How To: Lakshmi Pooja & Significance

Lakshmi Day 2019

Varalakshmi Vratam better known as Lakshmi Pooja is a popular ritual observed by married women annually.

Hindus will observe the day on August 9, 2019 which coincides with Women’s Day in South Africa. Devotees all across the world perform worship of Mother Lakshmi at home and at temples every day, to seek her most auspicious blessings.

Who is this Hindu goddess Mother Lakshmi?

Mother Lakshmi is one of the most revered deities of the Hinduism and one of the Trimurti Goddesses alongside Durga and Saraswati.

Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Performing Lakshmi Pooja has many amazing benefits for devotees and their families. 

The rituals are primarily performed by married women for the well being of all the family members, especially husbands.

About this special day

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.

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.

Preparing the Kalasham

  • 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.

The Pooja
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 with the following shloka

Fresh flowers and grains are used in the worship, indicating growth and prosperity.

Vignesh/Vinayagar Pooja

  • 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

Kalasha Pooja
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.

Post Ganapati Pooja and Sankalpam, starting pooja with the following Shloka:

Kalashasya mukhe vishNu kanTe rudra samaasrithaa moole thathra sthitho brahma madhye maathru ganaa smruthaa kukshouthu saagara ssarve sapta dweepa vasundharaa rigvedoda yajurveda saamavedaatharnaNa angaischa sahita ssarve kalashaambhu samaasrithaa ayanthu lakshmi poojaartham durithakshaya karaka gangecha yamune chaiva godaavari saraswathi marmade sindhu kaaveri jalesmin sannidhim kuru evam kalasha pooja

Varalakshmi Pooja Begins
chant the shlokam

Padmaasane padmakare sarvalokaika poojithe, narayana priye devi supreeetha bhava sarvadaa.

Dhyana, Avaahan

Visualize the Goddess Varalakshmi in mind and offer flower or akshathai to kalasha. Thereby we invoke the Goddess in the idol or image.

Sarvamangala Maangalye vishNu vaksha sthalalaye, Aavaahayaami devee thwaam supreetha bhava sarvadaa, Varalakshmi devatham aavaahayaami

Asan
Offer flowers at the feet and chant Aasanam Samarpayaami shlokam:

Suryaayutha nibha spoorthe sphurad rathna vibhushithaam, Simhaasana midham devee stheeyathaamsura pujithe, Rathna simhaasanaam samarpayaami

Paadya

Suvaistha jalam ramya sarva theertha samudh bhavam, Paadhyam gruhaaNa thwam sarva devanamaskruthe, Paadhyam samarpayaami

Arghya
Offer 1 spoon of water from the glass with water to the empty cup. Chant arghyam samarpayaami shlokam:

Shuddodakam cha pathraastham gandham pushpaadhi mishritham, Arghyam daasyaami They deveegruhaaNa sura pujithe, Arghyam samarpayaami

Adhanga Pooja
Offfer akshathai & flowers or gandham to the Goddess by chanting this shlokam:

Chanchalayai namaha paadhau poojayaami
Chapalayai namaha jaanuni poojayaami
Peethaambara dhaarayai namaha ooroo poojayaami
Kamala vasinyai namaha katim poojayaami
Padmaalayaalai namaha naabhim poojayaami
Madanamathre namaha sthanau poojayaami
Lalithaayai namaha bhujadhwayam poojayaami
Kambh kantyai namaha kantam poojayaami
Sumukhaayai namaha mukham poojayaami
Shreeyai namaha oshtau poojayaami
Sunasikaayai namaha naasikam poojayaami
Sunethrai namaha nethram poojayaami
Ramaayai namaha karNau poojayaami
Kamalaayai namaha shirah poojayaami
Varalakshmi namaha sarvaagaani poojayaami

Ashtottara Shatanaama Pooja
Now chant the Lakshmi Ashtottra shatanaamaavali(108 names of Goddess lakshmi)

Ohm ashtothara shatanaama poojaam samarpayaami

Dhoop
Offer dhoopam to the Goddess by chanting this shlokam:

Dashaangam guggulo peetham, Sungandham cha manoharam, Dhoopam daasyaami deveshi,Varalakshmi gruhaaNa tham dhoopam samarpayaami

Deep
Light a deepam by chanting this shlokam:

Ghrutakthavarthi samyuktam andhakaaram vinaashakam,Deepam daasyaami The devi gruhaaNamuditha bhavaa, Deepam samarpayaami

Naivadya
Offer naivedhyam (fruits/food items & coconut) by chanting this shlokam:

Naivedhyam shasraso peetham dadhi madhwajaya samyuktham, Naana bakshya phalopeethamgruhaaNa harivallabhe, Naivedhyam samarpayaami
While offering naivedhyam, offer water (Paneeyam) Ghanasaara sughandena mishritham pushvasitham, Paneeyam gruhyathaam devi sheethalam sumanoharam, Paneeyam samarpayaami

Thaamboolam
Offer thaamboolam (betel nuts, betel leaves, dry date fruits, rupee coins):

Pugeephala samyuktham nagavalli DaLair Yutham, Karpoora choorNa samyuktham, thaamboolam prathigruhyathaam, Thamboolam samarpayaami

Aarati
Offer aarthi with burning camphor to the Goddess by chanting this shlokam:

Neeraajanam samaaneetham karpooreNa samanvitham, Thubhyam daasyamyaham devi gruhyathaam VishNu vallabhe, Neeraajanam samarpayaami

Mantrapushpa
Offer akshathai by chanting this shlokam:

Padmaasane padmakare sarvalo kaika poojithe, NaarayNa priye devi supreetho bhava sarvadaa,Mantrapushpam samarpayaami

Pradakshina
Offer namaskaarams by chanting this shlokam:

Samastha lokaa jananee mamasthe vishNu vallabhe, Paahimaam bhaktha varadhe varalakshmi namonamaha, Sri Varalakshmi devathaa yai namaskaaraan samarapayaami

Then
Atha Thoragranthi Pooja (worshipping the Thoram or sacred thread):

Worship the Thoram or sacred thread by offeringgandham, haldi, kumkum, akshathai & flowers bychanting this Thoragranthi manthram:

Kamalaayai namaha prathamaa granthim poojayaami
Ramaayai namaha dwiteeya granthim poojayaami
Lokamaatre namaha thrutiya granthim poojayaami
Vishwajananyai namaha chathurtha granthim poojayaami
Mahaalakshim yai namaha panchama granthim poojayaami
Ksheeraabhithanayayai namaha sashtama granthim poojayaami
Vishwa SaaskshiNyai namaha saptama granthim poojayaami
Chandra Sodaryai namaha ashtama granthim poojayaami
Hari vallabhayai namaha navama granthim poojayaami

Thorabandhanam (tying the sacred thread):

Tie the sacred thread yourself to your right wrist while chanting the below mentioned Varalakshmi Vratham Thorabandhana Mantram:

Badnaami dakshiNe hasthe navasoothram shubha pradhaam, Puthra Pauthraabhi vrudincha sowbhaagyam dehi mey rame.

Vaayanaa Vidhi:

Evam sampoojya kaLyaaNeem varalakshmi swa shaktitha, Daathavyam dwaadashapoopamvaayanam hidwijathaye.

After performing Thorabandhanam, offer Vayanam to the Goddess. Then, offer to other marriedwomen.

Vayana Daana Mantram:

Offer vayanam to other married women by chanting this mantram:
Indiraa prathi gruhNaathu indiraa vai dadaathi cha,
Indiraa thaarako bhabhyam indiraayai namo namaha.

Ithi pooja vidhaanam sampoorNam
(It concludes the Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja procedure)

Take theerham and prasadam and also distribute among other devotees. After the completion of the Varalakshmi Pooja, the coconut which is used on the top of the Kalasham should be broken and thewater in it should be thrown to any plant like Tulsi or any other flowering plants which are away from the stamping of human. The biodegradable waste like flowers, turmeric,kumkum, and many other material should be thrown in a well or in nearby fresh flowing water whichare not stamped by human.

Here is a collection of some beautiful compositions in the praise of Mahalakshmi.

To download the songs – just click on the song name.

  1. Maha Lakshmi Karuna – This song salutes the Goddess for her beauty, charm, compassion and golden heart of kindness.
  2. Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma – This enthralling poetry imagines Goddess walking with fully decked jewellery, her anklets making sweet sound and her hands offering infinite wealth.
  3. Varalakshmim Bhajare – This composition recognizes Goddess as the ocean of compassion and appeals to forgive all the sins/mistakes.
  4.  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
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.

Recipes
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. 

  • Thamboolam
    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.

RELATED CONTENT


About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.

One comment

  1. I am very saddened and disturbed that out temple
    Is.involved in such undignified actions .
    This is really sad . That our temple puts business
    Before prayer.
    We. Place our trust in our temples but now
    We need to think twice.
    Very disheartened.
    Is this a temple or a business.
    Someone please advise

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.