Lakshmi (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मी lakṣmī, Hindi pronunciation: [ˈləkʃmi]) is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. She is the consort of the god Vishnu. Also called Mahalakshmi, she is said to bring good luck and is believed to protect her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows. Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments.
Lakshmi is called Shri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because she is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on earth as avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi incarnated as his consort. Sita (Rama’s wife), Radha (Krishna’s lover) andRukmini and the other wives of Krishna are considered forms of Lakshmi.
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.
Lakshmi is the household goddess of most Hindu families, and a favorite of women. Although she is worshipped daily, the festive month of October is Lakshmi’s special month. Lakshmi Puja is celebrated on the full moon night of Kojagari Purnima.
The Lakshmi Form:
Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life:dharma
or righteousness, “kama” or desires, “artha” or wealth, and “moksha” or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Cascades of gold coins are seen flowing from her hands, suggesting that those who worship her gain wealth. She always wears gold embroidered red clothes
. Red symbolizes activity and the golden lining indicates prosperity. Lakshmi is the active energy of Vishnu
, and also appears as Lakshmi-Narayan - Lakshmi accompanying Vishnu.
Two elephants are often shown standing next to the goddess and spraying water. This denotes that ceaseless effort, in accordance with one’s dharma and governed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.
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).
As a female counterpart of Lord Vishnu, Mata Lakshmi is also called ‘Shri’, the female energy of the Supreme Being. She is the goddess of prosperity, wealth, purity, generosity, and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm.
A Domestic Deity:
The importance attached to the presence of Lakshmi in every household makes her an essentially domestic deity. Householders worship Lakshmi for the well being and prosperity of the family. Businessmen and women also regard her equally and offer her daily prayers.
On the full moon night following Dusshera or Durga Puja
, Hindus worship Lakshmi ceremonially at home, pray for her blessings, and invite neighbors to attend the puja. It is believed that on this full moon night the goddess herself visits the homes and replenishes the inhabitants with wealth. A special worship is also offered to Lakshmi on the auspicious Diwali