Aarti Natarajan Sharma
Who is Goddess Lakshmi?
Goddess Lakshmi is the consort of Lord Vishnu, one of the three gods of the Hindu Trinity. She is known as the Goddess of wealth, prosperity, good fortune and beauty. She is popularly worshipped in households, especially during the festival of Diwali. She is also known as Shri and Laksmi. It is believed that she took different forms in order to be with Lord Vishnu in his various incarnations. Some of these are—
- Sita, wife of lord Rama,
- Dharani, wife of Parashurama,
- Queen Rukmini, wife of Krishna
- Padma, wife of Hari
The first mention of Goddess Lakshmi is found in the Rig Veda in the form of the hymn, Shri Shukta. According to the Mahabharata, Goddess Lakshmi was born because of the stirring of the milky ocean by the gods and demons. After Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma intervened, Goddess Lakshmi is said to have appeared from the ocean radiating beauty. She then proceeded to surrender herself to Lord Vishnu’s protection.
Depiction of Goddess Lakshmi
The goddess is depicted with a golden complexion, standing, sometimes sitting, on a fully bloomed lotus flower, with four hands. Each hand symbolises the four ends of human life—Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. The lotus is considered to be an important part of her depiction and stands for fertility, purity, and endurance. She also holds the lotus in two of her hands and is often shown to be adorned by a lotus garland.
One of her hands shows a cascade of golden coins, symbolising her as the goddess of wealth and fortune. In some pictures she is shown with a pot of overflowing golden coins. This is also why it is said that worshipping Goddess Lakshmi provides one with prosperity and monetary gains. On either side of her are two elephants showering water (some say divine nectar) on her. It is believed that elephants were her favourite animals.
Shree Lakshmi Nitya Aaradhana
Aaradhana means worship. The Shree Lakshmi Nitya Aaradhana is a collection of devotional hymns in praise of Goddess Lakshmi. It consists of the following items
- Shree Lakshmi Mantra
- Shree Suktam
- Shree Mahalakshmi Ashtakam
- Shree Ashtlakshmi Stotra
- Shree Kanakdhara Stotra
- Shree Dhanalakshmi Stotra
- Shree Lakshmi Shat Namavali
- Shree Lakshmi Chalisa
- Shree Lakshmi Aarti
This collection comes in a beautifully curated box which can be customised with a name, a photograph, and a special message. This makes for an ideal gift, especially during occasions such as housewarming or grihapravesh and festivals, such as Diwali.
Let us take a look at each of these items.
Shree Lakshmi Mantra
The beej mantra of Goddess Lakshmi is:
“Sri Hrim Shree Kamale Kamallaye Prasid Shree Hreem Shree Om Mahalakshmayai Namah”
Friday is considered to be the day of the Goddess. It is believed that chanting this mantra 108 times shall bestow the devotee with wealth, prosperity and good luck. People who are going through monetary losses should especially chant this mantra to seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.
Another popular mantra dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi is
“Om Hreem Shreem Lakshmi Bhyo Namaha”
The mantra entreats the goddess to reside in the devotee’s heart and fill their life with abundance.
Shree Suktam also known as Shree Sukta is one of the earliest Sanskrit hymns in praise of Goddess Lakshmi. It is found in the Rig Veda khilanis or appendices and consists of 15 verses. It is believed that the letters, syllables, and words of the 15 verses of this Suktam collectively form the sound body of Goddess Lakshmi. The regular chanting of Sri Suktam is said to please Lakshmi, who showers the devotee with her blessings and ensures there is no lack of wealth or prosperity in their homes.
It should ideally be recited on Fridays alongside the regular worship of the goddess.
Shree Mahalakshmi Ashtakam
Goddess Lakshmi is said to have eight forms.
- Aadi Lakshmi
- Dhana Lakshmi
- Dhanya Lakshmi
- Gaja Lakshmi
- Santana Lakshmi
- Veera Lakshmi
- Vidya Lakshmi
- Vijaya Lakshmi
The Shree Mahalakshmi Ashtakam is a divine hymn in praise of all these eight forms of the Goddess. This prayer is in Sanskrit and was found in the Padma Purana. It is believed this prayer was chanted by Lord Indra in praise of Goddess Mahalakshmi. It is regarded as one of the most popular mantras for gaining prosperity and abundance in life.
Shree Ashtlakshmi Stotra
Ashtlakshmi signifies the eight manifestations or incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi. She presides over eight sources of wealth—prosperity, fertility, luck, health, knowledge, strength, progeny, and power.
Their abode is Vaikuntha Loka and Manidvipa. The weapons used by them are the sword (khanda), bow and arrow, trident (trishul), discus (chakra), mace (gada), goad (Anushka) and shield.
The Shree Ashtlakshmi Stotra is Om Aim Hrim Srim Mahalaksmyai Namo Namah.
The stotra is best recited on a Friday and the benefits accruing from it are many in terms of good education, wealth, children, victory and courage. Reciting this stotra brings auspiciousness and abundance all over. It is said to strengthen intuitive powers.
The first verse is dedicated to Aadilakshmi, the form of Lakshmi that is first worshipped among the eight forms. Divine blessings are invoked for auspicious events to unfold in our lives.
The second verse is dedicated to Dhaanyalakshmi, the form of Lakshmi, who is the giver of nutrition. Through this we thank her for giving us nourishment.
The third verse is for Dhairyalakshmi through whose worship we seek courage and thank the Goddess for giving us the strength to face the challenges of life.
The fourth verse is dedicated to Gajalakshmi who is the bestower of good luck.
The fifth verse is dedicated to Sanataanlakshmi who bestows fertility. Through this verse we thank her for the divine gift to produce life.
The sixth verse is dedicated to Vijayalakshmi, who bestows success in our ventures.
The seventh verse is dedicated to Vidyalakshmi, the incarnation of Lakshmi who is the giver of divine wisdom and knowledge.
The eight verse is dedicated to Dhanalakshmi who is the bestower of abundant wealth.
Chanting the Shree Ashtlakshmi Stotra sharpens the intuition and empowers the devotee to take the right decisions. It also improves the quality of life.
Shree Kanakdhara Stotra
The Kanakdhara Stotra is a hymn composed by the great philosopher of the eighth century, Adi Sankara. Kanak means gold and Dhara means stream. Kanakdhara literally means a stream of gold. Legend says that when Adi Sankara recited this hymn, Goddess Lakshmi appeared before him and showered a stream of gold.
The story goes that one day, Adi Sankara was on his round for begging alms since he had renounced the world at the age of eight. He came to the doorstep of a poor Brahmin lady who had nothing to offer him and on searching her house chanced upon a single amla (gooseberry) which she hesitantly offered him. This touched Sankara so much that he burst forth into song in praise of the Goddess Lakshmi and sang 22 stanzas at a stretch. Pleased with this invocation of her wealth and beauty, Lakshmi appeared before Sankara and enquired as to how he had remembered her.
Sankara pleaded with her to reverse the fortunes of the poor Brahmin lady. Lakshmi was reluctant to do so as the lady had been very miserly in her previous birth and said this was the law of karma at work which had put her in this condition of poverty in this lifetime. Upon repeated requests from Sankara, that the lady had acted selflessly in giving him a gooseberry and hence her fate deserved to be changed, and only the Goddess Lakshmi was capable of altering the fate written by Brahma, Lakshmi was pleased and she showered the lady’s house with gooseberries made of gold.
Shree Kanakadhara Stotra has 21 stanzas and contains a description of the beauty, power and generosity of Goddess Lakshmi. It is especially beneficial if chanted on Fridays and full moon days. The Stotra alleviates poverty, removes negativity and increases spirituality.
Shree Dhanalakshmi Stotra
Shree Dhanalakshmi Stotra is a prayer addressed to one of the forms of Goddess Lakshmi—Dhana Lakshmi, the bestower of wealth. Dhana Lakshmi is said to confer both material and spiritual wealth.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati once asked Lord Shiva how poverty could be alleviated and how a person could become wealthy. Lord Shiva then taught her this prayer. The prayer is said to bestow wealth to the person chanting it. It should be read oneself or by a Brahmin. It leads to earning of money and removal of poverty from one’s life.
The prayer contains stanzas praising the qualities and beauty of Goddess Parvati. At dawn or after dusk is the best time for chanting this prayer. Diwali is the ideal occasion for invoking Dhana Lakshmi’s blessings.
Shree Lakshmi Shat Namavali
The Shree Lakshmi Shat Namavali is the 108 names of Goddess Lakshmi. These names signify the various forms of the Goddess and praise her qualities. It describes the beauty, grace and power of Goddess Lakshmi. Regular chanting of this confers the devotee with the blessings of the Goddess and provides immense benefits to her devotees.
Shree Lakshmi Chalisa
Shree Lakshmi Chalisa is a 40-verse prayer in praise of Goddess Lakshmi. It is said that this Chalisa should be chanted 5, 11, 21, 51 or 108 times in order to purify one’s home and heart. Regular chanting of this chalisa pleases Lakshmi and confers abundance in material and spiritual areas. One of the benefits of chanting the Lakshmi Chalisa is the immense opportunities and avenues it opens up for the devotee.
Shree Lakshmi Chalisa is said to have been composed by Sundardasa. The verses contain a description of Goddess Lakshmi’s qualities and praise her for bestowing her devotees with wealth and prosperity. The acts and deeds of the Goddess are described in the Chalisa. Astrologically, it is believed that chanting the Lakshmi Chalisa appeases the plant Venus which stands for opulence, luxury and material wealth.
Shree Lakshmi Aarti
The Lakshmi Aarti is a spiritual song sung in praise of Goddess Lakshmi. Typically, it is sung at the end of the puja and involves waving an oil lamp in front of the picture or idol of the Goddess. Shree Lakshmi Aarti is especially sung during Diwali in offices and homes to invoke the blessings of the Goddess.
Goddess Lakshmi is said to be present wherever there is cleanliness. That is why during the festival of Diwali, people clean their homes and de-clutter. It is important to keep one’s puja room clean and free from dust and dirt so as to attract Goddess Lakshmi’s presence.