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The Goddess Lakshmi | by Celeste33
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The Goddess Lakshmi

Lakshmi or Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, light, wisdom and fortune, as well as (secondarily) luck, beauty and fertility.

In Puranic Hinduism Lakshmi is the Mother of the Universe and Vishnu's Shakti. Lakshmi is married to Vishnu, and also married his incarnations Rama (in her incarnation as Sita), Krishna (as Rukmini) and Venkateshwara (as Alamelu).

Goddess Lakshmi's origins are found in the great Sri Sukta ("Hymn to Sri") that was added to the Rig-Veda sometime between 1000 and 500 B.C.E.

Physically, goddess Lakshmi is described as a fair lady, with four arms, seated on a lotus, dressed in fine garments and precious jewels. She has a benign countenance, is in her full youth and yet has a motherly appearance.

The most striking feature of the iconography of Lakshmi is her persistent association with the lotus. The meaning of the lotus in relation to Sri-Lakshmi refers to purity and spiritual power. Rooted in the mud but blossoming above the water, completely uncontaminated by the mud, the lotus represents spiritual perfection and authority. Furthermore, the lotus seat is a common motif in Hindu iconography.

Hindu gods and goddesses, typically sit or stand upon a lotus, which suggests their spiritual authority. To be seated upon or to be otherwise associated with the lotus suggests that the being in question: god, human being-has transcended the limitations of the finite world (the mud of existence, as it were) and floats freely in a sphere of purity and spirituality. Shri-Lakshmi thus suggests more than the fertilizing powers of moist soil and the mysterious powers of growth. She suggests a perfection or state of refinement that transcends the material world. She is associated not only with the royal authority but with also spiritual authority, and she combines royal and priestly powers in her presence. The lotus, and the goddess Lakshmi by association, represents the fully developed blossoming of organic life.

Lakshmi is worshipped the most on Diwali, the festival of lights. According to tradition people would put small candles outside their homes on Diwali and hope Lakshmi will come to bless them.

 

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Taken on August 28, 2006