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Then & Now
A day in Ashram


‘The festival Varalakshmi Vratam is performed in the month of Sravana and is undertaken by Sumangalis (whose husbands are still living) for good progeny, good health, and wishing long life for the husbands and the family. This festival is to propitiate Sri Varalakshmi (Mahalakshmi), the consort of Lord Vishnu, who is the embodiment of all Mangalam (auspiciousness).

On the 12th of August 2005, this Vratam was performed in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Sai Kulwant Hall. A large number of ladies occupied both sides of the Hall beholding the beauteous form of the Lord. It was a sight to see their joyful visages, performing the Puja meticulously to the instructions of the priests. Legend has it that this Vratam was narrated by Lord Siva Himself. Here in Prasanthi Nilayam, they were fortunate to perform the same in the Divine Presence of Sai Siva Himself.

Sai Kulwant Hall was ornately decorated with beautiful flowers and an idol of Goddess Lakshmi was placed on the stage. Huge pictures of Bhagawan and Goddess Varalakshmi adorned the pillars of the darshan Hall. The Puja began with Ganapati Prarthana (Ganapati worship). A silver idol of Goddess Varalakshmi and other requisite Puja materials were supplied to the participants of the Vratam. During the course of the Puja, the chief priest narrated the legend of the Vratam, which reads as follows: Goddess Parvati once asked Lord Siva to recommend her a Vratam, which would be beneficial for the womenfolk on earth who seek prosperity. Then, Lord Siva preached her about Varalakshmi Vratam (as mentioned in Skanda Puranam). To illustrate the sanctity of this Vratam, Lord Siva then narrated the story of one Charumati. Charumati was a true Pativrata (devoted to husband in all sincerity). Pleased with her true and undivided devotion to her husband, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in her dream and advised her to undertake the Varalakshmi Vratam on the auspicious day of Sravana Shukla Shukra Varam. Charumati performed this Puja with utmost devotion, the same day, in the dream itself (Manasika Puja). The next day she narrated this dream to her husband, and with his full consent, to all other womenfolk in town. On the auspicious day, she did not fail to perform Varalakshmi Vratam as prescribed to her by Goddess Parvati. Then some miracles took place. Everything seemed bountiful. Ever since, this Vratam has been regularly performed in households.

At the end of the Puja, Arati was performed. An announcement was made that all participants would be served with sumptuous lunch as prasad in the canteen. A musical programme by renowned artiste Nityashree Mahadevan was also announced to be held in the evening session. To crown it all, Bhagawan Himself went round the participants showering His benedictions.