Varalakshmi Vratam, also known as Varalakshmi Pooja, is a highly revered and widely celebrated Hindu festival that holds immense significance in the hearts of devotees, particularly in South India. This sacred occasion is dedicated to worshipping and seeking the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi, who represents wealth, prosperity, and well-being. With its rich cultural heritage and deep spiritual undertones, Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam serves as a pillar of faith and devotion for millions of followers.
About Varalakshmi Pooja
The festival is observed on the second Friday of the auspicious month of Shravana, which usually falls between July and August according to the Gregorian calendar. This period is considered highly propitious and is associated with abundant rainfall and agricultural prosperity. People from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and parts of Maharashtra enthusiastically partake in the festivities, creating an atmosphere of spiritual fervor and unity.
Varalakshmi Vratam is especially significant for married women, who wholeheartedly embrace the rituals and traditions associated with the festival. They believe that by observing the Vratam with utmost devotion and adherence to rituals, they can seek the divine blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi for the welfare and prosperity of their families. The festival not only strengthens the spiritual bond between devotees and the deity but also fosters familial harmony and goodwill within the community.
As devotees prepare for the grand celebration, the entire household is filled with anticipation and reverence. The women take meticulous care to clean their homes and create a sanctified space for the puja. Intricate and vibrant rangoli designs adorn the entrance, and the puja area is embellished with fragrant flowers and decorative items. The preparations are not limited to the physical realm but also extend to the emotional and mental realms, as devotees prepare themselves spiritually to connect with the divine energy of Goddess Varalakshmi.
During the Vratam, various ceremonies and rituals are performed with utmost devotion and adherence to tradition. These include tying a sacred thread, usually yellow or red, on the right hand to signify the observance of the Vratam. Offerings of delectable traditional dishes and sweets are meticulously prepared to please the Goddess. The main puja involves chanting sacred hymns, performing aarti (waving a lamp), offering fragrant flowers, and distributing prasad (blessed food) to family members and devotees. The collective prayers and rituals create an aura of spirituality and invoke the presence and blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi.
Varalakshmi Vratam is not just a festival; it is enveloped in enchanting legends, fascinating myths, and age-old customs that have been passed down through generations. These stories highlight the divine powers of the Goddess and the virtues associated with observing the Vratam. Devotees deeply cherish these narratives, as they strengthen their faith and deepen their connection with the divine.
By celebrating Varalakshmi Vratam, devotees embark on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth. They seek the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi, not merely for material wealth but also for inner abundance and well-being. The festival instills values of gratitude, humility, and devotion, encouraging devotees to lead a righteous and virtuous life.
Varalakshmi Pooja is a celebration of faith, unity, and the pursuit of spiritual and material prosperity. It serves as a sacred reminder of the divine presence in our lives and the power of devotion to transform and uplift our existence. By participating in the festivities with sincerity and reverence, devotees open themselves to receive the abundant blessings and grace of Goddess Varalakshmi.
When is the Festival Celebrated in India?
Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam is a revered festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion in various parts of India. It holds a special place in the hearts of devotees, particularly in the southern states. The festival takes place on the second Friday of the auspicious month of Shravana, which usually falls between July and August according to the Gregorian calendar.
The month of Shravana is considered highly significant in Hindu mythology and is associated with divine blessings, abundance, and agricultural prosperity. It is believed that during this time, Goddess Lakshmi, the bestower of wealth and prosperity, is in her most benevolent form and grants the sincere prayers of her devotees.
The festival is primarily celebrated in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and parts of Maharashtra. In these regions, devotees eagerly await the arrival of Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam, making meticulous preparations to ensure its grand success.
The significance of choosing the second Friday of the Shravana month is attributed to its alignment with the waxing phase of the moon, known as Shukla Paksha. This phase is considered auspicious for invoking the blessings of deities and embarking on new ventures. The chosen day falls just before the full moon, symbolizing the culmination of positive energies and the potential for abundant blessings.
The festival also coincides with the monsoon season, which brings life-giving rains and nourishment to the earth. The agricultural communities view this period as a time of hope and gratitude, as the bountiful rains promise a prosperous harvest. Thus, Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam becomes a celebration of not only spiritual wealth but also the abundance and prosperity found in the natural world.
Devotees eagerly anticipate the arrival of this sacred festival, as it provides them with an opportunity to express their devotion and seek the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi. The entire household is filled with excitement and reverence, with preparations beginning well in advance.
The timing of the festival also allows for the participation of married women, who play a central role in the observance of Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam. They consider it their sacred duty to perform the rituals and seek the blessings of the Goddess for the well-being and prosperity of their families. This festival holds special significance for married women, as it is believed to strengthen the bonds of love, unity, and harmony within the family.
Overall, Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam is a highly anticipated festival celebrated during the auspicious month of Shravana. It brings communities together, fostering a sense of unity, devotion, and gratitude. The festival serves as a reminder of the importance of seeking divine blessings and expressing gratitude for the wealth, prosperity, and well-being bestowed upon devotees by the benevolent Goddess Varalakshmi.
About the Festival
Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam is a day dedicated to honoring and seeking the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi. Devotees believe that performing this Vratam with utmost devotion and sincerity will bring wealth, prosperity, and overall well-being to their families. The festival holds great significance for married women who perform the rituals to seek the blessings of the Goddess for the welfare of their families.
The Ceremony and Rituals
The observance of Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam involves meticulous preparations to create a sacred and auspicious atmosphere. Devotees take great care to clean their homes and the puja area, ensuring purity and sanctity. They believe that a clean environment attracts positive energies and facilitates the presence of the divine.
Additionally, devotees gather all the necessary puja items and samagri (materials) required for the Vratam. These include a clay or metal idol or image of Goddess Varalakshmi, a sacred thread (usually yellow or red), flowers, turmeric powder, vermilion, sandalwood paste, betel leaves, betel nuts, camphor, incense sticks, lamps, fruits, coconut, rice, and various sweets and dishes offered as naivedyam (food offering). Each item is chosen with care and symbolic significance.
The puja area is beautifully decorated with colorful flowers, rangoli (artistic patterns made with colored powders or rice flour), and auspicious symbols. This visual extravaganza enhances the ambiance, creating an inviting and spiritually uplifting space.
3.2 Performing the Vratam:
On the day of Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam, devotees wake up early in the morning and take a holy bath. They adorn themselves in clean traditional attire, reflecting purity and devotion. The women, particularly those observing the Vratam, wear traditional sarees or attire in auspicious colors like red, yellow, or green.
The Vratam begins by establishing the presence of Goddess Varalakshmi through the installation of the idol or image on a sacred pedestal or kalash. Devotees then tie the sacred thread (known as kankanam) on their right hand, symbolizing their commitment and dedication to the Vratam.
The main puja ceremony commences with the chanting of sacred hymns and mantras dedicated to Goddess Varalakshmi. The melodious recitation fills the air, creating an atmosphere charged with devotion and spirituality. Devotees offer flowers, vermillion, and turmeric powder to the Goddess, signifying their reverence and seeking her blessings.
The lighting of lamps and incense sticks adds to the sanctity of the puja. The fragrance of incense and the gentle glow of lamps symbolize the dispelling of darkness and the presence of divine energy.
The devotees then offer a variety of traditional dishes and sweets as naivedyam to Goddess Varalakshmi. These delicacies are prepared with love and devotion, representing an offering of one’s best to the deity. The prasad (blessed food) is later distributed among family members and devotees, signifying the sharing of divine grace and the unity of the community.
Throughout the puja, the women sing devotional songs and perform aarti, waving a lamp in circular motions before the deity. The rhythmic sound of clapping hands and the melodious hymns create an atmosphere of joy and devotion.
Married women, in particular, gather in groups to perform the Vratam collectively. They exchange gifts as a gesture of goodwill and unity, reinforcing the spirit of sisterhood and camaraderie.
The Vratam concludes with the devotees seeking the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi for the well-being and prosperity of their families. They express their gratitude for the divine presence and grace, acknowledging the abundance in their lives.
The observance of Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam is not limited to the puja day. Devotees often continue the rituals and worship of Goddess Varalakshmi for a period of one month, culminating with the immersion of the idol or image in a water body, symbolizing the return of the Goddess to her abode.
By performing the ceremony and rituals of Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam with utmost devotion and adherence to tradition, devotees establish a deep connection with Goddess Varalakshmi and experience a sense of spiritual fulfillment and joy.
Facts, Legends, and Myths Associated with the Festival
Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam is surrounded by various fascinating facts, legends, and myths that have been passed down through generations. Some notable aspects include:
– The festival originated from a conversation between Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.
– The significance of the auspicious thread tied during the Vratam.
– Beliefs regarding the granting of boons and blessings by Goddess Varalakshmi.
– The importance of observing the Vratam with faith and devotion.
The Story of Varalakshmi Pooja or Vratam
Facts, Legends, and Myths Associated with the Festival
Varalakshmi Vratam is a festival deeply rooted in mythology and folklore. This section explores some of the fascinating facts, legends, and myths that are associated with this auspicious occasion.
4.1 The Origin of Varalakshmi Vratam:
The origin of Varalakshmi Vratam can be traced back to the ancient scriptures and legends. According to one popular belief, Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, desired to grant boons and fulfill the wishes of her devotees. To accomplish this, she appeared in the form of Goddess Varalakshmi, who embodies the qualities of abundance, prosperity, and benevolence.
4.2 The Legend of Charumati:
A captivating legend associated with Varalakshmi Vratam revolves around a devoted woman named Charumati. It is said that Charumati was an exemplary wife who observed the Vratam with unwavering faith and devotion. Impressed by her devotion, Goddess Varalakshmi appeared in her dream and blessed her with immense wealth and prosperity. Inspired by this divine encounter, Charumati shared her experience and introduced the Vratam to others, thus establishing the tradition of Varalakshmi Vratam.
4.3 The Story of Santoshi Mata:
In some regions, Varalakshmi Vratam is associated with the worship of Santoshi Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. The story goes that Lord Ganesha’s two sons, Shubh and Labh, desired to have a sister. In response to their yearning, Goddess Santoshi Mata was born from the divine flames. She blesses her devotees with happiness, fulfillment of desires, and prosperity. Devotees believe that by observing Varalakshmi Vratam, they can please Santoshi Mata and receive her abundant blessings.
4.4 Goddess Varalakshmi’s Divine Powers:
Goddess Varalakshmi is believed to possess the power to grant boons, wealth, and prosperity to her devotees. It is said that she bestows blessings of financial stability, abundance, and overall well-being. Devotees observe Varalakshmi Vratam with the firm belief that the Goddess will fulfill their heartfelt desires and bring prosperity into their lives.
4.5 Significance of Worshiping Eight Forms of Goddess Lakshmi:
During Varalakshmi Vratam, devotees often worship the eight forms of Goddess Lakshmi known as Ashta Lakshmi. Each form represents a specific aspect of wealth, prosperity, and well-being. The eight forms include Adi Lakshmi (the primal form), Dhana Lakshmi (wealth), Dhanya Lakshmi (food grains), Santana Lakshmi (progeny), Gaja Lakshmi (elephants, symbolizing royalty), Veera Lakshmi (courage), Vijaya Lakshmi (victory), and Vidya Lakshmi (knowledge and wisdom). By worshiping these forms, devotees seek blessings in various aspects of their lives.
4.6 The Observance of Varalakshmi Vratam for Women’s Welfare:
Varalakshmi Vratam holds special significance for married women. It is believed that by observing the Vratam with devotion and performing the rituals meticulously, women can seek the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi for the well-being and prosperity of their families. The festival emphasizes the importance of women’s empowerment and their role as the harbinger of auspiciousness and prosperity in the household.
These facts, legends, and myths associated with Varalakshmi Pooja/Vratam add depth and spiritual significance to the festival. They serve as a source of inspiration and reinforce devotees’ faith in the divine powers of Goddess Varalakshmi. The festival becomes an opportunity to connect with the rich mythology and cultural heritage while seeking the blessings of the benevolent Goddess.
Forms of Varalakshmi Pooja
Varalakshmi Pooja, the worship of Goddess Varalakshmi, is performed with various rituals and customs across different regions of India. While the underlying purpose remains the same – to seek the blessings of the Goddess for wealth, prosperity, and well-being – there are slight variations in the way the pooja is conducted. This section explores some of the prominent forms of Varalakshmi Pooja observed in different parts of the country.
7.1 South Indian Style Pooja:
In South India, Varalakshmi Pooja is celebrated with great devotion and grandeur. The pooja rituals typically begin with the installation of a clay or metal idol or image of Goddess Varalakshmi on a decorated altar. The idol is adorned with traditional attire, jewelry, and flowers. The pooja is performed with the chanting of sacred mantras and hymns, and devotees offer various offerings such as flowers, fruits, coconut, betel leaves, and naivedyam (food offering). The aarti (waving of the lamp) and the recitation of the Varalakshmi Vrata Katha (narrative of the Vratam) hold a significant place in this form of pooja. After the completion of the rituals, the prasad is distributed among the devotees.
7.2 North Indian Style Pooja:
In North India, Varalakshmi Pooja is observed with equal devotion, albeit with some regional variations. The pooja begins with the installation of the idol or image of Goddess Varalakshmi. The rituals include the chanting of Vedic mantras, offering of flowers, incense, lamps, and naivedyam. In some regions, women tie sacred threads (raksha sutra) on their wrists as a symbol of protection and seek blessings for the well-being of their families. The pooja concludes with the aarti and the distribution of prasad.
7.3 Community Style Pooja:
Varalakshmi Pooja is often celebrated in a community setting, where devotees gather at a common place, such as a temple or a community hall, to collectively worship the Goddess. The pooja rituals are performed by a priest or a designated person, and devotees actively participate by singing devotional songs, reciting hymns, and offering their prayers. This form of pooja fosters a sense of unity, shared devotion, and community bonding.
7.4 Home-based Pooja:
Many households also perform Varalakshmi Pooja in the intimate setting of their homes. The pooja rituals are conducted by family members, with women taking the lead in performing the rituals. They meticulously clean the house, decorate the puja area, and gather all the necessary puja items. The pooja follows a prescribed sequence of rituals, including the invocation of the Goddess, the offering of flowers, incense, and naivedyam, and the chanting of mantras. Family members gather together, seeking the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi for the prosperity and well-being of the household.
7.5 Online or Virtual Pooja:
In recent times, with the advancement of technology, virtual or online Varalakshmi Pooja has gained popularity. Devotees who are unable to physically visit temples or gather for community poojas can participate in the rituals through live streaming or online platforms. They can watch the pooja proceedings, listen to the chanting of mantras, and offer their prayers from the comfort of their homes. Online platforms provide an opportunity for devotees to connect with the divine energy of Goddess Varalakshmi and be a part of the celebration, even from a distance.
These various forms of Varalakshmi Pooja cater to the diverse cultural and regional practices while upholding the essence of devotion and seeking the blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi. Regardless of the style or manner in which the pooja is performed, the underlying spirit of reverence, gratitude, and devotion remains the same.
Essential Pooja Samagri Requirements
Varalakshmi Pooja is a ritualistic worship that involves the use of specific items and materials to create a sacred atmosphere and offer devotions to Goddess Varalakshmi. Here is an expanded list of essential pooja samagri requirements for Varalakshmi Pooja:
- Idol or Image of Goddess Varalakshmi: A clay or metal idol or image of Goddess Varalakshmi is the centerpiece of the pooja. It represents the presence of the deity during the worship.
- Puja Altar: A decorated puja altar or mandap is prepared to place the idol or image of Goddess Varalakshmi. It can be a dedicated area in the house or a temporary setup with flowers, fabrics, and other decorative items.
- Sacred Thread (Kankanam): A yellow or red sacred thread, known as kankanam, is tied on the right wrist of the devotees as a symbol of their commitment to the Vratam.
- Flowers: Fresh flowers, especially marigolds and lotus flowers, are used for adorning the idol, offering floral garlands, and decorating the puja area.
- Turmeric Powder (Haldi) and Vermilion (Kumkum): Turmeric powder and vermilion are used to apply tilak on the idol or image and as offerings during the pooja.
- Sandalwood Paste: Sandalwood paste is applied to the idol or image as a fragrant offering and symbol of purity.
- Betel Leaves and Betel Nuts: Betel leaves and betel nuts are offered to the deity as a traditional gesture of hospitality and respect.
- Camphor: Camphor is used for the aarti (waving of the lamp) to invoke the divine presence and ward off negative energies.
- Incense Sticks: Incense sticks are lit to create a fragrant ambiance and purify the surroundings.
- Lamps and Candles: Oil lamps or diyas and candles are lit to symbolize the presence of light and dispel darkness.
- Fruits: A variety of seasonal fruits are offered to the Goddess as a symbol of abundance and fertility.
- Coconut: A whole coconut, decorated with turmeric and vermilion, is placed near the idol as a symbol of auspiciousness and purity.
- Rice: Raw rice grains are used for various rituals, including offering and sprinkling on the idol as a sign of prosperity and fertility.
- Naivedyam (Food Offering): Traditional sweets, such as kheer (sweet rice pudding), coconut-based desserts, and other favorite dishes of the Goddess, are prepared and offered as naivedyam. It signifies the sharing of food and seeking blessings for nourishment and sustenance.
- Panchamrita: Panchamrita, a sacred mixture of milk, yogurt, honey, ghee (clarified butter), and sugar, is prepared and offered as a special prasad.
- Puja Thali or Plate: A puja thali or plate is used to hold all the items and offerings during the pooja. It is often decorated with flowers and adorned with a diya or a small vessel of water.
- Bell: A bell is rung during the pooja to create a rhythmic sound that is believed to purify the atmosphere and invite divine blessings.
- Sacred Scriptures: Devotional books, such as the Varalakshmi Vrata Katha or other scriptures dedicated to Goddess Varalakshmi, are kept as a reference for reciting prayers and hymns.
- Water: Clean and sanctified water is used for various rituals, including washing hands and feet before starting the pooja and performing ablutions for the idol or image.
- Puja Clothes: Devotees traditionally wear new or clean traditional attire while performing the pooja.
It’s important to note that these items may vary based on regional customs and personal preferences. Devotees are encouraged to consult with their elders or local religious authorities for specific requirements and variations in samagri for Varalakshmi Pooja.
Varalakshmi Vratam or Varalakshmi Pooja is a joyous celebration of devotion and gratitude towards Goddess Varalakshmi. Through the observance of this sacred Vratam, devotees seek blessings and express their hopes for wealth, prosperity, and well-being. The festival symbolizes unity, faith, and the importance of maintaining familial harmony. By performing the rituals with dedication and love, devotees can experience the divine grace and blessings of Goddess Varalakshmi in their lives.