Sri Lakshmi Panchami is the festival ascribed to Sri Mahalakshmi. It occurs on the Shukla Paksha Panchami of Chaitra month.
Sri Lakshmi Panchami occurs on Saturday, 17th April 2021. The exact duration of the Panchami Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendar.
Sri Lakshmi Panchami signifies the origination of Kalpa. On this day, Goddess Lakshmi is invoked with special Pujas and prayers.
Table of Contents
Sri Mahalakshmi – Cosmic ocean
Cosmic ocean was the treasure trough of various auspicious, dangerous and curious objects and things. Only from the ocean, a lot of miracles appeared.
Fight for eternity
Once there was a fierce fight between Devas and Asuras with respect to living in Devaloka. They went to Maha Vishnu. He said-
“You Devas can attain eternity only if you have the Amrut(nectar) from the cosmic ocean, Ksheera Sagara. So, go and get mandara parvata to use as the catalyst to stir the ocean.
Also, get Vasuki, the snake as the rope to churn the mandara. You promise Vasuki that she will also be given the portion of Amrut”.
The Devas duly brought the Mandara mountain and started churning. Asuras were holding the head side of the Vasuki and Devas were holding the tail side. However, the Mandara kept slipping as it had no base to stand upon.
Again, Devas went to Sri Vishnu for help.
Sri Maha Vishnu Himself took the form of tortoise.
He asked Devas to keep the Mandara on the tortoise form and do the churning. They did so.
Upon churning, lot of things emerged.
Lord Shiva taking Halahala poison
The first one was the Halahala, the poisonous substance. As guided by Sri Vishnu, the Devas had requested Lord Shiva to protect them from Halahala. For the universal benefit, Lord Shiva had consumed the poison.
However, Sri Parvathi stopped it at His neck itself.
Due to the retention of the poison, Lord Shiva’s neck had become blue in colour. For this reason, He is called Sri Neela Kanta.
Treasures from the cosmic ocean
After the removal of halahala by Lord Shiva, lot of miraculous objects and persons commenced appearing.
The first one to appear was Surabhi, the cow Kamadhneu. Then came Varuni, the Goddess of water. Apsaras, the celestial maidens emerged thereafter.
Airavathi, the white elephant emerged. Kalpavruksha, the boon giving tree came up. This tree is also called as Parijatha tree. Uchchaisrava, the celestial horse also arrived.
Chandra had appeared. Then came Dhanvantri, the God of medicines with Amrita Kalash, i.e pot of nectar.
Sri Mahalakshmi’s arrival
After Dhanvantri, Sri Maha Lakshmi had appeared sitting on a lotus. She was also holding a lotus in Her hand.
Soon on Her arrival, the Devas were very much elated. They felt blessed. The celestial elephants of eight sides (Ashtadhig Gajas) had showered holy water on Her.
Viswakarma, the celestial architect had given Her ornaments.
Sri Mahalakshmi emerged with a mesmerizing smile. Sri Maha Vishnu sighted Her. She immediately hugged Sri Maha Vishnu.
Sri Maha Vishnu had given Her a place in His heart. Hence His heart is called as Vaksha Sthala.
It is also believed that, soon on arrival, Sri Mahalakshmi went to Meru mountain and did penance on Sri Maha Vishnu. When He appeared to bless Her, they got married.
Sri Mahalakshmi – form
Sri Mahalakshmi, the Goddess of fortune, appears either sitting or standing on the lotus. Lotus symbolizes royalty and prosperity. Her vehicle (vaahan) is owl.
She has four hands which represent the four attributes of human life such as Dharma (ethics and morals), Artha (wealth and prosperity), Kama (love and affection) and Moksha (attainment of spiritual liberation).
At homes, the image of Sri Mahalakshmi is kept as a picture in the pooja room. Mostly it appears either as a single Deivam sitting / standing on a lotus or alongwith Sri Maha Vishnu as Perumal and Thayar.
In the educational institutions, She is depicted alongwith Sri Durga and Sri Saraswathi. In all business places, Her picture is depicted along with Sri Ganesh and Sri Saraswathi. Sri Mahalakshmi is also associated with Sri Kubera, the guardian of wealth.
Sri Mahalakshmi is worshipped with various names.
Sri Lakshmi Panchami – Rituals
Sri Lakshmi Panchami festival is observed on the belief that it is auspicious to worship Sri Mahalakshmi at and from the beginning of the new year.
The following rituals are followed.
-Waking up before sunrise and taking bath;
-Cleaning the Puja place and placing either the idol or picture of Sri Mahalakshmi.
-Decorating the idol / picture with flowers.
-Lighting lamps and incense sticks.
-Doing Puja to Sri Lakshmi.
-Chanting the slokas / stotrams invoking Mahalakshmi.
-Offering sweets and fruits as Neivedyam.
-Donating food / money to the poor and the needy.
-Observing either partial or complete fasting.
-Married couple should do the Puja preferably together.
Sri Lakshmi Panchami – other names
-Chitra Shukla Paksha Panchami
Sri Lakshmi Panchami – Slokams
The following Slokams / Stotrams can be recited.
Sri Kanaka Dhara Stotram
Sri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam
Sri Ashta Lakshmi Stotram
Sri Lakshmi Panchagam
Sri Mahalakshmi Kavacham
Sri Lakshmi Sthuthi
Sri Dhanalakshmi Stotram
Sri Narayani Stotram
Sri Lakshmi Chalisa
Apart from the above, there are innumerable literature available on Sri Maha Lakshmi in almost all the Indian languages.
As Sri Mahalakshmi has emerged from the ocean, the literature available on Her attributes and greatness are as vast and deep as the ocean.