SRAVANAMASA VARALAKSHMI VRAT/VRATAM ~ seeking the mother goddess of spiritual health & wealth .
The month of Sravanamasam marks the beginning of festival season in Hinduism. Varalakshmi Vratam is one of the eight most prominent and widely celebrated festivals in hinduism . It is the festival of prosperity and well being. Varlakshmi refers to Goddess Lakshmi who grants boon to all her devotees and vratam meaning prayer offered to God. Thus this festival of Varalakshmi Vratam connotes prayer offered to Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth and riches, the one who bestows her worshipers.This year it is celebrated on 4th august ,2017.
MAHALAKSHMI - The Shakti of lord Narayana
Varalakshmi, the household Goddess of most Hindu families is portrayed as women of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full bloomed red lotus. The lotus symbolizes fertility, purity and beauty. Her four hands denote righteousness, desire, wealth and liberation from life. Gold coins are seen pouring from her hand, signifying that her devotees are conferred with wealth and divine blessings, Goddess Lakshmi is seen wearing a gold embroidered red Saree, where red symbolizes luck and gold represents affluence. As a Goddess of wealth, she is always seen decked with opulent gold jewellery. Like Goddess Mahalakshmi, who signifies aiswaryam, South Indian women during all puja and other religious occasions, customarily dress themselves in gold jewellery to impersonate goddess Lakshmi. There is even a trend of purchasing gold jewellery for occasion like Varalakshmi Vratham among certain sections of the society as it is considered appropriate and auspicious.
Varalakshmi Nomu (vrat) is believed to be the day in which Goddess Lakshmi was born from Sea . Praying to Goddess on this day is said to be equivalent to worshiping Ashtalakshmi (the eight goddess of wealth, earth, learning, love, fame, peace, pleasure, and strength) especially Dhanalakshmi. That is the reason why families also have a habit of buying gold jewellery or gold coins during Varalakshmi Vratam, as a sign of welcoming Dhanalakshmi into their houses. Varalakshmi Vratam is performed by married women for the welfare of their husband, children and household. It is believed that if one worships Goddess Lakshmi on this day, she will present the entire family the gift of health, wealth, peace and happiness.
WHY LORD VISHNU IS WORSHIPPED ON VARALAKSHMI VRAT DAY :
The name Vishnu really means pervading everywhere, and Lakshmi, his consort, is symbolical of the forces found everywhere. Eight forces or energies are recognized and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Saraswati (Learning), Preeti (Love), Keerti (Fame), Shanti (Peace), Tushti (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 by Hindus. 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. Hence this festival is celebrated and Vrata is observed for invoking the blessings of Sri Vara Lakshmi mostly by ladies for the welfare of their marital bliss (Sowbhagyam), children (Santana) and to have all the desired boons fulfilled (Sakala Ishta Kamya Phala Siddhi).
But an essential fact is that Both Sri Maha Vishnu and Maha Lakshmi are Divine forces that are inseparable from each other. Just like the eyes are two but the vision is one, they have to be prayed together always to seek the Blessings. Hence it is very much important to pray to Lord Vishnu before seeking the Blessings of the Goddess. Therefore Goddess Lakshmi and Vishnu are prayed together for prosperity, and spiritual prosperity. To remove obstacles that prevent us from starting a spiritual path or success in business, Prosperity. Please contact us for the Special Lakshmi Narayan Pooja performed most authentically either at your residence .
HOW THE VRAT IS PERFORMED :
The lady of the house should wake up early and after ablutions, bathe, wear new dress, dress up and proceed for the Pooja. It is best if she can fast, but if unable to fast due to any reason, then she may have some fruits. Lord Ganesh should be prayed first, to clear all obstacles from the way. Kalasha (A copper/silver pot filled with sanctified water, the brim is covered with mango leaves and a coconut is placed on top). This is known as Kalasha and it has to be placed in a flat plate (or a new cloth) covered with white rice. Kalasha Pooja has to be performed then. One method of making kalasam exists where only gold jewellery is placed within the kalasam and is partially filled with holy water from any river. This method is gaining ground among the society as this also adds to the families riches in the form of jewellery. After the holy kalasam is filled, it is topped with mango leaves and a coconut smeared all over with turmeric powder. To this coconut, face mould of Mahalakshmi Ammavaru is fixed. The kalasam, now symbolically representing Goddess Lakshmi is further decorated with gold ornaments old and new, silk and fresh flowers. After karpoora harathi, kalasam is carried from the front door to the pooja room, placed inside the Mandapam and Devi is invoked in the kalasam. From now on Kalasam is called as Devi.
It is essential to have a picture or a small statue of Goddess Lakshmi. This is to be placed on the main alter in the center position. Then she is to be invoked with ‘Sankalapa’, Placed (Sthapana) and prayed with all the Shodasha Upacharas (16 Upacharas – 16 essential forms of services). Then, Sri Lakshmi Sahastra Nama along with Sri Vishnu Sahastranama is recited. It is very important to note here that praying to Goddess Sri Lakshmi without praying to Lord Sriman Narayana (Who is Her Dear Husband and most beloved thing for Her) will not please her and She will not accept any such prayers offered to her. They are Divine couple and must be always prayed together.Vrata is then followed by the reciting or telling the below given story to the other family members and friends attending the Pooja.
Like many festivals in hinduism,this festival too has few tales related to it’s origin.One of them goes as follows.In the kingdom of Magadha of yore, there lived a Brahmin woman called Charumathi in a town named Kundinpura. The prosperous town was the home of Charumathi and her husband. She devotedly served her husband and her parents-in-law. Impressed by her sincerity and piety, Goddess Mahalakshmi appeared in her dream, blessed her and asked her to worship Vara Lakshmi (literally means, boon granting form of the Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity) and seek to fulfill her wishes. Varalakshmi is yet another form of Lord Vishnu’s consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Thus was prescribed the Friday of Sravana month, proceeding the full moon day for the worship.
When Charumathi explained her dream to her family, she found them encouraging her to perform the Pooja. Many other women of the town also joined her in performing the Pooja in a traditional way and offered many sweet dishes to the Goddess Varalakshmi. They prayed with deep devotion:
“Padmaasane Padmakare sarva lokaika poojithe
Narayana priyadevi supreethaa bhava sarvada”
Meaning: One who is sitting in the lotus, holding lotuses, one who is prayed by the entire universe, One Who is very dear to Lord Narayana, Please always be benevolent to me.
The well dressed women made offerings of a variety delicious ,sweet dishes with utmost devotion. As they went round the deity in prayer, dazzling jewelry is said to have appeared as ornaments on the bodies of these worshippers and their houses filled with riches. They rewarded the priest who assisted them in performing the Pooja and they all partook in the feast. The women expressed their gratitude to Charumathi who shared her dream and helped them become prosperous. This Pooja came to be practiced year after year by women. Done with devotion, it is said that boons would be granted and thus many wishes would be realized.
Nivedana (Naivedya or Offerings)
The Pooja is followed with the offerings. Devotees offer all the freshly cooked food, primarily ‘Kshirannam’ (Rice cooked with milk & sugar, as this is Goddess Lakshmi’s favorite dish), many other sweets, fruits, new dresses, ornaments are offered to Goddess first and are accepted by all as her Prasad later.
Offerings are generally followed by singing various songs in the praise of Goddess Varalakshmi, Lakshmi Stotras and Bhajans. Various devotees sing, even some times tell many stories from Vedas and Puranas to remember Universal Mother Divine’s glory once again. This is done as per one’s interest, time availability, strength (Yetha shakti) as is possible.
The Pooja concludes with Mangal Aarti for the Goddess Varalakshmi Devi and the offered prasad is accepted with much respect and humility by all.