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The most fundamental of Hindu deities, is the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - popular deities include Ganesha, Krishna, Hanuman and goddesses like Lakshmi, Durga,Saraswati.

Goddess Lakshmi

According to the puranas, Goddess Sri Lakshmi was the incarnated as the daughter of the sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyati. She was later born out of Ksheer Sagar (ocean of milk) while being churned. Hence, her appellation, Ksheera Samudra Raja Tanaya. As consort of Vishnu, sri Lakshmi is born as his spouse whenever he incarnates. When Vishnu appeared as Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, she appeared as Padma or Kamala, Dharani, Sita and Rukmini. She is as inseparable from Vishnu as speech from meaning or knowledge from intellect, or good deeds from righteousness.

Vishnu represents all that is male and Lakshmi, all that is female. Goddess Maha Lakshmi is enchantingly beautiful, and is standing on a lotus holding lotuses one in each of her hands and is called Padma, or Kamala. She is also adorned with a lotus garland. Often, elephants are shown on each side, emptying pitchers of water over her, the pitchers being presented by celestial maidens. She is variously described as dark, pink, golden, yellow or white. We attempt an explanation that is behind this highly symbolical picture. If Lakshmi is pictured as dark in complexion, it is to show that she is the consort of Vishnu, the dark god. If golden yellow, that shows her as the source fo all wealth. If white, she represents the purest form of prakriti (nature) from which the universe developed. As she is the mother of all, the pinkish complexion reflects her compassion for creatures. Separate Lakshmi temples are rare.

In the company of Vishnu, sri Lakshmi is shown with two hands only. When worshipped in a temple, Goddess Maha Lakshmi is shown seated on a lotus throne, with four hands holding padma, shankha, amritha kalasha (pot of ambrosia) and bilva fruit. Amritha kalasha also signifies immortality. Sometimes, another kind of fruit, the mahalunga (citron) is shown instead of bilva. Goddess Sri Lakshmi four hands signify her power to grant the (chatur vidha) four type of purusharthas (ends of human life), dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (bodily pleasures), moksha (beatitude). The lotuses in various stages of blooming, represent the worlds and beings in various stages of evolution. Mahalakshmi, an aspect of Durga, is shown with eight hands. The bow and arrow, mace and discus are added. The fruit denotes the fruits of our labor. Without the grace of Lakshmi, out toil is of no avail. The coconut with the shell, kernel and water connotes that she is the origin of the three levels of creation, the gross, the subtle and the extremely subtle. When the fruit is a pomegranate or a citron, it signifies that the various created worlds are under her control and she transcends them all. A bilva fruit, incidentally, not tasty or attractive, but good for health, represents moksha. the pinnacle of spiritual life.

 

 

Sri renders as 'one who takes delight in Sri' Lakshmi, meaning wealth, wealth of any kind. Primarily eight kinds of wealth are established, associated with goddess Lakshmi. They are:

1) Adi Lakshmi [The main goddess]

2) Dhanya Lakshmi [Granary wealth]

3) Dhairya Lakshmi [Wealth of courage]

4) Gaja Lakshmi [Elephants, symbols of wealth]

5) Santana Lakshmi [Wealth of progeny]

6) Vijaya Lakshmi [Wealth of victory]

7) Vidya Lakshmi [Wealth of knowledge]

8) Dhana Lakshmi [Monetary wealth]

Any thing that need be affluent gets the auspicious prefix or suffix 'Lakshmi', or 'Sri' like Rajya Lakshmi (Wealth of Empire), Shanti Sri (Wealth of Peace), etc. In modern India, common titles standing in for the English Mr. and Mrs. are Shri (also Sri or Shree) and Shrimati (also Srimati or Shreemati), as in "Sri Gupta" or "Srimati Mangeshkar".

Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped by those who wish to acquire or to preserve wealth. It is believed that Lakshmi (wealth) goes only to those houses which are clean and where the people are hardworking. She does not visit the places which are unclean/dirty or where the people are lazy.

In Uttarakhand, after the worship of the goddess on Diwali night, the Shankh or Conch is not blown. This is because the shank is also from the ocean like the goddess herself, so it is given a day of rest.

Laxmi is the patron goddess of Kolhapur city, Maharashtra.

 

  
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