Draped in a red sari, bedecked with gold ornaments, seated on a beautiful lotus, and flanked by white elephants, this is the image of Goddess Lakshmi that adorns most Hindu homes and business establishments.
Lakshmi Devi, commonly known as the Goddess of Wealth, embodies not just material wealth but the accumulated wealth of spiritual richness, virtue, and benevolence. Holding a distinctive place in Hindu Dharma, she signifies prosperity, fortune, and the embodiment of beauty.
Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of happiness, material fulfillment, and contentment. She is the wife of Lord Vishnu who is the Supreme God in Vaishnavism. She is described as restless, whimsical yet maternal, with her arms raised to bless and to grant. For centuries Hindus have invoked her and sought her blessing.
Facts about Goddess Lakshmi
- Goddess Lakshmi’s four hands represent four goals of human life considered important to the Hindu way of living – Dharma, Kama, Artha, and Moksha. In the artworks and sculptures of Goddess Lakshmi, the cascade of coins represents wealth, which she is most known for. The elephants which flank her represent royal power.
- Though she is the Goddess of wealth, one should not call on her with greed. There was a time when Lakshmi left the gods because they had become too arrogant & proud and they took their victories against the evil forces and demons for granted which had actually come due to the blessings and presence of Goddess Lakshmi.
- She was rediscovered during the churning of the milky sea. Each time Vishnu incarnated, she incarnated with him. This depicts her love and devotion towards her husband.
- She took the incarnation of Sita while Vishnu took the incarnation of Rama and Shesnaga of Lakshmana.
- Her other important incarnation was that of Rukmini when Vishnu incarnated as Krishna.
- Residing in the heart of Vishnu, Sri Lakshmi is said to have a profound influence on the preservation aspect of the Trinity in Hinduism. The term ‘Sri’ is often used as an expression of respect, and when associated with Lakshmi Devi, it emphasizes her divine grace and grandeur.
- In South India, Lakshmi Devi holds an essential place in spiritual practices. Known as ‘Thirumagal‘ because of her divine qualities, she is revered for being the provider of eight types of wealth.
- She is also called “The Goddess who Gives Strength to the Gods”. Goddess Lakshmi has many names. She is much associated with the flower, Lotus which can be seen in the scriptures and artworks. The lotus she stands on represents the material wealth of the world- like the lotus, it grows from muddy water, but it is not wet by it.
- Some of her names associated with the Lotus flower are Srija, Kamala, Padma, and Padmapriya.
- The marriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu are the paradigms for rituals and ceremonies for bride and groom in Hindu weddings. Some states of India such as West Bengal and Odisha believe that Goddess Lakshmi is another form of Goddess Durga.
- Some believe that owl is Vahana or the vehicle of Goddess Lakshmi.
- The red-colored saree which she wears is for continuous activity and positive energy.
- The AshtaLakshmi are the eight manifestos of Lakshmi which reside over eight sources of wealth and thus represent the powers of Mahalakshmi.
- Ashta Lakshmi is the depiction of Goddess Lakshmi in eight different forms. These forms signify various aspects of life that humans desire, including prosperity, wealth, courage, progeny, success, knowledge, food, and power.
- Gaja Lakshmi, one of the Ashta Lakshmis, is often depicted with two elephants by her side, showering her with water. This form of Lakshmi is the embodiment of animal wealth, power, and fertility.
- Veera Lakshmi, another form of Ashta Lakshmi, is the Goddess of valor and courage. She provides the strength to overcome obstacles and ensures victory for her devotees.
- Saubhagya Lakshmi, referred to in the ancient “Saubhagya Lakshmi Upanishad”, blesses devotees with good luck, prosperity, and successful life.
- Hindus worship Lakshmi the most on Diwali, the festival of lights. Goddess Kali in Kolkata is worshiped in the form of Mahalakshmi during Diwali.
- Friday is the best day to worship Goddess Lakshmi. Lotus flowers, sandalwood, betel leaves, nuts, fruits, and various sweet preparations made from jaggery, rice, and coconuts are used to worship to appease Goddess Lakshmi.
- Lakshmi Puja, a significant Hindu ritual, involves the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. It is often conducted during Diwali, the festival of lights, a day called Dhanteras or Wealth Worship Day.
- Lakshmi Panchami, also known as Shri Vrata, is dedicated to worshipping Sri Lakshmi. The festival occurs on the fifth day of the bright fortnight in the Hindu month of Chaitra and is considered auspicious for initiating new ventures.
- Lakshmi Tantra is a part of Pancharatra Agama that provides detailed descriptions and procedures for the worship of Lakshmi Devi. It’s a vital resource for understanding the various aspects of the Goddess.
- The Lakshmi Upanishad, a part of the Vedanta scriptures, focuses on the nature and qualities of Lakshmi Devi. It explains how she pervades everything as consciousness and is the embodiment of all prosperity.
- The Lakshmi Sahasranama, from the Skanda Purana, is a hymn describing the 1000 names of Goddess Lakshmi. Each name signifies a different quality, symbolizing the limitless nature of her benevolence and majesty.
Lakshmi Devi, as the Goddess of Wealth, offers a broad spectrum of wealth, including the richness of virtues and spiritual depth. She is much more than the mere goddess of material riches. Through various forms and scriptures, the profound and multifaceted nature of Lakshmi Devi’s divinity is evident.
The practices and rituals devoted to her form an integral part of Hindu spirituality, reinforcing her role as a provider of prosperity, beauty, and auspiciousness. Thus, Lakshmi Devi’s reverence is not just about seeking material wealth but the holistic wealth of well-being, righteousness, courage, knowledge, and spiritual growth.