Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Lalita Chandika Temple
Wisdom on Day Two of Diwali: Naraka Chaturdashi
Let Go and Open Your Heart
The second day of Diwali is all about letting go of anything and everything that no longer serves you. This can include negative emotions, past attachments, bad influences, and associations with people who habitually bring you down.
It is a time to take away all of the karma in the house and replace it with positive energy. It is a time to wipe the slate clean, to let go, and to start fresh. It is a time to reassess your relationships and choose to be around uplifting people.
The second day of Diwali is called by many names, such as Naraka Chaturdashi, Kali Puja Day (Bengal), and Choti Diwali. It falls on the 14th day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Aswhina.
It is believed that on this day the demon Narakasura, the evil king from Jyotispura (in modern day Guwahati, Assam) was killed. Narakasura's life was filled with sinister deeds. His life provides an example of what NOT to do and how NOT to behave.
By going through Narakasura's story, we identify a roadmap to a better life - a roadmap to a more positive future that can be applied anytime, not just during Diwali. It also can show how to effectively deal with difficult people.
There are a few different versions of Narakasura's story, but the essence posted here is taken from several ancient texts (Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kalika Purana) and attempts to capture key lessons designed to take your life to the next level!
Be With Those Who Value Dharma
Who is Naraka and how did he become demonic?
One story says that Naraka was born of good parents (mother earth, Bhudevi, and Lord Vishnu). He became tainted by his associations with bad people, in particular a demon named Banasura.
Another story indicates he was born from Mother earth and his father was a demon, and so his demonic nature was instilled at birth.
Regardless of parents, all babies are born pure in consciousness, and it is the personal decisions, environment, and tendencies that veer the individual into darkness, into adharmic (unethical) behavior.
Naraka was said to have chosen the wrong crowd to be with and this caused him to turn evil.
You become who you associate with, so choose your associates, friends, and peers very carefully. Studies show that we become the average of the four to five people that we spend the most time with!
Are you with those that uplift you and promote peace and dharma (right action) in the family? Or are you with those who bring you emotional pain, mental and physical hardship, depression, disharmony, or chaos?
Who you associate with is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. If you want peace, be with people who create peace and harmony. Tolerate nothing else!
Live With The Wisdom That Everything is God's Grace
Somewhere along the way, Naraka asked and received a boon from Lord Brahma that he would have a long life and that he could only be killed by his Mother.
This boon was a devil in disguise for it set up a belief in Naraka's mind that led to a sense of entitlement.
Knowing that mothers don’t kill their children, and knowing that his mother is Mother Earth, Bhudevi herself, gave Naraka the conviction that he was invincible and the arrogance that he was entitled to anything he wanted.
With his demon friend Banasura, he misused his power and created hardship amongst the people. Empathy and concern for others completely left him and self centeredness engulfed his way of life.
Wisdom comes when we know that everything is God’s grace, that everything is done by God, and we own and are owed nothing. Check your beliefs and question those that no longer serve you. This keeps you humble with the attitude that you are a child of God.
Build Positive Momentum
Eventually, Naraka’s power and arrogance grew and grew and his life was a hell-hole of bondage to power, greed, entitlement, and arrogance.
As he became satiated with the idea of more and more, eventually the entire earth came under his control.
But was that enough for him? No!
His greed and entitlement had already gathered massive momentum.
Never satisfied, he then turned his desire for "more" to the heavens, the abode of Indra, where he eventually took over the abode of the Gods.
Left unchecked, toxicity in any form (greed, power, entitlement, and arrogance etc.) develops a veil of ignorance on the Soul that is very difficult to correct. It builds momentum and can get out of control.
Do not let negative momentum build. Rather, build positive momentum – compassion, love, contribution – and let that momentum take your life into a new direction.
Live in Freedom; Give it to Others
Naraka was so addicted to power and control that when he got to Heaven he ripped the Goddess Aditi’s earrings off from her ears. He also kidnapped and enslaved 16,100 young women, limiting their freedom to move and their personal power to say no.
Taking power and control of situations, people, and the surrounding environment can manifest in many forms, it does not just include physical kidnapping.
Anytime we manipulate or try to control another's decisions, emotions, and mental facilities necessarily inhibits their freedom to choose. Similarly, anytime we allow ourselves to be overpowered in a situation necessarily diminishes our self dignity.
Freedom of choice is everyone’s human right. Give it to others and you will get it back. Give it to yourself and you will be a role model of empowerment for others.
Relax! Gods Got This!
In desperation, the Gods went to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Sri Krishna to bring peace and dharma (righteousness) to the world.
Krishna’s wife was Satyabhama, who was the avatar of Bhudevi, Mother Earth (remember, Narakasura's mother is Bhudevi, and his boon was that he could only be killed by his mother).
For Naraka’s bad behavior toward women, Satyabhama became enraged and convinced Sri Krishna to wage a war against Narakasura.
Mounted on his vehicle Garuda (eagle), Krishna and Satyabhama attacked Narakasura in the middle of the night.
Lord Krishna, with the help of his wife Satyabhama, killed Narakasura and their victory gave freedom to the 16,100 imprisoned women and re-established the honor of Aditi.
There is no tolerance in the mind of the Divine for the physical or emotional abuse of our fellow man. The Law of Karma will always pay it back at the right place and time.
You need not worry about the past, about seeking revenge, or about how someone got away with something.
Remember - Gods got this! The best course of action is to relax, live your own life, and execute your own purpose by moving forward in gratitude.
Spread Love and Light
Legend has it that before Narakasura died, he repented to Lord Krishna and asked for a boon from his Mother Satyabhama.
For seeing such divine beings of light before him, he realized that he had lived a life of ignorance. He realized that he spread fear instead of love. He realized that his whole life was about abusing power and taking whatever he wants.
In his final moments, he wanted to give back something positive to the world and requested a boon that everyone should celebrate his death with colorful light.
This is how the beautiful Festival of Lights, Diwali, was born and why it is a celebration of good over evil.
It's never too late to repent, to turn your life around, and to make a positive contribution!
Symbolically, this legend represents the battle the spiritual aspirant goes through as they focus their energy to eradicate the darkness within themselves.
Narakasura represents the physical body, which trained by memory from the past, plods along habitually seeking physical enjoyment.
Lord Krishna represents the individual soul, the jivatma, who is trying to free the several prisoners, or Yoga Nadis (energy channels), which are imprisoned in the body.
Ancient Ways to Purify Body and Mind
After the battle, Sri Krishna was drenched in blood and returned home in the morning and cleansed himself in a bath of special ingredients and oils. Since then it has become a tradition in India to take a special bath before sunrise on Naraka Chaturdashi.
One practice is to wake up before dawn and take a panchamrita bath (apply the five ingredients: milk, yogurt, ghee, honey and sugar to the body).
If you are a woman, it is very auspicious on this day to make a paste of turmeric, sandal wood and ground garbanzo beans (chick pea flour). Apply this paste while bathing. This makes the female embody Goddess Lakshmi and invites Lakshmi into the home.
Spiritual Sentiment on Day Two of Diwali:
“Mother, You are the energy of purification and You always seek to protect your devoted children. Today, I offer all that I have done over this past year to you. All good and bad actions (karma) I offer to You.
Please destroy the dark energies in my life: kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachments), mada (pride), and masarya (jealousy) and return me to a state of welfare and bliss.”
In the evening of Day Two, perform a Kali Puja and light 14 candles in the house or temple. One of those candles is oil.
After you light the oil candle walk every room of the house and then take it outside and put it on the south side of the house. It is an offering to Yama (God of Death) and will help avert an untimely death in the family.
(Now you are prepared to celebrate the Festival of Lights on Day Three)