Maha Lakshmi Vrat is observed for 16 days from the Ashtami of Bhadrapad-Shukla Paksha to Ashtami of Ashwin-Krishna Paksha. These dates fall around September each year. This is a very powerful time to offer concentrated prayer to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity.
(Note: One also prays to Goddess Lakshmi during Diwali, Durga Puja, and weekly every Friday. During Diwali festival, Lakshmi is prayed with Lord Ganesh. During Durga Puja, Ma Lakshmi is evoked and prayed to for three days. The weekly Friday Vrat-puja is observed as Vaibhav Lakshmi or Dhan Lakshmi Puja.)
It is believed the importance of Maha Lakshmi Vrat was first explained to Yudhishthir by Lord Krishna. This Vrat is observed for 16 days and fulfills every wish of the devotee. This puja is believed to bring immense wealth, fortunes, prosperity, love, happiness, and luck to the devotees.
How to do the puja:
Every region and every devotee has their own way of offering prayers to Goddess Lakshmi. All methods are correct. The Goddess seeks only devotion.
However, some rituals have been listed for this puja that are given below:
1. Put the Lakshmi 'murti' or statue or picture on a wooden 'chauki' or plank
2. Cover the plank with a white cloth, before putting the statue on it
3. Cover statue or picture with red chunni
4. Place a kalash on some rice, on NE side of puja place
5. Put water, coins in kalash, and cover the mouth of Kalash with mango or betel leaves
6. Put a coconut wrapped in red cloth on the kalash
7. Make swastik signs on kalash and coconut with yellow chandan, vermillion, turmeric, sindoor, kumkum etc
8. Keep 'akhand jyoti' or continuously burning Ghee diya on SE side of Kalash. If you can not maintain 'akhand jyoti', its alright. Just light diya and agarbatti, every morning and evening for the puja
9. If you cannot do puja for 16 days, then just observe puja for three days. The first day, the last day, and the day in the middle
10. Offer bhog/prasad everyday and read any prayer or mantra devoted to Goddess Lakshmi, morning and evening
11. Tie a thread (mauli or kalawa) with 16 knots on your 'kalaii' or wrist. Women usually tie on left wrist and men on right wrist
Shrim Hrim Shrim
Kamle Kamalalaye Praseed Praseed
Shrim Hrim Shrim
OM MahaLakshmi Deviyah namah
'Paran' or 'Puja Samapti' or End day Prayers:
On the last day of the 16 days puja, Lakshmi puja is closed in the evening.
1. You need two 'Soops' or large platters
2. Do puja in the evening. Light 16 diyas, 16 agarbatti. Use 16 flowers, 16 malas, and pledge to donate all items placed in the soop or large platter to a temple or to someone who may need the items
3. In the platter place 16 suhaag Samagri - like, 16 chunnies, 16 bangles, 16 bindis, 16 combs, 16 ribbons, 16 kajals etc
Also in the platter place 16 sweets or mithaii, 16 long/elaichi, 16 fruits, 16 coins or money, 16 dry fruits etc
Now cover one platter with another platter and leave it near the puja place
4. At night, offer water or 'arghya' to the stars. Now face NORTH and call Ma Lakshmi 3 times - 1. 'Mother Lakshmi pl. come into my home'--- 2. 'Mother Lakshmi pl. come into my home'--- 3. 'Mother Lakshmi pl. come into my home'
5. Now come inside. Eat prasad/bhog. Now one can have 'bhojan' or food. Distribute the food for all family member and also for Ma Lakshmi. First place the food in a plate for Ma Lakshmi, cover it and leave it near the Goddess for the whole night
6. Now everyone can have their dinner and end the puja
7. Next day, donate all the items in the platter to some Mandir/Temple or to someone who needs the items. Offer the food that was near Lakshmi mata, from last night, to a cow.
8. Finally, put away the thread with the 16 knots from your wrist to your treasury or safe and watch your wealth grow..
Jai Ma Lakshmi