Draped in a red sari, bedecked with gold ornaments, seated on a beautiful lotus, flanked by white elephants, this is the image of Lakshmi that adorns most Hindu homes and business establishments.
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of happiness, material fulfillment, and contentment. She is the wife of Lord Vishnu who is the Supreme God in Vaishnavism. She is described as restless, whimsical yet maternal, with her arms raised to bless and to grant. For centuries Hindus have invoked her and sought her blessing.
Here are some of the lesser known facts about Goddess Lakshmi
Goddess Lakshmi’s four hands represent four goals of human life considered important to the Hindu way of living – Dharma, Kama, Artha and Moksha.
In the artworks and sculptures of Goddess Lakshmi, the cascade of coins represents wealth, which she is most known for.The elephants which flank her represent royal power.
Though she is the Goddess of wealth, one should not call on her with greed.There was a time when Lakshmi left the gods because they had become too arrogant & proud and they took their victories against the evil forces and demons for granted which had actually come due to the blessings and presence of Goddess Lakshmi. She was rediscovered during the churning of the milky sea.
Each time Vishnu incarnated, she incarnated with him. This depicts her love and devotion towards her husband.
She took incarnation of Sita while Vishnu took incarnation of Rama and Lakshmana.
Her other important incarnation was that of Radha when Vishnu incarnated as Krishna.
She is also called as “The Goddess who Gives Strength to the Gods”.
Lakshmi has many names. She is much associated with the flower, Lotus which can be seen in the scriptures and artworks. The lotus she stands on represents the material wealth of the world- like the lotus, it grows from muddy water, but it is not wet by it.
Some of her names associated with Lotus flower are Srija, Kamala, Padma, and Padmapriya.
The marriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu are the paradigms for rituals and ceremonies for bride and groom in Hindu weddings. Some states of India such as West Bengal and Odisha believe that Goddess Lakshmi is another form of Goddess Durga.
The red colored saree which she wears is for continuous activity and positive energy.
Some believe that owl is vahana or vehicle of Goddess Lakshmi.
The AshtaLakshmi are the eight manifestos of Lakshmi which reside over eight sources of wealth and thus represent the powers of Mahalakshmi.
Hindus worship Lakshmi the most on Diwali, the festival of lights. Goddess Kali in Kolkata is worshiped in the form of Mahalakshmi during Diwali.
Friday is the best day to worship Goddess Lakshmi. Lotus flower, sandalwood, betel leaves and nuts, fruits and various sweet preparations made from jaggery, rice, and coconuts are used as to worship to appease Goddess Lakshmi.