There could hardly be people in India who do not know the significance of Diwali. Also known as Deepavali, this can very well qualify as perhaps the greatest of Indian festivals. This occasion involves grand celebrations all over the country, spanning over many days. There are legends associated with this festival when Gods and Goddesses like Rama, Krishna, and Lakshmi are worshipped with fervor by the people.
However, many may not be aware that this is also an occasion for remembering Yama, the feared Lord of death! Here, let us get to know something about this.
Diwali falls on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdasi, the 14th lunar day of the dark fortnight in the Tamil month of Aippasi (October–November). Scriptures advise that people should light lamps in memory of Yama on the previous evening, that is, on the 13th day of Trayodasi and offer worship to him. These are known as Yama Deepam, the traditional lamps dedicated to Lord Yama. It is ideal that these lamps are lit with sesame oil.
Every one of the family members can light such a Yama Deepam just outside their residences and offer worship to the Lord of death. These lamps can also be lit in the temples. While it is believed that this can destroy sins, cure diseases and remove the fear of death, as per the legend Skanda Purana, the lighting of Yama Deepams with devotion and faith can get for the devotees, the grace of the Lord and bless them with a long, healthy life. The ritual Yama tarpanam can also be performed early in the morning on the Diwali day as a form of worshipping Yama.
Lighting of lamps with four wicks on the Diwali day evening time at homes or temples and offering prayers, can also relieve people of their sins and bestow them with happy lives.