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As per the Hindu Almanac, the Shravana month (Mid of July and Aug) is a powerful month for worshipping Goddesses . One of the most important Poojas performed during this month for Goddess Lakshmi is called Varalakshmi Pooja or Vrat (fasting). Generally, this day falls on the Friday of the Shukla Paksha (the waxing Moon phase) of Shravana month each year and is celebrated reverently in the South Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. The Vrat is observed with great fervor and passion as ‘Mahalakshmi Vrat’ in the Northern states of India such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh.
It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk on this day. The name Varalakshmi is interpreted in two different ways. The first interpretation is that Vara means boon and Varalakshmi means Goddess Lakshmi who grants the boons. The second interpretation is that Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed and received inside the houses with great honor to bless and grant boons.
Goddess Varalakshmi, known as the divine controller of wealth, prosperity, courage, wisdom and fertility, is worshipped during this Vrat by both men and women to receive her abundant blessings for self and family.
Performing the Varalakshmi Pooja or Vrat is said to be equivalent to worshipping all the 8 different forms of Lakshmi. It is believed that the following benefits are accrued by performing this Pooja – Dhanam (monetary benefits), Dhanyam (food and grains), Arokkyam (good health), Sampath (wealth and property), Santhanam (virtuous offsprings) and Deerka Sumangali Bakkyam (means the longevity of husband would be enhanced), Veeram (courage), Gaja Lakshmi (free from debts). Married women observe fasting during this day and have their food after performing the Pooja.
There are many legends associated with the Varalakshmi Vrat.
According to mythology, once Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati played a game of dice. Lord Shiva kept claiming to have won the game. However, Parvati knew otherwise. There arose a dispute between the two concerning the winner. She called a Gana, Chitramani, to mediate and settle the matter.
Chitramani confirmed that Lord Shiva won the game. Goddess Parvati got angry with the verdict, and she accused Chitramani of lying. Lord Shiva knew that Chitramani did not lie but had told the truth. Goddess Parvati was not convinced, and she cursed Chitramani, to suffer from leprosy and take birth on the earth plane as a leper.
When Lord Shiva convinced Goddess Parvati, she granted him the boon that if Chitramani was able to participate or perform the Varalakshmi Pooja, he would be cured of leprosy and would be relieved of the curse. Wandering a lot, Chitramani finally was able to participate in the Varalakshmi Pooja performed by a group of celestial angels. Thus, he was cured of his leprosy. Since then, the Varalakshmi Pooja has been performed every year.
Another legend is that Goddess Lakshmi appeared in the dream of a devout woman Charumati and asked her to observe fasting to fulfill her desires. Charumati performed the Vrat with other women in her village and after which they were blessed with jewelry and riches. Since then, women observe this fast for gaining wealth and prosperity in their families.
According to Bhavishya Purana, Yudhisthira (eldest of the Pandavas – Mahabharata) was asked by Lord Krishna to carry out Varalakshmi Vrat with deep austerity and faith to regain his kingdom, which he lost in the dice game. Upon completing the Vrat, he recovered his lost kingdom and prosperity.
Before commencing the Vrat, the houses are cleaned and decorated with rangolis (drawings) and flowers. Then a sacred pot is arranged, filled with rice and water, symbolizing richness. The kalasha (metal pot) is then covered with mango and betel leaves. A coconut smeared with turmeric powder and vermilion is placed on the pot. The coconut is decorated with a new piece of cloth or even jewels.
Eating non-vegetarian food must be avoided on the day of fasting. Lakshmi Ashtottaram (108 names of Goddess Lakshmi) or Lakshmi Sahasranamam (1000 names of Goddess Lakshmi) is chanted during the Pooja. Once the Pooja is over, hymns in praise of Goddess Lakshmi are sung, and tamboolam (betel leaves, betel nuts, turmeric, and vermilion) is distributed to married women in the neighborhood.
Many devotees also worship the eight forms of Mahalakshmi, each bestowing unique blessings upon her devotees namely:
Observing Varalakshmi Vrat can bestow the following benefits:
The sacred scriptures prescribe fire ceremony, Abishekam (hydration ceremony), Pooja/Archana (Light and Sound ceremony), Yantra and Mantra (special sounds) as the ways to offer your prayer to the divine. Out of these, fire ceremony is the most evolved spiritual technology on earth to connect with the divine beings. Participate in the remedial services to clear your karma and receive the blessings.