Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

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Varalakshmi Vrata

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Our online programme on Friday, 20 August 2021, commenced with Ganga Arati at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. In the book, Hindu Fasts and Festivals, our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, gives us the following explanation, "Lord Siva describes the glory of this Vrata in the Skanda Purana. It is performed by a woman whose husband is still living. Maha Lakshmi is the abode of auspiciousness, prosperity and wealth. This worship of Her is done to obtain good progeny, and for the health and long life of the husband.

"The Vrata is observed on the Friday immediately preceding the full moon day of the month of Sravan (August – September). After a purificatory bath, the lady should put on fresh, clean clothes and make a mandala with a drawing of a lotus upon it. A kalasha filled with rice and topped with fresh mango leaves, and a coconut and cloth are placed in the mandala. Mother Lakshmi is now invoked therein. Fresh grains are used in the worship as they convey the idea of growth and prosperity.

"After the worship of the kalasha, follows the worship of Ganesha, then the worship of the raksha or the sacred thread. Now the main worship of Vara Lakshmi begins, and the raksha is worshipped a second time. It is then tied to the right hand of the lady. After the worship is over, various auspicious articles are given as charity to some deserving lady whose husband is alive. This lady is also fed with dainties.

"Mother Lakshmi not only bestows wealth and all sorts of material prosperity, but also imparts divine wisdom to all Her devotees. She is Vidya Shakti. She introduces Her devotees to Her Lord. She recommends them to Her Lord for their salvation.

"She is the power of Lord Narayana, who is also known as Lord Vishnu or Lord Hari. Narayana is the Lord's aspect of preservation. He is the embodiment of Shuddha Sattwa. Lakshmi is His causal body. She is Maya, the illusory power of Nature. She projects the whole world by Her projecting power, and deludes everyone by Her veiling power. She Herself as Vidya-Lakshmi, enlightens the spiritual aspirant. Beauty, grace, a picturesque scenery or a charming landscape, modesty, love, prosperity, music, the five elements and their combinations, the internal organs, mind, Prana, intellect ─ all these are Her manifestations.

"Without the Grace and blessing of Lakshmi, even Sannyasins cannot engage in the work of propaganda or preaching or run their institutions. They are in fact, more in need of Her Grace than the householders, because they have to do intense, dynamic work for human weal. Sri Shankara worshipped Devi, Lakshmi and Saraswati for the attainment of success in his work. All the great prophets and divine messengers, who have done great spiritual work in the past, were devotees of Mother Lakshmi, Devi and Saraswati.

"May Goddess Lakshmi bless you all with peace and prosperity"!

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