Pitr Paksha - 30th September 2012
Acknowledging Indebtedness To Our Ancestors
Anant Chaturdashi is celebrated on the Chaturdashi that falls on the Shukla Paksha, in the month of Bhadrapad. Anant Chaturdashi is a day with two fold importance.
First, today the 10-day long Ganeshotsav comes to an end and Ganesh Visarjan takes place with great fanfare all over the world by Ganesh devotees. One bids farewell to the beloved 'Ganesh Bappa' and requests him to return again next year and bless our homes, loved ones and us.
Maha Lakshmi vrat or Varalakshmi Vrat is a prayer/fasting that lasts for sixteen days. It is believed that Lord Shiva recommended this Vrat to his wife, Goddess Parvati, to gain wealth and prosperity. Varalakshmi is one who grants a 'Vara' or boon. It is an important pooja performed by many women in both North and South parts of India like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, and Uttar Pradesh.
The Hindu festival, Vara Mahalakshmi Vrata, is celebrated on the Second Friday or the Friday before Purnima, or full moon's day, in the month of Shravana, around July–August.
Maha Lakshmi or Vara Lakshmi Vrat is a special Vrat that gives wish-fulfilling results in wealth, prosperity, fertility, courage, wisdom, and success. A devotee prays to the 'eight roops' or eight aspects of Goddess Lakshmi in her Ashta Lakshmi form. The eight representation of Ashta Lakshmi are the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Wisdom, Love, Fame, Peace, Contentment, and Strength.
The Eight forces or energies of Lakshmi are also Shree (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Saraswathi (Wisdom), Preethi (Love), Keerthi (Fame), Shanthi (Peace), Santhushti (contentment) and Pushti (Strength). Each one of these forces is called a 'Lakshmi':
- Aadi Lakshmi (the Protector)
- Dhana Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth)
- Dhairya Lakshmi (Goddess of Courage)
- Sowbhagya Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity)
- Vijaya Lakshmi (Goddess of Victory)
- Dhanya Lakshmi (Goddess of Nourishment)
- Santana Lakshmi (Goddess of Progeny)
- Vidhya Lakshmi (Goddess of Wisdom)
All the eight forces combined are called the Ashta Lakshmis. Vishnu is also called 'Ashtalakshmi Pati' or the husband of Ashtalakshmi.
In Bhavishya Purana, one of the eighteen major Puranas or ancient Hindu scriptures, there is a legend that explains the significance of Mahalakshmi Vrata. Lord Krishna recommended this Vrat to the Pandavas after they lost everything in their gamble with the Kauravas. Krishna assured the five brothers that they would regain their kingdom, wealth, prosperity, family, and fame by observing this Vrat.
Varalakshmi Vrata is observed by a sumangali or married woman for the well being of her husband, children, and family members. It is believed that worshiping the Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalakshmi.
Steps to take
1. On the auspicious day of the vrat, women get up early in the morning and begin the ritual fast and perform the Varalakshmi Pooja, in which they offer mithai or sweets, lit diya, and flowers to the Goddess.
2. People who perform the Varalakshmi Puja refrain from eating that day. Either they hold a complete fast or eat fruits and milk.
3. A clay or brass Kalash is a pot that symbolically represents the Deity. It is wrapped and decorated with a sari. A swastika symbol is drawn with kumkum and sandalwood paste on it. The Kalash pot is filled with rice or water, and coins, beetle nuts, a pinch of Haldi, and kumkum dropped in it.
4. Finally, mango leaves are placed around the Kalash's mouth, and a coconut stained with turmeric serves to close the mouth of Kalash.
5. A thread with sixteen knots are tied on the wrist of those observing the puja. After sixteen days, once the puja is completed, this thread can be kept in the money box or hand purse for continued blessings.
6. The treats and offerings placed before the Deity are called bhog or prasad or naivaidya
7. During the evening, an aarti is offered to the Goddess.
8. The next day, the Kalash water is sprinkled around the house. If rice grains are part of Kalash's ingredients, they are used to make a meal of rice or Prasad for the family the next day.
Mantras to sing
The mantras given below should be recited on the day of Varalakshmi Vrat to receive the Goddess Lakshmi's blessings:
||ॐ ह्रीं श्रीं लक्ष्मीभयो नमः॥
|| Om Hreem Shreem Lakshmibhayo Namah ||
Meaning: " We bow to Shree Lakshmi"
||ॐ श्री महालक्ष्म्यै च विद्महे विष्णु पत्न्यै च धीमहि||
||तन्नो लक्ष्मी प्रचोदयात् ॐ ।।
||Om Shree Mahalakshmyai Cha Vidraahe Vishnu Patrayai Cha Dheemahi ||
||Tanno Lakshmi Prachodayat Om ||
Meaning: "We meditate on the greatest Goddess, Who is the divine consort of Lord Vishnu. Kindly bless us with higher intellect, abundance, and prosperity."
If one cannot do sixteen days of fast/puja, then one can observe puja for just three days. The first day, the last day, and the day in the middle.
GANAPATI BAPPA MORYA - MANGAL MURTI MORYA
Brihaspativar Vrat is considered very beneficial for receiving wealth, health, job, children and happiness. This Vrat is very beneficial to the ladies of the household and helps in fulfilling their desires.
- Somvar - Shiv Ratri
- Solah Somvar - 16 Mondays
- Saumya Pradosh - Pradosh Vrat