is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and
spiritual. The word ''Lakshmi'' is derived from the Sanskrit
word Laksme, meaning "goal." Lakshmi, therefore, represents
the goal of life, which includes worldly as well as spiritual
In Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi, also called
Shri, is the divine spouse of Lord Vishnu and the Goddess
of wealth and fortune. In the vedas, she called Sri.
Lakshmi indicates prosperity. Worhip of Lakshmi indicates
an appreciation of prosperity and a sense of responsibility
towards it. Depicted an extremely beautiful woman, Lakshmi
stands on a lotus. She has lotuses in various stages of bloom
in her two hands. And even wears a lotus garland.
Lakshmi normally appears on one of three vehicles. In her
enlightened aspect, sattvic guna, she accompanies Vishnu on
Garuda. In her materialistic aspect, raja guna, she appears
with two elephants on either side of her. The owl depicts
the pernicious aspect of wealth. Though its considered a bird
of ill omen and a symbol of darkness, the owl also symbolizes
wisdom and intelligence because of its ability to presage
The four arms represent the four directions in space
and thus symbolize omnipresence and omnipotence of the Goddess.
The red color syinbolizes activity. The golden lining (embroidery)
on Her red dress denotes prosperity. The idea conveyed here
is that the Goddess is always busy distributing wealth and
prosperity to the devotees.
The lotus seat, which Lakshmi
is standing upon, signifies that while living in this world,
one should enjoy its wealth, but not become obsessed with
it. Such a living is analogous to a lotus that grows in water
but is not wetted by water.
Since the right side of the body symbolizes activity, a lotus
in the back right hand conveys the idea that one must perform
all duties in the world in accordance with dharma. This leads
to moksha (liberation), which is symbolized by a lotus in
the back left hand of Lakshmi.
The golden coins falling on
the ground from the front left hand of Lakshmi illustrate
that She provides wealth and prosperity to Her devotees. Her
front right hand is shown bestowing blessings upon the devotees.
To go hand in hand with Lord Vishnu's act of maintenance and
protection, Goddesses Lakshmi is the possessor of every form
of wealth. She is the possessor of great beauty and is depicted
in standing as well as in the seated postures. She is however
always seen on a lotus. In her hands she holds two lotuses.
In the avatarams of Lord Vishnu,
Lakshmi also took varous forms to accompany him
- Sita with Rama, Rukmini with Krishna.
Ashta Lakshmi are her eight forms which are the commonly worshipped
aspects. In each form, she bestows one form of wealth to her
devotees. There are numerous poojas and festivals which are
performed to invoke her blessings.