Feeling a little strapped? Bills getting you down? Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth, good fortune and prosperity can help. According to the Vedic science of Vastu (Indian Feng Shui) all you need to do is set up a shrine in her honour, light a few candles, intone a few mantras, offer a few treats, and voila, Lakshmi will pour blessings upon you.
If this sounds well, a little materialistic – don’t worry. While most of us envision half-starved half-naked Sadhus smeared with ashes as embodying the yogic tradition, Lakshmi assures us asceticism is not the only path. Her two front hands stream with gold coins and material blessings, yet her back hands offer the lotus, symbol of spiritual realization. Lakshmi is the goddess in charge of an older less familiar form of yoga, a yoga of attracting wealth and abundance.
According to the sacred Hindu text, The Rig Veda, Lakshmi’s name is derived from the Sanskrit word “Laksya”, meaning ‘aim’ or ‘goal’ . Her four arms signify her power to grant the four goals (purushartha) of a successful human life; prosperity and wealth (artha) worldly pleasure (kama) harmonious or righteous living (dharma) and spiritual liberation (moksha).
These four purushartha are “for the purpose of the soul” and all four must be achieved to realize a fulfilled life. In other words, our desire for cold hard cash and creature comforts are not sins, they are part of achieving our highest potential. So relax, we don’t need to don loincloths or renounce worldly pleasures to be enlightened – Lakshmi wants us to have our cake and eat it too!