The occasion of Dhanteras, for a better period of time now, has been associated mostly with wealth, money and the likes. But actually, it has nothing to do with the same. Actually, it is called “Dhanad Trayodashi” and “Dhanad” is another name for Kuber.
Both Lakshmi and Kuber are Gods of wealth and that’s why Kuber’s evocation is done before that of Lakshmi. Kuber is also worshiped as the God of Safekeeping. If we dial the clock a bit, this was usually the time of harvest for farmers and peasants. Where the harvested crops were stored, that same place was considered to be the Safe for farmers.
The three days of Trayodashi are marked for worshipping the Trideva. The first is the Dhanad, i.e. Kuber, the second is Yama and his day is called the Yama Trayodashi. That’s why midnight of Dhanteras involves lighting a diya/lamp and praying to Yama. The third is Dhanvantari. It is believed that it was he who emerged with the vessel with Amrita or the drink of immortality in it during Samudra Manthan. Worshipping him is akin to praying for good health.
Image Source: NBT
In a way, the worship of Yama and Dhanvantari is closely associated with health and wellness. The time when winter is knocking at the doors is one of the worst for our health as it is the harbinger for many diseases like dengue, malaria, viral fever, flu et al. This also means that we need to be much more aware of our surroundings in order to keep well.
The significance of Dhanteras in modern times is associated with the purchase of new commodities, like vehicles, gold, even new utensils. But if we go by the mythology and practices of the past, such purchases were done keeping in mind the fact that old stuff had to be discarded post the monsoon and new one was to be brought in to usher in the festive season.
So, there you have it. Have an auspicious start to the festival of lights!
Title Image Courtesy: FR