Varalakshmi Vratam is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Varalakshmi is the one who grants boons (Vara). The Vrata is performed by married women in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. 'Vara Lakshmi Vrata' falls on the Second Friday or the Friday before full moon day or Poornima in the month of Shravan. Married women perform the Vrata for the well being of all the family members and to get progeny. It is said that praying Goddess Lakshmi on this day is equivalent to praying Ashtalaksmi or the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Pleasure, Peace, and Strength.
Significance of Varalakshmi Vratam:
Eight forces or energies are known as Siri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvati (learning), Priti (Love), Keerthi (Fame), Shanthi (Peace), Santushti (Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength). Each of these forces is called Lakshmi, and the eight forces are known as Ashta Lakshmi. Lord Vishnu is the asylum for the eight-Lakshmis or forces. These forces are personified and worshipped as Lakshmi. The festival is observed mainly by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children.
There lived a Brahmin woman called Charumathi in Kundina city. Pleased by her devotion towards her family, Goddess Mahalakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to observe Vara-Lakshmi Vrata. Varalakshmi is the form of Lord Vishnu's consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Charumathi explained her dream to her family. Many women of the village joined her for the puja in a traditional way. They prayed with deep devotion. As per the legend, this is a puja that was pronounced by Lord Parameswara to be performed by his consort Goddess Parvati to seek prosperity and happiness for the family. Thus it came to be emulated by married women who sought boons (Varam) for the entire family.
Celebration and Rituals:
Women wake up early in the morning and take a bath. The designated puja area and the house are cleaned, and a beautiful ‘kolam’ or rangoli is drawn. A bronze or silver pot is cleaned thoroughly, and a swastika symbol is drawn with sandalwood paste. The pot is filled with raw rice, water, coins, a whole lime, five different kinds of leaves, and beetle nut. The pot is covered with a cloth. Mango leaves are placed on the top of the pot. A Coconut smeared with turmeric is placed on the Mango leaves. An image of Goddess Lakshmi is fixed or drawn using turmeric powder on Coconut. The pot symbolically represents Goddess Lakshmi. It is usually placed on a bed of rice. First, Lord Ganesha is worshipped. Varalakshmi Puja consists of singing shlokas and Lakshmi Sahasranamam. Arati is performed. The woman who is observing the Varalakshmi Puja observes fast till the puja period. The next day, after taking a bath the pot is dismantled, and the water in the pot is sprinkled in the house.