09 August 2011

The Auspicious Festival of Varalakshmi Vratam

Every year this festival of "Varalakshmi Nombhu" or Vratam is celebrated with my husband's sister's family with much reverence and on this auspicious day, all of the family members make it a point to congregate at my sister-in-law's [Chandra] house in Mylapore, Chennai, to participate in the festival/ vratam, and to invoke the blessings of the Amman for the well-being of one and all in the family.   

Varalakshmi Nombhu/Vratham
This year too [Friday - August 12th,2011] promises to be a good gathering of our family members and friends in Mylapore,  to participate in this festival, so sacred to our section of the married, Hindu women. 

Puja Room 
Preparations by my sister-in-law [Chandra Subramanian], needs no mention here as she is very adept in  seeing to it that the decorations for the amman and for the puja preparations are done in an explicit and satisfying manner.   Every year, she sees to it that the Amman is made all the more special and unique in her appearance and granduer. Indeed her decorations could be called as a "special gift of God"..!!! I am attaching here, some pictures taken of her decorations on "Varalakshmi Vratam" and I am sure the Amman decorations will leave one and all mesmerized to the core! Really - A treat to the eyes indeed....

On this auspicious day, the whole house bears a festive look with the woman folk showing their talent in the drawing of  "Kolams / "Rangoli" at the entrance of the house and also in the puja area,  where the "Vratam" is to take place. The decorated Amman is placed in the Puja in all her splendour and once the preparations are done with, it is time for the Vratam to begin.  All woman folk performing this Vratam observe fast on this auspicious day as a mark of reverence to the Goddess, thereby invoking Her Blessings.  

Decorating the Amman for Varalakshmi

The Amman in all her Splendour
Jadai[Pinnal] Alangaram for the Amman
Varalakshmi Puja is observed by married women in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and other parts of South India. Varalakshmi Puja 2011 date is August 12.  Goddess Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and prosperity – is worshipped on the day -  Varamahalakshmi  literally means the boon granting goddess. 

Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Vrata day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalakshmi - the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength

Popularly known as “Varalakshmi Vratam” it is performed by married Hindu ladies on Friday before the full moon day during the month of Sravana [August]. Those who are unable to perform it on that day can do it on any of the Friday during that particular month. The main day is in the Month of "Sravana" and that too on a FRIDAY BEFORE THE fULL MOON  [sukla Paksham]

The traditional month of Sravanamasam [Avani]  is considered to be very auspicious especially for women. Women perform the famous Mangalagouri vratam on Tuesdays and Mahalakshmi puja on Fridays during the month. Varalakshmi Vratam is the most important of festivals of them all. Varalakshmi vratam happens to be a sacred day for the Hindus

The Sacredness of this Festival:

  • VARA LAKSHMI is  not included in ASHTA LAKSHMI.
  • THIS IS THE NINTH LAKSHMI- That is why during the puja [particularly towards the end] one SARADU with 9 Knots is placed and ARCHANA is performed and then the SARADU [CHORD] is worn by house lady and also the guests.
  • The mantra includes first the first 8 Lakshmi and 9th is Vara Lakshmi.

Varalakshmi Vratam
The puja is performed by Hindu women who are married to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu, who is considered to be the God of prosperity and wealth. It is believed that worship of Goddess Lakshmi will bring health, wealth and prosperity.Vara means boon. Needless to say, performing puja [in the form of a Vratam] to Goddess Varalakshmi will bring in boons to those who performs with utmost devotion. This puja is performed by the women folk irrespective of their caste and creed.

The name Varalakshmi can be interpreted in two ways. In one sense, Varalakshmi is one who grants boons. In another, she is the Goddess who is invited into the home and honored. The different types of benefits that will accrue thanks to performing the Varalakshmi puja are Dhan [Money], Dhanyam [Gains or Food],Arogyam [Health], Sampath [Property], Sathsanthanam [Virtuous offspring] andDheerga saumangalyam [Longevity of the husband].


Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu [Earth], Sarasvati [learning], Priti [love], Kirti [Fame], Santi [Peace], Tushti[Pleasure] and Pushti[Strength]. Each one of these forces is called a Lakshmi and all the eight forces are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus. Vishnu is also called Ashta Lakshmi Padhi which is equivalent to saying that he is the asylum for the eight-Lakshmis or forces. In fact, Vishnu representing the preservative aspect of the universe, radiates these forces from him. These forces are personified and worshipped as Lakshmis, since abstract force is beyond the comprehension of the ordinary people. As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three. Only a woman can sympathise with women. Lakshmi is a woman. So she will more readily sympathise with women. Hence this festival is observed largely by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children.

Varalakshmi Nombhu to begin

Varalakshmi Nomu believed to be the day in which Goddess Lakshmi was born from Sea falls on July 31, 2009. Praying to Goddess on this day is said to be equivalent to worshiping Ashtalakshmi [the eight goddess of wealth, earth, learning, love, fame, peace, pleasure, and strength] especially Dhanalakshmi. That is the reason why families also have a habit of buying gold jewellery or gold coins during Varalakshmi Vratam, as a sign of welcoming Dhanalakshmi into their houses. Varalakshmi Vratam is performed by married women for the welfare of their husband, children and household. It is believed that if one worships Goddess Lakshmi on this day, she will present the entire family the gift of health, wealth, peace and happiness.

Varalakshmi Vratam Story

Legend has it that ....

One day when Lord Eswara is relaxing in Kailasa giri, Goddess Parvathi approached Him and asked him to tell a vrata that gives wealth and prosperity. The Lord tells her that performing Varalakshmi Vratam will bring in sowbagyam to the women folk. He narrates the story and explains the process of performing the vrata to Goddess Parvathi. This vratam has to be performed on Friday that falls before Poornima in Sukla Paksham in Sravanamasam.
The story happens in a beautiful town called Kundinagaram located in the Kingdom of Vidarbha [Vidarba Rajyam]. In that Kundinagram town, Goddess Adilakshmi, being pleased by her devotion tells Charumathi in a dream and directed her to perform the vrata to enable Her to fulfil her desires. Charumathi wakes up and tells her husband about the dream. Charumathi along with some neighbourhood women takes bath in the wee hours and prepare a mandapam and invites Varalakshmi Devi. She recites the following sloka along with other women with utmost faith and devotion.

"....Lakshmi Ksheerasamudra rajatanyam sri rangadhameswareem
Dasibootha samastha devavanitham lokaika deepamkuram
Sri manmanda kataksha labdhivibhat brahmendra gangadharam
Twamtrayamlokyakutumbhineem sasijavandemukunda priyam..."

Then she wore nine threads [Thoranam] to right hand and offers naivadyam to Goddess Lakshmi Devi. On the completion of the first circumstance, she heard she found Gajjelu, Andelu and other ornaments. On the second circumstance, they found kankanams made of navaratnams to their hands. On completion of the third circumstance, they found immense wealth. Then Charumathi offers Tambulam to the brahmin priests and distribute the vratam prasadam to the relatives and lead a happy life. Since then, Hindu women perform this vratam with utmost faith and trust till today. With this, Lord Eswara concludes telling the story to Goddess Parvathi, Varalakshmi Ashtotharanamavalli  is recited
As the legend goes, this is a puja that was pronounced by no other than Lord Parameswara to be performed by his consort Parvathi to seek prosperity and happiness for the family. Thus it came to be emulated by married women who sought boons [varam] for the health, wealth and knowledge for the entire family. In some cases, women prayed for being blessed with children. The prescribed day for the pooja is the Friday of the month of Sravan in the fortnight known as Sukla paksha, preceding the full moon day.

Observing  Varalakshmi Vratam

Another Legend or Story of Vara Lakshmi Vratram is explained here. Vara Lakshmi Vratam is observed on the Friday which comes before Shravan Purnima during Shravan month. Charumathi, a Brahmin woman lived in a town, Kundina. She was very humble and kind in her nature. She was very much devoted to her husband and family.
One night, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in her dream and told her to worship Vara Lakshmi and seek her blessings. Goddess Lakshmi also explained the Vratam procedure and the best day to observe Vara Lakshmi Vratam. Lakshmi asked Charumathi to observe Varalakshmi Vratam on the Friday just before Shravan Purnima, the Full Moon day in Shravan Month.
Charumathi informed about the dream to his husband and family. She also told to her friends and the word spread throughout the town. On the Friday before Shravan Purnima, Charumathi along with her family, friends and the women of the town observe Vara Lakshmi Vratam. They worshipped Vara Lakshmi with utmost devotion and offered special recipes and fruits to please her.

Goddess Vara Lakshmi appeared before them and granted boons to all of them. Their houses were filled with grains, diamonds, jewels and gold. They all lived happily in their rest of life. Since the time, women have begun observing Vara Lakshmi Vratam every year on the specific Friday.

Celebration of Varalakshimi Vratam
Women tidy their home, keep it clean. The front yard is decorated with rangolis [colorful design drawn on the floor]. They wear beautiful clothes and deck themselves up with jewelry. Married women perform the puja and invite neighboring ladies in the evening to receive offerings. Devotional songs are sung in praise of the deity.

Amman for the Vratam
Preparation for Varalakshmi Vratam
Ancient texts say that those who perform the puja have to observe fast on the eve of Varalakshmi Vratam. The preparation for the puja begins few days before the actual puja day. Women shop gold ornaments and new clothes [that are placed before the Goddess Lakshmi on the puja day]. Goddess Lakshmi loves cleaner and tidier homes. Hence, it is a general practise to make the house clean and tidy the day before the puja day itself. Puja related vessels are cleaned and polished. The actual puja day will be a very busy one. Women gets up early in the morning [during Brahma Kalam] and take bath. The household should be cleaned and the entrances of the house are smeared with turmeric powder. Kum kum marks are applied. A small Mantapam (or mandapam) is set up by drawing rangoli. Rice is spread on the rangoli and a kalasa is placed on the rice. The kalasa comprises of a small pot on which a coconut is placed. The coconut is applied with turmeric and is richly decorated with kumkum. Atop the coconut, a cloth is placed to look like a cap. The features of the Goddess are also drawn on the coconut to make the image of Her to facilitate worship. Jewelry is put round the coconut. Flowers are used to enhance the decoration.

Lord Ganesha 
Lord Ganesha is worshipped first which is the usual practice before any puja or ritual. The main puja of Varalakshmi Vratam is performed after that. Special eateries [called pindi vantalu] are cooked. According to the legend, a brahmin woman Charumathi, an ideal housewife serving her in laws and husband dutifully has a dream in which Goddess Mahalakshmi appears and asks her to perform puja to Varalakshmi. She, therefore, organizes the puja and invites her friends and relatives to the puja, after which Charumathi as well as all those who attend were bestowed wealth.

Kolam at the Entrance of the House
Decorating the Puja Room with Kolams

Ritual of Varalakshmi Vratam

One method of making kalasam exists where only gold jewellery is placed within the kalasam and is partially filled with holy water from any river. This method is gaining ground among the society as this also adds to the families riches in the form of jewellery. The puja begins by arranging the kalasha or what is known as the sacred pot. The pot is filled up with water and rice symbolizing prosperity. It is then covered with mango as well as betel leaves . Then a coconut that is smeared with vermillion and turmeric powder is placed on the Kalasha. A new cloth is placed on the coconut. Some decorate the Kalasha with jewels to make it appear more beautiful. The puja starts with the worship of Lord Ganesha, who is considered to help in getting rid of obstacles as well as evil forces. 

Beautifully Decorated Kalasam for
the Puja
Subsequently, the devotees invoke Goddess Varalakshmi to enter the Kalasham. Then torams [ it consists of nine threads with about nine knots] are worshipped and one is tied around the Kalasha, while another one is tied on the right hand of the woman, who is performing the puja. 

Lakshmi Ashtotharam is recited invoking the
 Blessings of the Amman
Then they chant Lakshmi Ashtotharam Shatanamam [it is a list consisting of 108 names praising the Goddess]. Nine types of sweets as well as savories are offered to the Goddess. Hymns are sung in praise of the deity. Another woman is invited; who is considered to be Goddess Varalakshmi and sweets as well savories are offered. In the evening all the ladies in the locality are invited and are offered tamboolam [betel leaves, betel nuts fruits, turmeric as well as dakshna [money]. Together they sing songs in praise of the Goddess.

Kumkum /Tamboolam is given to all the Sumangalis
 [married woman] on this Auspicious day

Varalakshmi Vratam is an auspicious occasion for a married Hindu woman. She prays for prosperity and wealth in her home. The deity is worshipped through an elaborate puja.
In the evening, women invite other women in their house and offer tamboolam. Tamboolam is an offering consisting of fruits, betel leaves, vermilion, turmeric and a cloth for blouse. On the whole, women celebrate the day of Varalakshmi as very special day of their lives.

To learn more about this Vratam/Puja:

May the Goddess Lakshmi shower her Blessings to one and all,  in plenty, this Varalakshmi Nombhu Day!

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