Amongst the various Poojas peformed in the Hindu tradition and culture, Laxmi Narayan Pooja or homa is one of the most common and major Poojas performed in Nepal, India among the Hindu people. It is primarily performed for prosperity, material abundance, good fortune, harmony and spiritual prosperity. Laxmi Narayan is a combined term used to denote goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, and her deity husband lord Vishnu. Laxmi Narayan Pooja is performed to appease both the deities—Laxmi and Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is specially worshipped to remove our troubles that prevent us from starting a spiritual path and to guide us to the path of prosperity and happiness. Laxmi, as stated earlier, is the goddess of wealth and the consort of lord Vishnu.
Laxmi is the Hindu Goddess who governs all forms of wealth and material prosperity. Worshipping Laxmi will lead us to the path of success, wealth and prosperity. As the consort of Lord Vishnu, who is the god of preservation, goddess Laxmi is the goddess of wealth and beauty. She embodies sublime beauty, siddhi, peace, strength, balance, auspiciousness, opulence and also wisdom. Laxmi Narayan Pooja will be performed by a head priest who is experienced enough to preside the Pooja and the religious function. He will perform homa, utter religious incantations and worship and appease both goddess Laxmi and lord Vishnu and usher us to the path of wealth, well being and prosperity.
Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, is the most sought after goddess in the Hindu religious tradition. The Mangala Gauri Pooja is basically performed as per the Hindu Vedic tradition to appease Hindu goddess and deity Gauri. The Pooja is also known as Shravana Mangala Gauri Brata and is normally performed by the newly married women for the first five years of their married life. The fasting is done on every Tuesdays of the ‘Shravana Maasa ‘(4 Tuesdays) which usually falls in the month of July and August.
For the first year, the newly married women perform the Poojas in their maternal house as they would be staying there for ‘Ashada Maasa’ and then continue doing the same Pooja in their husband's house for the next five years. The ‘Brata’ is mentioned in the Hindu Holy scripture book called ‘Bhavishyoththara Purana’ and is followed in the southern states of India and also in many parts of Nepal. The fasting vidhan or rules may vary from region to region but the belief is the same. By the end of the Mangala Gauri Brata, the women need to gift their mother with a vessel of Pooja items and seek the blessings and good wishes. The reason why young women perform Mangala Gauri Pooja is to be ‘Sumanagali’ and ‘Soubhagyavati’ (meaning: remain safe from the curse of widowhood). The Pooja is also performed to get good children.
Items required for Manglaa Gauri Pooja:
1. 5 Silk blouse pieces (with borders)
2. Shiva Parvati vigrahas (idols) and Ganesha vigraha
3. 2 Pots for Kalash
4. Fruits for naivedhyam
5. Payasam for naivedhyam
6. Flowers, betel leaves and nuts
7. Kumkum, saffron, turmeric, akshata (rice mixed with these colors)
8. A Mandap
9. Shiva Parvati photo for background
10. Wheat flour
11. 4 Deepas (for aarti)
12. A spatula for Kitchen use
13. Camphor and incense sticks for Aarti
14. Bangles, Mangal sutra, mirror, Kajal (alankara items), coconut (thambula)
15. 16 Thambittu (A sweet made of wheat flour (dry fried), jaggery, grated coconut, cardamom and ghee) (note: Thambittu is made into deepas (diyas) and lit by then end of pooja)
17. 2 Gejje Vastra (vastra for gowri and ganesh)
18. Panchamrit (ghee, milk, curd, honey, sugar) in separate bowls for abhishekam.
Arrangements to be done:
1. On the Mandap, arrange the Shiva Parvati photo in the background and place the Kalash (filled with turmeric water and two betel leaves) in the front.
2. Place the Shiva Parvati and Ganesha idols at front. (Shiva Parvati together) and Ganesha towards right.
3. Place the 5 blouse pieces at the sides of the Mandap. Arrange the Deepas on the left and right.
4. Place the other Kalash filled with wheat flour and dry nuts towards your left, with thambula and alankar items.
5. Arrange all the other items in separate plates.
Mangala Gauri Pooja Procedure:
1. Start with the Ganesha Pooja and then continue with the Kalasha Pooja.
2. Start with the Nirajanam (abhishekam with water) followed by Panchamruta Abhishekam and then offer the vastram.
3. Present god with the alankar items and thamboolam.
4. Light incense sticks and do naivedhyam.
5. Continue with Mangala Aarti and end the Pooja with the goddess Mangala Gauri story.
6. While reading the story, light the thambittu deepas and heat the ghee soaked spatula placing it on the 16 deepas. The kajal that forms on the spatula need to be applied to the eyes.
7. Seek the blessings of the goddess and offer thambulam to elder women.