Mahalakshmi Vrat - Significance And Celebrations
What is Mahalakshmi Vrat?
The Mahalakshmi Vrat festival is one of the most sacred observances in Hindu culture. Dedicated to Maa Lakshmi — the Goddess of Prosperity, Fortune and Wealth — the fast is observed for 16 consecutive days. It begins on ashtami tithi of Shukla Paksha in the Bhadrapada month, and ends on the 8th day of Krishna Paksha (ashtami) that falls in the Ashwin month. According to the Gregorian calendar, the 16-day period falls in September-October. The fast commences four days after Ganesh Chaturthi. This Hindu Festival is the most popular in the regions of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Also See: Laxmi Aarti
Significance of Mahalakshmi Vrat
Among the many legends associated with Mahalakshmi vrat, the Bhavishya Purana states that the eldest of Pandavas, Yudhisthir asked Lord Krishna to suggest ways to regain wealth lost to the Kauravas in gambling. Lord Krishna advised him to observe the Mahalakshmi Vrat that blesses devotees with good fortune, wealth and prosperity.
Another legend says that Lord Shiva asked Goddess Parvati to observe the fast for wealth and good fortune. Another one mentions Goddess Lakshmi visiting a woman, Charumati in her dreams, to ask her to observe the fast. Charumati observed the fast with other women, and upon completion of the same, they found themselves covered with jewels and homes full of riches. Ever since, women (and men) observe the fast to gain prosperity.
Mahalakshmi Vrat Rituals
Mahalakshmi Vrat Procedure is a simple one to follow. Those who cannot observe the fast for 16 days can also observe the same for three days (first, eighth and sixteenth day of this period).
- Devotees wake up early in the morning and bathe before offering puja to Goddess Lakshmi. This is done for the 16 days of the observance of the fast. Some devotees offer aaragya to the sun god at sunrise.
- A Kalash is placed in front of the goddess’s idol and filled with water and rice, symbolising prosperity. The kalash is then covered with betel and mango leaves and placed on a plate full of rice.
- Mahalakshmi has eight avatars or forms, and all of them are worshipped during the period.
- One should wear a thread with sixteen knots on his/her left hand.
- After the puja, 16 Durva grass (doob, or tender shoots comprising three blades) are taken and tied together, dipped in water to sprinkle it all over the body.
- Devotees recite Mahalakshmi Vrat Katha every day to conclude Mahalakshmi Puja.
Consuming alcohol and eating non-vegetarian is strictly prohibited during the period of observing Mahalakshmi Vrat.
Devotees should read religious books or scriptures like Satanamavali, Lakshmi Ashtottara, Lakshmi Sahastranaam that are believed to be very auspicious.