Mangala Gowri Devi Vratam :
Gowri Devi vratam is specially done by the married women on four Tuesdays of Sravana Masam. Mangala Gowri Puja is dedicated to Goddess Gowri or Parvati and done with the intention that Goddess Gowri will bless for a happy and prosperous marital life and for the welfare of their husband.This is a five-year nomu / vratam performed mostly by the newly wedded ladies in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and some regions of Maharashtra on four Tuesdays of Sravana Masam .You need to first make all the necessary arrangements for the nomu before you start doing the nomu as you are not supposed to get up while performing the pooja.
How to perform Mangala Gowri Vratam / Pooja ? :
Start your preparations for Sravana Mangala Gowri Nomu on the previous day itself and finish everything by Monday evening.Get up early in the morning on Tuesday, refresh yourself with steaming hot cup of coffee/Milk and then go for a hair wash.You need to wear the sari as per the custom of your family Apply paste made of turmeric powder / pasupu to your feet.Take rice flour (vari / biyyam pindi) in a bowl, add sugar or jaggery as per your family custom, sprinkle very little water and knead it to a dough. Do not use much water for kneading the dough as you will find it difficult to prepare jyothulu / deepams. Make five small balls of this dough and make five small jyothulu/ deepams with these dough balls and place on a steel/silver plate.Take a hand span of white or yellow sewing thread, make five or nine strands of it as per the family custom. Apply turmeric paste to these thorams and tie yellow / red flowers at equal distance at five places in each thoram. Place these thorams in a tray and keep these items handy.Take 5 measures of whole Bengal gram (Kommu Senagalu) and soak it overnight. Drain the water and keep these handy.
Keep one blouse piece preferably green / red / yellow color which has to be offered to Ammavaru. Make two vastrams (cloth) by spreading / pressing cotton ball. Apply turmeric powder and kumkum (vermilion). Keep these vastrams handy.Make Panchaamrutam with nearly equal measures of honey, sugar, cow’s ghee, cow’s milk and cow’s curd. Mix all these well and keep it handy.Keep different kinds of fruits like coconut, banana, apple, orange etc ready in a plate.Keep colorful flowers ready preferably yellow and red ones.Prepare 5 or 9 or 11 chitti gaarelu / small vadas for offering naivedyam to Ammavaaru. Also prepare a sweet – kesari or paayasam for offering naivedyam to Ammavaaru. Now take little turmeric powder, add little water and make small pasupu Ganapati with the paste and place this on a betel leaf. In a similar way make small Ammavaaru with the turmeric paste and place it on a betel leaf. These two turmeric paste idols should be preserved and used for the next three Tuesdays as well.Pour cow’s ghee in the five rice flour jyothis / deepams and place small cotton wicks in it and keep these ready.Take a steel knife, apply chandanam / Gandham paste at the tip and keep it aside.
Now sit on the pooja mat in front of the pooja mandapam and decorate the idols with colorful flowers, lit the daily oil deepam and agarbatti as well.Keep a tumbler of water, a spoon and a plate for sankalpam. Now you can do Pranayama followed by sankalpam and follow the pooja vidham . At the completion of the pooja offer naivedyam, thoram, ravike (blouse piece) and senagala vaayanam along with taambulam to Ammavaaru. For tambulam, take 2 betel leaves and place two bananas and a nut powder packet or vakka.
Tie one thoram to the knife, lit rice flour jyothulu with cow’s ghee and start reading Sraavana Mangala Gowri katha / story.While reading the story hold the chandan smeared part of knife over the flames of jyothulu so that the chandan gets charred and thickly forms katuka / kajal on the knife.
Mangala Gowri katha / story :
One of the ways in which the Pandavas spent their time during Vanavasa was listening to Lord Krishna’s narration of various Poojas and Vrathas to be performed by mankind for the fulfillment of desires. On one such occasion Dharma Raja asks Lord Krishna to narrate a Vratha that will increase the “Aayu”– the life Span. Lord Krishna replies ‘Listen to me Yamanandana I will narrate a Unique Vratha, which not only increases the life span of Sons, but also removes the Vaidavyya \Widowhood of a daughter. Listen to me with single minded devotion. In the olden times there was a city named Kundanipura, there lived a very good and famous merchant called Dharmapala. He was very rich. However his only problem was he had no children.
A Sadhu used to come to their house for Bikhsha, and he would go back without taking anything from them. This was a daily routine. The merchant’s wife was very sad about this attitude of the Sadhu and seeks a solution from her husband. The merchant tells his wife not to worry, and instructs her to keep gold coins ready the next day and put it into the Sadhu’s hand before he left. The wife does the same the next day. The Sadhu becomes very angry; he tells her that he was not receiving anything from their house as they had no children and today by putting the Bhiksha forcibly, she had cheated him. So he curses her by saying “let you not have children”. The merchant’s wife says that she did it because of her Aviveka and begs him to give her relief from the curse. The Sadhu takes. pity on her and tells her to ask her husband to wear black clothes, and go to the forest on a black horse until the horse slips, the place where the horse slips needs to be dug until he finds the temple of Devi, perform pooja to the Devi and she will solve their problem. As per the instructions of the Sadhu the merchant goes to the forest wearing black clothes riding a black horse. The forest was very thick and fearful and full of wild animals. He goes on until he finds a lovely pond full of lotus flowers. He refreshes himself and his horse and goes on, until the horse slips. The merchant starts digging the place until he finds the temple of a Devi. The temple was surrounded with lovely flowering and fruit bearing trees. The walls of the temple were of Gold and precious gems. He enters the temple with devotion and performs Pooja to the Goddess. The Devi is pleased for having received such a wonderful Pooja in the forest, appears before him and tells him to ask for a boon. He tells the Devi that he is very sad as he had no children.
The Devi tells him that he is destined not to have children, hence she asks him to choose between a daughter who becomes a widow soon, a wonderful son with a short life or a blind son with a long life. The merchant chooses a wonderful son with a short life. The Devi Instructs him to pick a mango fruit by climbing on the Ganapathy in front of the temple and give it to his wife, and their desires will be fulfilled. The merchant becomes very happy and goes to the tree and plucks one fruit, he sees a lot of fruits on the tree and plucks more, when he comes down he has only one fruit, not satisfied he climbs again and plucks more fruits and the result is the same everytime. During all his attempts he was climbing on the Lord Ganeshas Idol to pluck the fruits. Lord Ganesha becomes angry at the greed of the merchant and curses him that his son will die at the age of 16, by snake bite. The sad merchant returns home and gives the fruit to his wife. They get a beautiful son. They name him “Shiva,” perform his upanayana at the age of 8 and when he is 10 years old the wife asks the merchant to get his son married. The merchant tells her that he has decided to send his son on Kashi Yatra and after he returns they can arrange for his marriage. They send their son along with his uncle for the Yatra. Both the boy and his uncle on their way to Kashi reach a city called Pratishtanagara. In a garden they see a few young ladies fighting, a girl curses another young girl called Susheela as being unfortunate and to become a widow soon. Susheela who is very pretty and shining like gold, is unperturbed she replies ” Your curse will have no effect on me, as my mother performs a Pooja called “Sri Mangala Gowri Vratha”, The Pooja is so powerful that even in the surroundings where the Pooja is performed , no ladies will be widowed. The Uncle of the boy Shiva who was watching this feels that, if the mother of Susheela blesses Shiva, possibly he may not die young. So they follow the girl and start living in the temple near the girl’s house. Susheela’s father by name Hari was very devoted to the Deity of the temple and he never used to take any step in his life without the permission of the God. He decides to get his daughter married, so he goes with his wife to the temple to ask permission from the Deity. They request Lord Shiva of the temple not getting any answer, they approach the Goddess of the temple. The uncle of Shiva who was very clever, makes use of the opportunity, hides behind the idol of the Devi and tells Susheela’s parents to get their.daughter married to a man called Shiva who is a stranger to the city. Next day the uncle of Shiva approaches Susheela’s parents and tells them that he has come with a boy called Shiva and is looking out for a suitable bride, and asks them for the hand of Susheela for Shiva. The parents of Susheela readily agree. On the night of their marriage, when they were asleep Sree Mangala Gowri appears in Susheela’s dream as her mother and tells her that a big snake is coming to bite her husband and asks her to wake up give the snake milk, keep a pot so that the snake enters into the pot and close the pot with a cloth. Susheela wakes up and sees a very big snake approaching her husband fast, she gives milk to the Snake and keeps a pot The snake gets into the pot and she ties it with a doth. After that Shiva wakes up and tells her that he is hungry. She gets sweets for him to eat. He eats the sweets, washes his hands and keeps his ring in the vessel and goes to sleep. Next day morning he leaves the house. In the morning Susheela wakes up and takes the blessings of her mother. Now as the bridegroom had gone Lord Shiva himself appears in the guise of Susheela’s husband. Susheela tells her mother that this is not her husband, listening to which the Lord Shiva in the guise of groom disappears. Everyone was worried and start looking out for Shiva. They do Annadhana to get back the groom. They set up an Annachatra, Susheela used to wash the feet of people keeping her husband’s ring and her mother used to pour water. Hari her father and brothers used to serve them with food and look after their comforts, this went on for some tlme. Meanwhile Shiva and his Uncle went to City of Kashi, did a lot of Dhana and Dharma. Shiva completes 16 years and dreams that he is being taken away by Yamadhutas, and Lord Shiva came and saved him. The Uncle of Shiva becomes very happy that they got rid of a big problem. They hear from people the fame of the Annadhana being performed by Susheela’s parents and the praise of the qualities of Susheela. When they go there, Susheela washes the feet of her husband and recognizes him. The parents of Susheela were very happy and give the son-in-law all respect and a lot of wealth. Meanwhile the parents of Shiva were very worried about the whereabouts of their Son who would die soon due to the short life span. Some messengers tell them all the news about Shiva, his marriage with Susheela and their well being. They were very happy and receive Shiva and Susheela with all pomp. They hear from their daughter-in-law the way to perform the “Sri Mangala Gowri Vratha” and get her to perform the Vratha.
This Vratha needs to be performed on Tuesdays, during Sravana Masa. The people performing the vratha need to fast. The Pooja of the Devi needs to be performed with Sraddha and Bhakti.