Bali Pratipada
Posted October 23rd, 2014
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The Fourth day is of Diwali festival Padwa or Govardhan pooja or Bali Pratipada 


(Prati=opponent, Pada=foot) also known asVarshapratipada which marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat (Hindu Calendar) was started from this Padwa day. 


As the legend goes the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honor of Lord Indra and worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season but one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. But Krishna saved Gokul by lifting up the Govardhan mountain and holding it over the people as an umbrella.


Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura and on this day of Pratipada people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar build cowdung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers and then worship them.This day is also observed as Annakoot meaning mountain of food. People are awake the whole night and cook fifty-six or 108 different types of food for the bhog (the offering of food) to Krishna.


Balipadyami or Bali Pratipada is the day on which 'Bali' is worshiped. When Vishnu was born as vamana (the dwarf), he crushed Bali into the under world. Then Prahlada, the grandfather of Bali pleaded Vishnu to pardon Bali. Then Bali was made the king of the under world.


Another belief


Bali was considered invincible since he was a great devotee of Vishnu. The gods, upset by the harassment meted out to them by the asuras, and jealous of the popularity of Bali - sometimes glorified as Mahabali ("the great Bali"), approached Vishnu to help them to get rid of Bali.


Vamana (Vishnu's fifth Avatar), the dwarf Brahmin, thenapproached Bali seeking reverence and alms. Aware of the generous nature of Bali, Vamana appeared before him and sought a gift of three paces of land from the king.


On Bali's agreement, the dwarf then assumed his huge universal form (vishwarupa or "all pervading") and placed his first step forward, which occupied the entire universal space. With his second step he occupied the earth, except the space where Bali was standing. Since there was no other space available to put Vamana's third step, Bali readily offered his own head for Vamana to put his third step, fully realising that the person who was asking for such gift was none other than Vishnu himself.


Vishnu banished Bali to patalaloka, the nether-world. Pleased with the generosity of Bali, Vishnu grants him a boon that he could return to earth for one day in a year to be with his people and light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. It is this day that is celebrated as the Bali Padyami, the annual return of Bali from the netherworld to earth.


On Balipratipada a picture of King Bali and his Queen Vindhyavali is drawn with rangoli on the floor, decorated with five colours and worshipped.


In Kerala, the Onam festival - the Keralite new year - marks the homecoming of the demon-king Bali (Mahabali). It is believed that Mahabali's kingdom is identified with present day Kerala. 


There is also a story to tell that on why Balipadyami 'Gambling' (Judam) is be played. Once on this padyami day, Shiva and Parvathi played the dice game. Shiva lost to Parvathi. Kumaraswami then played dice with Parvathi and won. Then Lord Ganesh played with Lord Kumaraswami and won.


Since then, it has been customary for the family to be involved in gambling on this day. Farmers celebrate this day in a different way. They perform puja to cow, and is known as Gouramma puja. This ritual is being followed still in Tamilnadu.


Most of the time Govardhan Puja day coincides with Gujarati New Year day, which is celebrated on Shukla Paksha Pratipada of Kartik month. Depending on starting time of Pratipada Tithi, Govardhan Puja celebrations could be done one day before Gujarati New Year day.


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