Varalaksmi Vratam observed in Prasnthi Nilayam Home
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Praying for Plenty
Varalaksmi Vratam observed in Prasnthi Nilayam
Posted at 10:10 Hrs.IST on 1st Aug 2009 -
Varalakshmi Vratam, propitiating the Goddess of plenty and prosperity, was observed
and celebrated with devotional fervour in Prasanthi Nilayam on 31st July 2009. One
thousand five hundred women from all over the world participated in the function
held in Sai Kulwant Hall in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan.
One of the most auspicious days dots in the Hindu almanac, Varalakshmi Vratam had
its trails to Prasanthi Nilayam in the year 2000 when the festivity was celebrated
for the first time in the Divine Presence. Ever since, the festivity has grown in
stature earning a permanent place in the Prasanthi Calendar with thousands of women
participating, propitiating blessings from Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of
prosperity and wealth.
Popularly known as “Varalakshmi Vrata”, it is performed by married Hindu women on
friday before the full moon day during the month of Sravana. The Vrata is performed
more in the Southern part of India, especially in the states Karnataka, Andhra
Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and also in some parts of Orissa and Maharashtra. Legend has
it that this Vrata was suggested to Mother Parvati by Lord Shiva for wealth and
On the scheduled day, the auspicious friday morning, Sai Kulwant was a scene of
plenty and prosperity as 1500 housewives, shining in coloured uniform attire,
assembled in the vast Sai Kulwant Hall awaiting to take part in the ritual.
Assembled as early as at 7 am, it was a ‘perfect assembly’ wherein women
participants joined the allotted lines with utmost discipline anticipating the Lord
to come and bless the occasion.
The dais had a perfect setting with a mini temple of Goddess Varalakshmi having two
idols forming the backdrop. A riot of flowers of various hues with buntings hanging
from the top was heralding grandeur and auspiciousness of the occasion. Ashta
Lakshmi, the symbolic representation of Goddess Mahalakshmi’s eight forces were also
on display in front of the dais adding splendor to the impressive artistic decor
enhancing the spiritual ambience at the venue.
Earlier the proceedings in the morning started with the regular Veda Chanting.
Bhagawan who came at 9:40 and received with Poornakumbham to the accompaniment of
Nadaswaram, took a detour to come on stage. The Veda chanting continued till 10 a.m.
when Bhagawan nodded to start the proceedings of the ritual. The proceeding began
with Bhagawan lighting the ceremonial lamp.
The items for the ritual includes Kalasha covered with mango and betel leaves filled
with water symbolizing prosperity; coconut smeared with vermillion and turmeric
powder will be placed on the Kalasha; a new cloth covered conically is placed on the
The ritual starts with the invocation of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.
Next to invoke is Goddess Varalakshmi and proceed according to 'Sree Sukta Vidhana'
with 'Shodasha Upachara' or 16 forms of ceremonial offerings to Goddess Varalakshmi
while reciting verses from the Sree Suktam. Then they chant Lakshmi Ashtottara
Shatanamam. Nine types of sweets as well as savories are offered to the Goddess.
Hymns are sung in praise of the deity. Another woman is invited; who is considered
to be Goddess Varalakshmi and sweets as well savories are offered. In Prasanthi
Nilayam, in the Divine Presence, it is Sai Mahalakshmi who is adored and invocated
as Varalakshmi during the rituals.
Commencing the proceedings with Ganesha invocation the Chief Priest gave a
scintillating display of anchoring, detailing the procedures interspersed with
commentary on the greater significance of the ritual in the Divine Presence.
Propitiating Sai Mahalakshmi, praying for world peace as a universal common goal, he
continued the proceedings breaking into a poem singing the glory of the attributelss
Lord Shiva. Calling Prasanthi Nilayam verily the Kailasa, the Chief Priest commented
that Lord Shiva with His consort and all the ganas are very much in Prasanthi
Nilayam and it was our great good fortune to celebrate the auspicious occasion in
the Divine Presence.
The ritual for the day commenced at 10:00 am lasted for forty-five minutes. The
Chief Priest went on narrating the greater significance coupled with step by step
instructions for the participants to proceed with the ritual. Bhagawan is the Silent
Witness who confers His Blessings in most subtle way. Throughout the ritual He was
onstage watching the proceedings silently. Upon the end of the forty-five minute
long ritual Bhagawan went for a complete round of the ‘disciplined assembly’
blessing the participants.
At the end of the puja, the Chief Priest narrated the story of how the 'Varalakshmi
Vrata' came in to practice: In Kailasa, Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva as to
whether there was any form of worship that women could perform for fulfillment of
all their desires. Then Lord Shiva suggested that by performing the Varalakshmi
Vratam on the first friday of the Hindu month of Shraavana, a women could attain all
her desires such as a long & happy married life, being blessed with children and
grandchildren, leading a healthy & prosperous life dedicated to right living and
After attaining these instructions, the ever compassionate mother appeaed in a dream
of a pious lady by the name of Charumathi, instructed and guided her to perform the
Varalakshmi Vratam. Upon waking up, she narrated the dream to her husband and her
in-laws and they encouraged her to perform it. So Charumathi performs the vratam
along with many other married women and they were blessed with all auspiciousness
After the story session, the ladies tied sacred thread on the right hand wrist of
each other and exchanged prasadam and other articles of worship. The session
concluded with Arati around 11am.
A sumptuous feast was arranged for all the participants in the South Indian Canteen.
Musical Concert by Anuradha Sriram
The evening was turned into a musical twilight with a scintillating classical
rendering by well known carnatic vocalist cum playback singer Anuradha Sriram taking
the stage, enthralling the Divine and the capacity audience with her touch of
mesmerizing devotional numbers. Invoking Bhagawan addressibng Him as Father,
acknowledging His omnipresence in her life as a guiding force, the singer said that
it was a homecoming for her and it was her great good fortune to be in His presence
singing her heart out for Him.
Matching the perfect ambience set up by the hallowed presence of Bhagawan, the
celebrated singer matched her class with elan rendering a diverse collection of
devotional numbers that lasted for seventy minutes. Singing both Carnatic and
Hindustani, Mrs. Anuradha often crossed the language barrier rendering pieces from
Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and even from Marati.
Starting with “Vatabhi Ganapathim” in Hamsadhwani, she moved on to “Marugelara…”
followed by a special song on the occasion titled, “Ye Bhagyatha Lakshmi Bhagyatha…”
invoking the presiding deity for the auspicious day with passionate calling… While
M.S.Subalakshmi’s famous number on Bhagawan Sri Krishna “Kurai Onrum Illai
Maraimurthi Kanna…” would have taken the Divine to the wonderful days of the
illustrious singer singing in His presence, another number, Lataji’s original piece
on Shirdi Sai, “Mere Sai Teri Murat Rahe Man Mein…” was a touching experience for
the audience as the singer went ecstatic with Sai in physical listening to her
passionate plea…She sang…”Tumhi Mere Maatha… Tumhi Pitha Hamare….” These numbers
were received rounds of applause. A Thukkaram Abhang describing the beauty of
Vittala in Pandarpur, a composition in Rudrapriya Raga on Mother Divine were the
other numbers before signing off with the famous meera bhajan "Payoji Maine Ram
Ratan Dhan"! The singer was accompanied by Sudheendra on the Mridangam Mrs. Nalina
Mohan on Violin, Rajendra on Tabla and Puranik on Harmonium.
Bhagawan blessed the artiste with a chain and followed it up with sarees.
Accompanists were also blessed with sarees and safari pieces. This was followed by a
short stint of Bhajans by students before Manga Arathi was offered.