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Diwali Puja

Diwali is almost synonymous with Lakshmi Puja. The third day of Diwali which is popularly called ‘Badi Diwali’ is an Amavasya i.e. a night with no moon. Despite this, it is considered to be a highly auspicious day when Goddess Lakshmi visits the homes of hardworking and sincere people. People clean their homes days in advance to attract and appease Goddess Lakshmi to bless their home with wealth and prosperity. It is towards this end that people do Lakshmi pujan in the evenings before proceeding with other festivities such as bursting firecrackers and feasting that are a part of Diwali celebrations. Diwali Gift Hamper also add to the festive mood.

Before the Pujan, however, it is important to clean the entire home thoroughly. The Puja room and the Puja area need to be especially clean. All the Gods in the temple are bathed with love and devotion. Diyas are lit in front of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi and sweets are offered in the form of Prasad before commencing the Puja. Panchamitra is also prepared and kept in the thali. Pancmitra is made of milk, curd, honey, ghee and sugar. The Puja thali also contains tikka which is made using rice and vermillion that is applied on the forehead of each of the attendees. Incense sticks are lit and all the members of the family come together to pray on the auspicious day of Diwali after getting ready in new clothes.

Diwali Puja starts with the invocation of Lord Ganesha since he is always the first deity to be worshipped in all Hindu pujas. This is because He is an incarnation of Lord Brahma and is known as ‘the remover of all obstacles’. When He is invoked before starting the puja for any other God or Goddess, He removes the obstacles to receiving the blessings from the puja. Ganesh Pujan is followed by Lakshmi Puja and the following prayer is sung for Goddess Lakshmi:

Om Jai Laxmi Mata, Maiya Jai Laxmi Mata,
Tumko nis din sevat, Maiya ji ko nis din sevat
Hari Vishnu Data
Om Jai Laxmi Mata

Uma Ramaa Brahmaani, Tum hi Jag Mata,Maiya Tum hi Jag Mata,
Surya Chandra Ma dhyaavat, Surya Chandra Ma dhyaavat
Naarad Rishi gaata.
Om Jai Laxmi Mata.

Durga Roop Niranjani, Sukh Sampati Data, Maiya Sukh Sampati Data
Jo koyee tumko dhyaavat, Jo koyee tumko dhyaavat
Ridhi Sidhi dhan paataa
Om Jai Laxmi Mata.

Tum Pataalani Nivasini, Tum hi Shubh Data, Maiya tum hi Shubh Data
Karma Prabhaav Prakaashini, Karma Prabhaav Prakaashini
Bhuv Niddhi ke praata
Om Jai Laxmi Mata

Jis ghar tum rehti teh, sab sath goon aataa, Maiya sab sath goon aataa,
Saab sambhav hojata jataa, Saab sambhav hojata jataa
Man naheen ghabraataa.
Om Jai Laxmi Mata

Tum Bin Yaghya na hote, vaastra na ho paata, Maiya vaastra na ho paata,
Khana paan ka vaibhav, Khana paan ka vaibhav
Sab tumse aata
Om Jai Laxmi Mata

Shubh Goon Mandir sunder, shero da di jaata, Maiya shero da di jaata
Ratna chaturdashi tum bin, Ratna chaturdashi tum bin
Koi nahi paata
Om Jai Laxmi Mata.

Maha Laxmiji ki Aarti, jo koi nar gaata, Maiya jo koi nar gaata,
Pur aananda samata, Pur aananda samata,
Paap utar jaata
Om Jai Laxmi Mata.

The prayer praises Goddess Lakshmi and the devotee asks for her blessings to become wealthy and prosperous. The entire family comes together for the Diwali Puja in this manner and Prasad is given to every member after completing the puja. The younger members of the family pay their respects to the elders in thr home and the elders bless them on this auspicious occasion. After the Puja, people light rows of diyas outside their homes and Diwali celebrations start.

Diwali Puja occupies a very central position in the festival of Diwali. Appeasing Goddess Lakshmi to seek her blessings for wealth and prosperity is one of the main aspects of the festival. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi only visits those homes that are clean, where the residents are hardworking and content and where women of the house are respected. Homes that are dirty, where the family members are lazy and where women are not respected do not gain Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings.

When the Puja is conducted in the proper manner with faith and true devotion in the spirit, the entire home seems to be blessed and a wonderful ambience gets created all around. That is the magic of Prayer and of connecting in spirit with God. And when there are Diwali Sweets along, a perfect festive treat is set.

Although fireworks, sweets and Diwali Gifts are the biggest draws of the festival, the true celebration of Diwali is centred around the Diwali Puja.There are various ways in which Diwali is celebrated, most of the traditions coming from varied cultural orientations. Although there are minor differences in the way that Diwali is enjoyed, what is common to every Diwali celebration is the Diwali puja. While the time and the prayers may differ, the intent is to appease the Gods and welcomethem home. This is also the occasion where the family prays for longevity and prosperity.
 

The puja is performed in the evening at an auspicious time, as suggested by the astrologers. Some people may consult their personal astrologers for the right time for them to perform Diwali puja. It is believed that the greatest results can be obtained when puja is performed at the right time. Therefore, every family ensures that all arrangements are in order, and everyone is present well before the time of the Diwali puja.

Preparations are often more elaborate than the puja itself, and begin much earlier. Offering known as ‘prasad’ is prepared with great care and veneration, lamps are readied with wicks and oil, camphor, incense sticks, and betel leafs and nuts are laid out in decorated trays in front of the deities. The prayer room is cleaned thoroughly, and every deity is given a new set of robes. Elaborate rangoli designs decorate the room, and flowers are generously strewn to accentuate visual appeal.


Before coming to the temple for prayers, all members ensure that they are dresses in their new Diwali clothes, and the women turn out in complete finery. This is because each one is respected as an embodiment of the Lord, and they look to bring Him home looking their very best. The prayers begin with Ganesha Pujan, an offering to Lord Ganesha. He is the deity to whom prayers are offered at the outset of any puja, since He is the remover of all obstacles. The endower of wisdom, intellect and good fortune, Ganesha enjoys the first offering at all ceremonies. It is followed by Laxmi Puja in which Goddes Laxmi, the main deity of the festival, is showered with prayers and praise.Diwali is almost synonymous with Laxmi. The festival Diwali is all about Laxmi, and everything is done to please her, implore her and beget her blessings. The customary lamps are lit and offered before they are placed in various places around the house, and at its threshold. This is done to ward away evil. Sweets are offered to the Goddess before they can be made available to the rest of the household and those visiting them afterwards.

The glory of Laxmi is sung in the ‘aarti’ and earnest appeal is made for good fortune. The idols are smeared a red vermillion dot called ‘tilak’ and uncooked rice is placed on top of it. Sweets and dry fruits are offered before they are distributed among the family. On this day, many people also perfom Kuber Puja. Kuber is the deity who is believed to be the custodian of all the wealth in the world. He is prayed to for apparent reason, with the use of gold and silver coins as offerings considered auspicious. This is believed to be the perfect time to invest in gold or silver. While Dhan Teras is the chosen day, several people also look to buy something for Diwali. This is also placed along with other puja items and offered prayer.

Once the puja has been completed, the younger members of the family touch feet of the elders and receive their blessings and Diwali Gifts as a token of their love. Later, people go about distributing sweets and gifts to friends. This is a tradition which is followed all over the world by Hindus. People living overseas ensure they perform pujas at home, and share the joy of Diwali by sending Diwali Gifts to India. Diwali Gifts in India are also ordered online by people who wish to reach their loved ones in different cities.

The Diwali puja is only an excuse for all the people of the house to gather and pray in unison, something which is not much of a commonality in many houses. Collective prayers have the greatest power. The family that prays together, lives together in happiness and harmony. This is all that Diwali stands for.

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