Varalakshmi Vratam falls during Shukla Paksha of Hindu month Shravan and it is observed on first Friday before Shravan Purnima. Shravan Purnima is observed as Raksha Bandhan in most Indian states. Varalakshmi Vratam also happens to be second Friday in Shravan month. Currently it falls in month of July or August in English calendar.
Cleaning the house
People with satvik qualities will like cleanliness. If we throw the unwanted things in the house- it will automatically be clean. But unfortunately this can be done by people with clear mind. Otherwise, they will think that everything is important.
I am not telling to throw everything from the house and lead a life of a sadhu in a cave. Slowly slowly do it. May be do little every year. This will automatically relax the mind. More clutter in the house represents more clutter in the mind.
Remove the dust and dirt in the house and clean up the fridge. Throw or give away the old food. Start fresh.
If we perform the pooja in a clutter it will not please our mind and will also not please the guests.
But people might argue saying that they are so devoted in bhakti that they don’t mind the clutter and their concentration is fully on the pooja. This is unbelievable. Because people with satvik mind can only concentrate on one thing and they will naturally like cleanliness. If somebody is doing the pooja with complete concentration and not liking the cleanliness is absurd. If they have so much of concentration then they will not be a grahasti but will be in caves.Or they are doing the cleaning just for the pooja and finding it difficult to follow on a daily basis. Even this is possible. It is important to clean and maintain it.
We need to clean our mind and at the same time we also need to maintain it – so that more clutter doesn’t enter.
Every year I did some improvements to the decoration.
I am giving an idea of the decoration. I am sure with these ideas you will be able to do a wonderful job.
Take a stainless steel or plastic dhabha (box ) like this. Fill some shredded paper into it. To create some weight. Cover it with the lid.
Take another container in steel or in plastic. This has to be smaller in the diameter than the first one. Even if it is in the cylindrical shape it is fine. But if you can find a bowl shaped like mine then it will give a good shape to the body of Goddess Lakshmi. Again fill the second container (in my case the pink one) with some more shredded paper to gain weight. Stick both the containers with the cello tape. Use generously – otherwise it may not be sturdy. Use the bigger cello tape like the one in the picture and not the small one.
While choosing the second container (pink) – choose the one in which your sombhu (kalasam) will fit in exactly. If you cannot find one like this – then cover the second dhabha with the lid and put cello tape with the dhabha and the sombhu.
Take a thick stick. I could not find a thick one. So I tied 3 bamboo sticks together with a rubber band at both the sides.
I have taken these sticks from a broken bamboo chair in our house. Can use a wooden scale.
Tie a rope to one end of the stick and keep it on the sombhu. Just go over it and bring it in the front and tie at the other end. Just see in the picture that there is no rope at the back of the sombhu. It is supported only by the stick. What I mean is don’t tie going around the sombhu.In this way if you tie the stick will be sturdy. You can put any heavy flower mala – still it will stand properly. This can be done well in advance. In fact you can keep it as it is and use it every year. This is a one time job.
Decide the place where you want to perform the pooja. I always do in my pooja room.Choose a place which will not affect the daily activities. Take a table like the one I have shown. If the table is not in good condition cover it with a cloth and decorate. In my case it was in good condition so I didn’t feel the need to cover it. I have just covered and shown an example.People normally invert the side table or stool and do the decoration as a mandapam. In that case, elevate it then it will look good and smart. I don’t advice to use a stool as the space inside will be too less and it will look cramp.
How to tie a sari for the Goddess? Take a new dupatta. Make pleats till half way.Tie the bottom.We will open it before the pooja so that the pleat will stand well.Fold the dupatta and tie a tread in between and tie it to the sombhu. As this is the waist of the goddess.
Bring the edge around and make pleats and put the pallu. In the back side make a V shape. Bring it in the front and tuck it inside as shown in the picture.
The sari is ready. Tie it with a waist chain to secure.
Take a coconut which is elongated. Mix turmeric powder and water. Apply this paste on the coconut. Allow it to dry. In the top portion (which is called a kudumi) tie a cloth in the colour brown or dark blue. This will look like the hair for the Goddess. See the 4 th picture in the rope insert the Goddess face. Decorate the head with jewels as though it looks like a mukut. I have bought various rakhis and tied on the head.
For the hair style. Cut a chart paper in circle and a rectangle. A small hair will look beautiful and not a very long hair. Take accordingly. Just staple or stick with a glue some flowers. In picture 4 you can see that I have attached a kunjalam too. In case you don’t have one just buy some wool in black or dark blue and staple it. Tie this hair deco at the back of the goddess.
I use my gold jewels for the decoration. I prefer to use it as a waist chain (oddiyanam) as the visibility will be more. If you use it as a necklace for the Goddess it is not clearly visible.
To keep the bindi round for the lamp. Mix sandalwood powder or turmeric with water and make a paste. Make tiny balls and press it flat. Stick this to the lamp. On this keep some kumkum.
With this decoration part is over.
Next step – pooja
Detailed description of the pooja is given in this site. The mantras or slokas are available in English. Have a look and take a print out. It is very useful. Also buy a cassette of the slokas. To remind you it is a mantra meditation so do it with full concentration.
If by chance you don’t have a audio cassette or CD – you can download from this site.
All the pooja instructions are given very clearly in these sites so I don’t want to repeat them.
In the pooja slokas you need to tell the thidi and nakshatram of the day of pooja.
This is available at this site (below) or type thidi and nakshatram of today in google- u will get it.
To know more about the pooja also have a look at this site.
Next it is food
Food for the Goddess and for the Guests.
I will write a detailed article as to how we can prepare these food with ease and entertain the guests smartly.
The normal naivedyam are payasam, vada, idli, appam, sundal and also the maha neivedayam of rice, dhal and ghee.
Also buy some gifts for your guests. This depends on your and your guests interest.
Pack and keep them ready.
What is this madi?
To have a satvik mind we need to be clean and pure. By having a bath and wearing the clean clothes our aura is cleansed. In the brahmin community there is a lot of superstitious believes in this concept. They will create a confusion in the house to keep their mind satvik.
Have a bath be pure. The most important inner cleanliness to have a satvik mind is to finish the toilet in the morning. If the tummy is clean then the mind will be clear.
So I recommend the women performing the pooja to follow a satvik diet atleast one week before the pooja. Drink enough water and eat fruits. In case of very acute constipation consult a doctor and take treatment. This will help to clear the mind.
The next day we need to do punar pooja and keep the goddess in the pot of rice.
Last but not the least….After doing all this; how are you looking? Remember you are the Goddess Lakshmi of the house sitting in the lotus of wisdom. You have decorated your own idol. So you should also look like the Lakshmi. So plan in advance for your dressing up and look gorgeous. I am sure it is difficult to look good after so much of work. Never mind. Apply few layers of eyeliners or do anything but look pleasant. The guest and the family members will appreciate all your efforts only if you look good. Otherwise, they will say why did you do all this ! look at yourself ! If you also look good. I am sure your respect in the family and friends will increase. Somehow dressup well.
Watch this video as to how to tie madisar….
I wish I have motivated you to try a day in your life in the satvik way………..Be happy….. do as much as you can with ease……..All the very best………..