Essentials of Lakshmi Pooja
Lakshmi Pooja is a devout festival that falls on Amavasya, the third day of Deepawali. Devotees show veneration to the Goddess Laxmi by placing small oil lamps or candles inside and outside their homes. They pray for prosperity and well-being for their families and businesses. According to legend, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Lord Vishnu’s wife, visits her devotees and bestows gifts and blessings upon each of them. To welcome the Goddess, devotees clean their houses, decorate them with finery and lights, and prepare sweet treats and delicacies as offerings. They believe the happier the goddess is with the visit, the more she blesses the family with health, wealth and prosperity.
Hence, here are a few fundamentals of Lakshmi Pooja which needs to be followed in order to make the goddess happy.
- The pooja begins by laying down a piece of new cloth on a raised platform. A handful of grains are placed in the center of the cloth and a kalasha (vase) made of either of these metals i.e. gold, silver, or copper is placed over it. Three-quarters of the kalasha is filled with water and betel nut, a flower, a coin, and some rice grains are added to it. Leaves from a mango tree are used to decorate the vase. On top of which is kept a coconut.
- Another silver vase is kept filled with coins and beside it is placed the idols of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. Beside this is kept the account books, in order to be worshipped.
- A lamp is lit and the pooja initiates by offering turmeric, kumkum, and lotus flowers to the Goddess Lakshmi. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped by reciting the Vedic mantras addressed to her:
- Aum Aing Saraswathye Namah Aum
- Saraswati Namasthubhyam Varade Kamarupini Vidhyarambam Karishyami Siddhir Bavathume Sadha
- Om Aing Mahasaraswatyai Namah
- Vad Vad Vaagwaadinee Swaha
- The idol of Lakshmi is placed in a plate and is bathed with water, panchamrita (a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar) and then with water containing a gold ornament or a pearl. The idol is cleaned and placed back on the kalasha. Alternately, flowers, water and panchamrita are sprinkled on the idol.
- Also, drawing footprints of Lakshmi towards pooja house is said to bring in prosperity and happiness.
- Offerings such as sandal paste, garland of cotton beads, saffron paste, turmeric, kumkum are made to the Goddess. An offering of sweets, coconut, fruits, and tambul is also made later.
- Towards the end of the ritual, Aarti is performed which is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.