Happy vara lakshmi vratham...............to all of you.
The Hindu festival going by the name 'Vara Lakshmi Vratha' is celebrated on the Friday before the full moon in the Tamil Month 'Aadi' which corresponds to the English months of July-August. It is a festival to propitiate the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. Varalakshmi is one who grants boons (Varam).
It is said that Lakshmi will enter the house of anyone who thinks of her and bless them. There are many festivals in the year dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. Among them, Varalakshmi Vratham is considered very auspicious because it is marked by strict observance of certain practices and austerities. It is also called Varalakshmi Nonbu.
The name Vishnu really means pervading everywhere, and Lakshmi, his consort, is symbolical of the forces found everywhere. Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvati (Learning), Priti (Love), Kirti (Fame), Santi (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 of the Hindus. As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three. Hence this festival is observed, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi.
The pooja room is cleaned the previous day (Thursday) and floral decorations and kolam with rice flour should be done. After cleaning the sombu (kalasam), put some coins, betel, betel nut, turmeric, lemon, comb, mirror, black bangles (very small), black beads, raw rice, kunguma chimizh (very small one) inside it. Arrange the mango leaves over this and keep a coconut on top. Fix the amman face on the coconut, then decorate the kalasam with flowers. Place some flowers. Keep the sombu in the pooja, prepare ven pongal for neivedhyam. Have faith that Goddess Lakshmi Herself is residing in that Kalssam. Perform karpoora aarathi.
This pooja must be done with utmost dedication.To start the pooja, keep the goddess near the entrance of the house on the kolam (inside the house). Keep flowers. Then take karpoora aarathi. Then bring the deity to the pooja place singing the song "Lakshmi Raave maa inti ki" which means "Lakshmi please come to our house". In the mandha haasam, place a plaintain leaf and spread raw rice. Keep the kalasam on this and decorate the deity. Keep the nombu saradu (yellow thread) also.
First perform Vinayaka pooja to vinayaka (a conical shape made of turmeric powder). After finishing that pooja, start varalakshmi pooja. There are specific slokas and mantras. You could run the pooja slokas from the cassette or recite. After the pooja, neivedhyam to be kept and do karpoora aarathi. After aarathi, the ladies must tie the nonbu saradu in their right hand, reciting the sloka requesting the Goddess to reside with self. Offer thamboolam to the ladies. Being a Friday, giving thamboolam for as many ladies as possible is auspicious. In the night, perform mangala aarathi.
Next morning, place some fresh flowers, offer neivedhyam and perform aarathi. Move the kalasam toward noth. This pooja is generally carried forward by daughters-in-law. However, the Goddess will be immensely pleased by this pooja done by anyone, be it cutomery or non-customery.
Legend or Story of Vara Laxmi Vratram is explained here. Vara Laxmi Vrata is observed on the Friday which comes before Shravan Purnima during Shravan month. Charumathi, a Brahmin woman lived in a town, Kundina. She was very humble and kind in her nature. She was very much devoted to her husband and family.
One night, Goddess Laxmi appeared in her dream and told her to worship Vara Laxmi and seek her blessings. Goddess Laxmi also explained the Vrata procedure and the best day to observe Vara Laxmi Vrata. Laxmi asked Charumathi to observe Varalaxmi Vrata on the Friday just before Shravan Purnima, the Full Moon day in Shravan Month.
Charumathi informed about the dream to his husband and family. She also told to her friends and the word spread throughout the town. On the Friday before Shravan Purnima, Charumathi along with her family, friends and the women of the town observe Vara Laxmi Vrata. They worshipped Vara Laxmi with utmost devotion and offered special recipes and fruits to please her.
Goddess Vara Laxmi appeared before them and granted boons to all of them. Their houses were filled with grains, diamonds, jewels and gold. They all lived happily in their rest of life. Since the time, women have begun observing Vara Laxmi Vrata every year on the specific Friday