Mahalakshmi Vrat is a sacred observance by Hindus. This festival is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and fortune. Mahalakshmi Vrat Starts on August 25 and ends on September 10, which is a 16-day festival that starts on Shukla Ashtami in Bhadrapada which occurs under August to September.
Significance of Mahalakshmi Vrat:
According to mpanchang, 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.
Rituals of Mahalakshmi Vrat:
- On the day of Mahalakshmi Vrat (Bhadrapada Shukla Ashtami), devotees wake up at sunrise and take an early bath. Special prayers are offered to Goddess Lakshmi every morning for 16 continuous days. All the eight forms of Mahalakshmi are worshipped during this period.
- In some regions, devotees also worship Surya Bhagwan during this period. Devotees offer ‘aargya’ to Sun God every day at the time of sunrise.
- As a part of the ritual, sixteen knots are tied in a string and the observer of Mahalakshmi Vrat wears it on his/her left hand.
- Devotees worship the idol of Goddess Lakshmi with utmost dedication and pray the Goddess to shower happiness and prosperity on their entire family. After the puja, sixteen Durva grass is tied together. It is dipped in water and then sprinkled over the body. At the end of the puja, Mahalakshmi Vrat Katha is recited every day.
- The observer of Mahalakshmi Vrat follows it for a complete 16 days with full austerity. Eating non-vegetarian food is completely restricted during this period.
- During Mahalakshmi Vrat, reading religious books like ‘Lakshmi Sahasranaam’, ‘Satanamavali’ and ‘Lakshmi Ashtottara’ is considered to be highly beneficial.
- The fast is ended on Ashwin Krishna Ashtami after offering evening prayers to Goddess Lakshmi. On the last day, a Purna Kumbha or Kalash is worshipped. The Kalash is filled with water, a few coins, and akshatas.