Narak Chaturdashi, which falls on the second day of Diwali festival after Dhanteras, is celebrated as an important day in all Maharashtrian families.
According to Hindu mythology, Narakasur, the son of Mother Earth, becomes an evil asur who ruled several kingdoms brought under his rule by force. Narakasur comes to rule Heaven and Earth. Lord Indra pleads with Lord Vishnu who promises to deal with the matter in his incarnation as Krishna. In his incarnation as Krishna, he attacks Narakasur while riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama and beheads him with the Sudarshan Chakra. it is said that Narkasur is granted a boon by Lord Brahma that he will only die at the hands of a woman. So in the battle, it is Lord Krishna's wife Satyabhama who beheads him with Krishna as her saarthi.
As a symbol of the victory Lord Krishna smeared his own forehead with the demon’s blood. On his return, the womenfolk massaged his body with scented oils and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth.
The rituals for this day include breaking a bitter fruit. The bitter fruit symbolises the defeat of Narakasur. Like Dussehra, the defeat of Narakasur reminds us that good always win over the evil.
In Maharashtra, families celebrate this day by getting up early in the morning and having an abhyanga snan with 'ubtan'. This ubtan is a mixture of chandan, ambe haldi, multani mitti, khus, Rose, besan etc. People worship the Lord by visiting temple early in the morning and bursting crackers. The muhurat for the Abhyang Snan this year is 04:58 to 06:39 pm
In southern India, people wake up early and take a holy bath. Then they make a paste of kumkum and oil and apply it on their foreheads. Some communities in Tamil Nadu do Lakshmi Puja on this day.
In West Bengal, one will find the idols of Goddess installed in various pandals across the state.
In Goa, the day is celebrated like Dusshera. The only difference is that here effigies of Narakasur are made and destroyed instead of Ravana.
So if possible have Abhyang Snan as advised to you in the muhurat prescribed and get benefits of good health.
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HAPPY NARAK CHATURDASHI 2018
Hari Om Tat Sat
Acharya Vikas Malhotra
Lal Kitab Astro Centre (LKAC)