Dhanteras 2013 or Dhantrayodashi Puja falls on 1st November this year. Dhanteras precedes the Festival of Lights Diwali by two days.
Dhanteras Puja or Dhantrayodashi Puja falls on Friday, 1st November this year. The Dhanteras Puja Muhurta this year is between 6:20 PM – 8:09 PM, according to Drikpanchang.com.
The website says Lakshmi Puja on Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi should be done during Pradosh Kaal which starts after sunset and approximately lasts for 2 hours and 24 minutes.
Dhanteras, which precedes the Festival of Lights Diwali by two days, is looked forward to with much anticipation for several reasons. Celebrated in honour of Dhanavantri, the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu, Dhanteras owes its origins to the legend of Samudramanthan – the churning of nectar by the Gods and the demons from the depths of the ocean of milk.
The story goes that Sage Durvasha’s curse forced Lakshmi, the goddess of power, bravery, enthusiasm and radiance to leave the King of Gods Indra. The demons took this opportunity to invade the heavens and defeat Indra.
Indra sought the advice of his guru Brishaspati. Brishaspati along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu found the solution in ambrosia (nectar) that needed to be extricated from the ocean of milk. The demons, lured by the hope of getting nectar and wealth, agreed to help in the churning.
The churning started. Initially the churning threw up Kalakuta, the dreadful poison which threatened to eliminate all. Lord Shiva stored it in his throat and his “blue throat” gave him the name Neelkantha.
One after the other several celestial beings emerged from the churning, including Kalpavriksha, the heavenly wish fulfilling tree, Kamdhenu, the heavenly cow and the Apsaras.
Finally Goddess Lakshmi emerged standing on a fully blossomed lotus, wearing a lotus garland in the neck and holding a lotus in her hand. With elephants sprinkling the holy water of the Ganga on her, she acquired the name Gajalakshmi.
Once the churning was over, God Dhanavantri emerged from the ocean of milk with the jar of Amrit or nectar. Lord Vishnu distracted the demons while the Gods drank the nectar.
Dhanteras marks the emergence of Dhanavantari – of life triumphing over death and the return of Goddess Lakshmi.
The other story behind Dhanteras is about a prince who was doomed to die four days after his marriage. But when Lord Yama (the God of Death) approached his home in the garb of a venomous snake, he found the home brightly lit with shining metal objects, sparkling jewellery and utensils. Amidst all this sparkle were the sounds of lilting songs.
Unknown to Yama, the prince’s intelligent wife had decorated the palace with shining metal objects and diyas, made the prince bathe and had sat him down to listen to songs and stories all night so that he would not fall asleep.
Enchanted, Yama too sat on the piles of shining utensils, listened to the stories and then quietly left the prince and his wife without fulfilling the task he had come for. Women thus buy new metal objects, utensils or jewellery as a mark of a long life for their husbands. As for men, they’d better buy their wives some attractive metal gifts and jewellery for after all it is all about their longer lives.
On Dhanteras women, especially in the prosperous mercantile community, purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. People renovate and decorate their homes and shops, making colorful rangolis and alpanas and light lamps that burn through the night.
Dhanteras is thus an auspicious occasion for picking up some attractive jewellery or metal items for household décor or utensils for the kitchen.
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