Varalakshmi vratam, also called Varamahalakshmi vratham is observed on the second Friday or Friday right before Poornima (full moon) of the month of Shravan (month of Aadi in the Tamil calendar). This corresponds to the months of July and August in the English calendar. This year marks Friday, August 25.
Knowing when to perform Varalakshmi pooja is important because providing puja to good muhurat ensures eternal prosperity. Below is the Lakshmi Puja muhurat dated August 12th (for Ujjain, India):
Simha Lagna Puja Muhurat = 06:14 AM to 08:32 AM
Vrishchika Lagna Puja Muhurat = 01:07 PM to 03:26 PM
Kumbha Lagna Puja Muhurat = 07:12 PM to 08:40 PM
Vrishabha Lagna Puja Muhurat = 11:40 PM to 01:35 AM, August 13
Married women keep this holy Varalakshmi vratam looking for blessings for the whole family, especially their husband and children. According to the Hindu scriptures, the worship of the goddess Lakshmi is a strong belief. on this auspicious day is equivalent to offering prayers to Ashtalakshmi – the eight goddesses of love, riches, strength, peace, glory, pleasure, land and learning. This vratam can be observed by each individual, regardless of caste and creed discrimination.
Varalakshmi vratam is commemorated enthusiastically and with faith in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, northern Tamil Nadu and Telangana. It is also possible to attend celebrations in the state of Maharashtra. Because of the popularity of this vratham in most parts of the country, the Varalakshmi Vrat is an optional holiday in certain states.
Rituals of the Varalakshmi Vratam:
The preparation for the Varalakshmi vratam starts from the day preceding the observation of the vrat which is a Thursday. All the elements necessary for the puja are assembled the night before.
On Friday, Varalakshmi vratam, the devotees get up early in the morning and prepare themselves after bathing. The ideal time to rise in the morning for the puja is «Brahma Muhurtham», the hour just before sunrise.
After completing the morning rituals, the devotees clean the house and surrounding area and the beautiful «kolam» (rangoli) is decorated on the puja site.
The next stage is the preparation of the “Kalasha”. You can choose between silver and bronze pots. It is meticulously cleansed and covered with sandalwood paste. A symbol of the “swastika” is then drawn on the kalasha. The Kalasha is then filled with water or raw rice, a lime, coins, coleoptera nuts and five different kinds of leaves. The selection of items used to fill the ‘Kalasham’ jar varies from one area to another. In certain places, even turmeric, black pearls, mirror, small black bracelets or comb is used to fill the pot.
The neck of the kalasha is then covered with a clean cloth and the palate is covered with mango leaves. Ultimately, a coconut daubed and turmeric is used to cover the mouth of the Kalasha. On the coconut, an image of the goddess Lakshmi is glued or drawn using turmeric powder. The Kalasha is now symbolic of the goddess Varalakshmi and worshiped with complete devotion.
This Kalasha is positioned on the rice pile. Devotees begin the puja by first worshipping Lord Ganesha. The puja begins by chanting slokas as Lakshmi Sahasranamam in praise of the goddess Lakshmi. Special sweets are done at home as gifts. In the south states, Pongal is also offered as Prasad. At last aarti is carried out on the Kalasha. During the puja, women should also fasten a yellow thread around their hands.
In some areas, a mirror is also positioned behind the Kalasham. Kalasha Readymade pots are also available at the markets to be used during the Varalakshmi Vrat.
Women who watch Varalakshmi Vrat should refrain from certain types of food. However, this varies by region. In certain places, the observer of this will have to fast until the end of the puja ceremony.
On Saturday, the day after the puja, the devotees take a bath and disassemble the Kalasha used for the puja. The water inside the Kalasha is sprayed throughout the house and the rice, if used is mixed with the rice stored in the house.
Significance of the Varalakshmi Vratham:
The main purpose of Varalaksmi Vratam is to offer true prayers to the goddess Lakshmi for divine blessings. There are no strict regulations for compliance. The rites are not rigid and even a simple prayer will appease the goddess Varalakshmi.
As mentioned in Hindu mythology, the goddess Lakshmi is the divine presiding over prosperity, wealth, fortune, wisdom, light, generosity, courage and fertility. Women, especially married women, perform this would suit the goddess Lakshmi and receive her divine grace. Women pray to the Goddess for the long lives of their respective husbands and also seek blessings for good descendants. Varalakshmi vratam is mainly a festival for women and is celebrated by women alone. The significance of Varalakshmi vratam is discussed in the ‘Skanda Purana‘.