‘Deepavali’, the festival of lights, is best known for’diyas’, little earthen lamps that convert even a city into a fairyland. During the festive season, from every house, hut, wall or balcony, flickering lamps greet the eye. Like everything associated with Deepavali, there is a story behind this ritual.
Once upon a time there was a king who was just and benevolent. One day his queen along with her maids and friends went for a bath to the pond. Before getting into the river, the queen took off her expensive saree and jewellery and kept it by the bank of the river along with her clothes. On top of the pile was lying her most expensive “naulakha diomond necklace”
At that time a Garud (Eagle) sitting on the nearby tree saw the glittering necklace and pounced upon it and fled. All the ladies were busy taking bath and no one paid attention to this mishap.
When they got out of the river, then the queen started looking for her necklace. All her friends looked everywhere but they could not find the necklace.
They went to the palace and nervously told the king about the loss of the `naulakha’ necklace. Both king and queen were very much upset with the loss of the necklace. The King made drum-beat announcements in the city through his minister that whosoever will bring the queen’s missing necklace will get the reward of his choice.
In the quest for reward everyone in the kingdom started looking for the necklace. In one of the very poor families an old man had nothing to earn a living and the family was extremely poor without any means of living.The Old man was told by his wife to at least look for some occupation to make both ends meet. The Old man expressed his helplessness as he had been looking for a means of earning a living for years. He was advised by her to get whatever he finds on the road or wayside. As advised one day he brought lot of garbage. His wife was quite upset with his collection advised him to throw it on the roof. As his luck would have it In that garbage pile was also lying a dead snake.
Luckily same eagle who had picked up queens’s naulakha necklace and was flying over saw the dead snake over the roof and immediately dived to collect the dead snake and left queen’s naulakha `haar’ on this poor man’s roof.The moment it landed on the roof the Diamond necklace started glittering and shining in that dark night of `amavasya’.
The lady immediately realised that this was the queen’s lost necklace. They hurriedly got dressed and went to the king court and told the whole story and gave the necklace to the king. On finding the necklace back and after seeing their honesty the king was delighted and asked them to name their reward.
The wife had come prepared she said – “O’king, we don’t want anything, we will be happy if you can give us a Diwali lamps”. The King said it is not a big deal,” take as many as you wish.”
She said, “No, King, what I meant was that on the Diwali night, all oil, lamps and wicks will be given to us and there shall be light only in our house and in the whole kingdom no-one will light any lamps.
The King was baffled to hear this strange reward but agreed to since he had to keep his promise. Orders were issued to all the residents of the kingdom that nobody will light up anything on amavas/Diwali night.
The lady went home taking along with her lamps, oil and wicks. On Diwali’s night in the whole city only her house was lit and there was darkness all around in the kingdom.
The whole town was pitch dark. At midnight when Goddess Laxmi entered the city she felt harassed.Amavasya (Pitch dark) night and no light anywhere. While roaming in the darkness, on seeing a lamp lit in the lady’s house, she went there and knocked on the door.
From inside the old lady asked -”Who is there?”She replied -”I am goddess Laxmi, wandering in the night I have come here, open the door and let me in.” The lady said-”Who goddess Laxmi? We don’t know any Laxmi .Go away.”
Laxmiji said-”O’ Lady I am Laxmi who brings Prosperity and Riches! Please let me in.”
The wise lady replied – “But you never stay at one place. I am not interested in shortlived prosperity. Laxmiji again pleaded for entry as it was extremely dark outside.