Lakshmi Panchami, also known as Shri Panchami or Shri vrat, is a day devoted to Mata Lakshmi. She is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity and removes poverty. Lakshmi Panchami is mainly observed on the fifth day during shukla paksha of chaitra masa. It is also known as Kalpa day as it marks the beginning of one kalp. Devotees observe this day by fasting in the name of Lakshmi Devi.
Lakshmi Panchami is a day specially observed to offer prayers to Mata Lakshmi. Bhagwan Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity and is worshipped by devotees on this day to seek blessings of financial improvement and success. According to ancient Hindu scriptures, Adi Lakshmi is considered to be the Supreme Mother, omnipresent and taking care of exact needs of life. Mata Lakshmi is the wife of Bhagwan Vishnu who sustains, protects and preserves lives on earth. She is always seen as dressed in red with four hands holding lotus in upper right and left hands, while the lower left holds a kalash filled with gold coins bent in front and lower right hands shows the Abhay mudra depicting fearlessness and protection.
On this day, a personalized puja and havan are performed. Puja is done on a specific muhurat predicted by the astrologer. Puja vidhi vidhan is performed by experienced purohits.
Deities associated with the festival:
Mata Lakshmi along with Bhagwan Vishnu is worshipped on the auspicious occasion of Lakshmi Panchami.
Origin & Significance:
The exact origin of the festival is now known but there are many stories and kathas mentioned for this day. As mentioned in ancient scriptures, a very famous story tells us that once upon a time, there was a saint named Durvasa who paid a visit to Bhagwan Indra. As a token of respect, he offered a Garland to Indraji and thought that he would wear it around his neck. Instead, Bhagwan Indra placed it on the head of Airavat, the divine elephant. Airavat shunned his head when the garland fell down. As a result of this occurrence, Durvasa was filled with grief and criticized Bhagwan Indra for the disrespectful treatment. He cursed Indra that his Indralok will get ruined, exactly in the manner the garland got destroyed. Just after this incident, Indralok started seeing damage and destruction. Vegetables and others grains started rotting and people of the Indralok started suffering from several diseases. As a result, Bhagwan Indra visited Bhagwan Vishnu (preserver of religion and universe) to seek his help. Bhagwan Vishnu advised him to make Asura and Devtas come together and stir the primeval ocean to extract elixir (amrit) from it so that Devtas could restore their powers back. Mata Lakshmi rose in the course of churning of the ocean, to help the Devtas in regaining their wealth and power.
Another legend goes that once Yudhishtir, the first of the five Pandava brothers, asked Shri Krishna about how blessings of Shri Lakshmi can be endowed. It is said that Bhrigu Muni married a women named Khyati who gave birth to Lakshmi ji. Bhrigu Muni then got Laksmiji married to Vishnu Ji. Mata Lakshmi started bestowing her blessings to people and people on earth were happy. This filled Devatas with arrogance and they forgot their duties. Seeing this, Mata Lakshmi got angry and went to Asuras. Asuras on gaining shri Vahini blessings got proud and compared themselves with Devtas/Brahmin. Maa Lakshmi got very angry on this and hid herself in the sea (sheer sagar). Seeing this, King of Indralok Devraj Indra, visited Brahaspatiji and asked how to regain Sri Vahini’s blessings. Subsequently, the asuras also tried to please her and observed a fast in name of Mata Lakshmi. Devraj Indra decided to churn milky ocean to gain amrit and seek blessings of Mata Lakshmi. Mata Lakshmi got pleased with the prayers and offerings of Devas and Asuras and asked them to celebrate this day as Lakshmi Panchami which mainly occurs in shukla paksha of chaitra maah.
It is highly believed that worshipping Bhagwan Lakshmi on this day by chanting mantras and offering prayers to Lakshmi, brings wealth, health and prosperity in people’s lives. Devotees also observe fast on this day to seek blessings of Ma Lakshmi. Significant pujas are conducted and offerings like sandalwood, garland of flowers, rice, betel nut, bananas and a red thread are offered to Mata Lakshmi.
Customs, Traditions & Rituals:
On the day of Lakshmi Panchami devotees wake up early in the morning, take a bath and wear clean clothes. They clean their houses and the place where puja has to be performed. The main ritual of Laksmi Panchami is the Shri Vrat, or the fast observed by devotees. Fasting, known as ‘Shri Vrat’, is observed during the day and it is done by both men and women. Before observing the fast, devotees chant sutra and mantras of Mata Lakshmi. The Lakshmi Stotram and Kanakadhara Stotram are recited by the devotees. Those observing fast on this day should consume only fruits, milk and sweets on this day, they should not have rice, roti or any other food item. A special prasad, known as kheer or rice pudding is prepared on this day. Puja is necessarily performed by married couples. On the day of Lakshmi Panchami, the devotees who observe fast, invite a total of seven unmarried or younger girls and treat them significantly, by applying haldi-kumkum to them. Special prasad is offered to them along with bananas and a book of Mahalakshmi.
Puja Vrat, Vidhi & Katha:
Devotees who celebrate Lakshmi Panchami wake up early in the morning, clean the whole house and especially the place where Bhagwan Lakshmi is worshipped.
- Murti of Lakshmi ji
- Red Cloth
- Small toran of Mango leaves
- Betel leaves, Betel nut, Sandalwood, Red flower, coconut and banana leaves
- Clean the place of worship
- Spread a red cloth and place the murti of Lakshmiji over it.
- Decorate the Shri Yantra kalash by tying mango leaves around its neck.
- Fill water in the kalash and also place some gold or silver coins in the kalash.
- Spread some rice grains near lakshmiji’s murti and place the kalash on the rice.
- Offer red flowers, banana leaves, sandalwood, supari, beetle leaves, beetle nut and coconut to Ma Lakshmi.
- Offer prasad to Ma Lakshmi
- Recite Lakshmi Stotram and Mantras and offer prayers to Ma Lakshmi.
- After the Puja, serve the prasad to family and visitors.
Devotees who follow the Lakshmi Panchami Vrat with utmost sincerity and honesty are surely blessed with peace, fortune and success.
“Sarvabadha Virnimukte, Dhan Dhaanya Sutaanvit.
Manushyo Matprasadein, Bhavishyati Na Sanshay”
Meaning: Worship the Goddess to eradicate all evil forces and bless everyone with a prosperous and better future.
Celebrations across India:
Lakshmi Panchami is a famous festival in Hindu community. It is celebrated all over India, with great zeal and enthusiasm. Many people confuse it with Basant Panchami, a day when Maa Saraswati is worshipped. Hindus throughout the country worship the Goddess of wealth and prosperity and perform pujas at home and in office. Some business houses perform elaborative pujas on this day seeking blessings for success and growth.
Benefits of celebrating the festival:
Mata Lakshmi is known to provide wealth, bring good luck, happiness and prosperity in devotees life. Mata Lakshmi brings different types of wealth to her worshipers as:
- Fame, status and reputation.
- Knowledge and education
- Health and well-being of an individual.
- Courage to struggle in life and power of resistance.
- Well blessed and nicely behaved children.
- Gold and Gems.
- Spiritual upliftment
- High moral values and ethical behaviour.
- Surplus of food and grains.