Bali Pratipada is the third day of the Diwali celebrations. It is a day when the demon King Bali traditionally or notionally returns to seek and see how his subjects are on the earth.
In a year where there are three and a half most auspicious Muhurta or moment present the Bali Pratipada is considered one such half a muhurta, such is the auspiciousness of the day. Bali, following his return to earth from patal lok is worshipped on this day.
The Bali Pratipada is observed on the first day of the Kartick Pratipada, falling on the next day of the Diwali celebrations. Bali puja and Gowardhann puja and Annakoot fall on the same day. In the year 2019, the Bali Pratipada will be celebrated on the 28th of October, Monday.
- Legend of Bali Pratipada
Bali Pratipada has its root in the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as the Vamana Avatar. Bali was the Dwaitwa or the demon king, who was magnanimous and well known for charitable work. However, Bali was extremely vain and was invincible as he had a boon from the Vishnu himself. He was on the verge of performing 100 Ashwamedha Yajnas, post which there would be no one to stop him and he would become the King of the Heaven too.
Thus threatened, the Gods, constantly defeated and harassed, approached Vishnu to rid them of Bali. However, Lord Vishnu told Indra that since King Bali was an extremely pious ruler, he will not kill him, but would take measures to curb his extreme growth.
Thus Lord Vishnu was born as Vamana to sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi . The Gods gifted Vamana with variety of objects. Vamana then reached where King Bali was performing his Ashwamedha Yajna. The guru of the demons, Shukracharya recognized Lord Vishnu and advised King Bali not to give anything to the Vamana. But being magnanimous, King Bali felt that if it was Lord Vishnu, who had come to kill him, then it would be his honor to be killed in his hands. So King Bali asked what Vamana wanted from him. Vamana said that he wants three steps of land only which is measured by his foot. Bali agrees and Vamana grew huge in size and covered the world in one step. With his next step covered the other worlds and asked Bali where he should put his third step. Bali bended down and showed his own head. Vamana put his foot on Bali’s head and this is how King Bali was vanquished and sent to Patala Loka, but because of his good deeds, Lord Vamana pleased with Bali invited him to visit his kingdom once every year. That day will be celebrated with lot of lights and the darkness of ignorance will be dispelled with the love of light.
- Rituals of Bali Pratipada
An early morning cleansing bath is mandated on this day. The bath is had with with an oil massage or abhyangasnan and then washed off with Shikakai. Women then do an aarti or move lit lamps in front of their husbands’ faces. Gifts are exchanged and new clothes are worn on this day.
Houses are decorated with Rangoli or Kolam made with colored powdered rice and then Bali and his wife Vindhyavali are worshipped. Every house and temples in the evening are adorned with lighted lamps.
People also engage in gambling called pachikaluwhich is a kind of dice game and is linked to the legend that Parvati was playing the same game with Lord Shiva. When Parvati won, her son Kartikeya too played with Parvati and defeated her. However then Lord Ganesha played with Kartikeya and defeated him. Thus it is a ritual to gamble on this day along with family members.
The farming people celebrate this auspicious day by worshipping the cows and the calves. Gopuja (worship of cow), and Gouramma puja are done. The Goshala or cow sheds are cleaned and then only is the worshipping done. An idol of Bali made with cow dung is adorned with garlands is worshipped.