The legend Behind Dhanteras
Dhanteras, also known as Dhantrayodashi, is celebrated as a festival of wealth all across India. The 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Karthik marks the day. And this year, it falls on November 5th.
The name of the festival is associated with wealth or ‘dhan’ and Dhanvantari, Goddess Lakshmi and the God of Ayurveda, who is worshipped for the knowledge of herbs.
According to a popular legend, when the Devas and Asuras joined hand to conduct Samudra Manthan(churning of the sea) for Amrit(elixir), Dhanvantari(Goddess Lakshmi), emerged carrying a jar of elixir today. Hence, Goddess Lakshmi, along with God of Money Kuber, is worshiped as a mark of respect.
Another ancient legend also narrates the story of a 16-year-old son of King Him whose horoscope predicted that he would die of a snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. The king was later married. After his marriage, his wife didn’t let him sleep on the fourth day following his 16th birthday, to save him from the snake’s bite. She arranged a huge heap of gold at the entrance of the king’s sleeping chamber and lit lamps. The queen then sang songs to keep her husband from sleeping. The next day, Lord of Death, Yama arrived in the form of a snake and was blinded by the gold and shine of lamps. Ad he couldn’t enter the prince’s sleeping chamber, he sat on the heap of gold and listened to the prince’s wife songs. Time passed and Yama had to leave. Thus, the young prince was saved from his untimely death.
This is how Gold and precious metals play a vital part in the festival’s essence and rituals. To this day, people buy silver and gold for good fortune throughout the year.
Moreover, Dhanteras is also marked as a day to worship Dhanvantrari, the pioneer of Ayurveda. Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy decided to observe Dhanteras as the National Ayurveda Day. The first National Ayurveda Day was celebrated on 28th October, 2016.