The Bhavishya Puranam is full of interesting things. One of them is the procedure of performing the Varamahalakshmi Vratam and teh story behind it. One devout lady of Vidarbha called Charumati Devi once dreamed of Lakshmi Devi, who told her how to perform the Varamahalakshmi Vratam and when. When .. is the Friday before the s’rAvaNa mAsa full moon, every year. It as an all woman festival and all that guys get to do is eat.
As in all our neighbouring households, people got ultra-clean, headbaths and all and cooked up a dream. Then they got down to the Puja. First the sankalpa which states our location in time as well as space and then the purpose as well as the deity of worship.
I am not sure what NRI Hindus will say in place of Bharata Varshe Bharata Khande.. etc.. but the Vikruti Nama Samvatsara, Moola Nakshatra, Sukla Paksha , Sarvesheam Ekadasi, part should be common. Maybe they will just give the Julian Date and latitude and longitude. Devi can understand.
Anyway, the first puja is always to Vighneshwara, a huge personal favorite of mine and then to the kalas’a. Into the kala’sa we invoke Brahma, Siva and Vishnu as well as all the waters of the world especially the saptasindhus. This is the pure water we offer Lakshmi Devi to wash her hands and feet, to bathe and to drink. We offer her a panchamruta snanam of water, curds, ghee, honey and sugar.. and all this becomes prasadam for us.
We offer her sandalwood paste, and a lovely, sacred and well decorated place to sit. We offer her ghee lamps with 3 wicks, sweet scented incense as well camphor. We offer her lovely flowers, jewels and clothes. And all this becomes prasadam for us.
Pleased with all our efforts, she blesses us with long life, good health, wealth, success of our families, sons and grandsons, our chosen wishes, dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
And in case there is a lapse in our procedure somewhere, we can always rely on Sri Krishna, to fill in the gaps, cover for us and ensure that we get pUrNaphala or the full benefit of an apt service.
We chant the names of the Devi and sing her songs. Since I now know the Sri Suktham with Vedic Swaras , I chanted that to please Her, the Divine Mother, the Light in us and outside us.
Eventime, we went visiting all the neighbours who had a ‘perantam’ (telugu). Basically we have a darshan of the Devi in their houses and the ladies of that house load us with coconuts and soaked unhusked channal dal seeds (sometimes raw, sometimes sprouted and cooked). They give us bangles and betel leaves, areca nuts and kumuma and pasupu (turmeric). . There is singing in some houses.
(Sadly widows get left out even in this century and this seems to hurt their loved ones even more than it hurts them. As my high school physics teacher rightly pointed out.. our Texts maybe kindness themselves but our practices are not…)
A funny thing happened today. Though I am a recluse of sorts, everyone recognised me because of my blogs. Some liked Thyagaraja page, some my Upanishad articles and some my photo blog. The only house in which I was not recognised as a ‘writer’ I had even a better experience. They had a lovely girl who was intellectually challenged and I could tell the mom the exercises that Kunda Miss, My Veda Guru taught me, which help drive the tamas out of the body and increase IQ. I hope it works for her.
And Oh Yes! We get to tie a sacred thread around our right hands. Our very own sacred threads.. which the boys don’t get! hehehe!
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