Varalakshmi Vratham is a fast that is observed by women to invoke the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi. It is a popular fast in south India.
It is a very auspicious day for married women, and they pray to Lakshmi for the well-being of their family members.
The belief is that Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, blesses her devotees who keep fast on this day. The festival is observed in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka. It is also called Vara Mahalakshmi Vratham.
The Vratham is mentioned in ancient texts like the Vishnu Purana and Narada Purana. The belief is that women who observe this fast will gain the blessings of Ashta Lakshmi, the 8 forms of Goddess Lakshmi. They are:
1. Dhana Lakshmi (Goddess of money or wealth)
2. Aadhi Lakshmi (Goddess of spiritual wealth and inner conscience)
3. Vidhya Lakshmi (Goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and arts)
4. Vijaya Lakshmi (Goddess of victory)
5. Dhairya Lakshmi (Goddess of courage)
6. Santhaana Lakshmi (Goddess who gives progeny)
7. Dhaanya Lakshmi (Goddess of food grains and agricultural abundance)
8. Gaja Lakshmi (Giver of cattle)
Significance of Varalakshmi Vratham
Varalakshmi Vratam is dedicated to Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. She is a deity who grants boons (Varam). The Vrata is very important for married Hindu women. It falls on the 2nd Friday or the Friday before Poornima or full moon day or Poornima in the month of Shravan (July-August). Married women observe it for their family’s welfare and progeny blessings. Worshipping Lakshmi on this day is like praying to Ashtalakshmi.
Legend of Varalakshmi Vratham
Once there was a Brahmin woman called Charumathi in the city of Kundina. She was very devoted to her family. Pleased by this, Goddess Aadilakshmi appeared in her dream and told her to observe Varalakshmi Vratham. Charumathi spoke to her family about her dream. Many other women of the village also joined her for the Pooja. It is said that Shiva had told his consort, Goddess Parvati, about this Pooja. So married women perform it seeking boons (Varam) for the whole family.
The story says that when Charumathi completed the first stage of prayers, Lakshmi gave her ornaments. On completing the second stage, she got Navaratna kankanams. After completing the entire Pooja, she, as well as the other women who took part in it, were blessed with immense wealth.
Rituals of Varalakshmi Vratham
Women arise early in the morning and bathe. They clean the Pooja area and the house and draw a beautiful ‘kolam’ or rangoli. Then they clean a bronze or silver pot and draw a swastika symbol with sandalwood paste. They fill the pot with raw rice, water, coins, a lemon, 5 different kinds of leaves, and betel nut. They cover the pot with a cloth and place mango leaves on top of the pot. Then, they smear a coconut with turmeric and place it on the mango leaves.
The women fix an image of Lakshmi or draw her image using turmeric powder on the coconut. The pot represents Lakshmi and is placed on a bed of rice. First, they worship Ganesha. They sing Slokas and chant Lakshmi Sahasranamam. Arati is also performed. The woman performing the Varalakshmi Puja observes a fast during the Pooja period. The following day, after taking a bath, she dismantles the pot and sprinkles the water in the pot all over the house.
One more key ritual is the women who perform this Pooja must tie a yellow thread with 9 knots on their hands and then continue the Pooja. For the prasadam, one can offer jaggery sweets, payasam, or rice flour porridge. After the Pooja is over, the prasadams are offered to the Goddess first and then distributed among the family members. The devotees also go with 'Vayanams'. This means that the women doing the Pooja offer 'Pasupu Kumkum' to other women, inviting them to their homes and seeking their blessings for a good life. They also give gifts to them.
The Lakshmi Mantras given below can be recited during the Pooja:
1. Om Hreem Shreem Lakshmibhayo Namah
2. Om Shree Mahalakshmyai Cha Vidmahe Vishnu Patnyai Cha Dheemahi
Tanno Lakshmi Prachodayat Om
Lakshmi represents wealth, prosperity, auspiciousness, and abundance. By performing this Vratham or Nonbu, one can gain her blessings.
Benefits of Observing Varalakshmi Vratham
- Wealth and prosperity
- Happy and harmonious marital life
- Progeny blessings
- Good fortune