The Bhai Dooj Story
Diwali, the festival of lights, has many stories associated with it like that of Krishna killing Narakasura, or Vamana defeating Mahabali. Though the underlying moral is the triumph of good over evil, there are slight variations.
The Bhai dooj Story:-
The fifth and last day is celebrated as a day of sibling love. Brothers and sisters get together, eat sweets, perform rituals and exchange gifts.
So how did this day come to be celebrated in this manner? What is the story behind this particular ritual?
Yama, the god of death, visited his sister Yamuna, on the second ShuklaPaksha in the Kartik fortnight. He granted her a boon that whoever visited her on that day would be liberated from their sins, and achieve ‘moksha’ (final emancipation).
With this began the custom of brothers visiting their sisters on this day to enquire about their welfare, give them heir blessings and gifts, and dine together. IT is believed that men who visit their sisters on this day will be protected from their love, and will never be thrown into naraka, or hell.Thus started the custom of Bhaidooj. It is also called Yama Dwiteeya.
Known as tikka in Punjab, Bhaiphota in Bengal and Bhaubeej in Maharashtra, Bhaidooj is celebrated in slightly different ways though basically it is about sisters performing aarti for their brothers and receiving gifts.
In Punjab, sisters apply a paste of rice and saffron to their brothers’ foreheads, for warding off evil. In UP, brothers are gifted flax garlands with sugar candy (batashas) woven into them, for the same reason. In Bengal, the sister fasts and prays for her brother’s long and healthy life. She performs a puja with diyas and incense, offers him food and sweets and mark with sandalwood paste on his forehead. In Maharashtra, the sister massages the brother’s head and limbs with oil and applies fragrant ugtan, and bathes him, and then performs the aarti. In Bihar sisters curse their brothers to keep evil at bay.
Another Bhai dooj story has it that when Mahavir, who established Jainism, attained Nirvana, his brother, the King Nanivardhan missed him greatly and was in dire distress. At this time, only his sister Sudarshana was able to comfort and calm him. And since that incident, sisters have been revered on this day.
The underlying significance is the stress on maintaining family ties. It is a way of letting the sister know that even if she is married and in her home and with a new family, her brothers and parents care about her welfare. In olden times, women did not work and so did not have a source of income. Such occasions enabled them to receive some money, gold or other gifts from their families.