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Naraka Chaturdasi

Naraka Chaturdasi, or Narak Chaturdashi, is associated with the Deepavali or Diwali celebrations. In 2017, the date of Naraka Chaturdasi is October 18. In South India, Naraka Chaturdasi is observed on the Deepavali day. In North India, it is observed a day before Diwali on the Choti Diwali day. Naraka Chaturdasi day celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over Demon Naraka (Narakasura or Narakasuran).

The legend for celebrating Diwali in North India is based on the return of Lord Ram from exile to Ayodhya. But in South India the legend is Krishna defeating demon Naraka with the help of Satyabhama.

Note - This Legend is based on Oral Tradition in South India which is narrated as the story of Deepavali. The story is different from the one found in Srimad Bhagavad Purana. As per Bhagavad Purana, Narakasura is killed by Sri Krishna using his Sudarshana Chakra or discus.

Legend has it that Demon Naraka, the son of Bhumi Devi and Vishnu, with the help of a boon from Brahma became very powerful. The boon was that he could only be killed by his mother Bhumi Devi. With such immense power Naraka lost his self control and his ego took over him. He started harassing people and demi-gods. He also forcibly took away the earrings of Aditi, the mother of devas.

Finally, the task of annihilating Naraka fell on Krishna. As always, a clever Lord Krishna asked his wife Satyabhama, an incarnation of Bhumi Devi, to accompany him to the battle against Naraka and be his charioteer.

The battle between Naraka and Krishna shook the entire world. During the battle, an arrow hits Krishna and he acts being unconscious.

Satyabhama could not tolerate this and she took the bow and arrow of Krishna and kills Demon Naraka.

It is said that before dying Naraka realized his mistakes and requested for a festival in his name from his parents which will remind people what will happen when they are overtook by inflated egos.

Naraka Chaturdasi thus indicates that good and evil rises from the same root. It also suggests that personal relationships do not matter when it comes to the good of the society. Victory of good over evil always prevails.