Chaturdashi of Krishna Paksh of the month of Kartik is called Narak Chaturdashi. This Chaturdashi is also called as ‘Narak Chaudas’, ‘Roop Chaudas’, ‘Roop Chaturdashi’ and ‘Narak Chaturdashi’, or ‘Narak Pooja’. At some places this festival is celebrated as Choti Diwali and at most of the places it is celebrated as ‘Hanuman Jayanti’. On this day Kuber is also worshiped. According to Hindu traditions, on this day there is a practice of keeping fast and worshiping Yamaraj. A day before main Diwali on Narak Chaturdashi, deepaks are illuminated post evening. Worshiping this Chaturdashi, in fact Yamaraj is worshiped to grant freedom from the fear of untimely deaths and for the protection of health. On this day giving alms give blessing of Laxmiji. Deepdaan should also be done on this day.
According to First Tale
According to a tale, there used to be a king named Rantideva. He was extremely pious and religious, always busy in his religious activities. When his last moment came, messengers of Yamaraj came to take him. They came forward to take the king to narak. This made the king surprised. He asked ‘I never committed any sin or irreligious act then why are you sending me to Narak. Please let me know my fault, for which I shall have to be a part of this narak.’ Hearing pathetic voice of the king the messengers said ‘Oh king, once a Brahman returned hungry from your door. This is the reason, you are going to Narak.’
The king requested the messengers to grant him one more year. Hearing the king, the messengers granted him one more year and went back. After their departure the king went to the hermits and narrated them the whole incident. The hermit said ‘Oh king, you be on fast on Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi in the month of Kartik. Feed the Brahmans and ask for reprieve for your fault. You should be free from the sins.’ This way the king became free from the sins and occupied the place in Vishnu Lok.
According to the Second Tale
According to another tale, on Krishna Chaturdashi of Kartik month Lord Krishna had killed Narkasur and made gods and saints freed from his terror. Similarly Lord Krishna freed sixteen thousand women from the clutches of Narkasur. On this occasion people in the town illuminated the whole town with deepak and celebrations were carried out. Since then Narak Chaturdashi is being celebrated.
Narak Chaturdashi - Choti Diwali Puja Vidhi
The paste containing flour, oil and Haldi is prepared in the morning of the Narak Chaturdashi. After applying this Paste all over the body, the bath is taken with the water containing Apamarg (Chichada) leaves. Special prayer is offered on this day, which follows as this - First plate (Thaali) is decorated and four facet (Chaumukha) deepak is placed in it and then sixteen other deepaks are illuminated and prayer to favourite god is offered with Roli , Kheer, Gud, Abir, Gulal and Phool. After worship put all deepaks at different places in the house and burn dhoop and deepak before Laxmiji and Ganeshji. Perform Deep Daan in the evening, which is done for Yamaraj. By offering prayer in right way, a person becomes free from all sins and finds God.