Gold and Dhanteras - The legends

Sneha Jul 5, 2011

Marking the beginning of the five day Deepavali period is the Hindu festival of Dhanteras. It is an auspicious day, when Hindus buy gold, silver or even make other kind of investments. Investing money is considered to bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. This article however talks about the legend of Dhanteras rather than what you need to buy or invest in. These stories will surely refresh your mythological memories. So whenever you are going to buy jewellery from one of the jewellery shops, remember these legendary stories.

Legend of King Hima and his son

This is the first legend that evolves around King Hima and his 16 year old son. According to the son’s horoscope he would meet his death on the 4th day of his marriage, the cause – a snake bite.

As the story goes, after the prince was married, his new wife kept him awake throughout the night. She sang songs and told him stories. She made sure that gold, ornaments and other jewellery were kept at the entrance of her door, and she even lit up the entire house with lamps. When Yama, the God of Death took the form of a serpent and arrived at the entrance he was blinded by the light that came from the ornaments and lamps. Yama, could not enter the prince’s chamber, sitting on the mound of ornaments he listened to the songs and stories. When dawn broke, he quietly slipped away and the prince was left without a scratch. This is why Dhanteras is also called the day of “Yamandeepdaan". It is also regarded as a day when the wife saved her husbands life.

Legend of Goddess Lakshmi

There is a second legend that revolves round Dhanteras and this is about Goddess Lakshmi.

When she was with Lord Vishnu her husband during his earth bound trips, she managed to disrupt a few rules Lord Vishnu had laid down for her. These were pre-set conditions that she had to follow. However as soon as Lord Vishu got to know of it, she was made earth bound for 12 years as a mere labourer in a farmers sugarcane fields. After 12 years of hard work it was time for Goddess Lakshmi to go back to where she belonged. However the farmer and his family were so enchanted by her work that they did not want to let her go.

This was when she asked the farmer and his family to go on a pilgrimage to the River Ganges. She gave the farmer 4 shells that were meant as offerings, and once they got back a decision would be made. When the farmer made the offerings at the Ganges, four hands emerged and took them into the waters. The Goddess then informed the farmer that the labourer working in his farm was infact the Goddess Lakshmi and that she had to return since she was not human. The farmer then agreed to let the Goddess take leave of her duties. However the Goddess also promised to visit them every year on Dhanteras. This is why devotees keep their house clean, light lamps to invite the Goddess into their homes.

Legend of Dhanvantari

The third legend is that of Dhanvantari the Physician of all Gods. As the legend goes, when the Gods churned the Samudra Manthan (Ocean) so that they could have Amrit (nectar), it was Dhanvantari who bought a pot of the elixir from the waters. This took place on Dhanteras. Since then Lord Dhanvantari was worshiped in most homes.

So on the occasion of Dhantera, do try to buy some gold or silver jewellery from your favourite jewellers.

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