Lakshmi throws the spell of the intoxicating sweetness of the divine; to be close to her is a profound happiness and to feel her within the heart is to make existence a rapture and a marvel; grace and charm and tenderness flow out from her like light from the sun and wherever she fixes her wonderful gaze or lets fall the loveliness of her smile, the soul is seized and made captive and plunged into the depths of an unfathomable bliss. Shri Aurobindo – The Mother
Embodied within the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi is everything that makes life sweet and wonderful. She is success, prosperity, beauty, fertility, the luster of life that invigorates us and propels us forward in joy and happiness. Shri Lakshmi is every form and expression of goodness in the Universe and if she were to turn her gorgeous face from us, the world would die.
Indra, king of the Gods, found out precisely how important Lakshmi’s power and balance of the world is when he inadvertently refused her blessing. He was riding his celestial elephant and feeling rather self-important and celestial himself when he came upon the sage, Durvasas, who was standing by the side of the road holding a dusty garland. Durvasas called out to Indra that he has a great blessing for him and offered up the garland. Indra accepted and then casually tossed the garland over the neck of his elephant. The garland missed and was trampled by the elephant. Durvasas watched this arrogance in shock – the garland was a divine blessing of Shri Lakshmi. He then utters a curse: “Just as you dishonored auspiciousness (Lakshmi’s ancient name Shri means “auspiciousness”), auspiciousness will abandon you.”
As Durvasas spoke the curse, all that was flowering and blooming in Indra’s kingdom wilted and began to die. The luster of life became pallid and gray. No prayers and sacrifices were offered. People ignored the poor and quarrels erupted within families and communities. No crops grew, no taxes were paid, and the cows had no milk to offer. Even the Soma (the Nectar of Immortality) dried up. Lakshmi had withdrawn herself from the land completely and retreated to her place of origin – the Ocean of Milk. The Ocean represents the primordial waters of Shakti and of life. It is the cosmic womb, eternal and unending, and the divine fluid from which all life is born. Lakshmi is the sacred container of the cosmic waters and sea of nectar.
The Celestials, including all the Gods and demons, became desperate at the state of affairs and appealed to Lord Vishnu who has the cosmic task of keeping the material world in balance. Lord Vishnu is also the consort of Lakshmi – She is his Shakti and gives him the power to perform his cosmic tasks. Vishnu investigated why the balance of the world had shifted so dramatically. He saw the moment when Indra insulted Lakshmi and realized that in the face of Indra’s pride, she simply retreated from the world.
Vishnu devised a plan and instructed all beings, celestial and demonic, to gather around the ocean in preparation for churning the seas. Creation may only arise out of the Ocean of Milk when it is churned with will and intention, and Vishnu knew that it would take the combined force of all of the Celestials. Lakshmi, in returning to the ocean, had returned to her primordial Shakti state and Vishnu knew that an extraordinary effort was going to have to be displayed to get her to return. He assumed his forms of the divine serpent and tortoise to provide balance for the Celestials and the churning.
Together, they began to churn the ocean. As they churned, prayers and supplications were offered up to Lakshmi, entreating her to return and restore all goodness to the world.
Eventually, great bounty and blessings began to arise from the ocean: kalpavriksha (the wish-giving tree), Kamadhenu (the divine cow), wish-fulfilling jewels, and more. The Celestials continued churning frantically, hopeful from seeing the treasures emerging from the great churning.
Finally, their efforts were rewarded. Lakshmi rose from the Ocean of Milk. She was on a pink lotus and wrapped in a pomegranate-red sari. Her lush, curling black hair wrapped down to her waist and her golden skin illuminated all that was around her. From her hands poured coins to represent her blessings. The Celestials were struck dumb in the face of such radiance and beauty. Her intensely beautiful features and evocative light enraptured all who looked upon her.
But Lakshmi only had eyes for Vishnu. She stepped from the lotus and walked to him. With a sweet smile and ignoring the clamors for her attention from the recovered Celestials, Lakshmi placed her garland of flowers around his neck. He smiled, she smiled, and, as all watched, Lakshmi made herself smaller and smaller, and then melted directly into Vishnu’s heart. He was overcome with intense love and emotion as he stated that no one, not Celestial or human, could resist the blessings of Lakshmi. And so the world was right again with the union of Wisdom and Love, Order and Harmony sealed.
The story not only demonstrates the importance of Sri Lakshmi and her blessings to the world, but also warns of the fickleness of the Goddess. She will not remain where there is pride, arrogance, greed or harshness. Unlike Durga, she will not ride into battle; she will simply withdraw and take her blessings with her.
In Lakshmi, we see the Shakti that embodies the vitality of life and the ability to preserve, sustain it. She is the water of life ~ the nectar of the heart. In the material world, she is beauty and light, flowing waters, and blooming flowers. One of her many names is Kamala – lotus which represents the female yoni and spiritual transformation. She is almost always depicted seated on a lotus or holding lotuses.
Lakshmi and Vishnu are the ultimate power couple, but in Lakshmi is the right to rule and the power of rulership itself. Integrity – the “rightness” of action is vital to Lakshmi and this is reflected in her approach to bestowing wealth. Lakshmi and her wealth remain where there is a balance of giving and receiving. The motion of continual flow, the sense of having enough are all Lakshmi and for those that do not recognize the value of that flow, she leaves poverty of every kind in her exit.
Ma Lakshmi counts elephants and the owl as her animals. The elephants represent royalty and, interestingly, a connection to rain clouds and her beloved water. The owl gives her the vision to navigate ignorance and deceit.
She is also a sensual, sexual Goddess; after all she is fertility incarnate. The lotus, the cowrie shell, her ripe figure, and the blooming of all plant life around her all allude to her expression in sexuality and creativity.
As the bestower of all blessings, Lakshmi gives and gives and gives, but she has a fickle side as evidenced by her demand for right action and behavior. She likes a clean, organized space. Followers that are self-sufficient and resourceful delight her. Those that recognize the value of her blessings and use them properly are given even more.
In the ancient Lakshmi Tantra, she reveals her cosmic self:
I am inherent in existence,
I am the inciter, the potential that takes shape.
I manifest myself; I occupy myself with activity,
And finally I dissolve myself.
I pervade all creation with vitality, will, and consciousness.
Like ghee that keeps a lamp burning, I lubricate the senses of living beings with the sap of my consciousness.
As patriarchal standards began to influence the Goddesses more heavily, the modern Lakshmi sometimes appears as the subservient wife and ever-attentive mother, an automaton that gives without end or complaint. Don’t let that mask fool you. Lakshmi of the primordial waters with the glint in her eye and flashing smile is there in all of her ancient forms and ready to reward those who display diligence and discernment.
Mantra: there are many mantras to Lakshmi, but this is my favorite:
Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha [Om Shreem Mah-hah Lahk-shmee-yea Swah-hah]
Salutations to She who is that Great Abundance we salute and invoke!
Deva Premal sings this Mantra on her album Mantras for Precarious Times.
Whenever you have a Lakshmi altar, you should always have a Vishnu or Lakshmi will not stay – wise advice from many years ago from a Priestess of Lakshmi. So on her altar, I also included Vishnu. Saraswati is here as well as she represents the wisdom to utilize Lakshmi’s blessings. And, of course, GANESHA, who assists us in removing obstacles to our wealth and flow.
Hindu Goddess Lakshmi is the epitome of wealth in both the material and spiritual realms. She rules abundance in all it forms, and widely bestows Her gifts to those who are open to receive. She is generally pictured wearing red and gold, standing on a blooming lotus with gold coins pouring from Her hands. Full moons are sacred to Her.
Goddess Name: Lakshmi – Lakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from the root word lakṣ (लक्ष्) and lakṣa (लक्ष), meaning “to perceive, observe, know, understand” and “goal, aim, objective”. In this way, she knows our heart’s true desire.
- Shri – ancient Vedic name meaning “auspiciousness”
- Kamala – meaning lotus-like or lotus-dweller
- Vishnupriya – Beloved of Vishnu
- Mahalakshmi – Great Good Fortune
- Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl
- Lakshmi has 108 names (or more) – in the mantra section is a link to her 108 names being sung
Culture/Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikkhism but her worship has spread throughout Asia and the world
Her Abode: The Ocean of Milk ~ the Heart Chakra
Consort/Partner: Vishnu (If you have an altar to Lakshmi, you must have an image of Vishnu or she will not stay)
Her Avatars: When Vishnu descends to Earth as one of his avatars, Lakshmi accompanies him. Lakshmi is all women, but these are a few of her avatars:
- Sita with Rama
- Radha & Rukmini with Krishna
- Lotus with Buddha
Seed Sound/Mantra: Shrim (shreem)
Malas: Any mala may be used for Lakshmi for chanting but she prefers: Lotus Seed; Sphatik – quartz crystal; Sandalwood; malas may up of crystals/gemstones sacred to her. The Vaijayanti Mala is sacred to Vishnu.
Colors: Red, Hot Pink, Purple, White, Gold, Green
Season: Late Spring, Summer, Fall (Her festivals are held in the Fall in the Northern Hemisphere)
Special Month: October (Diwali – her festival usually occurs in October)
Place in Nature: Ocean, lakes, gardens, meadows, fields
Day of the Week: Friday
Chakra: Anahata – the Heart Chakra
Zodiac Sign: Libra and Taurus
Lunar Phase: Full Moon
Foods: Lakshmi is a vegetarian 🙂 – Ripe fruits and vegetables; coconuts; sweets; sweet rice pudding; dates and figs; milk; ghee; honey; bowl of rice or grains; turmeric; saffron; pomegranates are a favorite
Gemstones/Crystals: clear quartz, white and round real pearls, mother of pearls, amethyst, opalite, aquamarine, malachite, rose quartz, cherry quartz, chrysoprase, green calcite, pistachio opal, pyrite, green aventurine, ruby, ruby in kyanite, ruby in fuchiste, ruby in zoisite, amazonite, green tourmaline, pink tourmaline, watermelon tourmaline, green jade, red coral
Animals: Owl, Elephant, Cow
- Lakshmi’s Vahana (mount) is a white owl representing the ability to be open to and see the spiritual wisdom (wealth) within us. It is symbolic of her ability to navigate ignorance and deceit.The owl’s name is Uluka, also a name for Indra.
- Elephants represent clouds, rain, and the life-giving waters of life. Lakshmi is frequently depicted with elephants on either side, showering her with the blessings of water (her element). Elephants also symbolize royal authority, strength, and stability – like Ganesha!
- Cow are considered to embody Lakshmi, giving forth her sacred milk, sustenance and nourishment.
Essential Oils/Scents: Sandalwood, Rose, Lotus, Jasmine
Flowers: Lotus, Roses, really all flowers are expression of her beauty and fertility
Metal: Gold; copper as the metal of the heart chakra
Specific Offerings: Ripe fruits and vegetables; coconuts; flowers, especially lotuses; garlands of flowers; lotus seeds; incense; camphor; lamps, candles, lights; sweets; sweet rice pudding; dates and figs; milk; ghee; honey; cowrie shells; coins; money (crisp bills); gold jewelry; white and round real pearls; mother of pearl; seashells and other gifts from the ocean; sumptuous fabrics in her colors, bowl of rice and/or grains; turmeric; sandalwood paste; red vermilion; saffron and/or saffron paste; perfume; mirror; three dimensional or image of the Sri Yantra
Symbols: Her four arms are symbolic of the four goals of humanity that are considered good in Hinduism – dharma (pursuit of ethical, moral life), artha (pursuit of wealth, means of life), kāma (pursuit of love, emotional fulfillment), and moksha (pursuit of self-knowledge, liberation)
Comparative Goddesses: Greek Aphrodite; Orisha Oshun; Egyptian Hathor; Vodoun Erzuli; Roman Venus; Norse Freya
Feast Day/Festivals: Diwali and Navratri (both Fall festivals)
- Invoking Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth in Song and Ceremonyby Constantina Rhodes
- Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune – an Introduction by Devdutt Pattanaik
- Awakening Shakti – the Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga by Sally Kempton
- Shakti Mantras – Tapping into the Great Goddess Energy Within by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
- Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses by Dr. David Frawley
- Shakti – Realm of the Divine Mother by Vanamali
- Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power by Laura Amazzone
GODDESS VENDORS WE LOVE!
- DaughtersOfIsis.com with Gwen Barry – Magical Essential Oil Blends & Incense
- GailJessenDesigns.com with Gail Jessen – Sacred Jewelry Design
- MurphysEssentials.com with Kim Murphy – Healing & Magical Essential Oil Blends & CBD
- Red Priestess with Brandi Auset – Goddess Sprays and Crystals
- SacredWell.com with Yeshe Matthews – Crystal and Treasure Shop
MOTHERHOUSE GODDESS TEMPLE – Goddess Calendar & Free Community Events
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