According to South Indian tradition, first 3 days of the Navaratri belong to Goddess Durga and the next 3 days to Goddess Lakshmi. Most homes have Ashtalakshmi photos or idols and they are placed in the Golu.
Goddess Lakshmi appeared when the milky ocean was churned by the Devas and Asuras for Amruta. She took Maha Vishnu as husband and made a place for Herself in His Chest.
The worship of Kolhapur Lakshmi is special during Navaratri. The South Indians either have a picture of her or an idol with them.
There is a story dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. The story goes thus: Goddess Sati consigned herself to flames in Daksha’s Yagna. Lord Shiva picked up Her dead body and began roaming all over the universe, in sorrow. Maha Vishnu cut the dead body of Sati into pieces, with his Sudarshan Chakra. When that happened, an arm fell in a place, which was then called Karaveerapura. Later, it became Kolhapura and then Kolhapur.
When Brigu Muni kicked the chest of Maha Vishnu during the Srinivasa Purana, Goddess Lakshmi left Her Lord to go to Kolhapur. It is said that only if we visit Kolhapur before and after the trip to Tirupati, has the pilgrimage fructified.
Archana of Goddess Lakshmi with 108 or 1008 lotus seeds, silver or golden coins with kum kum is beneficial. At least, one lotus and rose should be offered. 6 varieties of flowers have to be offered to the Goddess. She can also be worshipped in the form of Sri Yantra on a paper, copper plate or the meru.
Goddess Lakshmi is offered sundal made of large white gram with grated coconut. Milk payasam with poha and sugar is also offered. A roasted mixture of poha, coconut and sugar is also offered.
Mercury is to be worshipped in the following way today so that concentration, intellect, alertness, education, speech capacity and singing can be achieved. Durga Navarna Mantra, Kushmanda Mantra and Beejakshara Mantra of budha, if chanted with rudraksha mala then all the above can be attained. While chanting these mantras, we have to place a kusha grass at the feet of the Devi Kushmanda and below the aasana on which we are sitting. If we can follow the strict rules of vegetarianism, then we can wear a panchamukhi rudraksha energized at the feet of the Devi Kushmanda in a green thread.
When a green sari is offered to Devi Kushmanda and it is given away with some dakshina to a eunuch, then the doshas connected to Planet Mercury are resolved. A garland of green cardamom can be offered to Devi Kushmanda. Green chunri is offered to the Goddess. The number of green cardamom should be as much as the person’s age. Similarly, pistachio garlands can also be offered. Sweet petha or cooked green pumpkin vegetable can also be offered to the Devi today. An entire pumpkin is often offered to the Devi and cut as sacrifice. Fennel seeds can also be offered to the Devi and mixed with fennel peppermint to be distributed to devotees.
To be continued…