Diwali is considered as the most auspicious day despite the fact that this day falls on a Amavasya – the new moon day of the dark fortnight of Ashwin month. There is a custom to worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha together on this festival of lights. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, luxury and prosperity and Ganesha is the lord of intellect and wisdom, and he is revered as the remover of obstacles. So no celebration is deemed complete without invoking Lord Ganesha where Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Diwali is no exception either. Hence, ‘Gajanan’ is worshipped along with Maa Lakshmi on this festival to get rid of all obstacles. And then the most significant part of the festival is performed that is worshipping Goddess Maha Lakshmi.

It is believed that on the Diwali night, Goddess Lakshmi visits each house to bless her devotees with great wealth and luxuries. Those worshipping Lakshmi for wealth would first have to worship Ganesha to seek her blessings. Otherwise, they would not be blessed by her. To gain wealth, one has to gain intellect first with the blessings of Lord Ganesha. Without intellect, there would only be misuse of wealth. So one must acquire the intelligence to earn and spend the wealth in the right manner.

There is a mythological story behind the ritual of worshipping Ganesha with Lakshmi. One day, Goddess Lakshmi was having a conversation with her husband, Lord Vishnu. During the whole conversation, Lord Vishnu observed that Goddess Lakshmi was praising only herself and giving herself the credit for all worldly blessings and pleasures. She considered herself the most worshipped deities in the universe. After hearing this, Lord Vishnu decided to reduce her ego. For that, he told her that a woman is incomplete without feeling motherhood and Lakshmi never experienced it. On knowing this, Goddess Lakshmi became disheartened. She approached Goddess Parvati to seek her help and get the grace of motherhood. She requested Parvati that she wanted to adopt one of her sons, either Kartikeya or Ganesha. Goddess Parvati was not in favour of giving any of her sons to Goddess Lakshmi as Lakshmi did not have a permanent place to reside. She always kept moving from place to place. So Parvati was in a dilemma whether Lakshmi would be able to take care of her son or not. Then Lakshmi assured Parvati that she would take all good care of her adopted son and he will always be worshipped along with her. People who would not worship him along with her, they would not be blessed with pleasure, money, wealth and prosperity. On hearing this, Parvati got ready and handed over Ganesha to Lakshmi. Diwali is no exception. So Ganesha poojan is a must along with Lakshmi poojan on this festival.

Lord Ganesha and Maa Lakshmi are historically the principal gods of the merchants due to their close ties with wealth and prosperity. On Deepawali, merchants close their accounts of last year and pray to both deities that the coming new year should open with even bigger profits and increase in trade. This tradition is now catching up in every community in India irrespective of the work people do – who does not want money?

The happier Maa Lakshmi is with the visit to your house, the more blessings she would shower on you. Here are a few things which you can perform to please the Goddess on this Diwali:

Clean every corner of your house. Purify it by sprinkling Ganga Jal.

Decorate your house beautifully with lights and flowers to attract the Goddess of wealth.

Prepare sweets at home to welcome the Goddess. Take care of purity and freshness of the ingredients used and prepare them in the best possible hygienic conditions.

Prepare a raised platform using a chowki and a new red cloth to place the idols of Ganesha and Lakshmi.

Make a swastik in the centre of the chowki and place a kalash on it. Fill it three-fourth with clean water. Add one supari, little rice, a marigold flower and a coin to it. Arrange mango leaves on the mouth of the kalash giving them a flower shape.

Place Ganesha and Lakshmi idols in a big plate having edges. Make the idols bath with ‘panchamrit’ first and then with clean water. Wipe them with a clean cloth.

Make a lotus flower on the right side of the kalash with haldi-kumkum. Make a small mountain of rice on it. Place the idol of Goddess Lakshmi in the centre of the heap of rice. Now place Lord Ganesha’s idol on the left side of the kalash. Light a pure ghee ‘panchmukhi’ diya in front of the idols. Place a lotus flower in a bowl filled with water in front of Maa Lakshmi’s idol. Offer the deities’ natural scents and fresh flowers.

You can place your gold and silver items, cash etc. in pooja thali to worship them as the blessing of the Goddess.

Light an ‘akhand’ mustard oil diya which should burn overnight in front of the idols. Recite Ganesha-Lakshmi mantras. Pray to the Goddess to shower her blessings for wealth and prosperity on you. At the same time pray to Lord Ganesha to bless you with wisdom and intellect to earn that money and use it wisely. Also pray to the Lord to remove all obstacles which can come in the way of your success and prosperity.

At last do Ganesha and Lakshmi aarti and thank the deities for their blessings.

Many people observe a full day fast on Diwali. The fasting may be either Nirjal (without water) or falahari (with milk and fruits) depending upon the body’s capability and the will power of the observer. Diwali poojan should be done at the right Muhurat. Apart from Lakshmi-Ganesha poojan, there is a ritual of Kuber pooja. You can place an idol of Kuber on the pooja chowki while offering Diwali prayers. Kuber is also considered as the god of money.

Generally the new moon day of dark fortnight is considered inauspicious. But this day is an exception to the rule. May this Diwali make all your desires come true.

May Lord Ganesha bestow you with divine knowledge and guide you on the right path of life and Maa Laksmi bless you with wealth, prosperity and happiness!

Shubh Deepawali!