Dhanteras marks the beginning of the 5-day celebrations of Diwali. It starts with the lighting of diyas (lamps), house cleaning and making rangolis.
Dhanteras, dhan means wealth and teras marks the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of Kartik. It is all the more significant for people involved in private businesses and enterprises. Shop owners, businessmen, traders look forward to Diwali for earning huge profits due to massive selling and buying.
People clean up their homes and business premises to welcome Goddes Lakshmi so that she stays with them and keeps their business growing.
The day is marked with purchasing a new utensil, home equipment, jewellery, or anything that is new for the home. In the evening, families offer prayers (puja) to Lakshmi and Ganesha, and offer batashas, tilone, sweets.
The god of health and healing Dhanvantri, also the Ayurvedic icon, is also worshipped today. He is believed to have emerged from Lord Shiva’s ‘samudra manthan’ (churning of cosmic ocean) on the same day as Lakshmi.
Things you can buy
Rudraksh– Medical science says the beads exhibit pharmacological properties like being anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-asthmatic, smooth muscle relaxant, antiulcerogenic and anticonvulsant. Since ages, it has been used for its spiritual benefits.
Shankh or conch shell was used as a war trumpet in olden times. It was among one of the many objects that came out of the ocean during samudra manthan along with goddess laksmi. In scientific terminology, it is a sea shell.
The sound of the shankh vibrates positive energy and spiritually invigorates the mind. Its vibrations kill the harmful germs in the air. It inflates the blower’s lungs making it a good exercise. Water kept in a shankh overnight and drunk in the morning is a rich source of calcium and phosphorus.
Sphatik is a gemstone, similar in appearance to diamond and is its cheaper version. Its spiritual significance though is tremendous, it helps in smooth flow of blood and energy of the wearer. It nourishes the electrochemical equilibrium in the body, calms and makes the wearer focused. It also improves the sleep cycle of the wearer.
In the shape of a small pyramid, it attracts a unique energy flow which provides optimism, energy and good life balance.
Gomti chakra is the operculum of a kind of a rare sea snail found mostly in the Gomti river, hence its name. It keeps away evil forces, effects of black magic and provides protection especially to children.
Significance of broom on dhanteras
Since cleaning is a very important part of dhanteras, broom, the most unlooked-after object in the house, is also given its due credit. A white thread is tied around it before using it.
On the day of Diwali, you can donate new brooms to a temple or to a needy. The secret donation of three brooms in brahma muhurat (before sunrise) in any temple near your home will make Mother Lakshmi happy.
In traditional Indian household, a broom is always to be kept covered and never to be pushed with feet. Touching feet on the broom is considered an insult to Mahalaxmi.
If you are a believer in religious practices, it is said that the broom should be first worshipped before use. Many Vastu defects are removed from the house by proper use of the broom.
Legend of dhanteras
There was a very intelligent and unique way in which a certain King Hima’s daughter-in-law saved his son from Yamraj, the god of death (who appeared in the form of a snake). To prevent the snake from entering the room, she piled up a heap of gold jewellery and silver coins, diyas, at the door. When the light of the bright diyas fell on the glittering jewellery, the snake was blinded. Yamraj returned without the king’s son who was destined to die on the fourth day of his marriage.
So, the act of buying gold and silver jewellery or new utensils is symbolically associated with protecting you from ill luck.