LORD SHIVA describes the glory of this Vrata in the Skanda Purana. It is performed by a woman whose husband is still living. Maha Lakshmi is the abode of all auspiciousness and prosperity. This worship of Maha Lakshmi is done to obtain good progeny, and for the health and long life of the husband.
The Vrata is observed on the Friday immediately preceding the full moon day of the month of Sravan (August-September). After a purificatory bath, the lady should put on a clean, fresh cloth and make a mandala with the drawing of a lotus upon it. A kalasha filled with rice and topped with fresh mango leaves, a coconut and cloth are placed on the mandala and Lakshmi is invoked therein. Fresh grains are used in the worship as they convey the idea of growth and prosperity.
After the worship of the kalasha, follows the worship of Ganesha, then the worship of the raksha or the sacred thread. Now the main worship of Vara Lakshmi begins and the raksha is worshipped a second time. It is then tied to the right hand of the lady. After the worship various auspicious articles are given as charity to some deserving lady whose husband is alive. This lady is also fed with dainties.
Lakshmi not only bestows wealth and all sorts of material prosperity, but also imparts divine wisdom to all Her devotees. She is Vidya Shakti. She introduces Her devotees to Her Lord. She recommends them to Her Lord for their salvation.
The Giver of Prosperity and Happiness
She is the power of Lord Narayana who is also known as Lord Vishnu or Lord Hari. Narayana is God’s aspect of preservation. He is an embodiment of Shuddha Sattwa. Lakshmi is His causal body. She is Maya, the illusory power of Nature. She deludes the whole world by Her veiling power and projects it through Her projecting power. She Herself as Vidya-Lakshmi enlightens the spiritual aspirant. Beauty, grace, a picturesque scenery or charming landscape, modesty, love, prosperity, music, the five elements and their combinations, the internal organs, mind, Prana, intellect—all these are Her manifestations.
Without Lakshmi even Sannyasins cannot do propaganda or preaching work or run their institutions. They are in fact more in need of Lakshmi than the householders because they have to do great dynamic work for human weal. Sri Shankara worshipped Devi, Lakshmi and Saraswathi for success in his work. All great prophets and divine messengers who have done great spiritual work in the past were devotees of Mother Lakshmi, Devi and Saraswathi.
May Goddess Lakshmi bless you all! Let us repeat Her Mantra:
Om mahaadevyai cha vidmahe;
Vishnu patnyai cha dheemahi
Tanno lakshmi prachodayat.