Goddess Lakshmi or "Sri Devi" is
the consort of Vishnu. She is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Wealth
includes nobler values of life, power of mind and intellect, moral, and
ethical qualities that constitute the spiritual wealth.
Fridays are considered auspicious for Lakshmi puja. The Friday before the full moon in the Hindu month of 'Sravan' or 'Shravan' (August-September) is considered especially sacred and Varalakshmi Vrata (puja for boons and longevity) is performed on that day by women whose husband's are still alive. Lord Shiva describes the glory of this Vrata in the "Skanda Purana".
Lakshmi-The Goddess Of Wealth And Wisdom
Hindu Goddess Lakshmi not only bestows wealth and all sorts of material prosperity, but also imparts divine wisdom to all Her devotees. She is "Vidya Shakti" and She is the one who introduces Her devotees to Her Lord for their salvation.
Goddess Maha Lakshmi 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 house - holders 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.
After a purificatory bath, the lady performing the puja should put on a clean, fresh cloth and make a mandala (place where the puja is performed) with the drawing of a lotus upon it. A kalasha (pot) 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 and is then tied to the right hand of the lady who is performing the puja. Special varieties of sweets like 'Paayasam' and 'Laddu', fruits, milk etc are offered to the goddess.
She is worshipped with different varieties of flowers like Lotus, Jasmine, Marigold etc. Many devotees buy gold ornaments on this day and place it near the goddess and take her blessings. After the worship various auspicious articles are given as charity to some deserving ladies whose husband's are alive.