Diwali is a five day festival in India. The first day is Dhanteras, followed by Kali Chaudas or Naraka Chaturdashi. Kali is the powerful dark goddess (one meaning of “kala” is black) who is an avatar of Goddess Durga. In Indian mythology, Kali was a slayer of demons, including Narakasura. As a lunar based system, Vedic astrology or Jyotish pays close attention to the phases of the Moon. Chaturdashi is the 14th phase of the Moon. According to mypanchang.com, there are different calculations for Kali Chaudas and Naraka Chaturdashi. For North America, the West Indies, London, parts of Europe, Kali Chaudas 2014 is on October 21. For India, the gulf countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, Kali Chaudas 2014 is on October 22.
Narak Chaturdashi 2014 is on October 22 for the whole world, except some parts of Australia. For Western Australia, Northern Territory, and South Australia, Kali Chaudas is on October 23. Narak Chaturdashi will coincide with Diwali in North America.
On Kali Chaudas, Indians bathe with fragrant oils, put on new clothing, and apply kajal (kah-jull) to their eyelids. Kajal is thought to keep away Kali nazar or the evil eye of others. The female head of the household performs arati to the children and other adults. This frees them from negative vibrations. Then they have a sumptuous breakfast with their family. In the evening, they light the clay lamps to celebrate Diwali, and enjoy many sweets.
Other versions of Vedic mythology relate the tale of Krishna and Satyabhama slaying Narakasura. Vedamurti Vivek Godbole of the Shri Krishna Yajurveda Pathashala in Maharashtra related the following story. During Shri Krishna’s time, there was the ancient kingdom of Pragjyotishpura, which is now Patna in Bihar. Bhasmasura or Narakasura was a demon king who had an evil regime. (The word Naraka means hell). He was very lustful. If any beautiful woman appeared , he would imprison her. He imprisoned over 16,000 princesses and abused them. These women were all were praying to Krishna to free them.
One day, Krishna heard their prayers. He came to Pragyotishpura with favorite wife. Satyabhama. Krishna fought with Narakasura, defeated him, and then released the women. The young women cried, “We have been imprisoned for 2 to 3 years. Who will marry us?” Krishna replied, “Don’t worry. I will marry you.” Krishna married them and had 16,108 wives.
On Kali Chaudas 2014, pray to Krishna, do puja by offering tulsi leaves, saffron, and flowers. You can chant the mantra Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.
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