We all have heard of so many of these Hindu Gods ,and if you are like most, you might be confused as to who they are are and what they represent.
I guess the stories as to why there are so many and what they represent may be questions you may have and I can't answer, at least not all in one sitting!
Here is a glimpse at the Goddess of prosperity, wealth, fortune, love and joy, Lakshmi!
There are many traits that the Goddess Lakshmi has,but she is also part of the Tridevi trinity of Hinduism principle goddesses, along with Parvati and Saraswati.
Lakshmi is perhaps most well known for her role among the gods, being the wife of Vishnu and a Supreme Being in Vishnuism, assisting and protecting Vishnu in his various avatar forms and his journey to transform and create the universe.
The image of Lakshmi is heavy in divine symbolism. She is typically depicted either sitting or standing on a lotus flower and holds two lotus flowers in two of her four hands. The lotus is a symbol of purity and self-realization and is often seen throughout Hindu art. They are known to be able to grow in both clean and dirty water, in many cultures they symbolize how good can flourish in evil and not be tainted.
Like many Hindu Gods and Goddesses, she is shown as having multiple arms. These arms represent the four traits in humanity that Hinduism strives to achieve; Dharma (the pursuit of an ethical and moral life), Kama (emotional fulfillment and love), Moksha (the quest for self-knowledge and freedom) and Artha (achievement of wealth and prosperity).
Not a bad Goddess to praise so that hopefully she smiles down upon you with her many blessing!
THE REBIRTH OF LAKSHMI
Like any deity, there are many fables and legends about her, but the most retold is the story of her rebirth and how the gods got their immortality, known as The Churning of the Milky Ocean.
The story goes that the Warrior God Indra was tasked with protecting the world from demons that had long sought to destroy it and with Lakshmi’s help he did so successfully for many years. One day, he was gifted a garland of sacred flowers by a wise sage, displeased by the gift Indra threw the flowers away in a show of arrogance. Lakshmi who had been observing this interaction was angered by his arrogance and rudeness and decided to leave the world of the gods and enter into the Milky Ocean as punishment. Without her power as the goddess of success and fortune, the gods were no longer blessed and demons started seeping into the world, everything grew darker, people greedier and the gods were ignored. As time went on the gods began to lose their power.
Indra came to Vishnu and begged for his help. Vishnu instructed Indra that he and the other gods must churn the Milky Ocean to return Lakshmi to the surface and gain her favor again.
In the Ocean’s depth also lay many treasures, such as the elixir of life and a potion to bestow immortality. These would all help them to rid the world of demons and restore balance.
For over 1,000 years the gods worked together to churn the ocean for Lakshmi and the treasure with little luck. Finally, Lakshmi arose to the surface as a beautiful woman standing on a lotus flower along with all the treasure they had sought. With her help and power, the gods were able to finally defeated the demons that had infested our world and push them back into darkness.
Something that I did not know was that Lakshmi is often paired with Ganesha, the God of Wisdom, as her son who was adopted from the goddess Parvati because Lakshmi was childless. Mythology states that Lakshmi grew to care for Ganesha so much that she decided to share her power with him. The two are among the most popular gods to be worshipped in the Hindu faith, as people will pray to Lakshmi for wealth but also to Ganesha for the wisdom to use the wealth and riches wisely.
To honor the Goddess Lakshmi you may enjoy performing a Japa Meditation in her honor or use it as a daily mantra to recite! I know that I will!
Om Hreem Shreem Lakshmibhayo Namaha !