Bhubaneswar: Today is the last and final Thursday of the holy month of Margasira, the ninth month in Odia calendar. Mahalakshmi, or Laxmi, is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity and is believed to visit homes in Margasira month.
On the morning of Manabasa Gurubar, Odia women wake up early in the morning and clean the house to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. There is a popular belief that Goddess Lakshmi only visits clean houses. So all the dirt is removed and the houses are kept spick and span.
The entrance to the home is decorated with Alpana/Chitta. Special pujas are offered to Lakshmi and Odia scripture Mahalakshmi Purana is read on all Thursdays.
A regional pot used to measure paddy is filled with freshly harvested paddy and is kept in the puja area, which symbolizes prosperity.
On the day. womenfolk read Lakshmi Purana. the sacred text on which the legend of Manabasa Gurubar is based.
Three betel nuts washed in turmeric water are placed on the mana. vegetables, flowers and coloured cloth are kept and then women invoke Mahalakshmi with lamp and incense and offer three offerings of meals in puja such as Kanika, Dalma, Saga Bhaja, Kheeri, Dahi Pakhala, Chitau Pitha, Budha Chakuli, Kakara Pitha.
As per the legend. Goddess Laxmi visited the home of Sriya Chandaluni. a low caste scavenger woman. after being pleased with her devotion. By doing this. Goddess Laxmi angered Lord Balaram and was later thrown out of the Sri Jagannath Temple by her husband Lord Jagannath. While leaving. the Goddess curses her husband and his brother Lord Balaram to suffer without food and water. Lakshmi Purana is the first text against the practice of untouchability and caste discrimination while speaking about women empowerment.