Lakshmi Puja

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Laksmi Puja
Ravi Varma-Lakshmi.jpg
Goddess Lakshmi
Observed by Hindus
Type Hindu, Indian people, Indian Gorkhas and Nepalese (Nepali people)
Date Ashvin Amavasya
2017 date 19 October (Thursday) [1]
2018 date 7 November
2019 date 27 October
Frequency annual
Related to Diwali or Tihar

Lakshmi Puja is a Hindu religious festival that falls on Amavasya (new moon day) of Krishna Paksha (Dark fortnight) in the Vikram Samvat Hindu calendar month of Ashwin,[2] the third day of Tihar or Deepawali.

According to legend, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Vishnu's wife, visits 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 the happier Lakshmi is with the visit, the more she blesses the family with health and wealth.

The auspicious time for puja[edit]

After Lakshmi Puja, lamps are lit all over the house

Lakshmi Puja, or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is the main event of Diwali in North and West India. It is popularly believed that Lakshmi likes cleanliness and will visit the cleanest house first. Hence, the broom is worshiped with offerings of haldi (turmeric) and sindoor (vermilion) on this day. Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome the goddess as they are believed to light up her path. On this day, a supported light of knowledge is said to dawn upon humanity. 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.

The third day of Diwali is believed to be the most auspicious day; this is when Lakshmi Puja is performed. With pomp and ceremony, Lakshmi is invited into the homes of devotees to partake of the gifts that are a part of the puja. The most auspicious time for the puja is decided when amavasya tithi prevails during pradosh kaal or the evening time. On this day, the sun enters its second course and passes the constellation 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.

Lakshmi Puja is celebrated as a part of Tihar, a second national festival of Nepal after Dashain. In Nepal, it is celebrated for five days, which include Kag (crow) Tihar; Kukur (dog) Tihar; Gai (cow) Tihar in the morning and Laxmi pooja at night; Maha puja (self puja); Goru (Ox and Bull) Tihar and Gobardhan Puja; and finally, Bhai Tika (bhai dhooj)—respectively the first, second, third, fourth and fifth days. On Lakshmi Puja 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 Lakshmi at night. Nepalese people perform this worship at a place cleansed with holy water, cow dung and red mud; they light the whole house with candles and lamps. From Lakshmi Puja, 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[edit]

In the beginning, the houses are cleaned and a rangoli is drawn at the doorstep to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.

The Ritual Elements[edit]

The puja requires the following elements:[citation needed]

The rite[edit]

The first step even before starting any Puja is to cleanse the space where the Puja is being carried out. For this, it is important to get some Guggal or Lobaan (Benzoin) (These are two very pleasant smelling crystalized resin extracted from bark of some specific trees, which once smoked give out a pleasant fragrance and cleanse the environment) and have it smoked with either a piece of coal or ideally, in India with "Uppla" - A pan cake made out of cow dung and then dried (very often used as a eco friendly fuel in most of Indian Villages), a very interesting modern day innovation is the "Lakshmi Dhoop Cones" that are now available to make this part of the job easier. Once the place is smoked and cleansed, 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, or copper is placed there. Three-quarters 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; if a specified species is not available, 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, and coins are 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. Ink and account books of the worshippers' business are kept on the platform. While most people still continue to use ordinary oil for Puja, but according to the ancient Vedic texts, there are some specially blended oils that are supposed to be lit in front of specific deities to get their grace. The correct oils to be used are "Ganpati Puja Oil" & "Lakshmi Puja Oil". Another thing to note is that while most people choose to do these rights only during Diwali time, however, it is highly recommended to light a "Panchmukhi Diya"- A Lamp which has 5 faces and can accommodate 5 wicks with the "Lakshmi Puja Oil" as a daily ritual for pleasing Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that lighting such a lamp daily, helps keeping negativity out of the place where it is lit and also bring in positive energy and prosperity. An Oil lamp is lit with "Ganpati Puja Oil" in front of the Idol of Lord Ganesha and the puja starts by offering turmeric, kumkuma, and flowers to the Goddess Lakshmi. Then haldi, kumkum, and flowers are offered to the water that will later be used for the puja. The river goddess Saraswati is requested to become 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 Lakshmi is placed in a plate and is bathed with water, panchamrita (a mixture of milk, curd, ghee or clarified butter, honey, and sugar) and then with water containing a gold ornament or a pearl. The idol is cleaned and placed back on the kalasha. Alternately, flowers, water and panchamrita are sprinkled on the idol. A "Panchmukhi Diya" - A lamp with five wicks is lit with "Lakshmi Puja Oil" in front of Idol of Goddess Lakshmi

Offerings such as sandal paste, garland of cotton beads, saffron paste, ittar {perfume}, turmeric, kumkum, abir, and gulal are made to the Goddess. Flowers, such as 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 are made on the safe in which the worshiper keeps their valuables and it is worshiped as a symbol of Lord Kubera.

Towards the end of the ritual, Aarti is performed which is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. The Aarti is accompanied by a small bell and is performed during silent and sublime atmosphere.


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