On a mundane level of worldly needs and myths, Goddess Lakshmi is regarded as the goddess of light, beauty, good fortune, wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Lakshmi is taken from Sanskrit root Laksme which means “goal.” So you may understand that Lakshmi is the symbol of the purusharthas, the four goals of life.
On a mythic level, Lakshmi is believed to be the daughter of the Sage Bhrugu and took refuge in the ocean of milk when all the gods were sent into banishment. Lakshmi was reborn at the time of the Churning of the Ocean. When the gods saw Lakshmi, they all fell in love with her beauty and attraction-power. Lakshmi is reborn as the consort of Lord Vishnu whenever MahaVishnu takes avatara on earth. For example, Lakshmi was Sita to Rama, Radha to Krishna. Goddess Lakshmi frequently expresses her dedication to Vishnu by massaging his feet as he lies on the coils of the snake Shesha. People turn to worship of Lakshmi in order to obtain worldly success; however, such short-lived shallow devotion frequently fails. Grace, anugraha, demands effort, sadhana. Part time devotion merits part time reward.
Traditionally in Art the Goddess Lakshmi is shown with four hands which stand for the the four goals of human life: dharma (righteousness, right conduct), artha (wealth … of health, education, home and hearth in addition to dhana, financial wealth); kama (desires … for basic, sustenance and needs to take your place in society); and moksha (freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth). Lakshmi’s front hands are said to stand for the action in physical world and rear hands show the spiritual actions fruit of spiritual effort and wealth. Goddess Lakshmi wears red clothes with a golden lining and may be depicted either seated or standing on a lotus. Goddess Lakshmi has golden coins and a lotus in her hands. Frequently, two elephants are depicted. In Hindu festivals, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped during Dassera – Navaratni (the nine nights festival of the Mother Goddess) and Diwali (var. Deepavali) the festival of light.
Goddess Lakshmi as Bhuvah in Gayatri Mantra
The goddess represented in Bhuvah is Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the personification of Dhaya or the Grace of Vishnu; that is why she is said to dwell on His breast!
Bhuvah represents the Life Force that makes the body vibrate. She is the Life Force that animates every part of the human body.
The potency or energy associated with Bhuvah is termed Iccha Shakti. Iccha means willpower and Shakti means energy, so Iccha Shakti means the energy of willpower. Bhuvah is therefore associated with the mind and the rajas guna, which is red in colour.
Lakshmi is known as the goddess of all wealth – physical, mental and spiritual.
Lakshmi is the embodiment of that power that enables a human being to see what is good, to hear and to do many things.
The Lakshmi Principle accounts for all the good, happy, auspicious happenings in the world.
She is compassion, love, forbearance and sympathy.
The capacity to earn wealth remains as an inherent power in man and has to be drawn out through self-effort. Sai Baba says, convert this Iccha Shakthi, the Shakthi of Divine Willpower into yearning for God.
Lakshmi bestows on us wealth of many kinds- not just money but intellectual wealth, the wealth of character and others. Even health is a kind of wealth. She grants untold riches to us.
Sathya Sai Baba, 14/10/1988, Prashanthi Nilayam
The Devotee and the Goddess Lakshmi
The ways of the Divine are not easily comprehended. Wishing the welfare of everyone in the universe, the Divine uses a myriad of methods. It may be illustrated by the story of a devotee, aspiring for riches, who performed a severe penance for getting a boon from the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. Man is prepared to undergo any ordeal for achieving material wealth, but will not take any trouble to realise the Divine.
Lakshmi appeared before the devotee and asked him what he wanted. He replied that he wanted Lakshmi Herself.
She agreed and said that adorning Herself with all ornaments, She would follow him, and asked him to go ahead. She said She would come to his house and hand over all Her ornaments to him.
However she imposed one stipulation, “You must go ahead and never look back. If you look back, I will stay at that spot.”
Filled with joy, the devotee strode ahead towards his home. The Goddess’s jewels were making all kinds of sounds as She walked behind. Unable to restrain his curiosity to discover what jewels She was wearing, he turned back to have a look at Her. He could not restrain his curiosity till he reached his home. The moment he looked back, Lakshmi stopped there and did not follow him.
This is what happens when one cannot restrain one’s desire. Even though he got the grace of the Divine, the devotee could not benefit from it. This means that even if you are blessed with an abundance of Divine grace, you must acquire the capacity to benefit from it. To get this capacity, you have to obey implicitly the injunctions of the Divine. If the devotee had adhered to Lakshmi’s conditions, he would have benefited from Her favours. Failing to abide by Her conditions, he forfeited what he had been offered.
The situation in the world is something similar to this. The world is permeated by the potency of the three gunas- Satwa, Rajas and Tamas. Even our vision of the world is influenced by the three gunas. Examine your eye. The outer rim of the eye is red, representing the Rajo guna. After that, you have the white area, representing Satwa. At the centre is the black circle, representing the Tamo guna. So, even our vision is tainted by the three colours, red, white and black.
When you pose the question, “Where is God?” the answer is given by Nature itself.
The revolution of the earth around itself at the speed of 1000 miles an hour accounts for the phenomenon of night and day.
The earth’s revolution round the sun at a speed of 66,000 miles an hour accounts for the various seasons, for rainfall and the cultivation of food crops.
Thus the divinely ordained motions of the earth enable living beings to get their food. This is a visible proof of the existence of God.
The Veda declares that the foolish person, even while seeing the acts of God, declares he has not seen God. He does not realise that Nature is the vesture of God.
What is the lesson to be learnt from the observance of Nature? It is Kriyaseelata, excellence in the performance of duty. It is because Nature ceaselessly performs its duty that the world is able to derive so many sacred benefits.
The secret and mystery of creation lies in the due performance of one’s duty with earnestness and sincerity. In the pursuit of the mirage of sensual happiness, men are going on the wrong path. This can be seen in the life-style of people going to work or carrying on business. After what they imagine is a day of hard work, they go to clubs, where they become slaves of drink and ultimately ruin themselves.
Real happiness can be got only by rendering service to the public. Go to the help of the poor and the forlorn. You will derive strength as well as peace from such service. Your conscience also will feel satisfied. It is a pity that neither the rich nor the administrators are inclined to do such service.Sathya Sai Baba, 28/05/1990, Brindavan
Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam – The goddess of wealth
Mahalakshmi, who is the consort of Vishnu is worshipped as goddess of wealth by the Hindus. In the beginning of creation she took form from the left side of Vishnu and was later born again from the sea of milk, when the devas churned it for getting nectar. She resides on the chest of Maha Vishnu as Sri Vatsa. It was she who took birth as Seetha and Rukmani. This very simple prayer is very ancient and has been chanted by generations for solving all their problems.
Namosthesthu Maha Maye,Sree peede, sura poojithe!!
Sanka, chakra, Gadha hasthe,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 1
( Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi*,Who is the great enchantress,Who lives in riches,Who is worshipped by Gods,And who has conch, wheel and mace in her hands.)
Namasthe garudarude,Kolasura bhayam kari,
Sarva papa hare, devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 2
Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi.Who rides on an eagle,Who created fear to Kolasura,And is the goddess who can destroy all sins.)
Sarvagne Sarva varadhe,Sarva dushta Bhayam karee!!
Sarva dukha hare, devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 3
(Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi.Who knows everything,Who can grant any thing,Who appears fearsome to bad people,And is the goddess who can destroy all sorrows.)
Sidhi budhi pradhe devi,Bhakthi mukthi pradayinee!!
Manthra moorthe, sada devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 4
(Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who grants intelligence and occult powers,Who grants devotion to God and salvation,Who can be personified by holy chants,And who is Goddess for ever.)
Adhyantha rahithe, devi,Adhi Shakthi maheswari!!
Yogaje yoga sambhoothe,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 5
(Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi.Who neither has an end nor beginning,Who is the primeval power,Who is the greates Goddess,Who is born out of hard penance,And who can be personified by meditation.)
Sthoola Sukshma maha roudhre,Maha Shakthi Maho dhare!!
Maha papa hare devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 6
(Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who is micro and also gross,Who is most fearsome,Who is the greatest strength,Who within her holds the worlds,And is the Goddess who can destroy sins.)
Padmasana sthithe, devi,Para brahma swaroopini!!
Para mesi, jagan matha,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 7
(Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who is the goddess who has the seat of Lotus,Who is the personification of the ultimate truth,Who is Goddess of all,And who is the mother of all the worlds.)
Swethambara dhare, devi,Nanalankara bhooshithe!!
Jagat sthithe, jagan matha,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 8
Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who wears white cloth,Who wears variety of ornaments,Who is everywhere in the world,And who is the mother of all the worlds.)
Phala SruthiMaha lakmyashtakam stotram,
Ya padeth Bhakthiman nara,
Sarva sidhi mavapnothi,
Rajyam prapnothi sarvadha.
(Those men who read this octet praising Mahalakshmi,With devotion and discipline,Would make all powers as his own,And also would attain the kingdom for ever.)
Yeka kale paden nithyam, maha papa vinasanam,
Dwi kale paden nithyam Dana dhanya samanvitha,
Tri kalam paden nithyam Maha shathru vinasanam,
Maha Lakshmir Bhaven nithyam Prasanna, varada Shubha.
(If this is read daily once, great sins committed would be destroyed,If this is read twice daily, you would be blessed with wealth and grains,If this is read thrice daily, your great enemies would be destroyed,And the goddess Maha Lakshmi would be with you,With happiness, with blessings and with good tidings.
Whoever with devotion recite this hymn to SriMahaa Laxmi, composed in eight stanzas, attains all success through the Grace ofMahaa Laxmi Devi.