Namastestu Mahaamaaye Shreepeete Surapoojite
Shankha Chakra Gadaa Haste Mahaalakshmi Namostute.
Vara Mahalakshmi is the festival of goddess Lakshmi celebrated in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra mainly by women folk on the second Friday in the month of Shravana . As the name suggests Vara Mahalakshmi is the one who grants Vara (boon). The festival is observed by the married woman for the well being of all family members, especially husband.
It is believed that worshipping goddess varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalakshmis, the 8 forces or energies namely Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Saraswati (learning), Preeti (love), Keerti (Fame), Shanti (Peace), Tushti(Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength). Each force is considered as Lakshmi and all 8 forces as Ashta Lakshmis. Lord Vishnu is also considered as the asylum for the Ashta Lakshmis (Eight-Lakshmis or forces).
Ashtadala Padma Rangoli (Ashta is 8, dala is leaf, padma is lotus) is drawn on a wooden plank (peeta in kannada) which is tied with thorana (mango leaves) and bale kandu (banana stems) on both the sides. A Kalasha is kept on a plate spread with rice. Lamps are lit on the either sides of the kalasha. Kalasha is filled with little rice, water, beetel nuts, beetel leaves, Kharjura(dry dates) and one coin. Turmeric n kumkuma is applied evenly to a coconut without husk and is kept on the kalasha with mango leaves surrounding it. Face of goddess(eyes and nose) can be drawn on the coconut or the ready silver faces are available which can be tied to the coconut. Arishina dara (Yellow thread) with nine knots are kept on beetle leaves to the right of kalasha. First Lord Ganesha is worshipped. Ganapati Ashotthara is read. Then the Varalakshmi Puja is performed in the prescribed manner. After puja Sumangalis (Married Women) tie the yellow thread to their right hand. Katha (Story) is read by the elderly person of the family.
Vara Mahalakshmi Vratham Story
According to Hindu mythology, once Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about a vratha that will be beneficial to women. Lord Shiva then mentioned the importance of Varalakshmi Vratha. The conversation on Varalakshmi Vratha between Parvati and Shiva takes place in the Skanda Purana. To illustrate the importance of the Vratha, Lord Shiva narrates the story of Charumati.
The story happens in a beautiful town located in the Kingdom of Vidarbha (Vidarba Rajyam). Pleased with Charumati’s devotion to her husband and family, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to perform the Varalakshmi Vratha. The pious Charumati invited all her neighbors, friends and relatives and performed the Varalakshmi puja as directed by Goddess Lakshmi. Soon after the puja, all the people who participated in the puja where blessed with wealth and prosperity. She recites the following sloka along with other women with utmost faith and devotion.
Lakshmi Ksheerasamudra rajatanyam sri rangadhameswareem
Dasibootha samastha devavanitham lokaika deepamkuram
Sri manmanda kataksha labdhivibhat brahmendra gangadharam
Twamtrayamlokyakutumbhineem sasijavandemukunda priyam
Meaning: Goddess Lakshmi, who is the daughter of the king of the ocean of milk, whose abode is Srirangam (with Lord Ranganatha), who is served by all the divine ladies in heaven, who is the guiding light for the world, who has obtained the sustained (continued, everlasting) glance (Grace) from Brahma, Indra and Shiva, whose abode is the three worlds (Bhu, Bhuva, Suvaha) – I offer my prostrations to Thee, the beloved of Lord Krishna (Mukunda).
I wrote this blog after attending the Lakshmi Puja performed by HH Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar in Art of Living ‘s International Ashram in Bangalore , which made it the second puja that I attended on this auspicious day