Sri Varamahalakshmi Vrata (festival) falls on the friday just before Poornima (full-moon) in the month of Sravana.
Vaikunta and Sri Lakshmi Narayana: In Vaikunta, Lord Vishnu is depicted as lying down in yoga-nidra on the coiled Adisesha in the milk-ocean. Sri Lakshmi is seated at his feet and constantly serving him, but her drishti (gaze) is completely focused on the Lord’s beautiful face. Vaikunta means ‘without any imperfections or defects or limitations’ and therefore it represents the State of Absolute Perfection or Enlightenment. The milk-ocean represents a ‘pure and conducive spiritual environment within oneself’. Adisesha lies coiled with its hood turned inward which represents a ‘mind completely under self-control and turned within’. Lord Vishnu in yoga-nidra represents a ‘Man of Realisation (Jeevanmukta) who is completely relaxed and revelling in his State of self-realization’ (nidra indicates transcendence of the body-mind-intellect equipment, and yoga signifies being well-established in the Higher State). Lakshmi serving at Narayana’s feet with total attention rivetted on the Lord represents a ‘Master rooted in his true inner Nature and simultaneously engaged in selfless activities of guiding the generation to walk the path of spirituality’.
Sri Laksmi Narayana – the Path and Goal: Traditionally, Guruvara (Thursday) is Lakshmi-vara. Guruvara represents STANDARD of LIFE (Knowledge & Values) whereas Shukravara (Friday) denotes STANDARD of LIVING. Standard of Living is ensured only when our Standard of Life is taken care of. Therefore Mahalakshmi represents what we NEED and what we GAIN in our life, both materialistic and spiritual. Hence Guruvara comes prior to Shukravara! To a seeker, Narayana represents the Spiritual GOAL and Lakshmi represents KNOWLEDGE and VALUES. Her constant and consistent SERVICE to the Lord indicates the PATH – both, materialistic and spiritual activities undertaken by a devoted seeker in total dedication to the Lord.
The great musician-saint, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar has composed a kriti exclusively for the auspicious occasion of Varamahalakshmi Vrata – “Sri Varalakshmi namasthubhyam…..”: “Salutations to Sri Varalakshmi, the Bestower of Fortune! One with lotus like feet, graceful at every step, protect me. An embodiment of all virtues, shining like molten gold and with effulgence that surpasses a crore of suns, she is easily accessible to those who worship her and she bestows her choicest blessings upon them. Lakshmi resides in the heart of Lord Kesava and is worshipped by all the sumangalis on the FRIDAY PRIOR TO SRAVANA POORNIMA. Adorning a gem-studded garland offered by GURU-GUHA (Karthikeya), worshipped by Bharati (Saraswati), she bestows materialistic wealth and kaivalya-pada (moksha) to her devotees.”
There is a beautiful and very significant line in this kriti: “sarasapade..rasapade…sapade…..pade……pade”.
The padartha or word-meaning is very simple. It means: “One with lotus like feet (sarasa pade), who is graceful at every step (rasa pade), slowly but surely (sapade), step by step (pade…pade)” — protect me.”
Significance of this line:
PADA means ‘State’. SARA means ‘Essence’, the Supreme Essence, the Unmanifest Parabrahma Tattva. SARASA (Lotus) signifies Truth, Knowledge, Beauty and Bliss. Therefore, SARASAPADE: Lakshmi represents the Supreme Parabrahma State, the State of Sachidananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss), the Nameless, Formless and Attributeless.
RASA is the opposite of SARA, and therefore it represents the Manifest Deity with Name, Form and Attributes. RASAPADE: represents the Mother of the Universe in her manifest form – the Supreme GOAL.
SA means ‘sahitha’ or ‘along with’. PADA also denotes ‘the Higher State or standard of life (Values)’. Therefore, SAPADE: means Lakshmi is an embodiment of moral and ethical values which a seeker needs to walk the spiritual path, and hence, she represents the PATH to be taken by the seeker.
PADE…..PADE: means ‘to walk, step by step’. The prayer to Goddess Lakshmi is that, “O Mother, you represent the Highest Goal and also the Path to reach the Goal. As my preceptor walk along with me, guide me, slowly but surely, step by step to ultimately reach the All-perfect State of Enlightenment”.
Hold on to Narayana; Lakshmi can never be far away. Wealth with character alone can bring joy, peace and prosperity. When one is kind and sincere, alert and consistent, he attracts to himself wealth and glory. - Swami Chinmayananda
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