Varalakshmi Vratam/Pooja is a popular ritual observed by married women.
Mother Lakshmi is one of the most revered deities of the Hinduism and one of the Trimurti Goddesses alongside Durga and Saraswati.
Devotees all across the world perform worship of Mother Lakshmi at home and at temples every day, to seek her most auspicious blessings.
Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Performing Lakshmi Pooja has many amazing benefits for devotees and their families.
It is performed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially husbands.
This year the puja is observed on 24 August 2018.
Varalakshmi, literally means the boon granting Goddess and ‘Vratham’ means a strict observance of certain rituals and practice.
Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalakshmi – the eight Goddesses of Wealth (shrI), Earth (bhU), Learning (Saraswati), Love (prIti), Fame (kIrti), Peace (shAnti), Pleasure (tushti) and Strength (pushti).
The Hindu festival going by the name ‘Varalakshmi Vratam/Nombu’ is celebrated on the Friday before the full moon in the month of Aadi (Tamil), Sravana (Telugu), Sawan(in Hindi), which corresponds to the English months of July–August.
This year, Varalakshmi Puja falls on 24th August 2018.
According to Hindu mythology, once Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva to recommend a vrata that will be beneficial to women.
Lord Shiva then mentioned the importance of Varalakshmi vrata. The glory of performing the Varalakshmi Vratam, narrated directly by Lord Shiva Himself, is elaborately discussed in the Skanda Puranam.
To illustrate the importance of the vrata, Lord Shiva narrates 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 vrata on the auspicious day of shrAvana shukLa shukRa vAram. 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 where blessed with wealth and prosperity.
Timings for performing Pooja
Start the pooja early and finish it before Raagu Kalam (inauspicious time) or start the Pooja after Raagu Kalam. Avoid performing the pooja during Raagu Kalam.
Fasting begins on Friday morning (sunrise) and ends when the Pooja is completed. Women who are menstruating should avoid the pooja.
Instead, you can do the pooja on the coming week, Friday. If you have missed or failed to observe the Varalakshmi Pooja on the day, you can do it during the following Friday or observe it during a Friday during Navarathri festival.
There are no hard and fast rules in performing the Varalakshmi Puja and you can be flexible on the puja items.
Even a simple prayer will please Goddess Lakshmi.
Eve of Pooja (Thursday):
- On the day previous to the nombu, one must have an oil bath and clean all the vessels used for pooja (Kalasam, Kuthu vilaku, Panchapathiram, ambal mugam etc)
- Draw “maakkolam” inside & outside the mandapam to “ invite Amman”.
- In the evening decorate the Pooja mandapam suitably. Pooja mandapam or Amman should face East.
- The next day, Friday morning, Amman will be brought to this mandapam.
- Kalasham(A sacred pot) means a pot to carry water. Brass or silver Kalasham is usually used for poojas. Kalasham symbolically represents the Goddess in most poojas.
- Kalasham is a must for performing any kind of Pooja. Vratam cant be performed without a Kalasam. You are inviting the God or Goddess to a place and performing pooja directly to it.
- Clean the kalasham through and make it dry. Decorate it with turmeric and Kumkum dots.
- The kalasham is filled with raw rice or water, coins, a single whole lime, five different kinds of leaves, and beetle nut.
- The kalasham up to the neck is sometimes covered with a cloth and mango leaves are placed on the mouth of the kalasham. Ensure that the end tip of the mango leaves point in the upward direction.
- Finally, a coconut (unbroken) smeared with turmeric, decorated with kumkum and sandal wood paste is used to close the mouth of the kalasham along with mango leaves. The eyes of the coconut / Kudumi should be upward.
- To this coconut, an image of Goddess Lakshmi is fixed or the image of Lakshmi is drawn using turmeric powder. You can also tie unstitched cloth around the pot (optional).
- The coconut and kalasham form the body and we further decorate it by tying special clothes (pavadai) and jewels to the deity. Decorate the pot with garland or flowers. Now the kalasham symbolically represents Goddess Lakshmi.
- Now keep this decorated Kalasham over the rice on the plate. Put a small garland & light a lamp near Amman.
Next day, Friday, have a head bath & it is traditional to wear a sari.
- At the entrance of the house, apply a kolam keep a palakai facing east & keep the decorated Kalasham. Invite Amman by singing “Varalakshmi Raave Maa Intiki”.
- The women of the house welcome the Goddess into their homes with this invocation song.
- Then bring the Amman on the Rice-plate inside the house & keep it inside the mandapam.
- Goddess Lakshmi is invoked.
Fresh flowers and grains are used in the worship, indicating growth and prosperity.
- Make a cone shaped turmeric Ganesha – Manjal Pillaiyar by mixing turmeric powder & few drops of water.
- First Lord Ganesha is worshiped(seeking removal of all obstacles).
Chant: S(h)uklaa mbharadharam vishnum s(h)as(h)ivarnam chathurbhujam Prasannavadanam dhyaayaeth sarvavigno(u)pa s(h)aanthayae
Then starts Kalasha Pooja ….
- Varalaksmi Vratham Saradu (Yellow Thread)
The yellow thread (saradu) is prepared with nine knots and a flower is placed in the center. Keep it near the kalasham. Arati is performed on the kalasham. Then begins the Varalakshmi Pooja. The puja consists of singing slokas dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi like the Lakshmi Sahasranamam and Lakshmi Ashtotram.
- Pooja Songs /Slokams
Chanting of shlokas, mantras of Lakshmi, and singing various hymns and devotional songs in praise of the Goddess are the main highlights of the day.
- Here is a collection of some beautiful compositions in the praise of Mahalakshmi.
To download the songs – just click on the song name.
- Maha Lakshmi Karuna – This song salutes the Goddess for her beauty, charm, compassion and golden heart of kindness.
- Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma – This enthralling poetry imagines Goddess walking with fully decked jewellery, her anklets making sweet sound and her hands offering infinite wealth.
- Varalakshmim Bhajare – This composition recognizes Goddess as the ocean of compassion and appeals to forgive all the sins/mistakes.
- Gowri KalyaaNa Vaibhogame – This is a traditional marriage song which praises the marriage celebration of Gowri and Lakshmi. This is also sung when culminating any festival or Pooja.
Finally, tie the yellow thread around the right hand of the performer and all other ladies in the family.
Fasting is observed from morning till Varalakshmi Pooja is over. Some women fast the entire puja period. You can always be flexible – fasting might not be possible if you are pregnant or under medication etc.
The woman who is observing the Varalakshmi Puja abstains from eating certain kind of food and this varies in family tradition and cultures.
Odd number of dishes must be performed for the neivedyam/ prasadam. Starting from 1, 3, 5 or 9. The Prasadams prepared on the day of the pooja are Kozhukattai, Sundal, Sarakarai pongal, Vadai, Aappam, Payasam, Kesari, Laddu.
Click on this link for Festival Recipes
Thamboolam (betel leaf, areca nut, bannana, bangles, kumkum, turmeric, prasadam, blouse piece etc) is offered to sumangali in the evening and arati is offered.
- Punah Pooja It is to be pronounced as punaf pooja.
The next day(Saturday), after taking a bath and do simple Pooja. At the end of the pooja we pray to the deity to come again, just as we tell guests to our house when they leave. Punah pooja is not necessary when we are using the same image permanently for the pooja everyday.
That night, it is customary to keep the amman in arisi panai(Rice Pot).
Removing the Kalasham
- You can dismantle the Kalasham the following day of the pooja. In case of face made with Sandal or turmeric, you can put it in the pond of the temple or river.
- The rice in Kalasham can be mixed with the normal rice that you use in your home. It is believed that Goddess Annaporni stays in the home permanently.
- Normally in India, the items in the kalasham are put inside a freshly made hole in the ground.
- Coconut after the pooja is like any coconut that can be used in cooking.
Things to remember
- Do not impose the Puja. You should observe it only, if you are really interested. Also do not impose the puja on youngsters.
- If you are observing for the first time, learn it from an experienced woman.
- Unmarried women observe the puja, if their mother is observing it.
- Pregnant women can skip the puja. If you are so inclined you can do it but make sure fasting does not cause any harm. You can do the puja and skip fasting. If the puja falls within 22 days of the birth of child, it is considered inappropriate and should not be observed.
- It is important to honor the priest who conducts the pooja. After the pooja, offer him thamboolam, prasadam & dakshanam.
- If you are doing the pooja on your own, set it aside to be given to any elderly person later.