Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. Varalakshmi is one who grants boons (Varam). It is an important pooja performed by many women in the states of Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. The Hindu festival going by the name 'Vara Lakshmi Vrata' is celebrated on the Second Friday or the Friday before full moon day - Poornima in the month of Sravaṇa, also called Sawan in Hindi, which corresponds to the English months of July–August. Varalakshmi Vratam is performed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially husband, to get progeny etc. It is believed that worshiping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. Because of the popularity in some states of India, it is declared as an optional official holiday in India. Story: On one occasion, Parvati and Parameswara were engaged in a game of chess. Parvati was winning game after game, but Parameswara is said to have claimed the victory at each games, wantonly, to her intense chagrin. So Parvati wanted to have an umpire and one Chitranemi, a creation of Parameswara, was chosen. As an underling of Parameswara, he sided with him most unjustly. This provoked Parvati's anger and she cursed Chitranemi that he should become a leper for discharging his duty in most unfair manner. When Chitranemi begged Parvati's forgiveness and Parameswara added his entreaties to it, she is said to have relented and modified the curse by adding that he would be cured of his leprosy by observing the Vara Lakshmi Vrata. By doing this Chitranemi was, it is said, rid of the loathsome disease. The history of the origin Of the Vara Lakshmi Vratam is rather interesting. Lakshmi is said to have visited a pious woman by name Sarmadi, living in the city of Kuntinapura in Magadha (Bihar), in one of her dreams and expressed her satisfaction at her devotion to her children. When she woke up from her sleep, she took a bath and worshiped Lakshmi to ensure her blessings. When the other ladies heard of her dream and her worship of Lakshmi, they too began to worship her, and the custom is then said to have spread everywhere throughout the land in course of time.
A person observing fast of Satyanarayan gets over the charisma. The fast is the giver of good deeds and merits. And, it is an excellent fast in both worlds, heaven and death. The individual, who observe this fast in a systematic way, gets happiness on earth and receive salvation at the time of death. In this Vrat, other than God Satyanarayan, Lord Ram, Lakshman, Krishna and Ganesha are also worshiped. Hence, the auspicious blessings of all these Gods are acquired by the person. Materials for Satynarayan Pooja The materials required for observing Satyanarayan Vrat are as follows:- poles of banana, urn, Panchratan, rice, camphor, incense sticks, garland of flowers, coconut, seasonal fruit, Navedy(kind of Prasadam or offering), Kalawa(auspicious thread), leaves of mango, clothes, rose flowers, small lamps(deepak), basil, pan(betel leaf), Panchamrit(milk, curd, ghee, honey, sugar), saffron, festoon(bandhanwar decoration), post, picture of Lord Satyanarayan. Procedure of Satyanarayan Poojan The person observing this fast, should take bath in the evening time of this day. After becoming clean, he should sit at the place of Puja, and first of all establish the post, then place the idol of Lord Satyanarayan at that place. After this, out of all deity, Lord Ganesha is worshiped first. Followed by Goddess Sita- Lord Ram, Radha-Krishan, Mata Lakshmi, Lord Shiva and Bhrama.Additionally, a resolution is taken, “God Satyanarayan, I am worshiping you with full devotion and faith, Kindly hear my prayer and fulfil my wishes. I offer you water, fruit and other materials, please accept it.”After that, story(katha) of Satyanarayan God is read or heard. After worshiping, Arti is taken of all Gods. Then, Charanamrit(milk, water mixture) is taken and Prasadam is distributed. Later, the Priest(Purohit) is given alms, clothes and meal. After Purohit’s meal is over, blessings are taken from them. Now, food should be eaten. Source : astrobix
In India, one plant you are bound to find in most of the Hindu homes is the holy basil. Commonly known as Tulsi, the plant is a very important and strong symbol of the Hindu community. Many Hindu mythologies, like the Gita and the Puranas, liken the Tulsi tree with various Indian Gods and Goddesses. As such, having a Tulsi plant at home is considered very auspicious. In the Sanskrit language, the term 'Tulsi' means "the incomparable one". In our country, two different forms of the Tulsi plants are found, the dark 'Shyama' Tulsi and the light 'Rama' Tulsi. There are numerous mentions of the Tulsi in the stories, folklore and the quotes in the Indian mythologies. As per one such story, Tulsi was actually a gopi who was madly and truly in love with Lord Krishna. The plant also finds mention in many stories related to the famous Krishna devotee, Mirabai. The significance of Tulsi is sketched out in one tale, in which Krishna was weighed in gold and even the entire jewelry of His consort, Satyabhama, could not outweigh Him, until a Tulsi was placed on the other scale. As per the Indian tradition, it is mandatory that all those people who plant Tulsi in their homes to take proper care of it. You may also find many people worshipping the Tulsi plant. It is regarded as Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and the consort of Lord Vishnu. Devotees offer a garland of its leaves to the Lord as part of the daily ritual. Due to time constraint, many people may simply offer water to the plant once or twice a day and place a diya under it. Tulasi occupies the sixth position amongst the eight objects needed for worship in Hindu rituals. If there is a Tulsi plant in a home, it reflects the religious bent of mind of the family members. Infact, a specific tubular shaped structure is often built in a specific corner of the house to plant Tulsi. Many religious people wear garlands made out of its stems. The manufacture of Tulasi necklaces takes place in the form of a cottage industry in places of pilgrimage and temple towns. Another name for Tulsi, within the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, is Vrindadevi, meaning Goddess of Vrindavan'. Known by the name of Holy Basil in English, the leaves of the Tulsi plant have medicinal properties and have long been known to be used in the treatment of various sicknesses. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. The juice of its leaves is used for treating cough, cold, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation and other illnesses. Tulsi leaves are very aromatic, so some people like to add them to their tea to get a unique flavor. source : iloveindia
The Hindu ritual of aarti accrues from the ancient Vedic concept of fire ceremony or the 'homa'. Generally, one or more wicks made of cotton, or thin cloth strip, is soaked in ghee or camphor, lighted and offered to the deity. The term 'aarti' may also refer to the traditional Hindu devotional songs that are sung while the fire ritual is being performed. Apart from the national anthem of India, perhaps, the only other song sung popularly and lovingly across all age and social groups and regions is the aarati. Though arti may be sung differently in different parts of the Indian subcontinent, the core intention never varies. All aarti songs signify the highest form of love for God. As per Indian beliefs and tradition, worshiping God through 'bhava' or emotion is the highest form of worship. And in arti, both the singing of the traditional hymn, or the devotional song, and the fire serve to prevent the deflection of the worshipper's concentration from the act. In Sanskrit, the term aarti can be broken up into two words - "aa' meaning towards and "rati" meaning the highest love for God. Traditionally, aarati is done two or three times a day, at the conclusion of a puja, bhajan or havan. It is a mandatory ritual performed on all auspicious occasions of Hindus. The aarti thali, which contains diya, flowers, incense and akshata, is circulated in front of the deity and arti song is sung by all members present there. When arti is performed before God, it is believed that the plate and the light get blessed by the deity. The pandit, or the priest, passes on the arti plate from one person to another, present there, who cup the flickering fire lightly with their down-turned hands. Then, they put their hands over the flame and then touch their forehead, as a gesture of seeking holy blessings. The plate on which the aarati is performed is usually made of silver, bronze or copper. Aarti is also performed in front of a person, either as a welcome gesture or to ward off bad influences from him. Infact, the whole purpose of arti is to ward off the evil spirits and bad omens. In India, the aarti is also performed before people of high status, little kids during certain ceremonies, on people embarking or returning from a long journey (especially if it's a pilgrimage) and on a newly married couple when they enter their house for the first time, etc. The arti is also performed on some newly acquired land and before initiating some pertinent chore. There are different types of arti for different Indian deities and often arti contains important snippets about them. Source: iloveindia.com
Kedara vratam was performed by Parvathi to become a part of Lord Shiva (Arthanareeswara) originally. It is one such penance which grants all one’s wishes. This vratam can be performed by people of all varnas, equally. Anyone who performed this vratam 21 times will attain all possible worldly riches and attain deliverance at the end. Vratam process: On the day of Bhadrapada suklam, with a clean mind, one must wear 21 layered threads on hand, do pooja and do fasting on that day. The next day, one must provide meals to a Brahmin. From that day, one performs the pooja for 21 days to Kedareswara, till amavasa. For the pooja, on a heap of rice, place a pitcher, wind around it 21 repeats of thread, cover it with silk clothes, place precious gems, gold (as much as one can afford) – then do pooja to this with sandal wood and akshata. Invite 21 Brahmins; provide them with water and other requirements to clean and to invoke Lord Kedareswara in the Kalash. Pooja has to be performed to this Kalash with sandalwood paste, myrrh, musk, kumkum and flowers, akshata, tamboolams, clothes and offering incense and deepam. Naivedyam with 21 varities of items along with coconuts have to be offered, along with tamboolam, accompanied by singing hymns. One has to satisfy the Brahmins with dakshina. If one performs the vratam in this manner, Lord Kedareswara will be pleased and will bless one with their desires.