital before dawn on Narakchaturdashi day. Therefore, it is customary to wake up early in the morning. Devotees begin their daily activities after seeking His blessings.
Therefore, people, all over India celebrate Chhoti Diwali with fun and festivities.