The laksmi creation story starts with Brahma telling the Asuras and Devas to churn the ocean of milk. The Asuras and Devas were looking for soma, or immortallity. Anxious the two groups go and ask Ananta a serpent to turn Mt. Mandara into a ocean of milk. They then use another serpent to churn the ocean, Vasukii. After churning for some time they grew tired and bored, but then Vishnu comes and erges them not to quit.
After some time a beautiful God appears, Laksmi. However this is not what they wanted so they kept churning the ocean until a black sludge appears. Then a thousand poisinous snakes come out of the sludge. The poison turns blue and Shiva comes and swollows this poison.
Shiva holds this poison in his throught and the poison turns his throught blue. After Shiva purifies the ocean Dhanvantari appears. He is the physician of the gods and he holds the soma in a container called fillasha. This story goes on and on, but in the end the devas drink and become immortal.
In many pictures of Laksmi she is seen with objects that are significant in meaning and symbolism. Some of the objects include lotus flowers, elephants, coins, soma, and somethimes bilva fruit.
Laksmi can be portrayed in pictures either standing, rising, sitting, holding or wearing the lotus flower. Both her and the lotus were born out of the mud and water. This shows how something beautiful can come from mud and water. Behind Laksmi are two elephants that came out of the ocean of milk with her. They are usually portrayed showering her with water.
The Hindu belief views water as female, the procreative aspect of the absolute and it is associated with its amazing powers. From Laksmi's hands flow coins and she is seen heavily ornamented. These represent the wealth, good fortune and properity she can bring you. Laksmi also holds the soma in one of her hands. This is the repensentation of the essence of water and also of strength. The bilva fruit re- presents the world as a whole.
Occassionally she is associated with an owl. This creature is given to her as an offering. The owl is the form the Indra takes. Indra makes up the waist of Laksmi. The owl represents Knowledge and wisdom.
In the backdrop of Laksmi's pictures you will ussually find mountains and water. This displays her position between both the natural world and earth. This portrays her true perfection as a women and a wife.
Ritual and Daily Life Laksmi is considered the mother of the universe. She is worshipped by a number of all castes, in conjunction with her consort Vishnu. You must understand this com- pletely before engaging in the process of ritual.
As Laksmi represents wealth and prosperity, Vishnu re- presents knowledge and wisdom.
You cannot desire wealth alone, you must also have wisdom when approaching Laksmi. If both are worshipped together prosperity will surely result,but if Laksmi is worshipped alone she is disgraced and will certainly do her best to prevent prosperity from knocking on your door.
It is also helpful to remember that just as Laksmi is the mother of the universe, Vishnu may be percieved as the father.
Laksmi welcomes all into her loving arms. Just as the dirty child is cleaned by the mother before being presented to the father, Laksmi purifies her worshippers so that they may encounter Vishnu as well.
Each day one must strive to purify him/herself completely so that pro- sperity will find it's way to this person. This process and it's specific requirments, are detailed in Hindu Texual Sources.
This section also reveals Laksmi's connection in tautric sacrifice in a concise and breif manner. The chanting of the mantra is natural- ly an essential element which must also be incorporated into the formulation of the ritual process.
Laksmi Divali, The Festival of Lights, is a festival in which the essential and specific worship of the goddess is facilitated. The exact dates vary, especially on the pagan calendars, but generally speaking, the festival proceeds for one week,between the middle of October until early Novem- ber)and ends with a tremendous feast on the culmination day.
In 1996 this day was November tenth. This festival innvolves a complete cleaning both inside the home and with the individual worshipper. Scents, specifically jasmine and sandalwood are essential along with many flowers and candles lit through out the home.
Laksmi's colors are pink, gold, orange, and red so the flowers and candles should correspond with these colors. The altar, and the entire enviroment surrounding it, should create an alluring and enticing atmoshere so that Laksmi is drawn to that specific place. Feeling the warm welcome, Laksmi greatly appreciates it and bestows her thanks upon her disciples.
A more modern description of this entire process can be found here and throughout the various other links on this page.
Mantra The seed of existence or the seed of fortune The mantra for Laksmi is Srim. This mantra represents the goddess of fortune and multiplicity, Laksmi. The S stands for transcendent divinity of fortune. The R stands for wealth and the I stands for satisfaction.
The sound means limitlessness. The nazalation means the dispelling of sorrow. This is the seed utterance of the goddess Laksmi through which she should be worshipped.
Laksmi is represented in different forms. They are A-laxmi, Mahalaxmi, Laxmi, Enja-Laxmi. Each one of these forms represents a differnt part of Laksmi. They are like her sisters. They are all consorts to Vishnu.
As you remember in the creation story shiva swollowed a poison called Halabala. When this poison turned shiva's throught blue it represented yoga. In this myth the ocean of milk is really your conciousness. The process of yoga is really your counciousness churning the Devas and Asuras. The Devas and Asuras represent good vs. bad, hot vs. cold, male vs.female.
In yoga you must first undergo a process of purification of samskaras. Samskaras are every action you have ever done. This action leaves a residue that is stored all you life in your samkaras. The poison in the story is your experiences, Shiva comes and stores these experiences in his throught. The process of yoga releases you samkaras to shiva.
Some other great links on Laksmi include:
Huge Hindu Links List
Great statue of Laksmi and Vishnu
Pics of temples
Statue of Laksmi
Links of other Hindu Gods
Images of Temples and Deities
More on the goddess of Luxmi
The Hindu Goddess Laksmi