The Lakshmi Puja performed during Diwali is the most auspicious ritual. Lakshmi is the goddess of prosperity and wealth, and is worshipped by the people for the well being of the family. The day of Lakshmi Puja falls on the dark night of Amavasya. People light up diyas outside their homes in the hope that Goddess Lakshmi will come and bless them. There is a popular belief that Goddess Lakshmi visits only those houses that are clean and tidy and where hardworking and sincere people reside. Furthermore, she avoids those houses which are disorderly and where people are lethargic. Thus, before Diwali, people thoroughly clean their homes and paint them in new colors.
Goddess Lakshmi is the divine wife of Lord Vishnu and the daughter of Sage Bhrigu. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi was incarnated during the Samudra Manthan when the Gods and Demons churned the ocean. When Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean, everyone was mesmerized by her beauty. Lakshmi Puja is performed as a combined worship of five deities - Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi in her three forms as Mahalakshmi, Mahasarswati and Mahakali, and the last deity Kuber. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening with the recitation of Vedic chants and singing of bhajans.
Steps Of Lakshmi Puja
Firstly, you need to clean up the entire place of worship, and then spread a new cloth on a raised platform. Place a handful of grains in the center and then a Kalash (pitcher) made of gold, silver, copper or terracotta over the grains. Fill the Kalash three-fourth with water and place a beetle nut, a flower, a coin and some grains in it. Decorate the Kalash with five mango leaves and draw a lotus with turmeric powder over the rice grains and finally cover it with a plate filled with grains. Establish the idol of Goddess Lakshmi over the turmeric lotus and place some coins too.
The worship of Lord Ganesha along with Goddess Lakshmi is considered to be very auspicious. Place the idol of Ganesha in front of the Kalash on the right (South-West) direction. Also place inks and books related to business or trade in the same platform in front of the Ganesha idol in order to welcome good-luck and prosperity. The puja is commenced by lighting a diya or lamp and continued further by offering haldi, kumkum and flowers to the deities on the platform. Next, these things are offered to the water that would be used while performing the puja.
Prayers are offered to Goddess Lakshmi either or not by reciting Vedic mantras. Alternatively, prayers can be offered by simply closing your eyes and remembering Goddess Lakshmi and then presenting flowers to her. Next, rest the idol in a clean plate and bathe it with water and panchamrit, a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar. Finally, clean the idol with water containing some gold ornament or pearl. Wipe the idol, dry and clean and place it back on the Kalash. Now, it is time to confer offerings to the deities; hence, offer sandal paste, saffron paste, perfume, haldi, kumkum and gulal to the idol. Next, offer a garland made of cotton beads to both the deities.
Light an incense stick or dhoop batti and offer flowers and sweets. Worship the safe or almirah where you keep your money and valuables as a symbol of Lord Kuber. The Lakshmi puja concludes with the performance of aarti to the deities. The aarti is performed with only a small bell, and is not accompanied by clasps, unlike while performing aarti to other Gods. A tranquil and peaceful ambiance should be maintained and bursting crackers or any other noise during the puja should be avoided.