What is Varalakshmi Vratham?
Varalakshmi Vratham is a ritual that is observed by Hindus to please Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, one among the Hindu trinity. It is performed by women, especially married women, who often observe a fast until the pooja ends. Worshipping Lakshmi on this day is equal to worshipping Ashtalakshmi (eight Lakshmis), who represent fame, wealth, learning, love, pleasure, peace, earth, and strength. The pooja is observed in Shravan month, and it is believed that performing the pooja is a way to welcome the Goddess into our homes and that she will bring wealth and prosperity in her wake.
Varalakshmi is one of the eight forms of Goddess Lakshmi. This pooja is one of the Sumangali poojas. Which all the other seven forms of the goddess bestow a particular blessing, Varalakshmi bestows eight blessings. The blessings include wealth, food, children, fame, courage, victory, knowledge, etc.
In 2020, Varalakshmi Vratham will be held onJuly 31, a Friday.
Legend of Varalakshmi Vratham
Legend says that once, Goddess Parvathi asked Shiva if there was a way for women on earth to gain wealth, fame, progeny, and happiness. Shiva said that indeed, there was a way, and this was the Varalakshmi Vratham/ Varalakshmi Nombu. He explained that women should perform it in Shravana month on the second Friday before the Pournami or full moon day of Shukla Paksha. He also told her the origin story of the Vratham.
Once there was a woman called Charumati, who lived in Magadha Desha. She was very devoted to her husband and family. One night, Lakshmi appeared in Charumati’s dreams and told her that she was very pleased with her devotion and that if she worshipped her by performing a pooja on the second Friday in Shravana month, before Pournami, she would fulfill all her wishes.
On waking up, Charumati told her husband and neighbors about the dream. All of them told her to perform the pooja. When the designated Friday arrived, she arose early and bathed. She wore new garments and cleaned the house with holy water and sprinkled Gomutra (cow’s urine). Then she performed the pooja. Since then, every year, women began celebrating Varalakshmi Vratham or pooja.
Varalakshmi Vratham Procedure and Materials Required
Varalakshmi Vratham/ Varalakshmi Nombu is celebrated by women in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, and Karnataka. It is said to be very auspicious and has the power to bestow wealth, progeny, and longevity for the husband. Women also observe a fast during the pooja.
On the day of Varalakshmi Vratham, women wake up before sunrise and bathe. Then they draw an Ishwaryamkolam or rangoli using rice flour. Within the rangoli, a kalasha or sombu (pot) is placed. First, a pooja for Ganesha is performed, and then the Varalakshmi pooja will be started.
Lay a plantain leaf on a thamboolam or plate. On the leaf, put 1 cup of raw rice and spread it out evenly. Place a brass/copper/silver kalasha on the bed of rice. Make sure that the pot is dry. Decorate the pot with dots made with turmeric and vermilion or kumkum. Fill the pot with uncooked rice, dried fruits, and coins. Adorn the neck of the pot with tender mango leaves or betel leaves. Make sure that the tips of the leaves point upwards. Decorate the coconut with turmeric, kumkum, and sandalwood paste. Then place the coconut on the neck of the kalasha along with the betel/mango leaves. The eyes of the coconut should come on top.
Decorating Goddess Varalakshmi
Tie a new, unstitched, red-colored cloth like a blouse piece around the pot, using a red thread. Draw four lines using Kumkum on the pot. These lines represent the Chatur Veda. Draw the symbol of a Swastika on the pot. This represents wealth and purity. Finally, decorate the pot with a garland and flowers. Decorate the kalasha or pot with karugumani bangles.
This kalasha or Purna Kumbh is revered as goddess Mahalakshmi. Offerings of fresh flowers, fruits, and sweets can be made now. Sweets and offerings for the deity are called Vayana. Women observing the pooja abstain from eating certain food items. This may vary from region to region. In some places, women fast only during the pooja period.
Light the lamp or diya, after which the Mahalakshmi AshtotharaSahasranamam or Varamahalakshmi Katha, can be recited. After completion of the pooja, give the prasad, flowers, bangles, kumkum, and turmeric powder to those who participated in the pooja.
If you are using the Goddess’ idol for the pooja, decorate the face of the idol with turmeric powder, flower, and jewels, like gold chains. Then place the idol on the Kalasha. Offer fruits, flowers, sweets, coins, rupee notes, etc. Decorating the Goddess with Panjuthirimalai is said to be very auspicious. Married women are invited to the pooja and presented with things like turmeric, kumkum, bangles, and blouse pieces.