Lakshmi is a significant Hindu Goddess. She epitomizes auspiciousness as well as material and spiritual prosperity. The Goddess is known to bless Her devotees with an abundance of wealth, good fortune, and prosperity. All the auspicious elements of nature are analogous with Goddess Lakshmi.
The Bhagavad Purana notes that Lakshmi was born from the Samudra Manthan, that is, the Churning of the Ocean. Lakshmi is the divine consort of Lord Vishnu, the peace-loving deity in the Hindu Trinity. When Lord Ram was born on Earth as the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, Lakshmi took the avatar of Sita, the wife of Lord Ram. The Goddess Lakshmi is always associated with Lord Vishnu. Lakshmi is the root word of 'lakshya' meaning aim.
As per the Vedic treatise, 'Shatpatha Brahmana' Sri is the original avatar of Lakshmi. Sri is known as the auspicious energy of Lord Vishnu, the ultimate preserver of the cosmos. The cosmic Gods derive their powers from Sri to carry their 'lakshyas' (aim) of cosmic maintenance.Accordingly, the purpose of human life is associated with Lakshmi or Sri. The Atharva Veda (7:155) notes that virtue and auspicious nature lead to the birth of a thousand Lakshmis.
The eternal aim of human life is realizing the divine power in oneself after living a materially and spiritually prosperous life.To fulfill the purpose of life, worshippers pray to the auspicious Goddess Lakshmi for Her blessings. On being pleased with prayers, Lakshmi blesses them with abundant wealth and spiritual prosperity. She thereby makes their lives meaningful. It is clear that the essence of every human being lies in acknowledging his divine self. This turns fruitful only by realizing the power within oneself, exploring the deepest level of creative expression, and gaining abundant knowledge and wisdom. Goddess Lakshmi, the auspicious Divine energy, helps people in realizing the core aspects of their Sattvic being, namely, Karma (moral duty), Kama (desire), Arth (prosperity), and Moksha (liberation).
The Significance of Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Sarasvati Together
The Vedic rituals are always completed through the worship of Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Ganesha together. The three deities are the cradle of prosperity, wisdom, and auspiciousness in all ritual altars.
Lord Ganesha is the ruling deity of the masses. The word Ganesha originates from the words ‘gana’ and ‘ish’. ‘Gana' stands for a group, and 'Ish' stands for a controller. Ganesha is known as the controller or leader of the group. Ganesha is widely known as Ganpati. The word 'pati’ means leader. Hence is the reason why Ganesha or Ganpati is known asa father figure of people. It is Lord Ganesha who guides the people on Earth as a father would take care of his children and helps them overcome obstacles. He is the one who removes hurdlesfrom the path of his devotees. By worshipping Lord Ganesha, the 'lakshya’ or aims of human beings becomes easy.
Achieving an aim is possible only through proper knowledge or wisdom. Devotees ask Goddess Sarasvatito bless them with knowledge and wisdom. The Vedas have described Sarasvati as the Goddess of Knowledge, Wisdom, Arts, and Learning. The word Sarasvaticomes from Surasa-Vati, that is, plenty of water. Like the flow of water cleans the dirt and filth in a river, Sarasvati cleans the filth or dirt of the mind. In simple words, the ignorance of the mindoften stops a person from achieving his goal. Hence, to attain wisdom and knowledge in the journey of life, Sarasvati is to be worshipped. A Rig Vedic (2.41.16) reference cites Sarasvati as the best of divine mothers. It says |अम्बितमेनदीतमेदेवितमेसरस्वति |'Ambitame Naditame Devitame Sarasvati'.
This citation is translated as, "O the best of divine mothers, we stand insignificant in front of you, O Mother, please bless us!"
All in all, human beings attain the goals of Karma (moral duty), Kama (desire), Arth (prosperity), and Moksha (liberation)
- by Praying to Lakshmi for fulfilling worldly desires and becoming aware of the meaning of life
- by praying to Ganesha for removing hurdles from the path of progress
- by praying to Sarasvati for attaining knowledge and wisdom for reaching the end goal
That is the reason why the deities Lakshmi, Ganesha, and Sarasvati get worshipped together in all the Vedic rituals.
Symbolic Representation of Lakshmi :
Goddess Lakshmi the deity of wealth is a symbol of Sattvik Principles. She looks beautiful in a red saree and golden ornaments. She usually appears sitting in a fully bloomed lotus flower and is surrounded by many elephants. She has four hands that significantly tell us about the goals of human life. Namely dharma (righteousness), Karma (desires), Arth (wealth), and Moksha (liberation) from the cycle of birth and death. In one of her hands, she holds a lotus that denotes beauty, purity, and fertility. The flowing gold coins from one of her hands is a symbol of material wealth. The golden border red saree and ornaments she wears inspires us to be active and prosper in whatever we do. She is the active energy of Lord Vishnu and usually appears as Lakshmi – Narayan.
Goddess Lakshmi is seated in a lotus that grows in a marshy area but still signifies wealth and prosperity. Similarly, it is a good example that tells us that a person who is self-confident will always prosper no matter the number of hurdles he has to face.
Elephants or Airaavats are known for their sharp memories. The showering of water denotes we should forget all the evil and follow our Dharma using our wisdom and pure thoughts this will lead to our prosperity.
Goddess Lakshmi inspires us to achieve all that we aspire without being greedy, by not bringing in past references and purely living in the present and putting in efforts to achieve our goals.
OWL: The Vahana (vehicle) of Goddess Lakshmi :
Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of good fortune and wealth She represents beautiful nature. She fulfils all the desires of the people who praise her. It is said that the Vahana of goddess Lakshmi is an owl. The Vahana of any god or goddess depicts what one requires to achieve the qualities ok goals and be blessed by the deity.
Lakshmi who depicts Sattvik principles is said to emerge with Amrita, the nectar of immortality when the gods were churning the Ocean of Milk. Alakshmi emerged with Halahal the dreaded poison with the power to destroy the world. She also signifies Daridra (poverty personified), Kalaha( strife personified), Kalkanni (quarrel personified), Nritti (goddess of decay). Lakshmi likes Dharma (deeds born of empathy), whereas Alakshmi follows Adharma (deeds of exploitation). So, Lakshmi and Alakshmi are two halves of a whole. Lakshmi is a good deed that all should savour Alakshmi is the waste that one should avoid. Owls are sluggish creatures that sleep throughout the day and move around at night. Due to this activity, they have been treated as birds that bring in misfortune and death. These qualities of an owl symbolize Alakshmi that is a goddess who brings misfortune and struggles in life.
The owl sleeps during daytime which tells us about the quality of being ignorant and resting when it’s time to work hard. Hence Goddess Lakshmi rides on an owl which symbolizes that we should open her eyes and try and bring out the good qualities within us.
Importance of Lakshmi During Popular Festivals :
Diwali: Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped with a lot of respect during Diwali the festival of light. On the day of Dussehra or Vijaya Dashmi, it is said that Lord Rama killed Ravana. He returned to his Kingdom Ayodhya and on this auspicious day people of Ayodhya decorated their houses with lights ( earthen diyas). People rejoiced the arrival of their king and thought that it was the blessing of Goddess Lakshmi who had brought happiness in abundance. They symbolized the arrival of Sita as the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that where was Lord Rama resided the place became a luxurious place to live in with the positive energy of Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that one who does his or her duties with good intentions, with all the dedication using the required wisdom and courage, without any greed in mind the Goddess Lakshmi showers her blessings on that person. Hence, she is worshipped on the day of Diwali.
Varamahalakshmi Vrat: this is a well-known festival celebrated in South India to please the Goddess Lakshmi. “Varalakshmi” is combination of the words 'vara', meaning boon and Lakshmi meaning goddess of good fortune. The one who helps to fulfil what one desires is called Varalakshmi. People worship Lakshmi on this day and the woman of the house observes Mahalaxmi Vrat (fast) for bringing in good fortune, good health for their family especially their life partners. To worship Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is treated as worshipping Ashtalakshmi “the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength.
The Story of Goddess Lakshmi's Birth:
Mahabharat and the Bhagwat Purana describes the birth of Goddess Lakshmi during the Samudra Manthan (Churning of Ocean). This day is treated as the most auspicious day in the Vedas. It is believed that Durvasa Muni gifted with garland to Lord Indra which he had received from the king of heaven Lord Shiva. Lord Indra took it with disrespect and placed it on the trunk of his elephant who in turn threw it away. This triggered anger as Durvasa Muni value date as the divine feet of Sri. He cursed Lord Indra and the other gods of heaven that they would be deprived of all the luxuries they had.
The gods were affected to buy the curse and became weak and feeble. Due to this, they were continuously defeated by the demons. To acquire good health they were supposed to drink the nectar of immortality. This nectar could be obtained only by churning the ocean or which was called Samudra Manthan. Lord Vishnu requested the gods to join hands with the demons and churn the ocean to acquire Amrita or the nectar of immortality. While doing this they made use of Mount Mandara they are churning rod and Vasuki (The Lord of all serpents that were around Lord Shiva's neck) as the churning rope. The Mount Mandara is big and posing as a result of this. Lord Vishnu in his 'Kuma'( turtle) Avatar supported the Mount to sink. The churning led to the creation of heavy attractions that released many valuables like precious gemstones which were accepted by the gods and Lord Vishnu. The dangerous poison Halahal was consumed by Lord Shiva. Following these goddesses and beautiful Apsaras appeared trying to entice the gods and the demons. One of the Goddess Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth and good fortune. She accepted Lord Vishnu as her divine partner. This is the story of how Goddess Lakshmi was born.
Goddess Lakshmi and Tirupati Balaji
It is believed that once upon a time goddess Lakshmi in a rage of anger left the residence (Vaikuntha) of Lord Vishnu and settled on the earth to hide. At this moment Lord Vishnu was in deep sleep. She did this because a sage called Bhrigu stepped onto Vishnu's chest where she dwelt. The sage became very angry as he wanted a solution to his query but Lord Vishnu was in his Yog Nidra and did not pay attention to him.
Lord Vishnu was very disturbed as he could not stay without Lakshmi. He decided to go down to the earth and find her and he did so. He disguised himself as a forest man and started searching her in the Tirumala hills. On his way while finding her hi mat a very beautiful lady call Padmavati who was the daughter of the king of those hills. Padmavati and Lord Vishnu fell in love with each other and decided to tie the knots. Padmavati is father boro money from treasurer named Kubera. The condition to lend money was that Lord Vishnu will not return to his residence Vaikuntha unless and until the debt was cleared. Since then it is believed that Lord Vishnu lives in Tirumala hills with the name of Tirupati Venkateswara. Countless devotees visit his shrine and offer their offerings which are treated as donations to pay off the debt to Kubera.
This story signifies how we all live in a fake world just thinking about our own pleasure and luxuries. Lord Vishnu yoga Nidra is an example of this. Until and unless our inner self does not provoke us to get up and act to aspire to what we are wanting in life. The story of Lord Vishnu and Padmavati explains how if you really strike to acquire something we achieve it. The donations or the money mentioned is none other than Goddess Lakshmi. From the story, we can conclude that Goddess Lakshmi helps those strive hard and live a truthful life in whatever they do. We can feel her positivity with us if we follow the path of truth. The moment you drive away from your goals following the fraudulent acts Goddess Lakshmi will not support you.
How to worship Goddess Lakshmi
According to the Vedas, Goddess Lakshmi rules the planet Venus that is Shukra, which gives us all the luxuries, beauty, wealth abundantly. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on Friday according to the Hindu Shastra. The religious meaning of Goddess Lakshmi is to be aware of your goals in life. The religious meaning originates from the word laka which means Lakshya or goals. This will help us know that if we aspire for something with our efforts and hard work we will always achieve our goals. Goddess Lakshmi is the life partner of Lord Vishnu or Narayan as we call him. He is the highest level of self-realization and Goddess Lakshmi performs the task of taking us towards self-realization by achieving what we desire. Lakshmi resembles the eight facts of our nature that we should realize.
These facts are prosperity and abundance, nurturing and progeny, health and support, creativity and success, strength and courage, pure knowledge and wisdom, and spiritual awakening.
We can worship Lakshmi while we pray every day or by performing Pooja on festive occasions such as Dhanteras and Diwali.
Everyday Pooja could be as simple as lighting up a small lamp, lighting incense sticks, offering flowers, and praying with your whole heart paying due respect to her. We can also Chant mantras like Om shring Shreya namah, Om shreem Maha Lakshmi namaha.
On festival occasions, Goddess Lakshmi should be worshipped with proper rituals according to the Vedas.
Things required to perform Puja of Goddess Lakshmi on Dhanteras or Diwali are
1. Thali (A Plate)
2. Supari (Ten betel Nuts)
3. Five Mango leaves
4. A Coconut
5. Some uncooked Rice
6. Water in a small pot
7. Kumkum (Red vermillion)
8. Ghee or oil lamps
10. Agarbatti (Incense sticks)
11. Dry fruits (almonds, cashews)
12. Silver or Gold coins
13. Rose or any red flower petals
15. Red cloth for placing the pooja items
18. Idols or photos of Lakshmi, Ganesha, and Saraswati.
How to proceed with Pooja
- Place a new red cloth on a table or a raised platform.
- Take a handful of rice grains and spread it in the center of the table.
- Place a Kalash made of gold, silver, or copper and fill it with water till three fourth of its level.
- Place the five mango leaves in a circular design at the neck of the Kalash.
- Keep a small dish filled with rice grains and draw A lotus on it with turmeric powder.
- Place the idol of Goddess Lakshmi on the top of the Kalash and surround it with coins.
- Then keep an ideal Lord Ganesha in front of the Kalash towards the right-hand side facing south-west and on the other side and idol of Goddess Saraswati.
- You can keep your valuables, business account books for the pooja also place some turmeric powder Kumkum rice on a plate next to it.
- Begin your puja by applying Tilak to the Kalash and the water pots place some flowers and chant the following Mantra.
Om Shring Hring Kling Aing Shaung Om Hring Kling A Ee La Hring Ha Sa Ka Ha La Hring Sakal Hring Saung Aing Hring Kling Shring Om
- After finishing the chanting of mantras offer rice grains and flowers to Goddess Lakshmi.
- Place the idol of Lakshmi into a plate and bathe her with water and then by Panchamrit. Wash the idol again with water and wipe it with a clean cloth and place it again on the Kalash.
- Then apply turmeric powder that is haldi and red vermillion that is Kumkum along with rice grains to Goddess Lakshmi.
- The final step is to place a beetle nut (Supari) on a supari leaf along with Haldi Kumkum and rice over it along with coriander and coriander seeds on the idol.
That marks the end of the pooja. We can offer a plateful of food items all fruits and sweets as Prasad. You can also offer anything made of gold too.You can also Chant the Lakshmi Chalisa during the pooja.
This the ideal way of praying to Goddess Lakshmi. As she is the deity of good fortune there are many items that are termed as auspicious such as Dhan, Akarshan Yantra (to attract wealth), Lotus seeds (mala), Lakshmi Paduka, Moti Dhankha, Ekakshi Nariyal (one-eyed coconut), Diamond and Rose Quartz. All these valuable items are related to Goddess Lakshmi as they originate from her and are the symbol of riches and luxuries. All these items can be used while worshipping Goddess Lakshmi.
The 8 manifestations or avatars of Goddess Lakshmi together are well known as Ashtalakshmi. Ashtalakshmi in one word means real wealth which consists of prosperity, good health, progeny creativity, and our skills, strength and power, and our knowledge that enlightens. Worship of Ashtalakshmi helps you attain all of these. Wealth it always does not mean only material properties such as gold that you own but also is the knowledge your creativity and art that you pursue. You can worship Ashtalakshmi by withholding all the following Sattvik qualities.
The manifestations of Ashtalakshmi are as follows:
- Dhan Lakshmi is the avatar for material prosperity, wealth and richness.
- Dhanya Lakshmi is the avatarfor an abundance of food nourishment and good health.
- Santan Lakshmi is the avatarfor children family friends and well-wishers.
- Gaja Lakshmi is the avatarfor elephant, cattle, and vehicles.
- Vijay Lakshmi is the avatarfor victory, persistence, bravery, and confidence.
- Dhairya Lakshmiis the avatar for patience, strategy planning, and objectivity.
- Vidya Lakshmi is the avatar for knowledge and education.
- Adi Lakshmi is the real Laxmi avatar. She is the wife of Lord Vishnu who helps human beings with attaining self-realization.
We worship Goddess Lakshmi in her Ashtalakshmi forms to fulfill all our desires in the birth and death cycle of the human life. Ashtalakshmi can be worshipped on Fridays Panchami, Poornima (that is the full moon day), or Amavasya (that is the new moon day.) You can recite the following Mantra “Om shreem Mahalakshmi namah ashta aishwaryam samriddhim met degi tapaya swaha shreem Mahalakshmi namah.”
Lakshmi is Purusha Sukta
Purusha Sukta is a highly respected Vedic composition on Purusha the cosmic creator mentioned in the Rig Veda as a part in (10.7.90.1-16), Taittiriya Aranyaka (3.12,13), the Vajasaneyi Samhita (31.1-6), the Sama Veda Samhita (6.4), and the Atharva Veda Samhita (19.6).
All the qualified priests always chant the Purusha Sukta in nearly all Vedic Rituals to praise the Supreme. The recitation of Purusha Sukta happens while worshipping Lord Vishnu as He is the Puma Purusha or Complete Supreme.
The description of Lakshmi in the twenty-four verses is as follows:
||hrishcha te lakshmishcha patnyau
Om shanti shanti shantihi||
"O Purusha! The Goddesses Hri (symbolizing modesty) and Sri (The original form of Lakshmisymbolizingwealth) are Your consorts. Day and night are Your lateral limbs. The stars are Your form. Ashvins are your widely opened (mouth). O Purusha, fulfil our desire to attain self-knowledge and our worldly desiresfor progressing towards prosperity(longevity, cows, and horses). Give us all that we need. Om, let there be peace, peace, peace."
In the verse given above, Goddess Lakshmi is referred to as Vishnu’s divine consort with Hri or modesty. This is a prayer for fulfilling desires and material comforts. Sri fulfils desires and bestows prosperity in the life of worshipper on Purusha’s order. She is the ultimate source of auspiciousness, divinity, opulence, and enlightenment.