On this Wonderful Diwali,
May the Grace of Lakshmi bring you and your loved ones
Peace, Health and Prosperity!
Notes are excerpted from my book, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms;
© Arun Shanbhag
As Goddess of Good Fortune and Wealth, Lakshmi embodies abundance and prosperity. She is eternally benevolent and adored as the shakti or power of Vishnu.
Lakshmi’s genesis is associated with the legend of the Churning of the Ocean (Samudra mantham). According to scriptures, Gods and demons teamed to churn the ocean, seeking the nectar of immortality. From the churn rose numerous gifts and a terrible poison. Shiva seized the poison before it could spill and destroy the earth, and held it in his throat, earning him the epithet Neelkanth – Blue-throated One. Thereafter, Lakshmi emerged from the frothing ocean, seated on a lotus blossom. The demure maiden enraptured the Gods and sages present. Robed in white and decked in jewels, she dazzled with brilliance. Gandharvas (heavenly musicians) sang, while apsaras (heavenly nymphs) danced and celebrated her auspicious arrival.
Most images commemorate Lakshmi’s appearance and depict her seated or standing on a lotus, holding a lotus blossom in one hand, and gold coins cascading from an open palm. The fragrant lotus rising above ponded water, yet unsoiled by it, symbolizes purity and fertility.
As Goddess of Affluence, Lakshmi is particularly worshipped during Deepavali, the festival of lights. Lakshmi puja marks the beginning of the New Year for traders, businessmen and shopkeepers. Fresh ledgers and accounts are opened, and bonuses are distributed to employees. New business ventures are initiated with the blessings of Lakshmi. Homes are cleaned spotless, bursting crackers singe the air and lamps are lit to welcome the Goddess. Crackers and bright lights are also believed to chase away alakshmi or misfortune.
An image of Lakshmi is often carved above temple doors and home shrines, assuring her grace to all who enter. Lakshmi is also the benevolent protector of married woman, safeguarding the sanctity of their marriage and ensuring a happily married life. Thus the accompanying hymn to Mahalakshmi (Great Lakshmi), describing the various attributes of this eternal and kind mother, is popular among women.
Excerpted from my book, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms; © Arun Shanbhag 2007
Enjoy these recitations of the Mahalakshmi Ashtakam: Eight Verses to Mahalakshmi!
Note: Audio files are provided for your evaluation. Please support these musicians and purchase the albums.
From the album: Mangal Kaamna, sung by Saylee Shintre (beautiful album!)
Another version from the album: Devi Sthothranjali, sung by Anuradha Krishnamurthi
Let me know what you think of these recitations.
Previous Greetings and Related Posts:
- Meera says: Shubh Deepawali
- Diwali 2009: Festival of Lights
- Deepavali Wishes 2007
- Deepavali Greetings 2006
- Deepavali Greetings 2005
- Mahalakshmi Temple in Goa
- Poster of Saraswati Lakshmi & Ganapati
- Note Lakshmi on the lintel of the temple doorway (3rd pic)