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The Chakra Oracle

by Anita Ryan

Amaterasu ::
Aphrodite ::
Astarte ::
Artemis ::
Athena ::
Baba Yaga ::
Bast ::
Baubo ::
Bodicea ::
Brigid ::
Caffeina ::
Calypso ::
Ceres ::
Cerridwen ::
Circe ::
Demeter ::
Diana ::
Eostre ::
Epona ::
Fortuna ::
Freja ::
Gaia ::
Ge ::
Hathor ::
Hecate ::
Hestia ::
Hina  ::
Iambe ::
Inanna ::
Ishtar ::
Isis ::
IxChel ::
Juno ::
Kali ::
Kwan Yin ::
Lilith ::
Maia ::
Medusa ::
Nuit ::
Oshun ::
Ostara ::
Oya ::
Pallas ::
Pele ::
Persephone ::
Rhiannon ::
Tara ::
Tyche ::
Venus ::
Vesta ::
Yemaya ::

MORE ABOUT Laxldfjklsf


Sri Laxmi  The Goddess of Abundance and Prosperity. Depicted seated upon or holding the lotus, symbol of spiritual purity, fertility and vegetative growth, the goddess Sri (Laxmi) is venerated, like Ganesh, for her auspicious nature. She carries a coffer and gold coins shower from her hand, and she represents the supreme divine principle which pervades all creation with vitality and consciousness. Actively venerated by nearly 1 billion Hindus, Laxmi is the modern face of the ancient Great Mother Goddess; stalks of grain surrounding her head connote a rich harvest. Lakshmi - Citrine, Gold, Silver, Diamond, precious stones

Contrary to the popular perception, Laxmi is not the goddess of wealth. She is the goddess of good fortune and the capable personality, the forceful ability and the manifold skills that confer the right to rule. Sri also means in another sense glory, brilliance, glow and beauty. Wealth is just the external manifestation of these attributes. It is perhaps understandable that people should jump to the conclusion that Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, seeing as how all the illustrations show rivers of gold coins flowing out of her hand. Kubera, the Yaksha King is the God of Wealth, and so surprisingly is Ganapati. To make matters even more interesting, Laxmi, Kubera and Ganapati are all Yaksha deities absorbed into Hinduism about a thousand years ago. That is another story, to be dealt with when I cover the Yakshas.

Laxmi is actually two goddesses in one. The Yaksha deity has merged with the Vedic concept of SRI - the power of good fortune that enables a king to rule. When Sri deserted a king, he lost his physical, intellectual and even moral powers to rule, and went rapidly into decline. Sri has deserted even Indra, chief amongst the gods. Sri is that unmistakable air of authority and competence that sits upon somebody at the peak of their powers, when they are in midseason form and performing wonders. Mozart for instance was blessed with Sri all his life, his genius and superiority being unmistakable, but money was not part of the equation. Fame and acclaim, two boons of Sri Laxmi, were to be his lot as well as an enduring name. Somehow it is almost irrelevant today that he had no money. However, it is not commonly known that Laxmi has a fearsome dark side to her, a veritable Shadow of Shadows called A-Laxmi, the anti-Laxmi. This is not the mere absence or desertion by Sri, it is a real presence that brings bad luck like a perpetual hex. Fortunately this Laxmi is easily mollified - once the reasons for her appearance are understood and acknowledged. It is a brilliant concept to illustrate poverty consciousness and the lack of integrity that is punished by the universe.

Today Laxmi has become safely domesticated as the wife of Vishnu, perpetually watching over her sleeping husband in mythological carvings. There are many complaints about this situation in the regional literature of devotion. Poets afflicted with poverty, as all poets always are, loudly complain about the eternal old man who is unable to control the capricious whims of his young wife, who bestows fortune and money on the undeserving while the worthy struggle. Hence one of the epithets is Chanchala, 'the unstable'. (Not 'fickle' as is often mistakenly translated.) At a time when fortunes disappear overnight because men's expectations outrun their prudence, i.e. at any time at all in history, such complaints become common. Laxmi, therefore, has been very popular, but a little undercurrent of bitterness against her unstable nature has ensured she is worshipped in almost every home, but there is not one single major temple built in her name. The sole exception is Mahalaxmi temple in Mumbai City, the only city in India that is unapologetic about making money and more importantly believes it can be generated, not snatched from others. Mahalaxmi temple is certainly an ancient Yaksha shrine and look where it has taken the city. Mumbai city alone pays over 80% of the income tax generated in India. Not kidding!

In the earliest myths about Sri we learn that Prajapati, the Cosmic Father created her - and instantly made the other gods jealous. They proceeded to steal her qualities from her, a list of virtues that vary in different accounts, but usually agree on these ten. Food, Kingly rule, Power that glows, Noble rank, World domination, Beauty, Plentitude, Good fortune, Physical power and Purity. It is a pretty comprehensive list and explains why there are always a group of devotees who claim supreme goddess status for her. The Sri-sukta section of the Rig-Veda praises her in extravagant terms and for the first time you have a goddess described in Kingly terms with Kingly attributes like a throne, elephants and chariots to ride on. This is almost certainly a borrowing from the extant Yaksha mythology of the time. What impresses you straight away is the constant glow or luster that the poet is never tired of referring to. She radiates power like the sun, and has the usual quota of over-ornamentation that is so beloved of Sanskrit literature. The Sri sukta is important for being the first to refer to her as a goddess who grants fertility, both animal and vegetable, again a Yaksha attribute. From that association with the soil has grown the myth of Sita, avatar of Laxmi and found in a furrow ploughed by the Sage-King Janaka. It is a perfect amalgamation of all the mythological attributes, Janaka being pre-eminent both in wisdom as well as wealth, Janaka, foremost in prestige and teacher of rishis, and surely in abundant possession of Sri, so much so that she has to be referred to as his daughter!

Sri Laxmi is by far the most popular form of god to be associated with the lotus, which is itself an integral part of the cultural consciousness of Asia. She is even called Padma or Lotus as a result. The symbolism of fertility as well as the religious overtones of the lotus have provided many commentators with endless work and speculation. The lotus is a symbol of the entire universe in creation and Sri Laxmi is the glowing lustrous heart of it. Another popular form of Laxmi is the Gaja-Laxmi, the elephant Laxmi. This means that elephants attend her, not that she is fat! Elephants are another fertility symbol, clouds with their life giving rain being the elephants of the sky, as well as symbolizing the grace and power of Kingship. A picture of Laxmi seated on a lotus, showered with sacred water by elephants around her while a river of gold issues forth from her hand or a sacred vessel may seem trite today, but there was a time when it was a powerful archetypal figure. Even today, meditating on the many layers of meaning veiled in that image is an extraordinary experience.

While poets may moan of Laxmi's peculiar conferring of favors, the scriptures are unanimous in declaring her to be the kindest goddess of all. So forgiving and compassionate is Laxmi that she protects even those who persecute her! When Hanuman wanted to kill the rakshashis who were planning to make dinner of Sita, she peremptorily ordered him to forget about it. Even if they had apologized out of fear for their worthless skins, they had asked for protection and it would not be denied. This infinite kindness is what led Sri Aurobindo to make the perceptive remark that it is best to worship the mother as Laxmi. Kali, the Black Mother, makes life too hectic and exciting for her devotees, unless you are a hardy soul with a natural bent for such things. Durga, the White Mother, is of such a terrifying dignity and superiority that it intimidates and sometimes even disheartens the worshipper. Only Laxmi, the Red Mother, is the right blend of love and power for the average devotee.

The best-known origin story of Laxmi is a curiously flat one. She emerged like another Aphrodite from the churning of the Ocean of Milk, looked around for a suitable mate, and found only Vishnu to be her equal, if not superior. She garlands him as her choice of husband. End of Story. While there is no doubt that Laxmi is now the spouse of Vishnu, her power as Sri seemed to retain this embarrassing habit of sneaking off and favoring the mortal enemies of the gods, the asuras. The explanation given is that as long as you are virtuous and deserve success because of your actions, it cannot be denied to you. You lose your Sri when you let your power and glory go to your head and act arrogant and foolishly. Laxmi has nothing to do with either situation. In the Mahabharatha she is made to state," I dwell in truth, giving gifts, austerities, vows, strength and virtue."

In the Vaishnava schools of South India, Laxmi grew to become the greatly merciful mediator between weak humanity and a justly stern Vishnu. She intervenes for the worshipper and coaxes out of Vishnu the act of prasada, the grace that saves. It is an act of love and forgiveness, not a conferring of just deserts. Were that so, many people would be in deep trouble. Sri has therefore been called karunyasima, the 'ultimate in compassion' or, more literally, 'compassion without limit'. The great poet Desika has argued the entire process is implicit in her names thus.

Sriyate: She who is resorted to
Srayate: She who resorts (to the Lord)
Srnoti: She who listens (to humans)
Sravayati: She who compels listening (from the Lord)
Srnati: She who removes (past karmas, faults et al)
Srinati: She who makes perfect

Popular worship of Laxmi is universal all over India and there are millions of little shrines, though no major temples traditionally exist as already stated. The most popular festival in her honor is the only real pan-Indian festival, Diwali - the festival of lights. The festival of Diwali is also the New Year from a religious perspective. There are a plethora of nature festivals, which are in some way or the other associated with Laxmi, especially, though not particularly, in the state of Orissa. Nobody is sure of the number, as they seem to multiply all the time. The lighted lamp to respectfully take leave of Laxmi seems to be the only common feature. The worship of Laxmi is so popular and it answers such genuine needs that it inevitably brings everybody under its spell. Even the great Adi Shankara, austere proponent of Vedanta, came under the irresistible sway of Laxmi and composed one of the best hymns in her praise. Given the realities of society, Laxmi worship will only increase. A clear indication is the remarkably strange Ashta Laxmi Koil (temple of eight Laxmis) that sprang up in 1974 in Chennai City. Here we have the eight primary manifestations of Sri and the central shrine has Vishnu and Laxmi together. Vishnu is unmistakably only the consort here! Sri Laxmi and Hinduism are amazing in their ability to mutate.

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Be inspired with Diana's natural energy with this cast stone sculpture: Beauty

48x38x25cm (20"x15"x1") AU $150  

Beauty is a state of being which radiates out from within. This sculpture is a celebration of that perfect state of mind, being in touch with your own inner beauty.

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