Mahalakshmi or Varalakshmi Vrata Puja Hindu Ritual Fast in Honor of Goddess Maha Lakshmi - AUGUST 24
Mahalakshmi or Varalakshmi Vrata is a special vrata or fast dedicated to Hindu Goddess ‘Mahalakshmi,’ or as the name implies ‘Great Lakshmi’ (maha = great). Lakshmi is the presiding deity of wealth, prosperity, light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity, and courage. These eight facets of Lakshmi give rise to another name for the goddess — ‘Ashtalakshmi’ (ashta = eight).
When Is Mahalakshmi or Varalakshmi Vrata Observed?
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, harkhand, and Madhya Pradesh than other states of India.
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.