Varalakshmi Vratham is an important Puja, dedicated to Goddess Varalakshmi, performed by many women in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Varalakshmi is another form of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and consort of Lord Maha Vishnu. Varalakshmi is believed to be the one who grants boons (Varam).
Varalakshmi Vratham falls during Shukla Paksha of Hindu month Shravan (Aadi) and it is observed on Friday before Shravan (Aadi) Purnima. This year (2014) Varalakshmi Viratham falls on the 8th of August.
In North Indian states Varalakshmi Puja is not as popular as those of South Indian states. Shravan Purnima is observed as Raksha Bandhan in most Indian states.
Varalakshmi Puja is performed by married women for the well-being of their husband and the other family members. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping the Ashta-Lakshmi – all the eight Lakshmis’ namely Adi Lakshmi, Dhana Lakshmi, Dhanya Lakshmi, Gaja Lakshmi Santana Lakshmi, Veera Lakshmi, Vijaya Lakshmi and Vidya Lakshmi.
Varalakshmi Vratham is one of the most appropriate ways to propitiate and seek blessings of the Goddess Lakshmi.
According to Skanda Purana, once Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about a viratham that will be beneficial to women. Lord Shiva then mentioned the importance of Varalakshmi Viratham, which is most beneficial Viratham for women. To illustrate the importance of the Varalakshmi Viratham, Lord Shiva narrated 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 Viratham. She explained to her the procedures of the Viratham.
” Padmaasane Padmakare sarva lokaika poojithe
Narayana priyadevi supreethaa bhava sarvada ”
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 were blessed with wealth and prosperity.
During this auspicious day, married women wake up early in the morning and decorate their front yards with Kolams (Rangolis). They take oil bath and prepare neivedhyam (offering) for the puja.
General Neivedhyam Items for the puja
|Salyannam||Plain white cooked rice|
|Kruthakula Payasam||Paruppu Payasam(Dal Kheer)|
|Mashapubam||Ulundhu vadai (Urid dal vada)|
|Sanagam||Kondaikadalai Sundal(Chick peas sundal)|
|Nalikerakandam||Coconut break into half|
|Jambupazham||Navarpazham (Indian blackberry)|
|Narthapazham||Orange/ sweet lime|
Then all the women in the house wear new clothes and jewellery and get ready for the Puja. A Varalakshmi silver pendant is required for performing the puja.
Preparation for the Puja:
The following items are required for the puja:
- Beetle leaf with nut
- 5 varieties of fruits, if not, at least banana
- Flowers (especially lotus petals and Ganera (Sev arali poo) are considered to be very auspicious)
- Neivedhyam Items ( Annam (Rice with dal and ghee), Pacharisi Idly, Kozhakattai, Payasam, Vadai)
- Nonbu Saradu (Holy yellow rope with a small flower tied in the middle of each rope). This nombu saradu has to be placed in Varalakshmi Amman’s Feet.
- Panchapathram with water and udheerani.
Decorating Varalakshmi Amman
In a thambalam (Plate), plantain leaf (Vazhaiilai) is laid and over the leaf, put 1 cup of raw rice and spread it evenly. Keep a silver pot (Sombu) and decorate the silver pot with sandal and kumkum. The silver pot is filled with rice or water, coins, turmeric, betel leaf and a nut. Take a coconut, apply turmeric keep the coconut over the silver pot, decorate with karugumani bangles and cover the silver pot with blouse piece.
The Varalakshmi silver pendant is placed over the coconut and tied tightly to the back of the coconut to avoid falling. Amman is decorated with different colors of flowers and gold chains. Decorating the Amman with Cotton thread garland (Panju thiri malai) is very auspicious. A small table is decorated with thoranam (banana tree trunks) and maavalai(Mango leaves) and the kalasam (pot) is also placed.
On the morning of the Varalakshmi Vratham, the Amman is held in a thambalam and is placed on top of a clean floor that is decorated with kolam.
Songs are sung in the glory of “Varalakshmi” and then the Amman thambalam is taken to the Puja room where a decorated table is kept ready with thoranam and maavilai (mango leaves) on which the Amman thambalam is placed.
Varalakshmi Puja stotrams are to be recited with devotion. These are available in books, CD’s or on the internet and can be used to perform the Vratham.
After the puja is done, neivedhyam is offered which is followed by maha aarathi (deeparadhanai). Once the Neivedhyam is offered and the Aarati (Deeparathanai) has been performed, all the women in the house including babies are tied the nombu saradu on their right hand.
Generally, the husband of the married woman ties the nombu saradu on the right hand of the wife. The elderly women will in turn tie the nonbu saradu to other unmarried girls at home.
After the saradu is tied to their right hand, everyone prays to Goddess Varalakshmi and seek her blessings.
As a conclusion to the festivities, bhajans and keertans are sung in praise of the Goddess and the Prashad is shared with all the members at home.
In the evening, women from the neighbourhood are invited and offered tamboolam. The women sing hymns in praise of Goddess Varalakshmi.
Varalakshmi is believed to be the one who grants boons (Varam). It’s one of the auspicious days to seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.