An article by Smt. Bhanumathi Narasimhan
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Wealth is a vital ingredient bestowed upon us for maintenance and progress in our life. It is much more than just having money. It means abundance in knowledge, skills and talents. Lakshmi is the energy that manifests as the complete spiritual and material well-being of a person.
Lakshmi is connected to Lakshya – the goal. She is the Shakti that directs you to your source, the goal of your life. There are eight aspects of this divine energy that may be bestowed upon us.
Adi Lakshmi is the memory of the source. When we forget that we are part of the entire creation, we feel small and insecure. Adi Lakshmi is that aspect which connects us to our source, bringing strength and calmness to the mind.
Dhana Lakshmi is the aspect of material wealth and Vidya Lakshmi is the aspect of knowledge, skills and talents.
Dhanya Lakshmi manifests as wealth in the form of food. There is a saying ‘jaise ann, waise man’ – implying that the food we eat has a direct impact on our mind. The right amount and type of food, eaten at the right time and place affects our body and mind positively.
Santana Lakshmi manifests as wealth in the form of progeny and creativity. People full of creativity, talented and skillful in the arts are bestowed with this aspect of Lakshmi. Dhairya Lakshmi manifests as wealth in the form of courage and Vijaya Lakshmi is the aspect that manifests as victory. Bhagya Lakshmi is the aspect of good luck and prosperity. At different stages in life, different aspects of this energy manifest in a person.
The puranas say that Lakshmi emerged from the waters along with the nectar when the ocean was churned by the devas and the asuras (signifying the churning of the mind between opposite values). When you have Lakshmi, the right type of wealth, then life is filled with nectar.
Water is a symbol of love. Lakshmi emerging from the water explains that the right type of wealth emerges from love. Divine love is the highest wealth and is like nectar in our life.
Lakshmi is depicted as seated on a lotus floating in water. Lotus is a symbol of dispassion. A droplet of water on the lotus leaf moves freely on the surface without any stickiness whatsoever. Similarly, when we are not attached to wealth and not possessive, then what emerges is the wealth that is everlasting and light like a flower. Such wealth is life-supporting, brings abundance and prosperity. Wealth should be moving like water. The purity of water is lost if it is stagnant. Similarly, the usefulness and value of wealth is only when it is shared and is moving.
Lakshmi is adorned with golden ornaments and is holding a lotus flower in two hands. This represents a brighter outlook and celebrative aspect of life, a combination of abundance without any possessiveness towards the wealth. Further when wealth is used for the benefit of humanity, it doesn’t bog you down, it is light like a flower. The other two hands hold mudras symbolizing the shower of blessings and indicating that we should have patience.
Diwali is a festival of lights. It is a time to honor all aspects of wealth and to illumine our life with the light of spiritual knowledge, the energy that is Mahalakshmi. ‘Maha’ implies great. Mahalakshmi denotes a great wealth, a wealth that includes all the eight aspects, the spiritual wealth that takes care of our well-being in all the three worlds (adibhautik, adidhaivik and adhyatmik). So on this occasion, we wish health, happiness and prosperity for everybody.
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Graphics: Niladri Dutta, Art : Gayathri Shankar