Diwali Puja Vidhi पूजा विधी or Deepavali Prayer Rituals
On Diwali / Deepavali we offer our main prayers to Goddess Laxmi or Maha Lakshmi (लक्ष्मी / महालक्ष्मी). Below are simple steps to perform Diwali puja at home:
Prior to Diwali day:
- Clean house
- Clean the temple area at home
- Check you have essential items for puja. click here for list of items needed for puja
- Keep the Diya, Rangoli items, Pooja Clothes and Prasad offering ready in advance
- Decide what you all are going to wear on Diwali day 🙂
- If you are doing rangoli, check the designs. Let kids do some rangoli.
On Diwali day:
- The home is cleaned and decorated with lights (diyas दिया / दिपक), flowers, traditional lanterns and rangoli (रंगोली).
- All the members of the family get together in the evening to perform the Puja as per the auspicious timings. click here for muhurat
- Place all the prayer items in thali / plates. Keep a small table / stool / aasan to keep idols / frame
- Place knowledge/ holy book / Bhagwat Geeta in the prayer area. This is to pray to god to give us knowledge and wisdom.
- Traders and business community also offer prayers for better business and include their main account books (Chopda / बहीखाता / चोपडा) on the prayer table / mandap.
- Keep a lota / pot / glass of water. If idols are made of metal, wash them. Frames are to be cleaned / wiped.
- Design with rice, colored powder/rangoli/haldi kumkum are made to make the entire praying area as beautiful as possible.
- Lit lamp, diya, batti.
- Offer flowers / garlands
- First prayers are to lord Ganesha. Whole betel nut / supari is used as Ganesha symbol. click here for Ganesha arti
- The prayer session starts with praising and thanking the God/ Goddess (लक्ष्मी वंदना), followed by prayers for well being and prosperity (प्रार्थना / आरती); then request to God to bless all and forgive our mistakes (क्षमा प्रार्थना). Lakshmi mantra are recited. However, prayers can be in any language in our opinion.
- Perform aarti. click here for Lakshmi ji ki arti
- Food (Naivedyam प्रसाद) and coconut are offered to Goddess Laxmi. Prasad / Naivedhyam prepared are offered.
- All family members greet each other. Kids seek blessings from elders.
- Followed by feasting with family and guests.
Prayers are mainly of two types:
(a) Formless, invisible or Nirakar (निराकार स्वरूप): AUM / OM / ॐ or no form represent God. Meditation is main method of prayers. Usually these are silent and Om recital prayers, performed for betterment of society and self.
(b) Since it was difficult for common people to follow meditational prayers, mainly because of less or no education in early years; it was allowed to imagine God in any form and pray. This is known as Saakar (साकार स्वरूप) and deities across temples are imagination of God.
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, Deepawali, Tihar, is celebrated on Kartik Amavasya (कार्तिक अमावस्या). Kartik is name of Hindu month and Amavasya means no-moon day. The celebrations usually start two days prior to Diwali and goes for two days after Diwali day. The festival is of significant importance for all communities and religions in Indian subcontinent; specially Hindu, Sikh, Jainism, Buddhism
The occasion two days before is Dhan Teras (धन तेरस) or Dhanvantari Trayodashi which is considered auspicious to buy precious metal like Gold or Silver. This is a practice followed by Indian community introduced by the ancestors which was a way of saving for the future.
On Diwali, people meet and greet their extended family, neighbors and friends. They clean and decorate their house with Rangoli (रंगोली) colorful Diyas (दिया / दिपक), lanterns and lights, to Welcome Mahalaxmi, the Goddess of Wealth and offer prayers. Main prayer is held in the evening and known as Laxmi Puja (लक्ष्मी पूजा) offering prayers to the Goddess of Wealth. Another is Chopda Puja (चोपडा पूजा) where business community pray for better Business for the coming year and worship the Account Books. ‘ Chopda’ means books of accounts. Bandi Chhor Divas (ਬੰਦੀ ਛੋੜ ਦਿਵਸ / बंदी छोड दिवस / Day of liberation) is celebrated with Diwali. It is day to mark return of Guru Hargobind Ji (श्री गुरू हरगोबिन्द जी)
Next day of Diwali is celebrated as Goverdhan Puja (गोवर्धन पूजा) and Annakut (अन्नकूट) and also as the new year in Gujarat. This day community prays to Lord Krishna and prepare variety of feast at home. Nepal, Sikkim, Bengal and celebrate this festival as Tihar, Swonti, Swanti, Yamapanchak.
Third day of Diwali is celebrated as Bhai Dooj (भाई दूज) which is celebrated by brothers and sisters. The sisters pray for long life and happiness of their brothers and in return brothers gift their sisters. The Marathi language translation of this festival is Bhau Beej (भाऊ बीज).
Diwali in Indian subcontinent is also time when activities related to sowing of new crop starts.
Have a blessed and prosperous Diwali and new year. शुभ दिपावली