Goddess Lakshmi means Good Luck to Hindus. The word 'Lakshmi' is derived from the sanskrit word "Laksya", meaning 'aim' or 'goal', and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual In Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi, also called Shri, is the divine spouse of Lord Vishnu and provides him with wealth for the maintenance and preservation of the creation. Lakshmi often expresses her devotion to Vishnu by massaging his feet as he lies on the coils of the snake Shesha. While Lakshmi is generally worshipped to achieve success, she does not reside long with anyone who is lazy or desires her only as wealth.
Lakshmi’s multiple importance in Hindu mythology cannot be captured in a few paragraphs. Three perspectives will demonstrate the breadth of her roles and the changes in the ways in which she was perceived. Linguistically and historically, Lakshmi in the Rigveda was a word of feminine gender that quantified good fortune.
Evolution and legends
In Hinduism gods and demons were both mortal at one time. Amrit, the divine nectar that give immortality could only be obtained by churning the Kshirsagar (Ocean of Milk). The devas and asuras both sought immortality and decided to churn the Kshirsagar. With the devas on one side and the asuras on the other, the samudra manthan commenced. Vishnu incarnated as Kurma, the tortoise, on whom was placed a mountain as a churning pole, and Vasuki, the great venom-spewing serpent, was wrapped around it and used to churn the ocean. A host of divine celestial objects came up during the churning. Among these, importantly, was Goddess Lakshmi, the daughter of the king of the milky ocean. The last to come up was the Amrit. With this, the avatar of Kurma, the tortoise, ended. Vishnu then took up the form of a beautiful maiden to distract the asuras and gave immortality to the devas.
Goddess Mahalakshmi has ever been in existence. Her appearance from samudra manthan is one of her main manifestation only. Goddess Mahalakshmi was also born to the great Sage Bhrigu and she is therefore also called as Bhargavi. Goddess Mahalkshmi is also the sister of the great Guru Sukracharya as well as the great planet Chandra.
Each time Vishnu descends on earth as an avatar, He is accompanied by an avatar of Lakshmi.According to Vishnu Purana. Lakshmi also incarnated: at the churning of the Milky Ocean as Padma, in the dwarf avatara as Kamala or Padma, in the Rama avatara as Sita, in the Krishna avatara as Rukmini. In all other descents, she was there as well. From this perspective Lakshmi’s story would be found nested in the story of Vishnu’s incarnations.
Image of Goddess Lakshmi
Goddess is depicted in a female form with four arms and four hands. She wears red clothes with a golden lining and is standing on a lotus. She has golden coins and lotuses in her hands. Two or four elephants are shown next to the Goddess. This symbolism conveys the following spiritual theme:
• The four arms represent the four directions in space and thus symbolize omnipresence and omnipotence of the Goddess.
• The red colour symbolizes activity. The golden lining (embroidery) on her red dress denotes prosperity.
• The lotus seat, which Lakshmi is standing upon, signifies that while living in this world, one should enjoy its wealth, but not become obsessed with it. Such a living is analogous to a lotus that grows in water but is not wetted by water.
• The four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma (righteousness), kama (genuine desires), artha (wealth), and moksha (liberation from birth and death). The front hands represent the activity in the physical world and the back hands indicate the spiritual activities that lead to spiritual perfection.
• Since the right side of the body symbolizes activity, a lotus in the back right hand conveys the idea that one must perform all duties in the world in accordance with dharma. This leads to moksha (liberation), which is symbolized by a lotus in the back left hand of Lakshmi. The golden coins falling on the ground from the front left hand of Lakshmi illustrate that she provides wealth and prosperity to her devotees. Her front right hand is shown bestowing blessings upon the devotees.
• The two elephants standing next to the Goddess symbolize the name and fame associated with worldly wealth. The idea conveyed here is that a true devotee should not earn wealth merely to acquire name and fame or only to satisfy his own material desires, but should share it with others in order to bring happiness to others in addition to himself.
• The four elephants represent the four ends of human life as discussed above. The spraying of water denotes activity. The golden vessels denote wisdom and purity. The four elephants spraying water from the golden vessels on the Goddess illustrate the theme that continuous self-effort, in accordance with one's dharma and governed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.
Names of Goddess
Lakshmi has many names. She is known to be very closely associated with the lotus, and her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:
• Padma: lotus dweller
• Kamala: lotus dweller
o Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses
• Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses
• Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus
• Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus
• Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus
• Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus
• Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu
• Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl
Her other names include: Rama, Indira, Manushri, Chakrika, Kamalika, Lalima, Kalyani, Nandika, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Bhumi Devi, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, and Aiswarya. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha ("Mother of the Universe") in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam. Rama and Indira are popular.

A Mother Goddess:

Worship of a mother goddess has been a part of Indian tradition since its earliest times. Lakshmi is one of the mother goddesses and is addressed as "mata" (mother) instead of just "devi" (goddess).

Lakshmi is the household goddess of most Hindu families, and a favourite of women. Although she is worshipped daily, the festive month of October is Lakshmi's special month. A special worship is also offered to Lakshmi on the auspicious Diwali night.


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Added By : Gaurab Kr Baruah On Jan 03, 2011