Diwali – the festival of light – is five-day celebration. During diwali festival, different traditions and Diwali customs are observed. Lots of festivities and street performances are also held on the streets of India and other parts of the world where Hindu are living. Each day has its own significance and meaning. Hindus celebrate the Diwali and each day of this festival with complete devotion and passion. Here’s the third day of Diwali, the lakshmi puja.
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Third Day of Diwali – Lakshmi Puja
Lakshmi Puja is the ritual performed to worship the goddess Lakshmi. According to the legends, Lakshmi is a daughter of Bhrigu. When the gods went into exile she retreated to the ocean of milk to hide. She appeared again on the day of Samudra Manthan, when the gods and demons caused raging of the ocean. When the gods saw her, they were captivated by her beauty. The god Shiva wanted Lakshmi as his wife, but was given to Vishnu instead. Goddess of wealth, prosperity, beauty and light are the titles bestowed upon given to Lakshmi. She is worshipped to invite prosperity into one’s life.
How to Perform Lakshmi Puja
The first step is done on a platform. New cloth is spread over it and a handful of grain is posited in the center. Kalash, either made of gold, silver, copper or terracotta is placed over it. The kalash or pitcher is filled with water until it reaches ¾ full. Betel nut, flower, coin and bits of grain are placed in it. A small dish filled with rice grains is placed over the kalash. Using turmeric powder, an image of a lotus is drawn on the rice grains. A statuette of Lakshmi along with coins is the place over it.
A statue of Ganesha is placed in front, right-hand side of the kalash. Books and ink related to the homeowner’s occupation is also placed in the platform. The puja is started by lighting a lamp and offering haldi, kumkum and flowers to the platform. These are also offered to the water to be used in the ritual.
The next step is to beseech Lakshmi by reciting mantras meant for her. This can also be done by holding some flowers and imagining goddess being showered with gold coins by two elephants, whilst chanting her name. The flowers are then offered to her statuette.
The statuette of Lakshmi is placed in a plate and then bathed with water, panchamrit, and water mixed with a gold or pearl ornament. It is the wiped clean and replaced on the kalash. Sprinkling the statuette with water and panchamrit can also be done.
Offerings are presented to the goddess. These offerings are sandal paste, perfume, haldi, kukum, abeer, gulal, flowers, cotton beads and leaves of Bel tree. Sweets are also offered. Incense and dhoop are lighted. Puffed rice, batasha, cumin and coriander seeds are poured over the statuette.
The last step is performing the aarti for Lakshmi. Small bell is used for her aarti as she despises loud noises. Clapping the hands is also not advised. Maintaining a quiet and peaceful atmosphere is a must during the ritual.