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Books > Hindu > Festivals & Rituals > Laksmi (The Consort of Visnu and Goddess of Wealth)
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Laksmi (The Consort of Visnu and Goddess of Wealth)
Laksmi (The Consort of Visnu and Goddess of Wealth)
Description

About the Book

Laksmi in Indian religious thought happens to be the spouse of lord Visnu, she is said to have emerged as one of the gems from the churning of the ocean, jointly undertaken by the demons and the gods. Immediately after her emerging from the ocean she accepted lord Visnu as her lord. She has been in worship since time immemorial as an individual goddess as well as in the company of her lord Visnu. She had been a popular goddess not only with Hindus, but also with the Buddhist and the Jainas, and his following had reached even the foreign lands.

About the Author

Shantilal Nagar, a graduate of the Punjab University, served in the curatorial capacity in the Central Asian Antiquities Museum, New Delhi, the Archaeological Museum, Nalanda, and Archaeological Section of the Indian Museum, Calcutta for a number of years. He has to his credit the scientific documentation of over fifty thousand antiquities, in these museums, representing the rich cultural heritage of the country and comprising of sculptures, bronzes, terracottas, beads, seals and sealing, ancient Indian numismatics, wood work, miniatures and paintings, textiles and Pearce collection of gems, ranging from the earliest times to the late medieval period. He was awarded, in 1987, a fellowship, for his monograph on the temples of Himachal Pradesh, by the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. He has authored more than fifty books.

Introduction

(The one who resides over the red lotus and possesses the immense brilliance, who possesses enormous and unbearable lustre, who has red complexion, who is clad in the red garments, who is the beloved of the lord, she delights the mind, who emerged from the churning of the ocean, who is the spouse of Visnu, who was born out of lotus, who's quite adorable, the same goddess Laksmi should protect you and me.)

In Hinduism, Sri-Laksmi, is considered to be the goddess of fortune, or luck, which brings in blissful prosperity and abundance of fortune or luck. The idea of radiant beauty came to be associated with her form the very begining and though she never had a cult of her own in the sense of which Visnu, Siva and others had, she came to be regarded as in the epic and the Puranas as the Sakti of Vasudeva Visnu, A careful study of the literary and the archaeological material relating to the genesis and evolution of the goddess, establishes that the folk elements played a great part in the shaping of her ideology and form, the concrete concept about her being only traceable from the late Vedic period onwards. The earliest Vedic literature like the Rgveda and the other Samhitas are silent about the goddess as such. The words like Sri, no doubt occur, which are used in a general way. There were other goddesses like Sinivali, who in the Atharvaveda (8.46.3) is called as the wife of Visnu. In the same text (2.32.6-7), she has been described as the sister of the gods, having fair arms, fair fingers, prolofic and the mistress of the family and is invoked for granting offsprings. In the later Vedic texts, Raka and Sinivali are connected with the different phases of moon, the former being the presiding deity of the full moon and the latter, the same of the new moon. A comparison of these Vedic goddesses with Sri Laksmi, cannot establish that either of them could have served as the prototype of Sri Laksmi.

In the Satapatha Brahmana, it has been mentioned that when Prajapati became sick of the creation on the earth, Sri came forth from him, while he was in this condition. Her beauty and resplendence made the gods envy her and they wanted to kill her, but Prajapati dissuaded them from doing so, since she was a female and asked them to take away all her attributes from her, sparing her life. Then all the gods took away from her the food, kingdom, universal sovereignty, noble rank, power, holy lustre, dominion, wealth, prosperity and the beautiful form. Then at the advice of Prajapati she performed sacrifice and all the things were restored to her. This means that the goddess embodies all these qualities, The Taittiriya Upanisad also highlights this character of the goddess and several other texts follow the same.

The Sri Sukta is the late supplement of the Rgveda, which highlights in its fifteen hymns most of her distinctive features which she came to possess in her developed form. In the first of these verses she has been described to have golden coloured antelope decorated with the garland of silver and gold.

The epic literature further has the developed form of Sri Laksmi, and refers to her various traits in different contexts. In these epics the light is shed on her origin from the churning of the ocean and several other means. In the Vana-parvan of the Mahabharata we are told that Laksmi came to the gods and Alaksmi to the demons. The Asuras pervaded by Alaksmi and struck by the age of Kali, were destroyed. Laksrni is also said to have appeared in one of the fourteen dreams of Trisala before the birth of Mahavira, on the night of her conception.

The Puranas had been quite vocal about the performance of Laksmi in her various forms, the most prominent being her origin and evolution. Some of the accounts available in these texts are given hereunder.

(i) Disappearing of Sri Laksmi from the heaven of Indra-The Puranas are quite vocal on the subject of Laksmi emerging out of the ocean, but the question would arise as to how was she lodged in the ocean. In this connection there is a story in the Visnu Purana which highlights the reason for Laksmi' s entering the oceanic water.

According to the Chapter-9, of the Visnu Purana, once Durvasa-the sage born of Atri and Anusuya was wandering on earth. Suddenly he saw a divine garland carried by a nymph who was travelling in the air. The sage who was then possessed with a religious frenzy beheld that garland and demanded it of the graceful nymph, who. bowing to him reverentially presented the same to the sage at once. He then came across Indra who was mounted over the elephant Airavata attended by the gods. The frenzied sage took off the garland which he had placed over his head and threw it at the king of the gods, who caught it and threw it over the head of the elephant Airavata. The elephant then caught hold of the garland with his trunk and threw it on the earth. The sage Durvasa was thus immensely enraged at the disrespectful treatment of his gift and pronounced a curse on Indra, "Inflated with the intoxication of your power, you have not cared for the garland presented by me to you, which was brought by me from the abode of the Goddess Sri (Laksmi). You have not acknowledged it, nor did you offer your salutation to me. Besides, you, in utter disregard of the flower garland presented by me to you, threw it over the head of the elephant. Now, 0 fool, since you had dis-regarded my garland, which I gave you, your sovereignty over the three worlds shall be lost. Since you have disgraced me in the presence of other sages, having been filled with arrogance, therefore your kingdom would go to ruins."

These words of Durvasa made Indra panicky. He hastily descended himself from the elephant and begged forgiveness from the sage. He said, "O Indra, I am not compassionate at heart nor am I in the habit of granting forgiveness. I will not forgive you whatever the semblence of humility you may express."

 

Contents

 

1 Introduction 1-11
  (i) Disappearing of Sri Laksmi from the heaven of Indra,  
  (ii) Churning of the Ocean, (iii) Coronation of Laksmi,  
  (iii) Selection of a spouse.  
2 The Birth 12-25
  (i) Born of the left side of the Supreme Being, (ii) As daughter of the sage Bhrgu and Khyati, (iii) Laksmi born as the daughter of Janaka, (iv) Vedavati episode, (v) Episode of Srimati the daughter of the king Ambarisa, (vi) Born of a Tree, (vii) Daughter of Daksa, (viii) Laksmi as younger sister of Alaksmi, (ix) Emerged out of the left side of Krsna, (x) Laksmi as a form of Sati, (xi) born from an Egg, (xii) Laksmi curses Visnu, (xiii) Mutual curse of Ganga, Sarasvati and Laksmi.  
3 Ancient Indian Literature 26-54
  (a) Vedic and Post-Vedic Literature, (b) The Epics, (c) Profile in the Puranas-(1) Agni Purana, (2) Bhagavata Purana, (3) Bhavisya Purana, (4) Brahmavaivarta Purana, (5) Brahma Purana, (6) Devi Bhagavata Purana, (7) Garuda Purana, (8) Kalika Purana, (9) Nilamata Purana, (10) Kurma Purana, (11) Markandeya Purana, (12) Matsya Purana, (13) Narada Purana, (14) Vayu Purana, (15) Visnu Purana, (16) Vamana Purana, (17) Visnudharmottara, (18) Varaha Purana, (19) Padma Purana, (20) Siva Purana, (21) Skanda Purana, (d) Classical Sanskrit, Literature-(i) Svapnavasavadatta by Bhasa, (ii) Raghuvamsa by Kalidasa, (iii) Mrcchakatika by Sudraka, (iv) Mudra Raksasa by Visakhadatta. (v) Sisupala Vadha by Magha, (vi) Saundrananda by Asvaghosa, (vii) Naisadha Mahakavya by Sri Harsa, (viii) Nagananda by Sri Harsa, (ix) Venisamhara by Narayana Bhatta, (x) Niti Sataka of Bhartrihari, (xi) Anargha Raghava by Murari, (xii) Sri Ramakirti Mahakavya (Thai Ramayana), (xiii) Vikramanka-devacarita by Bilhana, (xiv) Rajatarangini by Jonaraja, (e) The Tantric Literature, (f) Laksmi in Silpasastras-(i) Samaranganasutradhara, (ii) Manasara, (iii) Rupamandana, (iv) Devatamurtiprakaranam, (v) Visnudharmottara, (iv) Amsubhedagama, (vii) Silparatna, (viii) Purvakaranagama, (ix) Visvakarmasastra, (x) Candikalpa.  
4 The Evidence of Buddhism and Jainism 55-59
  Evidence of Jainism  
5 Laksmi in Indian Art 60-70
  (1) Sri Laksmi, (2) Laksmi with Visnu-(i) Bhogasanamurti, (ii) Virasanamurti, (iii) Yogasanamurti, (iv) Laksmi-Narayana.  
6 Laksmi in Indian Seals and Sealings 71-79
  (1) Laksmi, (2) Gajalaksmi-(1) Earliest Period-(a) Tribal Seals, (b) Gupta Period.  
7 Laksmi in Coins 80-84
  Tribal Coins  
8 Other Aspects 85-94
  (1) The Incarnations-(a) Incarnation with Visnu, (b) Incarnations, (2) As a Corn Goddess, (3) The Forms, (4) The Epithets, (5) Relations with Other Deities, (6) The Dwelling Place, (7) Places discarded by Laksmi, (8) Punya Laksmi, (9) Terribel Form, (10) Papa Laksmi, (11) The Vehicle, (12) Laksmi-Ganesa, (13) Laksmi in Tantra, (14) Laksmi turned Vinayaki, (15) Laksmi with Pingala Ganapati.  
9 The Foreign Travels 95-101
  (1) Japan-(i) Darani-Shu-Kyo, (ii) Description of Laksmi image, (2) Champa, (3) Cambodia.  
10 Laksmi Vratas 102-106
  (1) Dipavlali, (2) Sripancami-Vrata, (3) Guruvara-Vrata, (4) Visoka Dvadasi-Vrata, (5) Kojagara Purnima, (6) Asunya Sayana-Vrata.  
  Arati of Sri Laksmi ji 107

Sample Pages









Laksmi (The Consort of Visnu and Goddess of Wealth)

Item Code:
IDK513
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2006
ISBN:
9788176464871
Language:
English
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8.7" X 5.7"
Pages:
106
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Weight of the Boo: 270 gms
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About the Book

Laksmi in Indian religious thought happens to be the spouse of lord Visnu, she is said to have emerged as one of the gems from the churning of the ocean, jointly undertaken by the demons and the gods. Immediately after her emerging from the ocean she accepted lord Visnu as her lord. She has been in worship since time immemorial as an individual goddess as well as in the company of her lord Visnu. She had been a popular goddess not only with Hindus, but also with the Buddhist and the Jainas, and his following had reached even the foreign lands.

About the Author

Shantilal Nagar, a graduate of the Punjab University, served in the curatorial capacity in the Central Asian Antiquities Museum, New Delhi, the Archaeological Museum, Nalanda, and Archaeological Section of the Indian Museum, Calcutta for a number of years. He has to his credit the scientific documentation of over fifty thousand antiquities, in these museums, representing the rich cultural heritage of the country and comprising of sculptures, bronzes, terracottas, beads, seals and sealing, ancient Indian numismatics, wood work, miniatures and paintings, textiles and Pearce collection of gems, ranging from the earliest times to the late medieval period. He was awarded, in 1987, a fellowship, for his monograph on the temples of Himachal Pradesh, by the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. He has authored more than fifty books.

Introduction

(The one who resides over the red lotus and possesses the immense brilliance, who possesses enormous and unbearable lustre, who has red complexion, who is clad in the red garments, who is the beloved of the lord, she delights the mind, who emerged from the churning of the ocean, who is the spouse of Visnu, who was born out of lotus, who's quite adorable, the same goddess Laksmi should protect you and me.)

In Hinduism, Sri-Laksmi, is considered to be the goddess of fortune, or luck, which brings in blissful prosperity and abundance of fortune or luck. The idea of radiant beauty came to be associated with her form the very begining and though she never had a cult of her own in the sense of which Visnu, Siva and others had, she came to be regarded as in the epic and the Puranas as the Sakti of Vasudeva Visnu, A careful study of the literary and the archaeological material relating to the genesis and evolution of the goddess, establishes that the folk elements played a great part in the shaping of her ideology and form, the concrete concept about her being only traceable from the late Vedic period onwards. The earliest Vedic literature like the Rgveda and the other Samhitas are silent about the goddess as such. The words like Sri, no doubt occur, which are used in a general way. There were other goddesses like Sinivali, who in the Atharvaveda (8.46.3) is called as the wife of Visnu. In the same text (2.32.6-7), she has been described as the sister of the gods, having fair arms, fair fingers, prolofic and the mistress of the family and is invoked for granting offsprings. In the later Vedic texts, Raka and Sinivali are connected with the different phases of moon, the former being the presiding deity of the full moon and the latter, the same of the new moon. A comparison of these Vedic goddesses with Sri Laksmi, cannot establish that either of them could have served as the prototype of Sri Laksmi.

In the Satapatha Brahmana, it has been mentioned that when Prajapati became sick of the creation on the earth, Sri came forth from him, while he was in this condition. Her beauty and resplendence made the gods envy her and they wanted to kill her, but Prajapati dissuaded them from doing so, since she was a female and asked them to take away all her attributes from her, sparing her life. Then all the gods took away from her the food, kingdom, universal sovereignty, noble rank, power, holy lustre, dominion, wealth, prosperity and the beautiful form. Then at the advice of Prajapati she performed sacrifice and all the things were restored to her. This means that the goddess embodies all these qualities, The Taittiriya Upanisad also highlights this character of the goddess and several other texts follow the same.

The Sri Sukta is the late supplement of the Rgveda, which highlights in its fifteen hymns most of her distinctive features which she came to possess in her developed form. In the first of these verses she has been described to have golden coloured antelope decorated with the garland of silver and gold.

The epic literature further has the developed form of Sri Laksmi, and refers to her various traits in different contexts. In these epics the light is shed on her origin from the churning of the ocean and several other means. In the Vana-parvan of the Mahabharata we are told that Laksmi came to the gods and Alaksmi to the demons. The Asuras pervaded by Alaksmi and struck by the age of Kali, were destroyed. Laksrni is also said to have appeared in one of the fourteen dreams of Trisala before the birth of Mahavira, on the night of her conception.

The Puranas had been quite vocal about the performance of Laksmi in her various forms, the most prominent being her origin and evolution. Some of the accounts available in these texts are given hereunder.

(i) Disappearing of Sri Laksmi from the heaven of Indra-The Puranas are quite vocal on the subject of Laksmi emerging out of the ocean, but the question would arise as to how was she lodged in the ocean. In this connection there is a story in the Visnu Purana which highlights the reason for Laksmi' s entering the oceanic water.

According to the Chapter-9, of the Visnu Purana, once Durvasa-the sage born of Atri and Anusuya was wandering on earth. Suddenly he saw a divine garland carried by a nymph who was travelling in the air. The sage who was then possessed with a religious frenzy beheld that garland and demanded it of the graceful nymph, who. bowing to him reverentially presented the same to the sage at once. He then came across Indra who was mounted over the elephant Airavata attended by the gods. The frenzied sage took off the garland which he had placed over his head and threw it at the king of the gods, who caught it and threw it over the head of the elephant Airavata. The elephant then caught hold of the garland with his trunk and threw it on the earth. The sage Durvasa was thus immensely enraged at the disrespectful treatment of his gift and pronounced a curse on Indra, "Inflated with the intoxication of your power, you have not cared for the garland presented by me to you, which was brought by me from the abode of the Goddess Sri (Laksmi). You have not acknowledged it, nor did you offer your salutation to me. Besides, you, in utter disregard of the flower garland presented by me to you, threw it over the head of the elephant. Now, 0 fool, since you had dis-regarded my garland, which I gave you, your sovereignty over the three worlds shall be lost. Since you have disgraced me in the presence of other sages, having been filled with arrogance, therefore your kingdom would go to ruins."

These words of Durvasa made Indra panicky. He hastily descended himself from the elephant and begged forgiveness from the sage. He said, "O Indra, I am not compassionate at heart nor am I in the habit of granting forgiveness. I will not forgive you whatever the semblence of humility you may express."

 

Contents

 

1 Introduction 1-11
  (i) Disappearing of Sri Laksmi from the heaven of Indra,  
  (ii) Churning of the Ocean, (iii) Coronation of Laksmi,  
  (iii) Selection of a spouse.  
2 The Birth 12-25
  (i) Born of the left side of the Supreme Being, (ii) As daughter of the sage Bhrgu and Khyati, (iii) Laksmi born as the daughter of Janaka, (iv) Vedavati episode, (v) Episode of Srimati the daughter of the king Ambarisa, (vi) Born of a Tree, (vii) Daughter of Daksa, (viii) Laksmi as younger sister of Alaksmi, (ix) Emerged out of the left side of Krsna, (x) Laksmi as a form of Sati, (xi) born from an Egg, (xii) Laksmi curses Visnu, (xiii) Mutual curse of Ganga, Sarasvati and Laksmi.  
3 Ancient Indian Literature 26-54
  (a) Vedic and Post-Vedic Literature, (b) The Epics, (c) Profile in the Puranas-(1) Agni Purana, (2) Bhagavata Purana, (3) Bhavisya Purana, (4) Brahmavaivarta Purana, (5) Brahma Purana, (6) Devi Bhagavata Purana, (7) Garuda Purana, (8) Kalika Purana, (9) Nilamata Purana, (10) Kurma Purana, (11) Markandeya Purana, (12) Matsya Purana, (13) Narada Purana, (14) Vayu Purana, (15) Visnu Purana, (16) Vamana Purana, (17) Visnudharmottara, (18) Varaha Purana, (19) Padma Purana, (20) Siva Purana, (21) Skanda Purana, (d) Classical Sanskrit, Literature-(i) Svapnavasavadatta by Bhasa, (ii) Raghuvamsa by Kalidasa, (iii) Mrcchakatika by Sudraka, (iv) Mudra Raksasa by Visakhadatta. (v) Sisupala Vadha by Magha, (vi) Saundrananda by Asvaghosa, (vii) Naisadha Mahakavya by Sri Harsa, (viii) Nagananda by Sri Harsa, (ix) Venisamhara by Narayana Bhatta, (x) Niti Sataka of Bhartrihari, (xi) Anargha Raghava by Murari, (xii) Sri Ramakirti Mahakavya (Thai Ramayana), (xiii) Vikramanka-devacarita by Bilhana, (xiv) Rajatarangini by Jonaraja, (e) The Tantric Literature, (f) Laksmi in Silpasastras-(i) Samaranganasutradhara, (ii) Manasara, (iii) Rupamandana, (iv) Devatamurtiprakaranam, (v) Visnudharmottara, (iv) Amsubhedagama, (vii) Silparatna, (viii) Purvakaranagama, (ix) Visvakarmasastra, (x) Candikalpa.  
4 The Evidence of Buddhism and Jainism 55-59
  Evidence of Jainism  
5 Laksmi in Indian Art 60-70
  (1) Sri Laksmi, (2) Laksmi with Visnu-(i) Bhogasanamurti, (ii) Virasanamurti, (iii) Yogasanamurti, (iv) Laksmi-Narayana.  
6 Laksmi in Indian Seals and Sealings 71-79
  (1) Laksmi, (2) Gajalaksmi-(1) Earliest Period-(a) Tribal Seals, (b) Gupta Period.  
7 Laksmi in Coins 80-84
  Tribal Coins  
8 Other Aspects 85-94
  (1) The Incarnations-(a) Incarnation with Visnu, (b) Incarnations, (2) As a Corn Goddess, (3) The Forms, (4) The Epithets, (5) Relations with Other Deities, (6) The Dwelling Place, (7) Places discarded by Laksmi, (8) Punya Laksmi, (9) Terribel Form, (10) Papa Laksmi, (11) The Vehicle, (12) Laksmi-Ganesa, (13) Laksmi in Tantra, (14) Laksmi turned Vinayaki, (15) Laksmi with Pingala Ganapati.  
9 The Foreign Travels 95-101
  (1) Japan-(i) Darani-Shu-Kyo, (ii) Description of Laksmi image, (2) Champa, (3) Cambodia.  
10 Laksmi Vratas 102-106
  (1) Dipavlali, (2) Sripancami-Vrata, (3) Guruvara-Vrata, (4) Visoka Dvadasi-Vrata, (5) Kojagara Purnima, (6) Asunya Sayana-Vrata.  
  Arati of Sri Laksmi ji 107

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