The tradition of gambling is associated with the legend of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, which is believed to descend on Earth at the Diwali night. This belief goes side by side with the story of Lord Ram’s homecoming to his capital city Ayodhya. Gambling signifies the spirit of risking money for the sake of more money, i.e. business. Since in Diwali, the goddess of wealth is worshipped, the tradition of gambling is in keeping with the spirit of business which involves risking or investing money. If taken in the right spirit, this tradition has a great message behind it, that you must have the aptitude to risk money (i.e. invest) if you want to please the goddess Lakshmi, in other words, to make more money.
So far so good, but as for any practice, excess of anything is bad, and to add to the menace of gambling is the spectre of organised gambling which looms large over the world these days. The problem gets really complicated if you throw in drinking into the mix. Nothing can be worse than gambling after dimming your senses with alcohol. In some people, the festive season gets the better of common sense and they allow themselves to indulge in alcohol and gambling together, something which the tradition does not glorify of course.
In some parts of the country, the whole month of Shravan - the month on Hindu calendar Vikram Samvat, is considered auspicious for gambling. Interestingly, such parts of the country such as Gujarat are known for people having the best entrepreneurial aptitude compared to the rest of the country. Consequently, the problem of brainless gambling is also most glaring in the state. Other than these states, there is one state of the country called Goa which has become the hub of gambling in the entire country. Some gamblers seek the blessings of the goddess of wealth by visiting the city for trying their luck at Diwali night.
Staying up all night, seeking the blessings of Lakshmi may not work out ideally if one is not prepared to pay heed to the real meaning of the tradition. Gambling should always be done with a small fraction of one’s income, and one should know when to quit. Having alcohol, staying up all night and then repenting the other day over losing a lot of money would only make you poorer, which is the opposite of what the worship of Lakshmi signifies!
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