Shree Mahalakshmi Mataji
As the "Satva" (सत्व), "Raj" (रज) and "Tam" (तम) virtues of Goddess Durga (also known as Goddess Jagdamba), Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Mahalakshmi and Goddess Mahakali are forever present in the service of Lord Bhrama, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shankar respectively.
The Gods and demons came to truce and agreed to churn the ocean (“Samudra Manthan”) in order to obtain ambrosia (“Amrit”). During the churning process, things like “Kalakuta” a dreadful poison, "Kaustubh” the precious gem, “Airawat” the elephant, “Uchcharoshva” the horse, beautiful “Apsaras”, etc.. came out one by one from the depths of the ocean.
It was then that Goddess Mahalakshmi also appeared. Everyone was spell-bound by her heavenly looks and a radiant smile.
Everyone started offering gifts to her and as a result she looked more and more beautiful. But to everybody’s surprise, she chose to put the wedding garland on Lord Vishnu.
Shree Mahalakshmiji is great, holy, pious, beautiful, and the one who always follows religion and resides in the heart of Lord Vishnu.
When she resides in patal she is known as “Naag Lakshmi”, on earth she is known as “Gruha Lakshmi”, with a king she is known as “Raj Lakshmi” and in heaven, with Lord Indra she is known as “Swarg Lakshmi” and protects the people of these worlds. With Lord Vishnu she is known as “Maha Lakshmi”.
The importance of “Vasant Panchmi”:
It was on this day that Shree Mahalakshmi Devi gave birth to a baby boy who was named “Kamdev” and is popularly known as the God of Love. Shree Mahalakshmi Devi likes this day as it is the birthday of her beloved child. Mother Nature also blooms to its fullest on this day thus giving us a feeling of an auspicious day as if Shree Mahalakshmi Mataji herself is pleased on this day.
The importance of Friday as the day of offering Puja to Shree Mahalakshmi Devi:
Shree Mahalakshmi Devi is the Godess of wealth and luxury. Since planet Venus (Shukra) is the planet associated with welath and luxury, we offer “Puja” to Shree Mahalakshmi Devi on Friday.
The importance of "Dhanteras":
Dhanteras is celebrated on the thirteenth day (teras) of the Krishna paksha (the waning cycle) of the lunar month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar. It heralds the beginning of the five days of Diwali, the biggest festival for Hindus in India and all over the world.
The word "Dhan" means wealth. As such this day of the five-day diwali festival has a great importance for the mercantile community. Houses and business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colorful with lovely traditional motifs of rangoli designs to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Goddess Lakshmi. Lamps are kept burning all through the night. On this auspicious day women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. Pooja is performed in the evenings . Devotional songs ("Bhajans") are sung in praise of Goddess Lakshmi.
The legend of the churning of the ocean (Samudramanthan) is at the heart of these celebrations.
During the churning of the ocean by the Gods and demons, first, "Kalakuta" a dreadful poison was produced which Lord Shiva drank. When the sea continued to be churned the "Apsara" were born.
After that in the midst of the waves of the sea of milk, a Goddess with heavenly looks came into view. She was standing on a fully blossomed lotus. Wearing a lotus garland in her neck, she was holding a lotus in her hand. She was attractive and was radiantly smiling. She was Goddess Lakshmi.
People begin the purchase for Diwali celebrations on this day. Crackers, candles, diyas, hatri, clays idols of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi, earthen katoris, kulris, chaugaras, toys and whole lot of other items needed for Diwali are purchased on this day.
For those doing business, Dhanteras is the day when new account books are bought and kept ready for the Lakshmi puja on Diwali.
Lakshmi puja is performed in the evenings and traditional sweets ("Naivedya") is offered to the Goddess.