The Third day of the festival of Diwali is the most significant day of the festival. It is the day when the Lakshmi Puja is performed. The day is completely devoted to the worship of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. On this day, the sun enters its second course and passes Libra, which is represented by the balance of scales. Despite the fact that this day falls on Amavasya or no moon day, it is regarded as most auspicious.
Lakshmi Pooja Traditions
Lakshmi Pooja, or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is the main event on Diwali in North and West India. It is extremely important to keep the house spotlessly clean and pure on Diwali. Goddess Lakshmi likes cleanliness, and she will visit only the cleanest of houses first. This is also the reason why the broom is worshiped on this day with offerings of haldi and kumkum (turmeric and vermilion). Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome the goddess. They are believed to light up Her path.
Lakshmi Puja consists of a combined puja of five deities: Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every auspicious act as Vighnaharta; Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms - Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (the goddess of books and learning), and Mahakali; Kuber (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshiped.
One of the most curious customs which characterises this festival of Diwali is the indulgence of gambling, especially in North India. It is believed that goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiv on this day and she said that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper in the coming year. This tradition of playing cards i.e. flush and rummy with stakes on this particular day continues even today.
Legends of Diwali
One of the very interesting stories about Diwali is from Kathopanishad about a small boy called Nichiketa who believed that Yam, the god of death was as black as the dark night of amavasya. But when he met Yam in person he was puzzled seeing Yam's calm countenance and dignified stature. Yam explained to Nichiketa on this day of amavasya that by only passing through the darkness of death, man sees the light of highest wisdom and it is only then his soul can escape from the bondage of his mortal frame to mingle with the Supreme Power without whose will not a leaf can move in the world. After that he realises the importance of worldly life and significance of death. Nichiketa's all doubts were set at rest and he whole-heartedly participated in Diwali celebrations.
On this auspicious day Lord Shri Krishna discarded his body, around whom revolves the entire story of the great epic Mahabharata and the philosopher, who preached Karmayog through Geeta to Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Maa Lakshmi Aarti
Jai lakshmi maataa, maiyaa jai lakshmi maataa
tumko nishadin dhyaavata, hara vishnu vidhaataa
brahmaani, rudraani, kamlaa, tu hi hai jaga maataa
surya chandramaa dhyaavata, naarada rishi gaataa
durgaa rupaa nirantara, sukha sampati daataa
jo koi tumko dhyaavata, riddhi siddhi dhana paataa
tu hi hai paatala basanti, tu hi shubha daataa
karma prabhaava prakaashaka, jaganidhi ke traataa
jis ghara mein tum rahati, saba sadaguna aataa
kara sake koii kara le, mana nahin ghabaraataa
tuma bina yagya na hove, vastra na koii paataa
khaana paana ka vaibhava, sab tumse hi aataa
shubha guna mandira sundara, kshirodadhi jaataa
ratana chaturdasha tuma hi, koii nahin paataa
aartii lakshmii ji ki, jo koii nar gaataa
ura aananda umanga ati, paap utar jaataa