||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (October 2013)|
|Type||Hindu, Indian and Nepalese|
|2013 date||3 November, Sunday|
|2014 date||23 October, Thursday|
Lakshmi Puja is a Hindu religious prayer, sung on the third day of Diwali (Amavasya), and often sung during the Tihar festival in Nepal. For this prayer, people show reverence to Goddess Lakshmi by decorating their homes, inside and out, with small oil lamps or candles. They pray for prosperity and well being for their families and businesses.
According to legend, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Vishnu's wife, visits all her devotees and bestows gifts and blessings upon each of them. To welcome the Goddess, devotees clean their houses, decorate them with finery and lights, and prepare sweet treats and delicacies as offerings. Devotees believe that the happier Lakshmi is with the visit, the more she blesses the family with health and wealth.
The Auspicious Time for Puja
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The third day of Diwali is believed to be the most auspicious day as this is when Lakshmi Puja is performed. With pomp and ceremony, she is invited into the homes of devotees to partake of the gifts that are a part of the puja. The auspicious time for the puja is decided when amavasya tithi prevails during pradosh kaal or the evening time . On this very day the sun enters his second course and passes by the Libra which is represented by the balance or scale. Hence, the sign of Libra is believed to suggest the balancing and closing of account books. Despite the fact that this day falls on Amavasya, it is regarded as very auspicious.
A supported light of knowledge is said to dawn upon humanity on this day. This self-enlightenment is expressed through the twinkling lamps that illuminate the abode of the worshippers. It is believed that on this day the goddess walks through the green fields and loiters through the by-lanes and showers her blessings on mankind for glory and prosperity.
Lakshmi Puja, or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is the main event on Diwali in North and West India. It is popular belief that the Goddess Lakshmi likes cleanliness, and she will visit the cleanest house first. This is also the reason why the broom is worshipped on this day with offerings of haldi and kumkum (turmeric and vermilion). Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome the goddess. They are believed to light up Her path.
In Nepal, Laxmi Pooja is celebrated as a part of Tihar a second national festival of Nepal after Dashain.In Nepal it is celebrated for five days including Kag(crow) Tihar,Kukur(dog) Tihar,Gai(cow)Tihar at morning and Laxmi pooja at night,Maha pooja(self pooja), Goru(Ox and Bull)Tihar and Gobardhan Pooja,and finally Bhai Tika(bhai dhooj)respectively first, second, third, fourth and fifth day. On Laxmi pooja in Nepal people buy gold and silver, precious gemstones, new utensils of copper,brass and bronze as a sign of good luck, prosperity, money and wealth. These are then used to Laxmi at night. Nepali people perform this worship at a place cleansed with holy water, cow dung and red mud and light the whole house with candles and lamps. From Lakshmi Pooja Deusi and Bhailo is played by gathering with friends.
Lakshmi Puja consists of a combined puja of five deities: Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every auspicious act as Vighneshvara; Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms - Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (the goddess of books and learning), and Mahakali; Kubera (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshiped.
Rite of a Diwali Puja
At the beginning the houses are cleaned and a rangoli is drawn at the doorstep to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.
The Ritual Elements
The Puja begins by laying down a piece of new cloth on a raised platform. Handfuls of grains are sprayed in the center of the cloth and a kalasha made of gold, silver, copper, is placed. Three-fourths of the kalasha is filled with water and betel nut, a flower, a coin, and some rice grains are added to it. Five kinds of leaves are arranged from different trees. If a variety is not available, then leaves from a mango tree are used. A small dish filled with rice grains is placed on the kalasha. A lotus is drawn over the rice grains with turmeric powder and the idol of Goddess Lakshmi is placed over the top of the kalasha, with coins placed around it.
The idol of Lord Ganesha is placed in front of the kalasha, on the right hand side pointing towards the South-West direction. Ink and account books of the worshiper's business are kept on the platform. A lamp is lit and the puja starts by offering turmeric, kumkum, and flowers to the Goddess Laxmi. Then haldi, kumkum, and flowers are offered to the water that is later used for the puja. Then it is prayed to river goddess, Saraswati to be the part of that water. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped by reciting the Vedic mantras addressed to her. Then flowers are offered to the idol.
The idol of Goddess Lakshmi is placed in a plate and is bathed with water, [Panchamrita|panchamrit] (a mixture of milk, curd, ghee or clarified butter, honey and sugar) and then with water containing gold ornament or a pearl. The idol is cleaned and placed back on the kalasha. Alternately, flowers, water and panchamrit are sprinkled on the idol.
Offerings such as sandal paste, garland of cotton beads, saffron paste, perfume (ittar), turmeric, kumkum, abeer, and gulal are made to the Goddess. Flowers, such as the marigold flowers and leaves of Bael (wood apple tree) are also offered. An incense stick is lit and dhoop is performed. An offering of sweets, coconut, fruits, and tambul is made later. Puffed rice and batasha (varieties of Indian sweets) are placed near the idol. Puffed rice, batasha, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds are poured over the idol. Swastika is made on the safe in which the worshiper keeps their valuables and it is worshiped as a symbol of Lord Kubera.
Towards the end, Aarti is performed, dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. The Aarti is accompanied by a small bell and is performed during silent and sublime atmosphere.
- "2013 Hindu Festivals Calendar for Bahula, West Bengal, India". drikpanchang.com. Retrieved 19 January 2013. "03 Sunday Diwali/Lakshami Puja , Surya Grahan"
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali. Missing or empty
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lakshmi Puja.|
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- Simple Lakshmi Puja vidhi book in PDF in Sanskrit and English by mypanchang.com