by Sujay Bendur - Daijiworld Media Network
Dubai, Aug 25: The ‘Varalakshmi Vratha’ was observed on Friday 24.08.07 at Sindhi Ceremonial Hall, Bur Dubai.
More than 450 devotees attended this auspicious event. The Vratha started with Bhajan at 10 am followed by Varalakshmi pooja, Chantting of mantras and ended with Mahapooja.
Tradtionallly “Varalakshmi Vratha” is performed by Married ladies on the Friday just before the full moon day in the month of "Sravana" - July/August. This is an important "Vratha", meaning a vowed religious observance in a Sanskrit.
The devotees mostly from the coastal Karnataka filled the hall. The women folk with traditional silk sarees of vibrant colours participated with utmost devotion in this three hour long function. All the married women were given traditional ‘tamboolam’. Theertha and Mahaprasada were distributed to all the devotees. Pooja ended at 2pm
Organized by four exuberant devotees this ‘vratha’ held in perfect ambience and dedication provided the audience a rich spiritual experience & relaxation which for sure has provided a perfect mind set for everyone to forge ahead towards the forthcoming hectic season.
"Varamahalakshmi Vratha" is performed more commonly in Southern Indian States of Andhra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and also in parts of Maharashtra and Orissa.
Pooja is performed by married women to seek the blessings of Devathe Mahalakshmi, wife of Lord Vishnu, who is considered to be the abode of wealth and prosperity. There is a legend that says that this ‘vratam’ was recommended by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati to gain wealth and prosperity. There is also another legend that tells us the story of a very pious lady Charumati who was asked by Devathe Varalakshmi, in her dream, to do the ‘vratam’ in-order to fulfill her wishes. She performed the ‘vratam’ along with other ladies in her village with a lot of devotion. They offered the deity lots of delicacies and once the ‘vratam’ was completed, they were amazed to find their bodies decked with expensive jewels and their homes full of riches. From then on, women started performing this ‘vratam’ every year seeking wealth and prosperity in their families. Varalakshmi vratam is usually performed in the month of ‘Sravan’ on the Friday preceding the full moon day. Those who cannot perform it on that day can do it on any other Friday in that month.
Women clean their homes and decorate their front yards with rangolis (colorful designs traced on the floor) on the day of Varalakshmi vratam. Later, they take a bath and deck themselves with beautiful clothes and jewelery. They then begin the process of performing the ‘vrata’ by first arranging the kalasha or the sacred pot. They fill the pot with rice and water which symbolize prosperity and cover it with mango and betel leaves. They then place a coconut smeared with turmeric and vermallion on the kalasha and also decorate the coconut with a new cloth. Some people decorate the kalasha with many kinds of jewels to make it look more beautiful. They place this kalasha on a plate filled with rice. The main pooja begins by worshiping Lord Ganesha who is believed to drive away all obstacles and evil forces. Later, Mahaalakshmee is invoked into the kalasha.
They then worship a couple of torams (a bunch of nine threads with nine knots) and tie one to the kalasha while the other one is tied around the right hand wrist of the lady performing the pooja. Later, they chant the Lakshmi Ashtottara Shatanamam (a list of hundred names in praise of the deity) with a lot devotion. They then offer the Devathe nine varieties of delicacies including both sweets and savories. In conclusion of the vratam, they sing hyms in praise of Devathe Varalakshmi and also invite another married woman assuming her to be Varamahaalakshmee and offer her sweets. That evening, they invite all the neighboring ladies to their homes and offer them tamboolam (an offering consisting of betel leaves, fruits, betel nuts, vermallion, turmeric and dakshina(money). They also collectively sing songs in praise of Devathe Varalakshmi.