Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune and beauty in Hinduism. It is believed that all those who adore her know immediate happiness. Creating prosperity can be as simple as creating using some artistic talent. The Goddess of abundance, she shows us that wealth can be inspired by God or Divinity. As a sacred manifestation of all forms of prosperity, she is probably the most popular goddess in the Hindu pantheon. She is often depicted on top of coins as bright as the luck that she offers to her devotees.
Origin of Lakshmi
She was the daughter of the sage Bhrigu and took refuge in the ocean of milk when the gods were sent into exile. Lakshmi was reborn during the great churning of the ocean. As soon as the gods saw, they all fell in love with her beauty. Shiva wanted her as his wife, however since he had already taken the Moon, Lakshmi’s hand was bestowed on Vishnu, whom she herself preferred. As their souls were united in union, she was reborn as her consort each time Vishnu was reincarnated. For example, she went to be Sita to Rama, Radha first and then Rukmini to Krishna.
Being the consort of Vishnu, the principle of conservation, Lakshmi also means love and grace. She often expresses her devotion to Vishnu by massaging his feet while she is in the rings of the serpent Shesha. While she is generally worshipped for success, she does not side with anyone who is lazy, or who wants her solely for wealth.
The representation and symbolism of Lakshmi
Lakshmi is depicted in a female form with four arms and hands. She wears red clothes with a golden lining on top of a lotus. She has gold coins and lotus flowers in her hands. Two elephants (some pictures show four) are shown next to the Goddess. This symbolism conveys the following spiritual theme:
- The four arms represent the four directions of space, symbolizing the omnipresence and omnipotence of the Goddess. Secondly, the color red symbolizes activity. Following, the gold lining (embroidery) on her red dress denotes prosperity. The idea conveyed here is that the goddess is always busy distributing wealth and prosperity to her devotees. The lotus seat means that while living in this world, one should enjoy the richness of it, but not obsess over it. Such a life is analogous to a lotus flower that grows in water, but is not moistened with water.
- The four hands represent the four extremes of human life: dharma (law of life), kama (genuine desires), artha (wealth), and Moksha (liberation from birth and death). The front hands represent activity in the physical world and the back hands indicate spiritual activities that lead to spiritual perfection.
- The right side of the body symbolizes activity, a lotus flower in the back right hand conveys the idea that one should perform all functions in the world according to the dharma. This leads to moksha (liberation), which is symbolized by a lotus in Lakshmi’s left rear hand. The gold coins that fall on the ground on Lakshmi’s front left illustrate that she provides wealth and prosperity to her devotees. Her front right hand is shown bestowing blessings on her devotees.
- The two elephants standing next to the Goddess symbolize the name and fame associated with the wealth of the world. The idea here is that a true devotee should not gain wealth simply to acquire name and fame or just to satisfy his own material desires, but should share it with others in order to make others happy in addition to himself.
- Some images show four elephants pouring water from the golden vessels to the goddess. The four elephants represent the four extremes of human life as discussed above. Pouring water denotes activity. Gold vessels denote wisdom and purity. The four elephants pouring water from the golden vessels on the goddess illustrate the theme that continuous self-effort, in accordance with one’s dharma and finds itself ruled by wisdom and purity, that generates so much material and spiritual prosperity.
When and where to worship Lakshmi
Lakshmi is regularly worshipped in shrines, homes, and temples by her devotees. Her worshipping is not only tied to holidays. If you’re venturing in any new activity which ties in to fortune, you can ask for her blessings. (this means you hear her out and not seek her out). A special worship is offered every year on Diwali day, it usually appears where there is light and prosperity. As a result, to resemble her presence and invoke her, during Hindu holidays, candles are usually lit, lighting all the corners of our homes and businesses.