Friday, July 31, 2009

Varalakshmi Vratam - 31st July, 2009

Today we did Varalakshmi Puja at home and I thought I would write briefly about the significance of this vratam.

Varalakshmi vrata is a popular ritual observed by married women in South India and Maharashtra. Goddess Lakshmi,the Goddess of wealth and prosperity,is worshipped on this day.

Varalakshmi literally means the boon granting Goddess. 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 glory of performing the varalakshmi vratam, narrated directly by Lord Shiva Himself, is elaborately discussed in the skAnda purANam.

The Hindu festival "Varalakshmi Vratam", or "Varalakshmi Nonbu" is celebrated on the Friday before the full moon in the Tamil Month 'Aadi' which corresponds to the English months of July-August. It is a festival to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. Varalakshmi is one who grants boons (varam).

Among the many festivals in the year dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi,Varalakshmi Vratham is considered very auspicious because it is marked by strict observance of certain practices and austerities.

The pUja:

A sacred pot (kalasham) is filled with raw rice,coins,9 betel leaves, 9 betel nuts, 9 pieces of turmeric.This kalasham is topped with a bunch of fresh mango leaves. A coconut (unbroken)smeared with turmeric powder and kumkumam is placed on top and tied to the kalasham. Also, sandal paste and kumkumam are applied to the kalasham. To the front of the coconut,we tie the varalakshmi "mukham" (the face). The coconut and kalasham form the body and we further decorate it by tying special clothes (pAvAdai) and jewels to the deity.

Now the kalasham symbolically represents Goddess Lakshmi. We also place a mirror behind the kalasham.The kalasham is usually placed on a bed of rice.

Then, Goddess Lakshmi is invoked. Fresh flowers and grains are used in the worship, indicating growth and prosperity.

After performing the initial worship of Lord Ganesha (seeking removal of all obstacles), prayers are offered to the kalasham. The sacred yellow thread is first tied to the Goddess. The yellow thread (saradu) is prepared with nine knots and a flower is placed in the center.
Now the main worship of Lakshmi begins, with a second worship of the sacred Thread (nOnbu saradu). Finally, it is tied around the right hand of the performer and all other ladies in the family. Prayers in the form of Lakshmi Ashtottara shatanAmAvali and lalitA sahasranAmam are then chanted.

Legend associated with this vratam:

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 conversation on Varalakshmi vrata between Parvati and Shiva takes place in the skAnda purANa.

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.

(There is a referencce to this legend in the first two lines of the caraNam of muttuswami dikshitar's composition "sri varalakshmi namastubhyam" in rAga srirAgam-rUpaka tAla.)


श्री वरलक्ष्मि नमस्तुभ्यम् वसुप्रदे
श्री सारसपदे रसपदे सपदे पदे पदे (श्री)


भावज जनक प्राणवल्लभे सुवर्णाभे
भानुकोटि समानप्रभे भक्तसुलभे

(मध्यमकाल साहित्यम्)
सेवकजनपालिन्यै श्रितपंकजमालिन्यै
केवलगुणशालिन्यै केशवह्वत्खेलिन्यै (श्री)


श्रावण पौर्णमी पूर्वस्थ शुक्रवारे
चारुमती प्रभृतिभिः पूजिताकारे
देवादि गुरुगुह समर्पित मणिमयहारे
दीनजनसंरक्षण निपुणकनकधारे

(मध्यमकाल साहित्यम्)
भावनाभेदचतुरे भारतीसन्नुतवरे
कैवल्य वितरणपरे कांक्षितफलप्रदकरे (श्री)


Pushkala. said...

Hello Gayathri,

Beautiful alankaram to the Ambal. Looking at the picture I felt like being in Madras.

Here we are doing the pooja in the Livermore temple today evening.

My daughter Vibha did not want to take her eyes away from the picture.


Revanth said...

The alankaranam to the Goddess is really wonderful! :)
Thanks for sharing the pics,puja vidhanam and the story with us

Priya Ram said...

Got a peep into the life of Gayathri Girish, a mother,a wife and a homemaker too ! please do share more details like these for us to know more about you. And Nice to see Vishruthi accompanying you and learning all about our frestivals and tradition.

The Goddess looks beautiful. And thanks for the detailed explanation behind the vratham. I have been to many friend's houses but did not know the story behind it and other details.

Ananth said...

Dear GG,
Good to read the post
You know that, I come from Palghat. We dont celebrate Varalakshmi vratham like the Iyers from Tamilnadu. While all other festivals are common for Iyers from Palghat and non Palghat, why is it that Varalakshmi is not celebrated? There will be a reason ans since you have an explanation for every action, please let us know , if you have the answer (Some in noorni in Palghat do celebrate).

Anonymous said...

more photos please, they look fantastic

-k sharma

saravana priya said...

hi.i am priya.we did this pooje this year. i feel the joy after seeing doing this pooja.also send how to do this pooja efficiently much better.

Varalakshmi Vratham pooja vidhanam said...

brillant piece of information, I had come to know about your web-page from my friend hardkik, chennai,i have read atleast 9 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your webpage gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanx a million once again, Regards, Varalakshmi Vratham