Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance

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Dhanteras, also known as Dhanatrayodashi and Dhanavantri Trayodashi, is an amalgamation of two Sanskrit words- Dhan means wealth, and teras is synonymous with the word Trayodashi means the 13th day. Hence, per the Hindu calendar, Dhanteras marks the commencement of Diwali celebrations. Our Hindu culture believes that Goddess Lakshmi only enters a neat and clean house. Hence, on Dhanteras, people clean their houses to attract and invite Goddess Lakshmi into their abode- Diyas are lit, rangoli are made, and torans are put at the entrance. All devotees seek Lord Dhanvantri’s and Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings to bring peace and happiness to their homes. Many also worship Lord Yamaraj at night and offer their prayers to seek his blessings.

Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance

People consider Dhanteras extremely auspicious for purchasing broom and salt for the home, which means that on this bright day, it is believed poverty gets removed from the home. All the family’s financial worries will be alleviated. Utensils bought to replenish the kitchen on Dhanteras are regarded as a symbol of success. 

Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance
Significance & belief

Along with it, people buy silver to bring money and prosperity into your home. An essential item is an unusual shell known as the Gomati Chakra. It is often used for puja on the joyous occasion of Diwali for Lakshmi Pujan. It is believed to ward off the evil eye; keeping the Gomti chakra at home and work is imperative.

Gomti Chakra

There are a few other items, like electronic gadgets, jewellery, and oil lamps, called Diyas. It is said that the light from these lamps draws Goddess Lakshmi into your house, banishing evil spirits and gloom. To brighten your house and make it feel cosy, you can get exquisitely made oil lamps and Diyas.

Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance
Buying Diyas. gold & Jewellery

There have been many myths and legends associated with Dhanteras. A few interesting mythological stories are connected to Dhanteras to medicine Lord Dhanvantri. In contrast, others spend their time worshipping Lord Yamaraj and Goddess Lakshmi.

The story of King Bhima

Once upon a time, a king named Hima ruled over his kingdom with justice and love as the two tools of his governance. He had a son, and the astrologers predicted that his son would face the end of his life due to a snake bite in his sixteenth year. A sense of deep anguish tormented King Hima’s heart, and he searched for ways to save his son’s life. As advised by a renowned astrologer, a girl with a lucky horoscope was married to his son. The couple lived happily for a few years. The boy neared his sixteenth year, and the king started worrying about the impending death of his son.

Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance
Yamraj on the way to take life

The astrological predictions said a snake would bite the boy when he stepped into his sixteenth year of life. On the eve of the boy’s sixteenth birthday, the girl hatched a clever plan to save the life of her husband. The girl gathered and piled all her jewels before the main door. She and her husband remained awake all night. The girl sat near the home entrance, guarding the main door.

Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance
Yamdeepam Celebrated on Dhanteras

Lord Yama, the god of death, arrived in front of the house at the appointed time as a serpent. The snake crawled its way to the main door of the house. When the snake was about to enter the door, the pile of ornaments stopped it on the way. The ornaments were so dazzling that the snake could not see anything around it. Meanwhile, the girl kept singing melodious songs throughout the night. The songs were so alluring that the snake stayed at the doorstep enjoying the songs. The time to take the life of the boy elapsed, and Lord Yama, in the form of a snake, had to give up his mission. Thus, the girl’s witty idea helped save her husband’s life. That is why people in many parts of India, even today, refer to Dhanteras celebrations as Yamadeepam.

Legend of Dhanteras.

This legend gave rise to the event of Dhanteras, celebrated year after year on the same day of Krishna Paksha Trayodashi in the month of Kartika just before the Diwali festival. The popular belief among the Hindus has helped continue this holy tradition. Dhanteras is the surest way to invite prosperity into the household and seek the husband’s long life.

Significance of Dhanteras

Story of Lord Dhanvantri:

According to age-old Hindu texts, the god of Ayurveda and Medicine is Dhanvantri. Dhanvantri was the one who imparted knowledge of Ayurveda to humanity. He helped them get rid of diseases. On Dhanteras, devotees pray to Lord Dhanvantri to cure chronic illnesses through Ayurveda.

Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance
Lord Dhanvantri

Besides, it’s also believed that Lord Dhanvantri was a physician to all the Hindu gods. Ancient Hindu mythological books claim Lord Vishnu’s manifestation was Dhanvantri, born through Samudra Manthan and on the thirteenth day of Kartik Krishna Paksha, Dhanvantari, the physician of Gods, emerged from the ocean carrying the Amrit Kalash, or the pot filled with the elixir of life, in his hands.

Story of Goddess Lakshmi:

Another legendary story on Dhanteras is associated with Goddess Lakshmi. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi emerged through Samudra Manthan. She was sitting on a lotus, with a vessel stocked with gold, symbolizing prosperity, fortune, wealth and happiness. 

Goddess Lakshmi from Samudra Manthan

In Hindu families, daughters are referred to as Goddess Lakshmi or as an embodiment of good luck. Therefore, on Dhanteras foot impressions at the entrance of their house using ‘kumkum,’ are made to be blessed with success and prosperity.

The Legend of Goddess Lakshmi and the Farmer

This legend states that Goddess Laksmi convinced Lord Vishnu to take her along on his visit to the earth. Although Lord Vishnu agreed, he placed the condition that venturing into the southern region was forbidden. However, on reaching the earth, Goddess Lakshmi was captivated by the beauty and aroma of the fields of sugarcane and mustard flowers growing in the southern region.

Goddess Lakshmi & Lord Vishnu

So, she broke her promise and moved in the south direction, where she plucked the flowers and even drank sugarcane juice. Angered by this, Lord Vishnu cursed the goddess to spend the next 12 years on earth serving the farmer whose fields had ventured into. Goddess Lakshmi accepted her punishment, and over the next 12 years, she served the farmer and helped him prosper.

Goddess Lakshmi & the Farmer

When Lord Vishnu came to take the goddess back after 12 years, the farmer refused to let her go. This forced Goddess Lakshmi to reveal her true identity to the farmer. She also promised to visit him every year on the night of Dhanteras. Therefore, every year, the farmer cleaned his house to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, and soon, other people also started celebrating the festival.

Story of Lord Kuber :

The treasurer of the Gods and Kings of Yakshas is Lord Kuber. He represents wealth, prosperity, and fame. Worshipping Lord Kuber on Dhanteras is believed to bless one with good fortune, wealth & prosperity. As per ancient scriptures, people lit 13 Diyas to attract abundance and splendour.

Dhanteras: Myths, Legends and Significance
Lord Kuber

To end on Dhanteras, devotees worship Lord Dhanvantari and Goddess Lakshmi for excellent health and wealth. People also perform Yamadeep Danam by lighting Diyas, lighting the oil lamp (diya) to ward off the glooms of evil spirits.


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