A typical view of the Varalakshmi Vrata puja
|Official name||Varalakshmi Vrata|
|Observed by||Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu|
|2017 date||4 August 2017 |
Varamahalakshmi Vrata is a festival to propitiate the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. Varalakshmi is one who grants boons (Vara). It is an important pooja performed by many women in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu. The Hindu festival going by the name 'Vara maha Lakshmi Vrata' is celebrated on the Second Friday or the Friday before full moon day - Poornima in the month of Shravaṇā, which corresponds to the Gregorian months of July–August.
Varamahalakshmi Vrata is performed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially husband, to get progeny etc. It is believed that worshiping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. Because of the popularity in some states of India, it is declared as an optional official holiday in India. The 2017 date is August 4.
In the Magadha of yore, there lived a Brahmin woman called Charumathi in a town named Kundina. The prosperous town was the home of Charumathi and her husband. Impressed by her devotion to her family, Goddess Mahalakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to worship Vara-Lakshmi (Vara = boon, Lakshmi = goddess of wealth) and seek to fulfill her wishes. Varalakshmi is yet another form of Lord Vishnu's consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The prayer/worship was prescribed to be offered on the Friday of Sravana month preceding the night of full moon.
When Charumathi explained her dream to her family, she found them encouraging her to perform the pooja. Many other women of the village joined her in performing the pooja in a traditional way and offered many sweet dishes to the Goddess Varalakshmi. They prayed with deep devotion:
|Sanskrit||English transliteration||English translation|
|पद्मसने पद्मकरे||Padmaasane Padmakare||(She) who sits in the lotus, (she) who holds the lotus ("Lotus-sitter, Lotus-holder")|
|सर्व लोकैक पूजिते।||sarva lokaika poojithe||(She) to whom all the worlds pray|
|नारायणप्रिये देवि||Narayanapriya devi||Goddess who is dear to Narayana|
|सुप्रीता भव सर्वदा॥||supreethaa bhava sarvada||be kind/good to me|
On this occasion women worship Goddess Lakshmi with utmost devotion offering sweets and flowers, usually a kalash(representing the deity) will be decorated with a saree, flowers and gold jewelry with offerings placed in front.
This pooja can be done with no restriction to caste or creed. To this day many women observe this traditional festival praying Varamahalakshmi for her blessings in the form of wealth and well being of their family.
Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Siri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvathi (learning), Prithi (Love), Keerthi (Fame), Shanthi (Peace), Santhushti(Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength). Each one of these forces is called a Lakshmi and all the eight forces are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus. Vishnu is also called Ashta Lakshmi Pathi which is equivalent to saying that he is the asylum for the eight-Lakshmis or forces. In fact, Vishnu representing the preservative aspect of the universe, radiates these forces from him. These forces are personified and worshiped as Lakshmis, since abstract force is beyond the comprehension of the ordinary people. As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rhythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three. This festival is observed largely by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children.
As the legend goes, this is a pooja that was pronounced by no other than Lord Parameswara to be performed by his consort Parvathi to seek prosperity and happiness for the family. Thus it came to be emulated by married women who sought boons (varam) for the health, wealth and knowledge for the entire family. In some cases, women prayed for being blessed with children. The prescribed day for the pooja is the Friday of the month of Sravan in the fortnight known as Sukla paksha, preceding the full moon day.
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