represents wealth and prosperity and thus embodies mans
Behold her so beautiful!
She, the Goddess of Fertility. The consort of Mahavishnu. Lakshmi the
bestower of wealth. Lakshmi the synonym for prosperity.
Every woman in India
idolizes Lakshmi for she personifies all that is happy. In fact
Lakshmi kataksham is what is yearned forthe blessings of
As with all goddesses in
the Hindu pantheon, Lakshmi too has many stories about her origin.
The interesting one begins with the scene where the King of Kings,
Indra, is perturbed for all those in Devaloka (heaven) have
lost their powers and have become old and aged. A sage named Durvasa
had cursed them to be so. Now the gods went to Brahma and asked him
to find them a solution. Brahma could not think of a way out of the
situation. He led them to Mahavishnu. Vishnu smiled on hearing the
problem of the devas. He gave them a solution. He told them to
churn the mighty ocean and on drinking the amrita or elixir
that would come out of it they would regain their youth and strength.
But that was easier said
than done. How to churn the ocean? Using the mountain Mandara
and the snake Vasuki, the devas set about the job. But the
mountain Mandara needed a base to stand upon. Lord Vishnu
himself agreed to come down in the form of a mighty tortoise and
become the base. Now the demons heard of this and wanted to share the
elixir. The devas knew they could not accomplish this heavy
job without the support of the Asuras and so they agreed.
They churned and churned
the ocean till their arms hurt and their minds were depressed. But
Lord Vishnu urged them to keep going.
Soon, however the ocean
gave forth fourteen precious gifts to mankind. Goddess Lakshmi was
the last to emerge. Seated on a lotus, she looked so beautiful that
everybody immediately sang her praise. The sky elephants poured
refreshing waters on her. According to Indian mythology, the whole
earth is held up in the four directions by four elephants called the
Dik-gaj, where dik means direction and gaj,
elephant. The Ocean of Milk, ksheerasagara, from which she
emerged gave her a garland of imperishable flowers. Lakshmi brought
with her the elixir, which revived the strength of the gods. A part
of the story is also about how two demons in the guise of devas
got hold of the elixir and how they were punished by Lord Vishnu for
having cheated. Lord Indra, the King of Kings, sung Goddess Lakshmis
praise and it is believed by devout Hindus that whoever sings these
verses has always Lakshmi on her side. Lakshmi, on emerging from the
ocean married, Lord Vishnu.
Lakshmi is said to dwell
on the waters with her husband Vishnu on the bed made of serpent
Another story goes that
Vishnu created Lakshmi from his left side. Subsequently, it is
believed that Lakshmi was born as Lord Ramas wife, Sita.
Lakshmi is also Bhudevi
or Mother Earth. Initially, scholars say that when all wealth was
only land, Lakshmi represented land and wealth. She represented the
fertility of the land too since land produce was wealth. Gradually as
wealth began to take the forms of gold and crisp bank notes, Lakshmi
symbolized them also. That wealth keeps moving from one person to
another, is one reason why Lakshmi is also called the fickle one. One
day a sage is said to have visited the Vishnu couple riding on his
beautiful stallion. So enamoured was Lakshmi of the stallion that she
did not even hear when her husband called her. Immediately the
otherwise patient husband grew red with rage and cursed his wife. He
said she would not be static but would always keep moving and so her
name Ramaa. That is also why wealth never stays with one man, it
keeps changing hands. And yet Lakshmi stays forever with Lord Vishnu,
which means that Lakshmi will stay with good men who perform good
deeds, keep their environs clean and so on.
On Diwali which is being
celebrated this month Lakshmi is worshipped along with Lord Ganesha.
On this day it is said that Lakshmi and Ganesha were released from
captivity in which they were held by a demon. Lakshmi representing
prosperity and Ganesha being the remover of obstacles, people also
believe, if not hope, that there will be no obstacles to their
gaining lots of wealth. Goddess Lakshmi is generally represented as
having two arms, though sometimes she is also shown as having four.
She is generally depicted as seated on a lotus and from her palms,
gold coins are shown to shower. There is no temple exclusively for
her though there are prayers and occasions when she is worshipped.
All shops have a picture of Lakshmi in an ardent prayer from
Lakshmi is generally
believed to ride her husbands vehicle, the Garuda. Her own
vehicle is rather slow: the owl. People say if you worship her
blindly, then you are like the ulooka or the owl, but if you
have the attributes of Lord Vishnu, you will know how to keep her by
your side always!
So here is wishing you a
happy Diwali and all the prosperity Goddess Lakshmi can shower.