The second day of the
New Year, Kartik Sud 2 (29/10/00) is known as 'Bhai Beej' and
Once Yamunaji, the manifest form of river Yamuna, invited her
brother Yama Raja and his attendants to have a meal at her home.
However, work prevented him from accepting her invitation. Finally
on Kartik Sud 2, he was able to visit her. She welcomed him warmly
by performing his pujan with sandalwood paste, exotic perfumes
and rich garments. She then served him sumptuous food in a golden
After the meal, Yama Raja reciprocated his sibling love by gifting
her expensive garments. He then requested her to ask him for a
boon. She asked, 'Every year on this day you should have a meal
in my home. You should also release all those who are in Yampuri
(Hell). And to those who have food at their sister's on this day,
you should grant happiness.'
Granting her boon, Yama Raja replied, 'Those who bathe in the
Yamuna, appease the 'pitrus' (ancestors), have food at their sisters'
and perform their pujan will not arrive at my gates.'
By serving food to her brother, a sister strengthens the sibling
bond. Therein she also imbues him health and longevity. As for
her, the scriptures ordain that she shall not become a widow.
Those who do not eat at their sister's home on this day lose all
the 'punya' accumulated during the past year and experience misery.
Those who do not have a sister, may have a meal at a cousin's
house or that of a friend's sister.
Therefore a woman invites her brother to have food and consolidate
the sibling bond. The sentiments are similar to 'Raksha Bandhan',
when a woman visits her brother to tie a 'Raksha' (rakhi).
|The final festival during
the Diwali period is Labh Pancham on Kartik Sud 5 (1/11/00). It
is also known as 'Laakheni Panchmi' and 'Saubhaagya Panchmi.'
Those who have not performed Sharda Pujan on Diwali, perform pujan
of their new ledgers today and ritually open their shops and businesses.
In the days following Diwali including today, people visit friends
and relatives, to renew solidarity. Sweets and other items are offered
to guests, symbolically 'sweetening' relations.
'Labh' means benefit. People today usually wish for material 'labh'
such as: a good job, good in-laws, riches and so forth. Yet the
scriptures and sadhus inform us that the greatest 'labh' is human
birth itself. With this one should endeavor for God-realization.
Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami has revealed the glory of associating
with sadhus ('Sant Samagam') in his 'SwaminiVato':
'If one possesses as many 'Chintamanis' - wishing gems, as there
are stones, and as many 'Kalpa Vruksh' - wishing trees, as there
are on Mt.Girnar, even then one would be better off burning them
in order to do 'Sant Samagam.'
The scriptures define 'labh' as:
Laabhasteshaam jayasteshaam kutasteshaam paraajayaha,
Yeshaam indeevarashyaam hrudayastho janaardanaha.
i.e. He is the true beneficiary and the truly victorious, who has
installed the consort of Lakshmi, God, in his heart.
Diwali then, is a festival of inner enlightenment. It is an occasion
to eradicate one's inner darkness, by renouncing any addictions,
bad habits and 'doshas' - base instincts, by obeying the Shikshapatri
and the God-realized sadhu. One then becomes 'Brahmarup' and is
subsequently graced with the ultimate enlightenment - Parabrahman.