Cultures & Traditions
Lakshmi, Vishnu’s Shakti, or female counterpart, is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. She is worshiped to ensure the blessing of affluence to her followers. Like Durga and Parvati, Lakshmi is a form of the Great Goddess, and like Vishnu she represents stable happiness in the human world. Because of the common human desire for wealth, she has a definite cult of her own.
According to myth, Lakshmi was reborn during the churning of the milk ocean. She emerged fully grown and radiant, bearing a lotus in her hand. As soon as the gods saw her, each of them wanted her as his wife. Shiva was the first to claim her, but he had already seized the moon, so Lakshmi’s hand was given to Vishnu. After that, Lakshmi was reborn as Vishnu’s consort in each of his incarnations. She is usually represented as a beautiful golden woman, either sitting or standing on a lotus. Though she really has four arms, as the ideal of feminine beauty she is often represented with only two. She is usually worshiped in conjunction with her husband, when she is portrayed as exhibiting her devotion to him.
A. Lesovsky, DMA unpublished material.