India is a country with many traditional values, cultures, religions, and festivals. Our country has people of various religions like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Christian etc. Some of the festivals are celebrated at the national level whereas some at a regional level. Among many festivals, Varamahalakshmi Vrata is an important Hindu Festival. The day is majorly celebrated in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
Varamahalakshmi Pooja is a festival to propitiate the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. This festival is the most auspicious Pooja, performed by a married woman to commemorate Goddess Mahalakshmi. Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalakshmi (8 Lakshmi) – Goddesses of Wealth (Shri), Earth (Bhu), Learning (Saraswati), Love (Priti), Fame (Kirti), Peace (Shanti), Pleasure (Tushti) and strength (Pushti) for the well being of all the family members, especially husband, to get progeny etc.
According to Skanda Purana, once Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about a vrata that will be beneficial to women. Lord Shiva then mentioned the importance of Varalakshmi Vrata, which is the most beneficial vrata for women. To illustrate the importance of the Varamahalakshmi Vrat, Lord Shiva narrated the story of Charumati. Pleased with Charumati’s devotion to her husband and family, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to perform the Varalakshmi Vratha. She explained to her the procedures of the Vrata. 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 were blessed with wealth and prosperity.
The prescribed day for the pooja is the Friday of the month of Sravana in the fortnight known as Sukla paksha, preceding the full moon day. As per beliefs, Varalakshmi was incarnated from the milky ocean or the Kshir Sagar. Varalakshmi is often described as someone with the complexion of milky ocean. While mainly women observe fast on this day, some men also participate.
On the day of the festival women after taking bath, make a rangoli on the place where the kalasha is placed. The sacred Kalasha (brass/copper/silver) filled with rice and topped with fresh betel or mango leaves, a coconut and cloth are placed on the mandala and Lakshmi is invoked. Goddess Lakshmi is invoked by decorating the Kalasa with flowers, jewelry, vastra, fruits, dry fruits, fresh grains, sweets, and savories. Someplace coins or rupee notes or make a garland of notes. The Vratha is performed with the beginning of Puja to Lord Ganesha. Then the main worship of Varalakshmi begins. A holy thread which is tied during Varalakshmi Pooja is called as Doraka and sweets offered to Varalakshmi is known as Vayana.
If one misses the Varalakshmi Vrata day or failed to observe it, they can do it during the following Friday or another option is to observe it during a Friday in Dusheera/Navaratri.
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