Wealth and Spirituality are one and the same. We cannot separate our true nature of abundance from ourselves. To understand this we need to look closely at Goddess Laxmi who signifies wealth.
Goddess Lakshmi is one who epitomising wealth, fortune, auspiciousness and prosperity. She is said to have emerged from the Samudra Manthan, the Churning of Milk Ocean. She had choice to go to Asuras, but she chose to go to Devas and chose Lord Vishnu as Her consort. She comes as consort to avatars of Vishnu namely Rama and Krishna.
The meaning of Her name is Lakshya-mi, the one who take you to your Lakshya or intention. She comes to fulfil the intention of this birth which is self-realisation. Her four hands signify dharma or righteousness, kama or desires, artha or wealth, and moksha or liberation. Gold coins flowing from Her hands denotes wealth and fortune which are endless. She sits on a pristine lotus that blooms atop muddy water, signifying fertility, creativity and purity with the message that the supreme intention that she fulfils is above all impurities in this world. Two elephants (elephant is a symbol of memory, as elephant never forgets) are shown standing next to the goddess and spraying water show watering down of past memories resulting in purity. This implies that she denotes the energy of the “Now” moment. She sits on an owl signifying cessation of darkness and dullness of memory. She is often seen along with Lord Ganesh who is the remover of obstacles and the God of auspicious beginnings and Goddess Saraswati who epitomises knowledge. She is the consort of the Preserver of this Universe, Lord Vishnu who symbolises Dharma.
She is the one who gives food to Agni, the Fire god. She gives supremacy and kingly authority to Soma, She offers majestic authority to Varuna. She gives martial energy and passion to Mitra. She gives the thunderous force to Lord Indra. She gives priestly authority to Brihaspati. It is because of Her only Savitri receives dominance. In face She is the epitome of all the godly powers and divine nature.
Vishnu Purana describes Her as, “Sri, loyal to Vishnu, is the mother of the world. Vishnu is the meaning, Sri is the speech. She is the conduct, he the behavior. Vishnu is knowledge, she the insight. He is dharma, she the virtuous action. She is the earth, he earth’s upholder. She is contentment, he the satisfaction. She is wish, he is the desire. Sri is the sky, Vishnu the Self of everything. He is the moon, she the light of moon. He is the ocean, she is the shore”.
Lakshmi has a dark aspect to Herself and that is Alakshmi. Those who are not loyal to Dharma and hence follow Adharma get Alakshmi. Alakshmi leads to strife, jealously, fear, death, poverty and doom. She is born out of lust and wrongful activities. A person who has Alakshmi cannot actually enjoy material prosperity even though he may seem to have material wealth. Some say Lakshmi emerged along with Amrita, the nectar of immortality, when the gods were churning the ocean of milk; Alakshmi emerged with Halahal, the dreaded poison with the power to destroy the world. Alakshmi is called many things including Daridra, poverty personified; Kalaha, strife personified; Kalikanni, quarrel personified; Nritti, goddess of decay. In Vishnu mythology, Lakshmi loves dharma (acts born of empathy) and Alakshmi loves adharma (acts born of exploitation).
The story goes that Lakshmi and Alakshmi once paid a visit to a trader and asked her who of the two is more beautiful. The trader was scared of making either one unhappy so he came up with a wise answer that would please both. “Lakshmi is beautiful when she walks towards me. Alakshmi is beautiful when she walks away from me.” Pleased with this response, fortune moved towards the trader while strife moved away.
There are eight other divine manifestations of Goddess Lakshmi collectively known as Ashtalakshmi. These forms are the sources of eight; wealth, material prosperity, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny, power and enlightenment.
- Adi Lakshmi is the original Lakshmi or Sri, wife of Vishnu
- Dhan Lakshmi for money and riches
- Gaja Lakshmi for elephants and vehicles
- Vijay Lakshmi for victory, persistence, bravery, and confidence
- Dhairya Lakshmi for patience, strategy, planning, objectivity
- Dhanya Lakshmi for grain, food, nourishment, and health
- Vidya Lakshmi for education and knowledge
- Santan Lakshmi for children, legacy, family, friends, well-wishers
The above shows that wealth and spirituality are one and the same. Wealth comes to fulfils the 4 main goals of life which are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Wealth makes you experience and realise your magnanimous nature and opulence. She comes to help you live your true Dharma in this world.