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Here’s something I almost never do–respond to any type of chain email even from good friends. You know the type, pass this on to seven of your friends and untold good fortune is yours. And I really hate the ones that say if you don’t pass them on, bad luck will arrive. But the one I got yesterday was different, in that it didn’t say anything bad would happen if I just enjoyed the picture of the Mother Goddess Lakshmi, but perhaps lots of wealth would arrive if I did pass it on. And actually the only reason I responded was because, in one of those amazing serendipitous events that have been occurring in my life, I was just reading up on this fascinating symbol of true prosperity consciousness. You see, Lakshmi is the household goddess of most Hindu families. My landlord and friend, Anand Singh, has a small statue of her on a shelf in the hall outside my bedroom. And I was curious, and as I read up on her, realized it was no accident.
Lakshmi is considered a Mother Goddess of Prosperity, Wealth, Purity, Generosity, as well as the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. Quite an exalted package, wouldn’t you say? How can you not worship her, or at least what she symbolizes, at least just a little?
Her four hands represent four primary aspects of life:
1. Dharma or righteousness–the universal laws of nature.
2. Kama–meaning our desires, the Sanskrit word for love and the Hindu God of Love.
3. Artila–wealth. Material prosperity is considered to be a worthwhile and noble goal as long as it follows the path of morality dictated by Dharma.
4. Moksha–liberation from the cycle of birth and death, similar to the Buddhist concept of Nirvana.
These four aspects are known as the Purusharthas, and October is their special month, though Lakshmi is worshipped on a daily basis. The lotus buds she holds stand for beauty, purity and fertility. You can Google much more information about her and many images are available.
For nearly a year, I passed that small statue without paying any attention to it. And now I touch it every time I pass. It is not a religious or worshipful thing for me, but merely acknowledging another being, a symbol, of prosperity being about much more than mere money and material assets.