Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Aadi Velli Kizhamai

Goddess Lakshmi and Friday :)                              

Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. The word ''Lakshmi'' is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksme, meaning "goal." Lakshmi, therefore, represents the goal of life, which includes worldly as well as spiritual prosperity. In Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi, also called Shri, is the divine spouse of Lord Vishnu and provides Him with wealth for the maintenance and preservation of the creation.
In Her images and pictures, Lakshmi is depicted in a female form with four arms and four hands. She wears red clothes with a golden lining and is standing on a lotus. She has golden coins and lotuses in her hands. Two elephants (some pictures show four) are shown next to the Goddess. This symbolism conveys the following spiritual theme:

The four arms represent the four directions in space and thus symbolize omnipresence and omnipotence of the Goddess. The red color syinbolizes activity. The golden lining (embroidery) on Her red dress denotes prosperity. The idea conveyed here is that the Goddess is always busy distributing wealth and prosperity to the devotees. The lotus seat, which Lakshmi is standing upon, signifies that while living in this world, one should enjoy its wealth, but not become obsessed with it. Such a living is analogous to a lotus that grows in water but is not wetted by water.

The four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma (righteousness), kama (genuine desires), artha (wealth), and moksha (liberation from birth and death). The front hands represent the activity in the physical world and the back hands indicate the spiritual activities that lead to spiritual perfection.

Since the right side of the body symbolizes activity, a lotus in the back right hand conveys the idea that one must perform all duties in the world in accordance with dharma. This leads to moksha (liberation), which is symbolized by a lotus in the back left hand of Lakshmi. The golden coins falling on the ground from the front left hand of Lakshmi illustrate that She provides wealth and prosperity to Her devotees. Her front right hand is shown bestowing blessings upon the devotees.

The two elephants standing next to the Goddess symbolize the name and fame associated with worldly wealth. The idea conveyed here is that a true devotee should not earn wealth merely to acquire name and fame or only to satisfy his own material desires, but should share it with others in order to bring happiness to others in addition to himself.

Some pictures show four elephants spraying water from golden vessels onto Goddess Lakshmi. The four elephants represent the four ends of human life as discussed above. The spraying of water denotes activity. The golden vessels denote wisdom and purity. The four elephants spraying water from the golden vessels on the Goddess illustrate the theme that continuous self-effort, in accordance with one's dharma and govemed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.

Velli kizhamai(Friday) is always an auspicious day for all Hindus. For me I have known, it is the day of Goddess Lakshmi.

Different Hindu communities perform different rituals on Aadi Velli like the Iyers perform the Maa Vilakku ritual dedicated to Mother Goddess

Fridays (Velli Kizhamai) in the Tamil month of Aadi is considered highly auspicious for worshipping various Hindu Goddesses, especially incarnations of Goddess Shakti. Aadi Velli is also auspicious for performing pujas dedicated to Nagas (Snakes). In 2010, Aadi month begins on July 17 and ends on August 16

Varalakshmi Puja an important ritual dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi is performed on a Friday in the month of Aadi

Majority of the people also worship snakes during the month. They offer milk, sugar and jaggery to the Snake idols.

Women also exchange Thambulam – a plate containing Betal leaves, Betel nuts, turmeric, kumkuma, coconut and cloth – after Friday prayers.

In my home usually Girls and Women are supposed to take an oil bath with shikakai podi on Friday. Boys and Men are supposed to take an oil bath on Saturday. I accept those beliefs laid by my Appa Amma and my Patti as they are and enjoy doing them so.

I usually do a Lakshmi Poojai on all velli kizhamai(in the month of Aadi), chant Soundarya Lahari, Lakshmi Ashtothram, Lakshmi Sahasranamam.

Aadi and Thai velli kizhamai are considered more important in my family.

My amma usually go draped in Iyengar madusaar and myself and my sissy in our usual patu pavadai or some new churidar go to the Pambu Puthu (Snake homes) of Pazhandi Amman Kovil, which is in our home town Adambakkam and used to sprinkle milk on the pambu puthu, and keep some banana and apple mixed in milk in a small kinnam(bowl) along with milk in a separate kinnam(bowl) on top of the manakolam(rangoli) near the pambu puthu. Generally it is done on odd Fridays.

Nowadays there are no real puthu near the idol of the snake God. It is the idol of the snake God that is worshipped.

Items to be taken to the temple(usually in India):

1) Water in a bottle

2) Small dry cleancloth

3) Kolam maavu(rangoli powder)

4) Sombu and tumbler

5) Thamboolam thattu

6) Kumkumam

7) Manjal podi

8) Sunnambu

9) Milk

10) Vethalai

11) Paaku

12) Manjal

13) Agarbathi

14) Aarathi thattu

15) Deepam stand

16) Agal(vilaku / diya)

17) Thiri with ennai

18) Pushpam(flowers)

19) Pazham(apple, banana)

20) 5 rupee notes

21) Kumkuma chimizh

22) Coconut

23) Matchbox

24) Rice

25) Jaggery


1) Sprinkle some water on the mud platform beneath the arasa maram where the pambu puthu is there. Wipe with hand and put a padi kolam / mana kolam there.

2) In a sombu(pot) take some water and wash the idols by performing an abhishekam.Then perform a second abhishekam with milk.

3) Then take some manjal(turmeric powder) and kumkumam(vermillion) and put dots on all the idols.

4) Keep flowers on them.

5) Light 2 agals(mud lamps) and keep it near them.

6) Keep 2 agarbathis pricking one banana making it a stand.

7) Break a coconut and keep it in front of the idol with vethala paaku and pazham(banana). Keep arisi(rice) and vellam(jaggery) nearby.

8) Then do deepa aaradhanai (lighting a camphor or nei deepam) .

9) Go around(Pradakshanam - even number if vadakalai iyengar or odd number if thenkalai iyengar).

10) Take aarathi mixing manjal sunnambu in water.

11) Arrange 5 thamboolam plates with vethala paaku pazham poo manjal and a one rupee coin.

12) Give thamboolam with kumkumam to 5 sumangalis who come to the temple. Visit the temple.

My Amma used to do a pandigai thaligai (pandigai samayal) that day.  And after marriage I'am following the same rituals which my amma followed.  Except that in samayal(food preparation) my husband usually help me a lot :-))

This year in San Jose,  I cannot get a pambu puthu but I would definitely go and visit Kifer Baba Temple on the all the Friday's of Aadi masam after finishing my usual Friday pooja's :-)) 

Also except for the pambu puthu procedure I just used to give tambula in odd number of sumangali's usually on all Friday's of Aadi masam in the temple.

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