Friday, July 27, 2012

Indian Festival - Varalakshmi Vratham

Why is it celebrated?
Varalakshmi Vratam is a festival to propitiate the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. Varalakshmi is one who grants boons (Varam). It is an important pooja performed by many women in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,and Tamilnadu. Varalakshmi Vratham is peformed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially husband, to get progeny etc. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength.
[Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varalakshmi_Vratham ]

When is it celebrated?
The Hindu festival going by the name 'Vara Lakshmi Vrata' is celebrated on the Second Friday in the month of Śravaṇā, also called Śawan(in Hindi), which corresponds to the English months of July–August.
[Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varalakshmi_Vratham ]

How is it celebrated?
People wake up early in the morning and take a bath. Traditionally speaking the waking up time for the puja is the brahma muhurtham (3 to 4 AM). Then the designated puja area and house is cleaned well and a beautiful ‘kolam’ or rangoli is drawn on the intended place of puja

Next is the preparation of the ‘kalasham or kalash.’ A bronze or silver pot is selected and is cleaned thoroughly and a swastika symbol is drawn and is smeared with sandalwood paste. The kalasham pot is filled with raw rice or water, coins, a single whole lime, five different kinds of leaves, and beetle nut. The items used to fill the kalasham vary from region to region and includes turmeric, comb, mirror, small black bangles and black beads.

The kalasham up to the neck is sometimes covered with a cloth and mango leaves are placed on the mouth of the kalasham. Finally, a coconut smeared with turmeric is used to close the mouth of the kalasham. To this coconut, an image of Goddess Lakshmi is fixed or the image of Lakshmi is drawn using turmeric powder. Now the kalasham symbolically represents Goddess Lakshmi.

In some areas, women place a mirror behind the kalasham. Today, there are also specially made Varalakshmi pots available in the market.

The kalasham is usually placed on a bed of rice. First Lord Ganesha is worshipped. Then begins the Varalakshmi Puja. The puja consists of singing slokas dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi like the Lakshmi Sahasranamam. Arati is performed on the kalasham. Different types of sweets are offered. Some people offer pongal. In some areas women tie yellow thread on their hands.

The woman who is observing the Varalakshmi Puja abstains from eating certain kind of food and this varies from region to region. In some regions, women fast till the puja period.

Thamboolam – betel leaf, areca nut and slaked lime – is offered to women in the locality and in the evening an arati is offered.

The next day,  after taking a bath the kalasham is dismantled and the water in the kalasham is sprinkled in the house. If rice is used then it is mixed with rice in the house.
[Src: http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/08/how-to-perform-varalakshmi-puja.html ]

Additional Points
Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvati (learning), Priti (love), Kirti (Fame), Santi (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 of the Hindus. Vishnu is also called Ashta Lakshmi Padhi 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 worshipped 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. Only a woman can sympathise with women. Lakshmi is a woman. So she will more readily sympathise with women. Hence this festival is observed largely by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children .
[Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varalakshmi_Vratham#Significance]

Recommended Readings
http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/08/how-to-perform-varalakshmi-puja.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varalakshmi_Vratham
http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/08/varalakshmi-vratha-or-puja-in-2007.html
http://www.hindu-blog.com/2008/08/important-things-to-remember-on.html
http://www.hindu-blog.com/2008/08/requirements-for-varalakshmi-puja.html
http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/08/how-to-perform-varalakshmi-puja.html

1 comment:

  1. brillant piece of information, I had come to know about your web-page from my friend hardkik, chennai,i have read atleast 9 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your webpage gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanx a million once again, Regards, Varalakshmi Vratham

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