Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune

Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune

Among the primary goddesses in the Hindu faith is Lakshmi. She is actually one of the three goddesses that make up the Hindu Trivedi, along with Parvati and Saraswati. However, not only is Lakshmi one of the most important goddesses in Hinduism, but she is also one of the deities that have been revered for the longest time.

 

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Evidence of Lakshmi’s long history is proven by the presence of her first hymn, the Shri Shukla in the Rig Veda, which is not only the most revered sacred scripture but it is also the oldest, originating between 1000 and 500 B.C. A further indication of Lakshmi’s longstanding presence and influence within the Hindu faith was the archaeological discovery of ancient coins that signify reverence of Lakshmi. The ancient coins are believed to have come from as far back as the first millennium BCE. Aside from this, and perhaps even more importantly, icons and statues of Lakshmi are located inside different Hindu temples all over Asia, which are also believed to have originated from as long ago as the second half of the first millennium BCE.

 

Lakshmi - Goddess of Fortune and Prosperity

Lakshmi is revered as the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, power, beauty, prosperity, and also fertility. She is said to promise both material fulfillment, as well as contentment. It then comes as no surprise that she is highly revered, not only by Hindus but by Buddhists and Jains as well. In fact, Lakshmi has been a particular favorite of kings. Kings and rulers have been known to honor Lakshmi with particular reverence, believing that she bestows good fortune, power, and sovereignty.

 Lord Vishnu Standing on Sheshnag with Lakshmi Ji

Lakshmi is well-known as the wife of the Hindu god Vishnu and is also recognized as the divine energy that supports him. According to the Garuda Purana, which is among the important texts in Hinduism, Lakshmi is recognized as having three forms: Shri, Bhu, and Durga. Lakshmi’s three forms are comprised of Satya which is goodness, rajas which are referred to as passion or energy, and tamas which is darkness. All these forms and characteristics are said to aid Vishnu in the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe. Lakshmi is also considered the mother goddess and supreme goddess, particularly in the Shaktism and Vaishnavism sects.

 

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The name Lakshmi comes from Sanskrit and means “she who leads to one’s goals”. Lakshmi is also known as Shri, which is also a Sanskrit word to mean noble. Shri Lakshmi is so important that the name Shri is actually written at the top of many important documents. Highly revered gods and respected individuals, including holy men and teachers, are also called Shri before they are addressed. This is because Shri is meant to be a sign of abundance, grace, prosperity, and good fortune, among others. Therefore, whenever the word Shri is spoken or written, it bestows whatever is spoken or written after it with divine blessings. In fact, married men are referred to as Shriman and married women as Shrimati. This is because they are believed to have Lakshmi’s blessings to channel the wealth of the world in order to support their family and the larger society.

 

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The account of Lakshmi’s birth involves the famed tale of the churning of the ocean of milk, which is considered to be among the most important events in Hinduism. The churning of the milky ocean tells the story of how the devas or gods battled the asuras or demons to gain immortality. Ultimately, the devas succeed in the battle by working together to churn the ocean of milk. The devas churned the ocean for hundreds of years until finally, treasures emerged from its surface. Among the treasures that rose from the ocean was a beautiful woman standing on a lotus flower who was Lakshmi. Lakshmi’s presence and assistance helped the devas finally defeat the asuras and then deliver them out of the world. Aside from this famed historical tale, Lakshmi also appears in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, which are considered to be among the most important epics in Hindu tradition.

 

Vishnu Lakshmi Seated on Sheshanaga

As the devoted wife of Vishnu, Lakshmi is said to have transformed into many various forms in order to be with Vishnu in his every incarnation and in many different scenarios. When Vishnu incarnated as the destroyer Parashurama, Lakshmi was by his side as Dharani. On a separate occasion that Vishnu transformed into the dwarf Vamana, Lakshmi then reincarnated and emerged from a lotus as Kamala or Padma. Another instance is when Vishnu was depicted as King Rama and Lakshmi was present as his Queen Sita. Of all of Lakshmi’s incarnations, she has eight particularly prominent incarnations which are said to symbolize eight different sources of wealth.

In Exact Adherence to Goddess Lakshmi’s Classical Iconography (Large Size)

In terms of Lakshmi’s iconography, she is frequently depicted as an elegant, golden-coloured woman draped in a red saree and adorned with gold ornaments, which are all meant to signify wealth. She is either standing or seated on a lotus throne while also holding a lotus in her hand, as well as a pot of money. These are likewise meant to symbolize good fortune, as well as self-knowledge and spiritual liberation. The lotus, which is a flower that can bloom in both clean and dirty water, is considered to signify purity regardless of clean or dirty environments, and good or evil circumstances. Next to the image of Lakshmi are two white elephants that are sometimes seen as pouring water over her. The elephants represent work and strength, while the water represents fertility and rain for an abundance of good fortune. Sometimes, Lakhsmi is also shown with an owl. The owl, on the other hand, symbolizes the vision and the discovery of knowledge despite the darkness. In addition to this, the owl is also known to be blinded by daylight. Therefore, the presence of the owl with Lakshmi is meant to serve as a reminder for Hindus not to be blinded by greed.

 

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Lakshmi’s physical appearance is often illustrated with broad hips, full breasts, and a smiling expression. With her face and open hands in a mudra position, she also represents compassion and dana or charity. Most distinctly, Lakshmi is depicted as having four hands that are meant to denote the four aspects or objectives of human life that are most important in the Hindu faith. These objectives aspects are dharma or ethical, moral life, kama or love and emotional fulfilment, artha or wealth in life, and moksha or self-knowledge and liberation.

 

12" Superfine Goddess Lakshmi Wall Hanging | Handmade

Given Lakshmi’s significance to Hindus, it is unsurprisingly that one of the biggest and most celebrated Hindu festivals is observed in her honour. Rituals followed during Diwali or the festival of lights include pujas or prayers to Lakshmi. It is also believed that Lakshmi visits the homes of devotees during Diwali in order to bestow good fortune and wealth in the new year.

 

Padmasana Gajalakshmi Tanjore Painting | Traditional Colors With 24K Gold | Teakwood Frame | Gold & Wood | Handmade | Made In India

There are a number of other festivals and sacred days that are observed throughout the year in honour of Lakshmi. Chaitra Shukla Panchami is another sacred day when Lakshmi is worshipped. Also called Lakshmi Panchami, Shri Panchami, Kalpadi, and Shri Vrata, it is observed in the first week of the new year in the Hindu calendar and is considered to be especially fortuitous. Another Autumn festival is the Sharad Purnima, which takes place at the end of the monsoon season. During this time, Lakshmi is especially thanked and worshipped for abundant harvests.

One of the longest revered goddesses in the Hindu faith, to this day, Lakshmi is still highly significant and highly adored, not only during religious festivals and special events but in the everyday lives of many Hindus.

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