The Hush Post|19:55 pm|two-minute-read
The last day of the festivities associated with Diwali is the Bhai duj (literally “brother’s day”). It celebrates the sister-brother bond, similar in spirit to Raksha Bandhan. However, in this festival, it is the brother who travels to meet the sister and her family. Bhai duj’s significance is highlighted by these two stories. One, is Yama’s sister Yamuna welcoming Yama with a tilaka, the other legend is of the arrival of Lord Krishna at his sister Subhadra’s place after defeating Narakasura. Subhadra welcomes him with a tilaka on his forehead.
In historic times, this was a day in autumn when brothers would travel to meet their sisters. If not, they would invite their sister’s family to their village to celebrate with the bounty of seasonal harvests.
Traditionally, Bhai duj was more relevant in olden times. It gave a chance to the brother to visit and check out the conditions of his sister at her husband’s place.
Story of Yama and Yami
Once upon a time, long long ago, Surya, the sun God, was married to a beautiful princess called Samjna (also pronounced as Sangya). Twins were born, Yama and Varni or Yamuna. Sangya decided to go back to earth from heaven, leaving her children behind. She left her shadow, Chaya, her exact replica, behind, so that it would appear to Surya, that she was still there.
Chaya turned out to be a cruel step-mother. She gave birth to her own children and then convinced Surya to drive out Samjna’s . Varni fell to earth and became the river Yamuna, and Yama became the Lord of Death.
Many years passed. Varni married a handsome prince and was content and happy in her life. But she missed her brother and yearned to see him. Yama, too, missed his sister and one day decided to visit her.
Overjoyed by news of her brother’s visit, Varni prepared a great feast in his honour. It was two days into Deepavali, so her home was already decorated with lamps. She lovingly prepared a feast, including all the sweets and delicacies that her brother loved.
Yama, too was delighted by his sister’s loving welcome, and the brother and sister spent a pleasant evening in each other’s company. When it was time for Yama to leave, he turned to his sister and said, “Dear Varni, you have welcomed me so lovingly. But I did not bring you a gift. Ask, therefore, for something and it will be yours.”
“Your visit is gift enough,” replied Varni lovingly. “I have no need for anything else.”
But Yama was persistent. “You must let me give you a gift,” he insisted.
“I ask that all brothers should remember their sisters on this day and visit them if they can, and that, on this day, all sisters should pray for the happiness of their brothers,”she said.
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