Karthika Masam : “Poli Swargam” marks the end of the auspicious Month
The last day of the Karthika Masam has a special significance for woman across India and especially Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, it is known as “Poli Swargam”. On this day woman celebrate “Poli” a washerwoman by lighting cotton wicks (Deeparadhana votthulu) count of 33 which represent the whole month and the remaining two are for that day lighting lamps.
One more ritual is followed by the women , is that lighting 33 lamps placing wicks on top of a Palaintain trunk (Arati Doppa), and leave it in water, this is called “Poli SWargam” Deepam. And also in the Gooseberry (Usiri) ,placing them Usiri Deepalu on the betel leaves in front of the God.
On this particular day women of all ages including young girls who are not married wake up early in the morning ,take spiritual head bath, perform pooja and then head to koneru or a small pond near by temple to leave the lights lit on plantain stems .These diyas are generally made of rice flour .It is believed that the so called Poli goes to heaven if we leave those lights in a pond and perform all the rituals . If one cannot reach the pond/koneru they leave them in a large vessel or bucket filled with water at home. lighting of Diya’s must be done before the dawn. It is believed that who lites this “Poli Swargam lamp” they would be taken to Heaven live directly.
The story of the Poli Swargam
Poli Swargam lamp has a mythological story. The story is that some thousands of years ago, a washerwoman in Varanasi was blessed with seven sons. They were all happily married. Her daughters- in-law used to hand over all the domestic work to the seventh daughter- in- law, Polamma regularly. The obedient and devoted Polamma all bore it with patience and continued her devotional activities too in the same vein.
In the Karthika Masam, this daily routine continued. During the intervening hours of Karthika Masam and Margasira Masam, all six daughters-in-law went to the Ganga River and lighted the lamp and left them in the river waters in the wee hours.
While doing this, they asked Polamma to stay at home and finish all domestic chores. She agreed nd finished the work. But she was worried that she couldn’t visit the river to light the lamp. A strong willed Polamma then hit upon an idea. She put water in a tub, made a cotton lamp and left the lamp in the water-filled tub. The lamp travelled all along the tub as if it moved on river water.
Women travel live to the heavens through Poli Swargam Deepam
Then an unexpected incident happened. The six daughters-in-law, who were on the banks of the River Ganga, saw Polamma being taken live in flower-bedecked aero plane by the messengers of God to the heavens. They were stunned first but then had realized that she was a better devotee among them and repented for asking her to finish all domestic chores alone all these years.
From that day onwards, the lamp lighted by Polamma began being called Poli Swargam Deepam and women across India, who were unable to go to the river, began lighting the Poli Swargam Deepam.
Another story of Poli
Once upon a time near a village in Krishna District there lived a Washer man, whose wife Maali is very cruel at her behavior.They had four sons,all of them married, but to her luck the first three of her daughter-in-laws are cruel and the last one is Poli who is said to be the most innocent and kind hearted.
Poli was harassed by her sisters and her mother-in-law.Her husband never said a word against them as he is the youngest of all and he respected them all.
As time passed by she earned a lot patience and kind heart from their behavior . Then one day Karthika masam started ,so ,people started worshiping Lord Shiva & Vishnu after performing holy rituals. Maali who is a cruel person wanted to use this opportunity against Poli , by not allowing her to perform any of the rituals in this month.Hence she used to perform all the rituals with her three daughter-in -laws locking down Poli at her house and avoiding her from performing any ritual.
Even though they locked Poli in their house they never concentrated on the rituals , their inner soul always used to think about Poli and what is she doing.
Mean while Poli prayed Lord Vishnu explaining her pitiful and pathetic condition and why could not she perform all the rituals.She prayed him with all her soul and purity without performing any rituals .Lord Vishnu is so pleased by her prayers & sent one of his Gate Keeper to bring Her to Vykuntam alive in a Golden plane on the last day of Karthika masam.
When Poli along with the Gate Keeper started to ascent into the sky her mother- in -law along with her other daugther-in-laws reached home and wished that they should also go along with Poli. So, they caught Poli’s feet and flew along with her.
When the Gate Keeper saw them he cut the hands of Maali , yelling at them that they deserve Hell rather than Heaven for their ill behavior and Jealously towards Poli
IT doesn’t matter which story of Poli is true or Poli ever lived or not but what “ The Story of Poli” teaches us is that –
Always pray with whole heart.
Drive away the jealous about other people.
Incorporate inner peace and patience.
Help and serve others with kindness.
As God lives in Humans , serving other people is serving the Almighty.
Attain sanctity only with true concentration in prayers this involves only purity not eternal decorations.