Thursday, July 25, 2024

Tales and Legends of the Sacred Varalakshmi Vratam

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Varalakshmi Vratam or Varalakshmi Vrata is a cherished ritual fast that is observed predominantly in Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. This traditional fast holds deep spiritual significance for a large number of Sanatana Dharma since Vedic times. The worship of Goddess Lakshmi and devout faith in her benevolence marks this auspicious occasion. Devotees pay their respect to this deity of prosperity and wealth by observing a ritual fast on the Shukla Paksha Shukrawar just before Shravan Poornima.

Varalakshmi Vratham Vidhi
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Rooted in ancient legends and stories, Varalakshmi Vratam is as popular as the Krava Chauth of the Northern States of India. However, this fast is not only observed by married women. All women, who seek hope and blessings from the divine mother Lakshmi, can observe the Varalaksmi Vratam and puja. Here are a few stories that are a part of the Varalakshmi Vrata:

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The Legend of Charumati’s Devotion

The Skanda Purana narrates the tale of Charumati, a devout wife and mother. Once Goddess Parvati was intrigued by the idea of a ‘vrat’ or fast that is beneficial for women and society. Thus, she placed her questions to Lord Shiva to obtain his divine guidance. Using the story of Charumati, Lord Shiva introduced Goddess Parvati to the essence of Varalakshmi Vratam.

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Charumati was a pious woman with an unfailing devotion to Goddess Lakshmi. One day the Goddess of Prosperity, Ma Lakshmi, appeared in Charumati’s dream. She instructed Charumati to perform the Varalakshmi puja and fast. Goddess Lakshmi explained the rituals in depth for this ritual fast. Charumati, following her guidance, kept a ‘vrat’ on the Shukrawar before Shravan Purnima. She invited the people of her community and performed the puja wholeheartedly. Consequently, everyone received the blessings of Ma Lakshmi. The whole town prospered and its credit went to the women who performed their ritual fast to please Goddess Lakshmi. Since then women of Southern India have observed this traditional fast on the Friday before the Shravan Poornima during Shukla Paksha.

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The Tale Shyamabala’s Faith

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The tale of Princess Shyamabala is one of dedication and faith. The story unfolds in the palace of King Bathrasiravas and Queen Surachandrika. Once when Princess Shyamabala was visiting her parent’s kingdom, she saw her mother dismiss an old woman advocating Varalakshmi puja and fast. However, the woman’s words or wisdom caught Shyamabala’s attention. She received the old woman separately and attentively heard the details of the ritual. Convinced by the old woman’s story, she vowed to embrace the greatness of the Varalaxmi Vrata.

When Shyamabala returned to her husband’s kingdom, she performed the Varalakshmi Vrata as directed by the old woman. Her perseverance was blessed by the ‘aashirwad’ of Ma Lakshmi.

Prosperity embraced her land and her husband’s governance was acclaimed. Contrarily, her parents’ kingdom witnessed great suffering and chaos. In a poignant realization, Shyamabala’s mother recognized the wisdom of the old woman’s words. Princess Shyamabala realized that the woman was none other than Goddess Lakshmi herself.

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Shyamabala’s actions initiated their journey of faith in Ma Lakshmi. The prosperity of her husband’s family was a gift from the Goddess. Thus, she told her mother to seek forgiveness from the Goddess. The queen ardently requested absolution from Goddess Lakshmi for her lack of civility and faith. Later, the queen also performed the Varalaxmi Vrata to restore harmony in her kingdom. Thus, this tale of Princess Shyamabala underscores the need for all to follow the path of Dharma. 

The Story of Chitranemi’s Curse

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The fascinating legend of Varalaxmi Vrata and puja emerges from the tale of Chitranemi’s curse. Long ago Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati amused each other by playing a game of dice. Devi Parvati and Lord Shiva’s game went to a draw. To determine a clear winner, they asked the assembled Shiva Gana to choose who truly won the game. Chitranemi was a devout Shiva Gana, he said that in his eyes the winner shall always be Lord Shiva. Irritated by the response, Goddess Parvati cursed him with leprosy. Seeking redemption, Shiva implored Ma Parvati to revoke the curse. After calming down, Devi Parvati told Chitranemi to go live by a holy pond to witness and learn the vrat and puja by the Apsaras. This would gain him redemption from the curse. 

Thus, Chitranemi left Kailash and went to live by the pond to await the day of the rituals by the Apsaras. During Shuklapaksha’s ‘Shukrawar’ or Friday before the Poornima or full moon day in the month of Shravan, the Apsaras descended to the holy pond and started their rituals. Chitranemi approached the ladies and begged to know the secrets of the ceremony. The pious woman took pity on the leper and told him about the Varalakshmi Vrata. They told him that the ritual fast and puja resulted in the blessings of Goddess Laxmi.

The knowledge freed Chitranemi from the curse and he embarked on a journey to spread the knowledge of this wonderous ritual. Thus, Chitranemi’s plight and eventual enlightenment marked the inception of Varalakshmi Vrata on Prithvilok. Therefore through Ma Parvati’s ‘leela’, the ritual fasting and puja of Ma Lakshmi reached all corners of Vedic India. 


Varalakshmi Vratam or Varalakshmi Vrata symbolizes the divine faith and devotion of Sanatan Dharma followers in Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Her rituals and puja invoke the blessing of abundance and prosperity. The tales of Charumati’s devotion, Shyamabala’s faith, and Chitranemi’s curse underscore the essence of the sacred tradition of Lakshmi Puja. As women partake in this ritual fasting, they embrace a journey to connect with the divine cosmos. This path leads them to receive the benevolence of Goddess Lakshmi. Sanatan Dharma followers must show devotion and perform prayers to lead a Dharmic life. Moreover, they must not just plead the great divine powers for prosperity, harmony, and plentitude; they must also hope to attain enlightenment and ‘moksha’ via a connection to the divine through these sacred rituals.

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