Varalakshmi Vratham~वरलक्ष्मी व्रत - History Of Varalakshmi Festival
In the kingdom of Magadha of yore, there lived a brahmin woman called Charumathi in a town named Kundina. The prosperous town was the home of Charumathi and her husband. She devotedly served her husband and her parents-in-law. Impressed by her piety, Goddess Mahalakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to worship Vara-Lakshmi (literally, boon granting - goddess of wealth) and seek to fulfill her wishes. Varalakshmi is yet another form of Lord Vishnu's consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Thus was prescribed the Friday of Sravana month preceding the full moon day for the worship.
When Charumathi explained her dream to her family, she found them encouraging her to perform the pooja. Many other women of the town also joined her in performing the pooja in a traditional way and offered many sweet dishes to the Goddess Varalakshmi. They prayed with deep devotion:
The well dressed women made offerings of delicious feast with utmost devotion. As they went round the deity in prayer, dazzling jewelry is said to have appeared as ornaments on the bodies of these worshippers and their houses filled with riches. They rewarded the priest who assisted them in performing the pooja and they all partook in the feast. The women expressed their gratitude to Charumathi who shared her dream and helped them become prosperous. This pooja came to be practiced year after year by women. Done with devotion, it is said that boons would be granted and thus many wishes would be realized.
This pooja can be done with no restriction to caste or creed. To this day, the faithful of modern times observe this tradition On one occasion, Parvati and Parameswara were engaged in a game of chess. Parvati was winning game after game, but Parameswara is said to have claimed the victory at each games, wantonly, to her intense chagrin. So Parvati wanted to have an umpire and one Chitranemi, a creation of Parameswara, was chosen. As an underling of Parameswara, he sided with him most unjustly. This provoked Parvati's anger and she cursed Chitranemi that he should become a leper for discharging his duty in most unfair manner.
When Chitranemi begged Parvati's forgiveness and Parameswara added his entreaties to it, she is said to have relented and modified the curse by adding that he would be cured of his leprosy by observing the Vara Lakshmi Vrata. By doing this Chitranemi was, it is said, rid of the loathsome disease.
The history of the origin Of the Vara Lakshmi Vrata is rather interesting. Lakshmi is said to have visited a pious woman by name Sarmadi, living in the city of Kuntinapura in Magadha (Bihar), in in one of her dreams and expressed her satisfaction at her devotion to her children. When she woke UP from her sleep, she took a bath and worshipped Lakshmi to ensure her blessings. When the other ladies heard of her dream and her worship of Lakshmi, they too began to worship her, and the custom is then said to have spread everywhere throughout the land in course of time.