Jyeshtha Gauri Puja
On the fourth day of Bhadrapad month's Shukla paksha when Ganapati festival begins, Maharashtrian households also begin to gear up for the eighth day of this lunar calendar month on which day Mahalakshmi or Goddess Gauri is worshipped. This is a very big Maharashtrian festival and is observed today 25th August this year.
Gauri (also called Mahalakshmi in some households) Is a form or avatar of Parvati, the Shakti Roopa or version of Shiva, and also the mother of Ganapati Bappa.
The festival is also called Gauri Avahaan or "beckoning Devi Gauri" as a loose translation of the same.
Each household has its own different manner of worshipping Mahalakshmi or Gauri, handed over by tradition through generations.
The Legends behind Gauri Pujan:
The Gauri Ganpati legends differ from place to place. As per some beliefs, Gauri is considered to be the sister of Lord Ganesha while according to popular legends, Maa Gauri is an avatar of Devi Parvati – the mother of Lord Ganesha. Some also refer to the festival as Mahalaxmi Puja and pray to Goddess Laxmi, consort of Lord Vishnu on this day.
It is told that in ancient times when the asuras (loosely translated as demons) would harass humans, married women approached Devi Gauri - the wife of Lord Shiva - to help protect their Saubhagya or the life of their respective husbands.
That day was a Bhadrapad month Shudha (Shukla - waning fortnight) Paksha Ashtami.
The arrival of Gauri is assumed to take place when the Anuradha Nakshatra (constellation) comes into force in Bhadrapad month. On 25 August 2020, the Anuradha Nakshatra comes into play at 13: 58 hrs in the afternoon.
The Saptami (7th day) ends at 14:31 hrs on 25 August and Ashtami begins. This is the Muhurat of Gauri Avahaan.
Gauri Mukhwatas or moortis are handed down through the generations in the family but for those who wish to begin observing this festival for the first time, the same is available in the market. Usually, they arrive in pairs (Two women - Goddess's faces).
A lot of orchestra-like sounds is created with spoons and small vessels to welcome the arrival of Mahalakshmi or Gauri. She is shown around all symbols of prosperity that abound in the house. A prayer is made to the Goddess to help retain prosperity.
Goddess Mahalakshmi's palms (the benevolent, most-giving Goddess) are worshipped too. Without Laksmiji's aashirwaad, nothing can come to fruition, is the belief.
A proper Vedic pooja is laid out. The Gauri Mahalakshmi idols are dressed in sarees and decked up like most married women. Flowers, ornaments, Haldi Kum Kum are offered.
Home-cooked naivedyam is served. Women generally fast on this day. Delicious, vegetarian sweet prasad or Naivedaya is offered and the family sits in a line to an individual spread of meals each.
Jyeshtha Gauri Puja Muhurat: 01:04 PM to 06:49 PM
Jyeshtha Gauri Avahana on Wednesday
Jyeshtha Gauri Visarjan on Thursday
Jyeshtha Nakshatra Begins – 01:04 PM on Aug 26
Jyeshtha Nakshatra Ends – 12:37 PM on Aug 27