Author Topic: Festivals  (Read 1512 times)


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« on: August 09, 2014, 11:26:22 PM »
Vara Maha Lakshmi Vratham

On the day of Varalakshmi vratam, women clean their homes and decorate their front yards with rangolis (colorful designs traced on the floor). Later, they take a bath and deck themselves with beautiful clothes and jewellery. They then begin the process of performing the vrata by first arranging the kalasha or 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 vermilion on the kalasha and decorate the coconut with a new cloth. Some people decorate the kalasha with jewels to make it look more beautiful. They place this kalasha on a plate filled with rice.

The main puja begins by worshiping Lord Ganesha, who is believed to drive away all obstacles and evil forces. Later, goddess Mahalakshmi 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 woman performing the pooja. Later, they chant the Lakshmi Ashtottara Shatanamam (a list of hundred and eight names in praise of the deity). They then offer the goddess nine varieties of delicacies including sweets and savories. In conclusion of the vratam, they sing hymns in praise of goddess Varalakshmi and invite another married woman assuming her to be goddess Varalakshmi and offer her sweets. That evening, they invite all the neighbor women to their homes and offer them tamboolam, an offering consisting of betel leaves, fruits, betel nuts, vermilion, turmeric and dakshina (money). They collectively sing songs in praise of goddess Varalakshmi.

The festival concludes today, after the Goddess graces the house of the performers in person, now says goodbye in her physical form and would continue to guide as formless source of inspirations, in the forms of Guru and Elders.

These are not mere rituals, for one who performs with real faith, that Goddess really comes to our home, She does come and it can only be felt by those that see Her to be Real, and for such ones, when festivals conclude, it brings some nameless sadness. Like how a mother would feel when her daughter is leaving her home soon after marriage. But how ever, the Goddess leaves with a promise that She would return again next year.

Each festival is a divine experience, one has to experience them and not just do it as mere ritual, doing it mechanically. One should have faith, if the formless has become numerous forms, is it impossible for that Formless reality to manifest in our glorious festivals?

॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta