November 20, 2016
AS the country gears up to celebrate a time of great joy and rejoice in a multitude of festivities including light, sweets, gifts and new possessions, one can’t help but wonder the real significance of this festive season. Case in point, bring up the word ‘Dhanteras’ and chances are everyone around you will immediately talk of buying gold, diamonds, electronics & other items of value. Of course Dhanteras is an occasion to seek wealth and prosperity, but how did this tradition come about? Let us go back to the story behind this auspicious time.
As the legend goes, the horoscope of King Hima’s sixteen year old son read that he would die on the fourth day of his marriage by a snake bite. On that particular day, the prince’s young wife laid all her ornaments and coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband’s chamber, lighted lamps all over & starting singing. When Yama arrived in the form of a snake, his eyes got blinded by that dazzle and he could not enter the prince’s chamber.
In a trance-like state, he sat on top of the heap and spent the whole night listening to the melodious songs, thus missing his deadline and sparing the prince’s life. For this reason, this is considered an auspicious time to buy jewellery. As the intelligence of the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death, Dhanteras is celebrated as a reminder that ills in a horoscope (fate) can be corrected by the right actions (karma). One is encouraged to do good deeds all the time to strengthen his fate.
Dhanteras is also an occasion to worship an incarnation of Vishnu – Lord Dhanwantari, the deity of health and the spirit of knowledge. Doesn’t this make perfect sense since health is the greatest wealth of all? By worshipping the Tulsi and the Akashdeep, we symbolically seek the favour of Nature which is the ultimate source of health and wealth. Also, knowledge is the greatest key to both material & spiritual wealth, making Dhanteras the perfect occasion to celebrate the pursuit of knowledge and contentment. So, this Dhanteras the message is simple – be good to one and all, stay true and healthy, protect nature and pursue happiness! Indulge to your heart’s content!