We often think of wealth in terms of one thing: numbers. How fat is our bank account? How are our investments growing? If the number on the bank account is dangerously low and we don’t even have investments, it’s hard to think of ourselves as rich. The word wealth actually refers to well-being and the Goddess of Wealth bestows blessings broader than pretty numbers.
Here are eight forms of wealth embodied by Lakshmi:
- Veera Lakshmi (Valor Lakshmi) She bestows the strength and courage we need to face our difficulties and overcome them. The word Veera is closely related to virility, which means vigorous strength, and virtue, which means being strong enough to, as Dumbledore says, choose what’s right over what’s easy.
- Gaja Lakshmi (Elephant Lakshmi) You’ve probably seen this depiction of Lakshmi having water poured on her by elephants. She bestows power and authority, for example: getting a promotion at work or being elected to office.
- Santhana Lakshmi (Eternal Lakshmi) If you’ve ever heard of someone who prayed for abundance and later found out she was pregnant, you’ve encountered Santhana Lakshmi. She bestows the wealth of children and family. Sadly, our culture thinks of children as a burden and liability, but they used to be considered a blessing and asset.
- Vijaya Lakshmi (Victory Lakshmi) The Goddess of Victory is invoked to help conquer hurdles and overcome obstacles in our lives. (Jaya is the kind of victory with winners and losers; Vijaya is the victory of inner growth in which we win without making others lose).
- Dhanya Lakshmi (Grain Lakshmi) She gives agricultural wealth, for example: growing a garden, building a pantry. She’s closely related to Annapurna, Goddess of Food.
- Adhi Lakshmi (Primal Lakshmi) We don’t usually think of spiritual contentment as a form of wealth, but if you’ve ever met someone who was impoverished by the world’s standards yet overflowed with an inner source of happiness, you met someone blessed by Adhi Lakshmi.
- Dhana Lakshmi (Money Lakshmi) This is the form of Lakshmi most people think of, with her hand raised in a gesture of blessing and gold coins pouring forth from it. She is probably the most frequently invoked, especially in emergency prayers to help devotees get through the month without repossessions or evictions.
- Aishwarya Lakshmi (Riches Lakshmi) The eighth form of Lakshmi goes a step beyond asking for money to pay the bills. Aishwarya Lakshmi bestows the kind of wealth that gives us pleasures like jewelry, vacations, opulence.
A couple of tidbits to keep in mind:
- It’s pronounced Lux-me like luxury, not Lacks-me, like something’s lacking.
- Though often depicted standing on a lotus, pictures of Lakshmi kept on altars depict her seated comfortably (because you want her to stay awhile).
- She has a sister, Alakshmi, the Goddess of Misfortune. Alakshmi is offered sour things, like lemons, outside the house so she doesn’t come in.
May you be blessed by Lakshmi in myriad ways, and may her sister Alakshmi be happy and content outside your door and not desire to come in.