Nark Chaturdashi: Lamp & Ablutions to Keep Death-God Away


2019 – 26 October, Sunday. 2020 – 13 November, Saturday. 2021 – 03 November, Thursday.

The second of the five day Diwali festivities is called ‘Chhoti Diwali’ or minor Diwali as it comes a day ahead of the main Diwali day.

People are in a rush to buy things for the festivals. Also, people visit each other and give gifts. The bazaars and market-places remain open till late night.

Yama Deep

In the evening, people place a ghee or oil lamp outside their homes. The light of the lamp is an appeal to Yama-raj, the god of death, to prevent any untimely death and to keep away from their houses. This Yama is not connected to the Yama & Niyama, the Don’ts & Do’s, outlined by Sage Patanjali in Yoga-Sutra.


Another name of the day is Naraka-Chaturdashi. Lord Krishna slayed demon named Narakasura this day. Innumerable women were held captive by the demon and this day they got set free. Incidentally, the word ‘Naraka’ rhymes with ‘nark’ which literally means hell.

 Using sesame oil scrub and avoiding hell

There is a ritual not commonly practiced by the laity. It is called ‘Abhyang Snan’. It could be performed on the main Diwali day as well as a day before and after it. In Hindi language, the most common lingua franca of India, there is common term (kal) for yesterday is the same as for ‘tomorrow’.

A scrub made of sesame oil is applied on body, especially face, before bath. A person who takes such an ‘Abhyang’ bath can avoid going to hell.

Sesame seeds have a special connection to death rituals. While performing ‘shraadh’, the ceremony for the deceased and ancestors during the designated annual fortnight, it is the black sesame seeds that are used in rituals. The key tarpan death-ritual is known as ‘Tilanjali’, Til means sesame seeds and anjali means ‘a folded palm’. Also, because of this reason, to get rid of something permanently is to say ‘giving tilanjali’.

Notwithstanding the sombre thought of death, a spirit akin to that of Yuletide prevails on this day. And indeed on all days leading to and following after the main Diwali day.


One may freely download and share with others the following Greetings-Card. Greetings-Card for this occasion are not easily available.

Happy Chhoti Diwali

Diwali festival lasts for five days with the main celebrations happening on the middle, that is, the third day. The details are given below.

  1. Dhanteras: The Ayurveda Day
  2. Nark Chaturdashi: Lamp & Ablutions to Keep Death-God AwayLamp & Ablutions to Keep Death-God Away
  3. Badi Diwali: Invocations on No-Moon to Lakshmi for Prosperity
  4. Govardhan: Lifting a Mountain Like a Mole-Hill
  5. Bhaiya Dooj: Brothers’ Day

Ayurveda & Fine Arts

More information about the free online course titled ‘Ayurveda & Fine Arts’ is available here.