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Mahalakshmi or Varalakshmi Vrata Puja
According to the lunar calendar of North India, the Mahalakshmi Vrata fast is observed for 16 days in a row between Bhadrapad Shukla Ashtami and Ashwin Krishna Ashtami, i.e., commencing on the 8th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Bhadra and ending on the 8th day of the dark fortnight of the following month Ashwin, which corresponds to September – October of the international calendar. The fast is more popular in Uttar Pradesh Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh than other states of India.
MAHALAKSHMI VRATA IN HINDU MYTHOLOGY
In Bhavishya Purana, one of the 18 major Puranas or ancient Hindu scriptures, there is a legend that explains the significance of Mahalakshmi Vrata. As the legend goes, when Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandava princes, enquires Lord Krishna about a ritual fast that can get back the wealth that they lost in his gambles with the Kauravas, Krishna recommends Mahalakshmi Vrata or Puja, which can replenish the worshipper with health, wealth, prosperity, family and kingdom through the divine grace of the Lakshmi.
HOW TO OBSERVE THE RITUAL OF MAHALAKSHMI VRATA
At the dawn of this holy day, women take a ritual bath and pray to Surya, the Sun God. They sprinkle sacred water using purified grass blades or ‘durva’ on their body and tie sixteen knotted strings on their left wrist. A pot or ‘kalasha,’ is filled with water, decorated with betel or mango leaves, and a coconut is placed on top of it.
It is further adorned with a red cotton cloth or ‘shalu’ and a red thread is tied around it. A Swastika symbol and four lines, representing the four Vedas are drawn on it with vermillion or ‘sindoor / kumkum’. Also called the Purna Kumbh, this represents the supreme deity, and is worshiped as the Goddess Mahalakshmi. Holy lamps are lit, incense sticks are burned and Lakshmi mantras are chanted during the ‘puja’ or ritual worship.
Mahalakshmi Vrata or Varalaksmi Vratha
Mahalakshmi Vrata or Varalaksmi Vratha is a sacred day in Hinduism. The ceremony is performed by men or women (typically married Hindu ladies) on the Friday before the full moon in the month of Shravan in the Hindu calendar (corresponding to August/September in the western calendar). Those who cannot perform it on that day, can do it on any other Friday in that month. This is an important Vratha, meaning a vowed religious observance in Sanskrit. Varamahalakshmi Vratha is performed more commonly in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and also in parts of Maharashtra and Odisha
नमस्तेऽस्तु महामाये श्रीपीठे सुरपूजिते
नमस्तेऽस्तु महामाये श्रीपीठे सुरपूजिते ।
शङ्खचक्रगदाहस्ते महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥१॥
Namastestu Mahaa-Maaye Shrii-Piitthe Sura-Puujite |
Shangkha-Cakra-Gadaa-Haste Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||1||
1.1: Salutations to the Mahamaya, the Great Enchantress of the World, Who is Worshipped by the Devas in HerAbode (Sri Pitha).
1.2: Who has the Conch, Disc and Mace in Her Hands, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
सर्वपापहरे देवि महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥२॥
Namaste Garudda-Aaruuddhe Kola-Aasura-Bhayamkari |
Sarva-Paapa-Hare Devi Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||2||Meaning:
2.1: Salutations to the One Who Rides the Garuda, Who is the Terror to Kolasura,
2.2: The Devi who Removes all Sins, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
सर्वदुःखहरे देवि महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥३॥
Sarvajnye Sarva-Varade Sarva-Dusstta-Bhayamkari |
Sarva-Duhkha-Hare Devi Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||3||
3.1: Who is All-Knowing, Who Gives All Boons, Who is the Terror to All the Wicked,
3.2: The Devi who Removes all Sorrows, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
मन्त्रपूते सदा देवि महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥४॥
Siddhi-Buddhi-Prade Devi Bhukti-Mukti-Pradaayini |
Mantra-Puute Sadaa Devi Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||4||Meaning:
4.1: The Devi who Gives Success and Intelligence and Gives Wordly Enjoyment and Liberation,
4.2: The Devi who is Always Purified by Mantra, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
योगजे योगसम्भूते महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥५॥
Aad-Anta-Rahite Devi Aadya-Shakti-Maheshvari |
Yogaje Yoga-Sambhuute Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||5||Meaning:
5.1: The Devi who is Without Beginning and End, Who is the Primal Energy, and the Great Goddess,
5.2: Who is Born of Yoga, Who is United with Yoga, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
महापापहरे देवि महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥६॥
Sthuula-Suukssma-Mahaaroudre Mahaa-Shakti-Mahodare |
Mahaa-Paapa-Hare Devi Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||6||Meaning:
6.1: Who is both Gross and Subtle and Most Terrible, Who is With Great Power and Prosperity,
6.2: The Devi who Removes All Sins, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
परमेशि जगन्मातर्महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥७॥
Padma-Aasana-Sthite Devi Para-Brahma-Svaruupinni |
Parameshi Jagan-Maatar-Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||7||Meaning:
7.1: The Devi Who is Seated on a Lotus, Who is of the Nature of Supreme Brahman,
7.2: Who is the Supreme Lord and the Mother of the Universe, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
जगत्स्थिते जगन्मातर्महालक्ष्मि नमोऽस्तुते ॥८॥
Shveta-Ambara-Dhare Devi Naana-Alangkaara-Bhuussite |
Jagatsthite Jagan-Maatar-Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||8||Meaning:
8.1: The Devi who is Dressed in White Garments, Who is Adorned with Various Ornaments,
8.2: Who Abides in this Universe and is the Mother of the Universe, Salutations to that Mahalakshmi.
सर्वसिद्धिमवाप्नोति राज्यं प्राप्नोति सर्वदा ॥९॥
Mahaalakssmyassttakam Stotram Yah Patthedbhaktimaannarah |
Sarvasiddhimavaapnoti Raajyam Praapnoti Sarvadaa ||9||9.1: Whoever reads this Mahalakshmi Ashtakam with Devotion,
9.2: Will attain all Success through the Grace of Mother Mahalakshmi.
द्विकालं यः पठेन्नित्यं धनधान्यसमन्वितः ॥१०॥
Ekakaale Patthennityam Mahaapaapavinaashanam |
Dvikaalam Yah Patthennityam Dhanadhaanyasamanvitah ||10||
महालक्ष्मिर्भवेन्नित्यं प्रसन्ना वरदा शुभा ॥११॥
Trikaalam Yah Patthennityam Mahaashatruvinaashanam |
Mahaalakssmirbhavennityam Prasan naa Varadaa Shubhaa ||11||
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