Lalita Shasti Vrat festival is very important for Vaishnavas or Vishnu devotees, especially to those who belong to ISKCON. It honors Goddess Lalita Devi, who was one of the Gopikas in Vrindavan. Krishna, whom the Gopis adored, suggested the Vrat as a tribute to Lalita. Lalita Shasti Vrat 2023 falls on September 21.
Importance of Lalita Shasti Vrat
Devotees believe that married couples who observe this Vrat or fast can have healthy children. Parents observe the Vrat so that their children will have good health, intelligence, and long life. The Vrat is similar to the fast dedicated to Goddess Shasti. In some places, the fast is called Santan Shasti fast.
Who is Goddess Lalita?
Lalita was one of Radha’s best friends. Radha, also a Gopi, was the lover of Krishna. Lalita is among the eight Gopis who were close to Radha and Krishna. Lalita Shasti is on the 6th day during the Shukla Paksha in Bhadrapada month.
Scholars argue that Lalita, who was elder to Radha, was actually a witness to the love of Radha and Krishna.
The festival is mainly observed by ISKCON followers. Devotees chant Lalita Ashtakam on this day as part of the worship.
Lalita dwells in Yavat and is Radha’s constant companion. Lalita directs and instructs all the sakis. She is an expert in the tactics of union and separation when it comes to love or Prema. She has a contradictory and hot-tempered nature. Her complexion is yellow, and her garments are brilliantly colored like peacock tail feathers.
Her mother is Saradi, and her father, Vishoka. Her husband is Krishna. She sides with Radha during disputes with Krishna. She is famous for her “mana”, or pure loving anger.
Along with Krishna, Lalita had 68 tirthas (holy places) and the power to free people from the 6 kinds of hatya/murder – brahma-hatya/killing Brahmins, bhroona-hatya/abortion, Go-hatya/cow slaughter, svana-hatya/killing dogs, krimi-hatya/killing of worms and insects, atma-hatya (suicide).
When Krishna slew Aristasura (a demon in the form of a bull), he visited Lalita Kunda (sacred tanks) to free himself from the sin of go hatya. Another reason was that he wanted to associate with Radha. But to meet her, he had to please Lalita first, as she was her friend and guardian. Even Lord Krishna has to approach Lalita first, and he can fulfill his desires with her blessings.
Lalita Shasti Pooja Vidhi
Take a bath early in the morning, and wear some clean clothes.
Sit in the north or northeast-facing corner of the house.
Meditate on Ganesha.
Worship Ganesha, Lalita Devi, Goddess Parvati, Goddess Shasti, Kartik, Shiva, and Shaligram.
Offer coconut, rice, turmeric, sandalwood paste, gulal, nuts, flowers, seasonal fruits, and milk to the deities. In some regions, people place a copper lota or vessel made of copper in the Pooja room.
Worship Goddess Shasti with the Mantra, ‘Om Hreem Shasthi Deviya Swaha’.
A red thread or mauli is kept in the Pooja area. After the worship, devotees wear it on the right hand.
The fast starts at sunrise. People consume only one meal. Working women, those who are studying, or have any medical problems should not fast. They can offer prayers.
Devotees break the fast at sunrise on the next morning after offering prayers. A fruit that is offered to the deities is given as Prasad.
This Vrat is very good for daughters and women in general. Devotees invoke Lalita Devi’s blessings for the well-being of their families and children. Women who have daughters should try to observe this fast.
The fast is also good for the husband’s long life and prosperity. Devotees offer sweets and malpua to the Goddess. In some places, they worship Vishnu with sandalwood. Shiva and Gauri are also worshipped in some places.
Those who observe this fast can have progeny. Those who have children can fast to seek relief if their child has any problems. The fast supposedly gives quick and auspicious results. The fast has the power to cure any diseases that your child is suffering from.
Lalita is the most important of the 8 Varistha Gopis or Ashtasakhis. She is a good friend of the Divine Couple, Radha-Krishna. She is 14 years, 8 months, and 27 days. She is the oldest among Krishna’s gopi friends.
Interesting Facts about Lalita
· She is the leader of all the sakhis of Radha
· She is magnanimous
· She instigates most of the pastimes
· She displays contrariness to Krishna’s suggestions
· She becomes angry often and utters cheeky retorts that increase the intensity of the love between Radha and Krishna.
· She can compose and understand riddles
· She can make things with flowers, like couches, awnings, dancing arenas, umbrellas, and bowers
· She can perform magic tricks and do juggling