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Published on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 1618 Hrs. IST

The Varalakshmi Vratam claims its prime slot in the in the Hindu calendar as it is auspicious for Indian women to observe this ritual on the Friday before the full moon in the month of Sravana. This worship is performed by married Hindu women seeking blessings of the Goddess Mahalakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu, who is verily the deity for wealth and prosperity. Legend tagged to this festivity says that that this vratam was recommended by Lord Shiva to His consort Parvati helping her to win wealth and prosperity. Another legend attached to it tells about a very pious lady Charumati who was asked by Goddess Varalakshmi, in her dream, to do the Vratam in order to fulfill her wishes.

Auspicious it is, this Friday, being Varalakshmi Vratam Day, the main seat of the Lord had a decorated idol of Goddess Varalakshmi adorning the centre stage. Adding to the festive flavour, floral buntings were in place with the mainstage shining in grandeur and elegance. Women enjoying the special privilege of the occasion occupied a half of the the central marble block in the Mandir.

Emerging at 1715 hrs. to the holy chants of Vedam, escorted by classical Mangalavadyam rendering, preceded by Poornakumbham,  Bhagawan moved through the concourse before completing a full round before coming onstage at 1730 hrs.

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Upon coming onstage Bhagawan lit the lamp sanctifying and blessing the occasion. Further proceedings began in next five minutes with a specially designated priest taking over, as Bhagawan sat onstage as 'Sai Varalakshmi'. Speaking on the significance of the ritual conducted in the immediate Divine presence, the priest went on extolling The Lord, calling Him to be Lord Dakshinamurthy in physical form. With His presence, Prasanthi is verily the Kailasha and Vaikunta, announced the priest talking on the significance of the ritual in Prasanthi NIlayam. Rituals began with Lakshmi Puja and Shodashopachara Puja followed by related rituals including Sai Ashotathara Shata Namaavali. An elderly longstanding woman devotee performed the rituals onstage, sitting at Bhagawan’s Feet, anointing the same with turmeric and kumkum, while in the background the priest went on reciting various names of Mother Goddess.

Twenty-five minutes of rituals ended with three jaikars by the priest that was well received and reciprocated by the capacity audience with devotional vigour. There were a thousand hand raised hailing "victory" to The Lord of Puttaparthi!

While prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage some traditional items along with the “Flowers that fell at His Divine Lotus Feet” were distributed among women devotees who are verily the stakeholders of Mother Godess' Divine benediction on this auspicious 'august' evening.

A carnatic musical offering by Ms. Bhagyalakshmi of Chennai followed that lasted for fifty minutes. Beginning with Ganesha Vandanam, the artiste went on singing an array of songs including many compositions on the 'Mother' theme covering the next fifty minutes before Bhagawan nodded for Mangala Arathi, at 1850 hrs. Moving off the dais, Bhagawan glided into the ladies' end, at 1855 hrs. retiring for the day. Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage.

II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu II