Diwali and the Narkasur Battle

Posted on 2008-10-26
Legend and mythology has it that in ancient times the demon king “Narkasur” ruled the beautiful land of Gomantak. He spread terror wherever he went. He spilled blood and believed in the policy of blood and gore. People lived in fear and many lived in favour. He was the demon, the all-pervading evil who spelt venom. His “henchmen” believed in terror tactics and brutal violent attacks. There was anarchy everywhere. Law and order broke down totally. People were helpless against the rule of Narkasur. The Goan legend associated with Narkasur tells us that this demon king of hell, as the literal translation of ‘Narkasur’ goes, was an unscrupulous, lecherous, vermin who held sixteen thousand Goan women captive to satiate his lust. This monster called the Narkasur cast wanton destruction over beautiful ancient Goi or Gomantak.
The people of ancient Goa waited for a messiah to come and deliver them from the untold miseries they were suffering at the hands of the demon king and his notorious evil government.
And finally on the dark ‘amavasya’ night in the month of Ashwin, Lord Krishna descended in Goa with his brilliant army. A bloody battle was fought between Narkasur and Lord Krishna. In this battle Lord Krishna shot his famous “Sudharshan Chakra” and severed the evil head of the Narkasur and slit his tongue. Finally the notorious, savage, evil demon who ruled Goa was killed. People breathed a sigh of relief and the worst was over. The monster king met his end at the hands of Lord Krishna in the wee hours of the morning. The sixteen thousand Goan women held captive by Narkasur were released from captivity. These women went home and lit earthen diyas (lamps) in their houses, which symbolised the end of darkness (Amavasya) and the beginning of light (Diwali) in Goa.
Following the ‘Abhyangsnan’ the ceremonial ritual bath with “utne” and oil the unique “Dive Dhakavap” ritual follows. This tradition, unique to Goa, literally means showing of light through darkness. The wife shows the light to her husband and other male members of the family. This is followed by crushing of the bitter fruit called “Carit” not to be mistaken for the bitter gourd “Carateim”.
The crushing of the “Carit” symbolises the crushing of evil under the feet. The bitterness of the Carit is tasted first and this is quickly followed with jaggery.
After prayers the family sits down to eat the traditional “Fov” (pounded rice) - dudhantle, rosaantle, fodni fov, Kalaelle, etc. This is the Goan Diwali.