The Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity
Goddess Lakshmi (Laxmi) is the household goddess of most of the Hindu families and is regarded as goddess of Luck. In Sanskrit the word "Laksme" means goal and hence Lakshmi represents the goal of life.
Lakshmi Puja (a religious ritual) is celebrated on the full moon day of Sharad Purnima. On this day Lakshmi is said to take a trip of earth on her "Vahan" or vehicle which is an Owl, and she sprinkles "Armit" on the earth.
Goddess Lakshmi is also worshipped on Diwali along with Lord Ganesha. People invite Lakshmi on the day of Diwali to visit their home and bless them with prosperity. Lakshmi is also known by other names as Padma, Padmalaya, Chanchala, Jaladhija, Haripriya, and Lokamata.
Lakshmi is the consort or wife of Lord Vishnu and is regarded for her purity, generosity and chastity. She is depicted as a beautiful woman with four hands. Her four hands are said to represent four spiritual virtues- dharma or righteousness, Kama or desire, artha or wealth, moksha or liberation. Sitting on a fully blossomed lotus, her palm is always extended to bless people. Wearing gold embroidered red clothes, she is seen giving away cascades of old coins which flow from her hand. This suggests that those who worship her gain prosperity and wealth.
Some pictures of goddess Lakshmi shows four elephants spraying water on Goddess Lakshmi from golden pots. These four elephants are said to represent four ends of human life. This spraying of water on Goddess denotes that you can gain both material and spiritual prosperity with continuous self effort governed by wisdom and purity.
Goddess Lakshmi is regarded as the active energy of Lord Vishnu and her name is often taken before Vishnu's name like "Lakshmi-Narayan". Lakshmi is regarded as mother goddess in Hinduism and is addresses as Lakshmi Mata.
According to Hindu mythology the sacred name of Lakshmi is "Shri". By writing "Shri" on something we suggest presence of goddess Lakshmi in it. Hindus write "Shri" on top of the most valuable documents of their assets and properties and even accounts books. Now, Shri is used before addressing the name of any god, sage or a revered individual. An aura of holiness is established by using the word "Shri". Just as the word "Om" is attached to the spiritual side of life, "Shri" has been attached to the material side of life.
It is a common belief that Goddess Lakshmi resides wherever there is cleanliness, virtue, truth, righteousness, justice etc. People worship Goddess Lakshmi for gaining wealth which is important for all material needs of your life. She is believed to fulfill the requirements of material and wealth of her devotees.
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