Goddess Lakshmi And Her Eight Manifestations
It is believed that on worshiping Goddess Lakshmi you will be blessed with abundant wealth in your finances and professions. The festival on which Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped widely across the Southern States of our Nation is called ‘Varamahalakshmi’. It is said that by worshiping Goddess Lakshmi on this day, it is equivalent to worshiping ‘Ashtalakshmi - The Eight Forms of Goddess Varalakshmi’ which are Wealth, Wisdom, Love, Earth, Fame, Contentment, Strength and Peace.
Birth Of Goddess Lakshmi
The story of Goddess Lakshmi was first read about in the Ramayana and Mahabharata back in 300 BC and 300 AD - a period that witnessed the dwindling popularity of the Vedic Gods and the rise of the Gods who were presented as Shiva and Vishnu. It was then that the two Gods fought to win Goddess Lakshmi over by milking the ocean. Goddess Lakshmi was brought to life when the Gods and Demons of Lord Vishnu acquired Amritha and Lakshmi appeared to them. The Gods and Demons, on seeing her immense beauty, began to sing her praises, the sacred elephants who are said to hold the sky up came down from the eight quarters of the universe and consecrated her with life sustaining water and was welcomed by the Gods to Indraloka. She was then taken to meet Maha Vishnu and on seeing him she was charmed by his sedulousness, she chose to marry him. Maha Vishnu, on hearing her proposal, accepted and made a symbol of Goddess Lakshmi on his chest.
However, the mythology of Goddess Lakshmi is said to have acquired its full form in the Puranas, the Chronicles of Gods, Kings and sages that were composed between 500 and 1500 AD. During this timeline of the Puranas, the Goddess came to be known as one of the three primary deities of the Supreme Mother Goddess and the other two being - Saraswathi, the Goddess of Knowledge and Kali or Durga, the Goddess of Power. Along with these deities, Goddess Lakshmi is also known to have ‘Eight Forms’ known as ‘Ashta Lakshmi’
Ashta Lakshmi: The Manifestation
Ashta Lakshmi or Ashtalakshmi are the eight manifestations of Mahalakshmi. She presides over these eight manifestations of ‘Wealth’ (in the context of prosperity, fertility, good fortune or luck, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny and power). The prayer ‘Shri Ashta Lakshmi Stotram’ records all Ashta Lakshmis where all of them are depicted to be seated on the Lotus flower. Let’s luxuriate in these manifestations, shall we?
Adi Lakshmi also known as Mahalakshmi is the first or the Primeval form of Lakshmi that appeared during the milking of the oceans as we read earlier. In this form, she is depicted to have four arms, where the hind arms held the famous Lotus and a Red Flag while the forearms held the Abhaya Mudra and Varada Mudra. ‘Adi’ means source, hence Adi Lakshmi is known as the Divine principle of ‘Wealth’ that supports those seeking to reach their source, that is ‘Atman’ or consciousness. Adi Lakshmi is also widely known for her immense beauty and it is said that when women see themselves in the mirror, they see the 'Adi Lakshmi' in them!
Dhana Lakshmi is widely known as Money Lakshmi - Provider of Money. This form of Lakshmi has six arms and is adorned in a red garment. Her six arms in thai depiction carry the Sudarshana Chakra, Shankha, Kalasha (which is the water pitcher with mango leaves and coconut on it), a bow and arrow, a Lotus and one arm in the Abhaya Mudra that is overflowing with gold coins.
Dhanya Lakshmi is known as the Goddess of Agricultural Wealth. This form of Lakshmi has eight arms and is adorned with a gorgeous green garment. The hind arms of Dhanya Lakshmi carry the Gada and the Paddy Crop, the two middle hands hold the Sugarcane and a Bunch of Bananas while the forearms carry the symbolic Lotus flowers. This manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi is also known for wealth, however, she is known for Agricultural Wealth. If an individual possesses Dhanya Lakshmi then they will be blessed with abundant fortune to enjoy the worldly pleasures.
Gaja Lakshmi, also known as the Elephant Lakshmi, is the provider of animal wealth or the provider of Power of Royalty as explicated by Swami Chidananda. As per the Hindu Mythology, Gaja Lakshmi drove the wealth lost by Indra back from the ocean. She is depicted with four arms, where the hind arms hold two Lotuses and the forearms hold the Abhaya Mudra and Varada Mudra similar to Adi Lakshmi. In this form, she also has two elephants on either side.
Santana Lakshmi is known as the Goddess of bestowing offspring. She is depicted with six arms that carry two Kalashas, a sword, a shield and a child on her lap with one hand in the Abhaya Mudra and the other holding the child. In the weapons she carries, the sword and the shield symbolizes a mother’s ability to harm those who harm her child. In this depiction, the child is the one who holds the Lotus flower.
Veera or Dhairya means Courage. As the name itself explains, Veera or Dhairya Lakshmi is a form of Durga - Goddess who bestows bravery during battles and courage including the strength to overcome difficulties that one goes through during the course of his life on Earth. THis form of Lakshmi is depicted with eight arms, seated on Lion with red garments carrying the Chakra, Shankh, bow and arrow, Trishul, a bundle of palm leaves with the forearms in the Abhaya Mudra and Varada Mudra.
Vijaya or Jaya Lakshmi is also a manifestation of Durga, the Goddess and giver of Victory not only with regards to battles but also in overcoming hurdles and other obstacles that stand in the way of success. This form of Lakshmi has eight arms and is adorned in blue garments, carrying the Chakra, Shankh, sword, shield, Lotus, pasha and the forearms in the mudras.
Vidhya Lakshmi is the Goddess of knowledge dressed in a white saree and resembles the Goddess Sarswati, holding a book of vedas, a peacock feather as a pen (which in ancient times was used to write with ink), Varada Mudra (bestowing boons) and Abhaya Mudra (symbolizes ‘Do not fear’).
These ‘Eight Forms Of Lakshmi’ are worshiped during Varamahalakshmi Vrata asking to be bestowed with each form of wellness to survive and fulfill their life on Earth! Mythologies and stories of the Life of Gods and Goddesses have inspired men and women over ages and years in the Art of Jewellery Making. We see that jewellery inspired by Goddess Lakshmi is worn during wedding and grand occasions as a symbol of asking to bless the day and the occasion with Prosperity, Wealth and Peace. At Kushal’s, we curate our jewellery inspired by the ever beautiful manifestations of the Ahta Lakshmi, made for every occasion and crafted in the Divinity of Symbolism.