The historic story of goddess Lakshmi—bestower of energy, wealth and sovereignty

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Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, energy, luxurious, magnificence, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of fabric fulfilment and contentment. She is described as stressed, whimsical but maternal, together with her arms raised to bless and to grant. For centuries Hindus have invoked her thus:

The reputation of Lakshmi could be gauged by the truth that her sacred identify—Shri. Shri is written atop most paperwork and spoken earlier than addressing a god, a instructor, a holy man or any revered particular person. The phrase evokes amongst different issues: grace, affluence, abundance, auspiciousness, authority. When the phrase is spoken or written, an aura of holiness is established. Whatever follows the phrase is imbued with divine blessing. Married women and men are addressed as Shriman and Shrimati as they’ve Lakshmi’s blessings to harness the wealth of the world to help household and maintain society. Ascetics will not be addressed as Shriman as they’ve renounced worldly riches; single women and men will not be addressed as Shriman and Shrimati as they’re nonetheless in preparation for the householder’s life.

The observe of personifying the sweetness and bounty of earth as a goddess was prevalent in all historic cultures. The Greeks had Core, the corn-goddess, who was recognized to Romans as Demeter. The Egyptians had Isis, Sumerians had Innana, Babylonians had Ishtar, Persians had Anahita and Vikings had Freia. Shri-Lakshmi is the Hindu type of the timeless mother-goddess who nurtures and nourishes all life.

In India, not solely Hindus but in addition Buddhists and Jains adore Lakshmi. Buddhism and Jainism are primarily monastic orders that turned away from Vedic rituals and Brahmanical dogmas about 2,500 years in the past. They, nevertheless, couldn’t abandon this pleasant goddess. In the Buddhist Jatakas, there are tales of women and men who request the goddess Lakshmi to drive away the goddess of misfortune, Kalakanni. Images of Kubera, the pot-bellied yaksha-king and treasurer of the gods, who’s intently related to Lakshmi, adorn most Buddhist shrines.

In holy Jain texts, it’s mentioned when an exalted soul like a Tirthankara is about to be born his mom goals of many auspicious issues, together with the goddess Shri. Symbols of wealth and royal energy generally related to Lakshmi are auspicious to each Buddhists and Jains. These embrace: the pot, a pile of gems, a throne, a flywhisk, a conch, a fish, a parasol, nagas, yakshas, a footstool, a horse, an elephant, a cow, and the wish-fulfilling tree.

Shri-Lakshmi has an extended historical past testified by the truth that her first hymn, the Shri Shukta, was added to the Rig Veda, the oldest and most revered of Hindu scriptures, someplace between 1000 and 500 BC. Considering her reputation amongst Buddhists and Jains, it has been proposed that her worship might predate the Vedic tradition and will have developed independently earlier than she was introduced into the Vedic, Buddhist and Jain folds.

Scholars are of the view that originally the phrases Shri and Lakshmi referred to something that was auspicious or introduced good luck or bestowed riches and energy. Later the 2 phrases have been personified into two goddesses who finally merged. Thus, Shri-Lakshmi got here into being.

Fragmentary verses within the Shatapatha Brahmana, written not lengthy after the Vedas, talks of the beginning of Lakshmi from the mouth of Prajapati to supply the inhabitants of the cosmos meals, clothes, shelter, and all issues that make life extra snug. She additionally supplied knowledge, energy, magnificence, luck, sovereignty and splendour—the great issues in life.

Stories of Lakshmi first appeared within the epics Ramayana and Mahabharta, that have been composed between 300 BC and 300 AD, a interval that witnessed the waning reputation of Vedic gods and the rise of gods who supplied moksha resembling Shiva and Vishnu. Gods and demons fought over her and each strove to churn her out of the ocean of milk. As people heroes resembling Rama and Krishna have been considered as incarnations of Vishnu, their consorts Sita, Radha and Rukmini turned more and more recognized with Lakshmi. In the Harivamsa, appendix to the Mahabharata, Manmatha, the god of affection, lust and fertility, was described as her son.

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