Aum Lakshmi Karotu Kalyaanam
Aarogyam Sukha Sam Padam Mamashatru Vinashaya
Deepa Jyoti Namostute
Oh Devi Lakshmi, Thou art the Divine Bestower of Wisdom,
the remover of ill health and sorrows and the light of prosperity.
Oh radiant Mother of bliss, dispell the darkness that resides within me. To you Oh Devi I bow.
The Glory of Lakshmi Mata
Devi Lakshmi is the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, a well loved goddess whose image can be found in almost every Hindu home. She manefests as the energy of Lord Narayan and in one Puranic episode of her many manefestations, she is said to have emerged during the churning of the ocean of milk by the Devas and the Danavas (Bhagavat Puran).
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She is resplendent, a beauty to behold and the bestower of eight Siddhis. As such her eight form manefestation is known as the Ashtha Maha Lakshmi. With this form accompanies the Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam, a Stotra in honour of the Mother. The eight forms of Lakshmi are:
The primordial goddess who existed even before the beginning of Time
The giver of wealth in various forms
She who provides food (she is also known as Anapoorna Devi)
The graceful one
Bestower of Bravery and Courage
She who bestows Victory and Success
|Santhaana Lakshmi or Soubhagya Lakshmi||
Fullfiller of Desires
Goddess of Prosperity, glory and Beauty
Many of us will be familiar with the Gaja Lakshmi usually worshipped during the festival of Deepavali or Divali. As the Gaja Lakshmi, Devi Maa holds two lotuses in her upper hands and bestows the fear not and blessing mudras with her two lower hands.
Her four arms in this form represents the four goals of human existence namely; Right action (Dharma), Desire (Kaam), Wealth (Artha) and Liberation (Moksha).
From a scriptural perspective, the Devi Mahatmaym narrates the appearance of Maha Lakshmi in the picture shown above. Holding the Shankh (Celestial Conch), Chakra (Disc of Time), Gada (Mace) and Padma (Lotus). The scriptural episode of the initial appearance of Goddess Lakshmi Maa is narrated from the fifteenth to the sixteenth chapters of the first Skandh of the Shrimad Devi Bhagwattam as follows:
In days of yore, at the end of a Kalpa, Bhagavân Hari was lying, as a small child on a floating leaf of a banyan tree, and was thinking thus :-- “Who is the Intelligent One that has created me a small child? What is His object? Of what stuff am I made of? and how am I created? whence can I know all this?”
At this moment the Devî Bhagavatî Who is all chaitanya, seeing the high-souled Bhagavân Hari musing thus, spoke out in the form of a celestial voice in the following half-stanza:--
“All this that is seen is I Myself; there is existent nothing other that is eternal.”
Bhagavân Visnu, then, began to think deeply the above celestial voice :-- “Who has uttered this word, pregnant of truth, to me? How shall I come to know the speaker, whether that is female, male or a hermaphrodite?”
Pondering over this for a long time, when he could not come to a definite conclusion, he began to repeat (make japam) frequently that word of Bhagavatî with a whole heart. When Hari, lying on a banyan tree leaf, became very anxious to know what the above words implied, then the all-auspicious Devî Bhagavatî with a beautiful face, calm and quiet appearance, appeared before Bhagavân Visnu, of unrivalled splendour, in the form of Mahâ Lakshmî, who is all of Sattva Guna, surrounded by Her Vibhûtis, Her manifestations of attendants, Her smiling companions of the same age, decked with ornaments, and wearing divine clothing, and holding each in their four divine hands, conch shell, disc, club, and lotus.
The lotus eyed Visnu was very much surprised to see that beautiful Devî, standing without anything to rest on that water;
He saw that on four sides of the Devî, were staying Rati, Bhûti, Buddhi, Mati, Kîrti, Smriti, Dhriti, S'raddhâ, Medhâ, Svadhâ, Svâhâ, Kshudhâ, Nidrâ, Dayâ, Gati, Tusti, Pusti, Ksamâ, Lajjâ, Jrimbhâ Tandrâ and other personified forces, each possessing a clear distinct form, and endowed with a clear distinct feeling. In the hands of them all were divine weapons; on their necks, necklaces and garlands of Mandâra flowers; and all the limbs of their bodies were decorated with divine ornaments.
Seeing in that one mass of ocean the Devî Lakshmî and Her S'aktis, Bhagavân Janârdan, the soul of all, became greatly astonished and thought within Himself thus :-- “What is this? Is this Mâyâ that I am witnessing? Whence have appeared these women? and whence have I come here, lying on this banyan leaf? How has the banyan tree come to existence in this one mass of ocean? And who is it, that has placed me here in the form of a child? Is this my Mother? Or is this some Mâyâ that can create impossible things?
Why has She made Herself manifest before me now? Or is there some hidden motive that She has appeared thus? What ought I to do now? Or shall I go to some other place? or shall I continue remaining here in this form of the child, silent and with vigilance.
Thus ends the fifteenth chapter of the 1st Skandha on the dispassion of S'ûka and the instructions of Bhagavatî to Hari in the Mahâpurâna S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.
Vyâsa spoke :-- Then the Devî Mahâ Lakshmî, seeing the Deva Janârdana lying on a banyan leaf and surprised, spoke to him, smiling :-- O Visnu! Why are you becoming so much astonished? Before this, since times immemorial (without any beginning) there had been many dissolutions (Pralayas); and many Sristis (creations); and at the beginning of every creation You came first into existence and every time I was united with You; but now You have forgotten me under the spell of that Mahâ S'akti.
That Highest Mahâ S'akti is transcendent of all the Gunas; but you and I are with Gunas. Know me as the Shakti, all of Sattva Guna who is widely known as Mahâ Lakshmî. After this the Prajâpati Brahmâ, full of Rajo Gunas, the creator of all the Lokas, will come into existence from your navel lotus and will create the three worlds.
Then he will perform severe tapasyâ and acquire the excellent power to create, and will create the three worlds by his Rajo Guna. That highly intelligent Prajâpati will create first, the five Mahâ bhûtas (great elements), all endowed with Gunas and then create mind with sensory organs and the presiding deities of the senses, and thus with all the ingredients, fit for creation, will create all the worlds. Therefore He is denominated by all as the Creator of Brahmânda. O highly fortunate one! You will be the Preserver of this Universe. When the Prajâpati Brahmâ will be angry at the beginning of the creation on his four mind-born sons, Rudra Deva will appear.
He will appear then from the centre of his eye brows. On being born this Rudra Deva will practise very severe tapasyâ and will get the Samhâra Shakti, who is all of Tamo Guna and at the end of the Kalpa will destroy all this universe of five elements. O highly intelligent one! So I have come to you for this work of creation, etc. So take me to you as your Vaisnavî Shakti full of Sattva Guna.
O Madhusûdana! I will take refuge at your breast and will remain always with you. Hearing all this, Bhagavân Visnu spoke :-- “O beautiful Devî! The half stanza was ere long heard by me, in clear words; by whom was that spoken? Kindly speak to me on this great auspicious secret first. For a great doubt has come and possessed my mind. What more shall I say than this that as a poor man always thinks of wealth, so I am thinking of that again and again.” Hearing these words of Visnu, the Devî Mahâ Lakshmî smilingly said, with great affection :-- “O Strong and Energetic one! I am now speaking in detail on this; listen.
O Four-armed one! It is because I have come to you with form and endowed with Gunas that you have come to know me; but you have not known that Âdya Shakti, the Prime force, transcending all the Gunas, though She is the substratum of all the Gunas. O highly fortunate one! That Devî Bhâgavatî, transcendent of all the Gunas, uttered that all auspicious, highly sanctifying semi stanza, the essence of all the Vedas. O destroyer of the enemies! I think that there is the highest grace of that Highest Shakti on you, that She spoke the greatest secret to you for your benefit. O one performing good vows! know those words uttered by Mahâvidyâ, as the essence of all the S’âstra. So firmly retain them within your heart; never forget them.
There is no other thing, save that, worth being known in earnest. Because you are most beloved by the Devî! that She has spoken this to you.” Hearing the words of the Devî Mahâ Lakshmî, the four-armed Bhagavân took that semi stanza as a Mantra to be repeated in right earnest within his mind and cherished that for ever within his heart. After some time, Brahmâ born of the lotus of the navel of Visnu, became afraid of the two Daityâs Madhu and Kaitabha, took refuge of Bhagavân Visnu; Visnu killed the two demons and began to do distinctly the japam of the semi-stanza. Brahmâ, born of the lotus, then asked Visnu with a gladdened heart :-- “O Lord of the Devas! what japam are you doing? Lotus eyed! Is there any other body more powerful than you? O Lord of the Universe! whom do you think and thus feel yourself so happy?”
Hearing Brahmâ, Bhagavân Hari said :-- “O highly fortunate one! Think out yourself once of the Primordial Force, the auspicious Bhâgavatî Âdya Shakti who is reigning everywhere as the cause and effect and you will be able to understand everything. My presiding Deity is that immeasurable eternal Mahâ Shakti Brahmamyî; on whose Shakti, as a receptacle with form on this ocean rests the whole Universe; I am thinking of that, by which is created (often and often) this entire Universe, moving and non-moving. When the Devî Bhâgavatî, the giver of boons, become graciously pleased, the human beings become freed of this bondage of Samsâra; and again that highest Eternal Wisdom, the cause of Mukti, becomes the source of bondage to this world, of those who are deluded by Her.
She is the Îs'varî of the Îs'varas of this universe. O Brahmâ! You, I and all other things of the entire Universe are born of the Chit Shakti (the power of consciousness) of Her and Her alone; there is no manner of doubt in this. The semi-stanza by which She has sown within me the seed of Bhâgavata will get expanded by the beginning of the Dvâpara Yuga. While Bhagavân Brahmâ was resting on the navel lotus of Visnu, He got the seed of Bhâgavata. Then He gave it to His own son Nârada, the best of the Munis. Nârada gave it to me and I have expanded that into twelve Skandhas.
Therefore, O Mahâbhâga! You now study this Bhâgavata Purâna, equal to the Vedas and endowed with five characteristics. In this the wonderful glorious deeds and life of the Devî Bhâgavatî, the hidden meanings of the Vedas and the wisdom, the truth are all described; hence this is the best of all the Purânas and sanctifying like the Dharma S’âstra.
It is the substratum of Brahmâ Vidyâ; therefore if men study this, they will easily cross this sea of world; and those that are stupid and deluded get pleasure in hearing the death of Vritrâsura and many other narrations that are interspersed
in this book.
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