One more fantastic mythical story is associated with
the celebrations of Diwali. The festival of lights also pays a tribute
to the birth of Goddess Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth as well as
health. The legend of emergence of Goddess Lakshmi is popularly known as
the legend of Samudra Manthan.
The story of Samudra Manthan goes like this. Once, the great sage
Durvasa was out for a walk when he met Indra. Indra in his own world
rode ignoring the Durvasa and even threw the garland given by him on
Airavata. Durvasa got really angry over Indra's ill-behaviour and cursed
him saying " The pride of wealth has entered your head. Let Lakshmi
forsake you." Indra realized his mistakes and begged mercy from
him. On this, Durvasa said " Sri Vishnu will do good to you"
and left him.
As the result of the effect of curse, soon after Lakshmi left Indra.
With Lakshmi was gone the power, wealth, bravery and enthusiasm
possessed by him. The moment Indra lost his kingdom, Demons attacked
him. He hid out of their sight and was constantly running in order to
safeguard his life. He went for help to Lord Vishnu through his teacher
and guide Brihaspati. Lord Vishnu advised him make demons his friends
and with their assistance churn the sea of milk (the process of Samudra
Manthan). For this, he asked him to Mandara as the churning rod and
Vasuki, the king of serpents, as the rope.
On churning the sea, nectar was produced, which was drunk by the all
the God so as to gain the state of immortality. Lakshmi appeared again
standing amidst the gigantic milky tides and in the middle of a
beautiful Lotus. She showered on him all that had been taken away from
Indra. The King of Sea appeared and embraced Goddess Lakshmi as his
daughter. This was the amazing story of Indra and Lakshmi reunion.
Since time immemorial, Hindus commemorate the birth of Goddess Lakshmi
on the third day of Diwali. Lakshmi Pujan is performed and the dark
night of Amavasya is enlightened with long arrays of diyas, candles and
bulbs of beautiful colors. Homes are decorated after a thorough cleaning
as it is believed that on this auspicious day Goddess Lakshmi strolls in
green lawns and visit the homes.