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1 Vedic Yagya Center P.O. Box Austin TX Tel: Fax: Significance of Sravana Varalakshmi Vratam Introduction: Sri Vara Lakshmi Devi Varalakshmi Vrata is one of the prominent and very important of Hindu festivals. Sri Varalakshmi Pooja performed primarily by women in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated on the Friday preceding (that comes just before) Full Moon day in the month of Sravana (around July-August) and therefore is also known popularly as Sravana Sukravara Nomu.

2 Significance It is a festival to propitiate the Goddess Vara Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, as this is one of her special forms where in, She is in the form who grants desired boons ( Varam or Vara means boon). It is said that Goddess Vara Lakshmi will enter the house of anyone devotee who thinks of Her and worships Her on this auspicious day and blesses them. There are many festivals in the Hindu calendar year dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. But, Varalakshmi Vratham is considered is exclusive, special and very auspicious because it is marked by strict observance of certain practices and austerities. It is therefore known as Vratham which means The name Vishnu really means pervading everywhere, and Lakshmi, his consort, is symbolical of the forces found everywhere. Eight forces or energies are recognized and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Saraswati (Learning), Preeti (Love), Keerti (Fame), Shanti (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 by Hindus. As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rhythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three. Hence this festival is celebrated and Vrata is observed for invoking the blessings of Sri Vara Lakshmi mostly by ladies for the welfare of their marital bliss (Sowbhagyam), children (Santana) and to have all the desired boons fulfilled (Sakala Ishta Kamya Phala Siddhi). Significance of Praying to Lord Vishnu in Lakshmi Pooja:

3 Goddess Lakshmi & Lord Narayan The name Vishnu really means pervading everywhere, and Lakshmi, his consort, is symbolical of the forces found everywhere. Eight forces or energies are recognized and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Saraswati (Learning), Preeti (Love), Keerti (Fame), Shanti (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 by Hindus. As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rhythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three. Hence this festival is celebrated and Vrata is observed for invoking the blessings of Sri Vara Lakshmi mostly by ladies for the welfare of their marital bliss (Sowbhagyam), children (Santana) and to have all the desired boons fulfilled (Sakala Ishta Kamya Phala Siddhi). But an essential fact is that Both Sri Maha Vishnu and Maha Lakshmi are Divine forces that are inseparable from each other. Just like the eyes are two but the vision is one, they have to be prayed together always to seek the Blessings. Hence it is very much important to pray to Lord Vishnu before seeking the Blessings of the Goddess. Therefore Goddess Lakshmi and Vishnu are prayed together for prosperity, and spiritual prosperity. To remove obstacles that prevent us from starting a spiritual path or success in business, Prosperity. Please contact us for the Special Lakshmi Narayan Pooja performed most authentically either at your residence or in our Center. Procedure The lady of the house should wake up early and after ablutions, bathe, wear new dress, dress up and proceed for the Pooja. It is best if she can fast, but if unable to fast due to any reason, then she may have some fruits. Ganesh Pooja & Kalasha Sthapana. Lord Ganesh should be prayed first, to clear all obstacles from the way. Kalasha (A copper/silver pot filled with sanctified water, the brim is covered with mango leaves and a coconut is placed on top). This is known as Kalasha and it has to be placed in a flat plate (or a new cloth) covered with white rice. Kalasha Pooja has to be performed then. Varalakshmi Vrata Pooja

4 It is essential to have a picture or a small statue of Goddess Lakshmi. This is to be placed on the main alter in the center position. Then she is to be invoked with Sankalapa, Placed (Sthapana) and prayed with all the Shodasha Upacharas (16 Upacharas 16 essential forms of services). Then, Sri Lakshmi Sahastra Nama along with Sri Vishnu Sahastranama is recited. It is very important to note here that praying to Goddess Sri Lakshmi without praying to Lord Sriman Narayana (Who is Her Dear Husband and most beloved thing for Her) will not please her and She will not accept any such prayers offered to her. They are Divine couple and must be always prayed to gather. Vrata is then followed by the reciting or telling the below given story to the other family members and friends attending the Pooja. Story In the kingdom of Magadha of yore, there lived a Brahmin woman called Charumathi in a town named Kundinpura. The prosperous town was the home of Charumathi and her husband. She devotedly served her husband and her parentsin-law. Impressed by her sincerity and piety, Goddess Mahalakshmi appeared in her dream, blessed her and asked her to worship Vara Lakshmi (literally means, boon granting form of the Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity) and seek to fulfill her wishes. Varalakshmi is yet another form of Lord Vishnu's consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Thus was prescribed the Friday of Sravana month, proceeding the full moon day for the worship. When Charumathi explained her dream to her family, she found them encouraging her to perform the Pooja. Many other women of the town also joined her in performing the Pooja in a traditional way and offered many sweet dishes to the Goddess Varalakshmi. They prayed with deep devotion: "Padmaasane Padmakare sarva lokaika poojithe Narayana priyadevi supreethaa bhava sarvada" Meaning: One who is sitting in the lotus, holding lotuses, one who is prayed by the entire universe, One Who is very dear to Lord Narayana, Please always be benevolent to me. The well dressed women make offerings of a verity delicious cooking of sweet dishes with utmost devotion. As they went round the deity in prayer, dazzling jewelry is said to have appeared as ornaments on the bodies of these worshippers and their houses filled with riches. They rewarded the priest who assisted them in performing the Pooja and they all partook in the feast. The women expressed their gratitude to Charumathi who shared her dream and helped them become

5 prosperous. This Pooja came to be practiced year after year by women. Done with devotion, it is said that boons would be granted and thus many wishes would be realized. Nivedana (Naivedya or Offerings) The Pooja is followed with the offerings. Devotees offer all the freshly cooked food, primarily Kshirannam (Rice cooked with milk & sugar, as this is Goddess Lakshmi s favorite dish), many other sweets, fruits, new dresses, ornaments are offered to Goddess first and are accepted by all as her Prasad later. Offerings are generally followed by singing various songs in the praise of Goddess Varalakshmi, Lakshmi Stotras and Bhajans. Various devotees sing, even some times tell many stories from Vedas and Puranas to remember Universal Mother Divine s glory once again. This is done as per one s interest, time availability, strength (Yetha shakti) as is possible. Mangal Aarti The Pooja concludes with Mangal Aarti for the Goddess Varalakshmi Devi and the offered prasad is accepted with much respect and humility by all.

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