Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess

Lakshmi, Mahalakshmi, Padmavati, Shri, Bhoodevi ., one of the
aspects of female cosmic energy, represents fertility, abundance,
prosperity, riches, brilliance and beauty – the ‘rajas’ aspect of
the phenomenal universe. Sage Markandeya perceives the divine
form, manifesting this female cosmic energy, as one and also as
three-aspected : ‘Mahalakshmir Mahakali saiva prokta Saraswati,
Ishvari punyapapana sarvalokamaheshvari’ (Devi-Mahatmya, Part 3,
Chapter Vaikrtika Rahasya, verse 25), that is, ‘She herself is
proclaimed as Mahalakshmi, Mahakali, and (Maha) Saraswati, the
great ruler of all worlds, reigning over the virtuous and the
wicked’. To sage Markandeya, unity and diversity are attributes
of the same, whether the universe or the divine power governing
it. In his equation, as the universe is one but is composed of
and represents three basic elements – ‘tamas’, ‘rajas’ and
‘sattva’, that are inertia, dynamism and luminosity, the female
cosmic energy pervading and operating over it is one and also
triply manifesting. Thus, Mahalakshmi is also Mahakali and
Mahasaraswati and vice-versa. In Markandeya Purana, Mahalakshmi
is as much the goddess of battlefield as Mahakali or Mahasaraswati.

mahalakshmi_hf16

As per Markandeya Purana, it is in her manifestation as
Mahalakshmi that Devi kills Mahishasura. Indeed, while the roles
of Mahakali and Mahasaraswati confine to eliminating demons and
evil, Mahalakshmi operates also beyond the battlefield
representing auspiciousness and beauty.

Origin Of Lakshmi

It is only from 3rd century B. C. onwards that her iconic form,
now almost unanimously identified as Lakshmi, begins appearing.
This form of her, carrying lotuses in her hands, many more
growing around, and elephants surrounding her – an image of
beauty, appears first in the Sanchi and Bharhut reliefs of the
3rd-2nd century B. C., though despite that she figures, and quite
significantly, in these Buddhist reliefs, early or even
contemporary Buddhist texts do not speak of her at all. Thus, she
was a part of Buddhist sculptures but not of those days’ Buddhist pantheon.

lakshmi-devi-hd-wallpapers-2

Maybe, like many other motifs the Sanchi and Bharhut sculptors
borrowed her form, obviously in view of her aesthetic beauty,
from some early tradition for embellishing gates’ facades and
other prominent areas of the stupas. Those relying only on
archaeological finds, which little support this theory, might not
see in the lotus goddess at Sanchi and Bharhut any such
continuity of an early tradition, but even to them, it is nothing
less than a form evolved conjointly out of various sources –
verbal connotation of the Vedic Mahimata, attributes of Sita,
another Vedic visualization of productive process, Indus
fertility cult, iconographic vision of the Mother goddess…

Lakshmi In Vedas

The monotheistic Vedas, despite their perception of cosmic unity,
deciphered on the very outset the two aspected character of
existence and creative process, one, the male, and other, the
female. The Rig-Veda perceives the maleness and the femaleness as
contained within a single frame but also as two attributes of the
‘contained’. Apart such mystic duality, the Vedas directly allude
to a number of operative attributes, male and female, having
cosmic dimensions, deify them, and sometimes even personalise.
Among those identified personally Vak, Ushas, Shri, Sita and
Ratri are the main. Sita, the furrow-line, and Ratri, the night,
are casually alluded to, and that too, in Upanishads. However,
independent ‘Suktas’ are devoted to Vak – speech, and Ushas –
dawn. The Vedas have also alluded to human females, Aditi, the
mother of gods, Diti, Ila and a few others. Though no hymns are
attributed to, or rites ascribed, the Vedas allude to Mahimata,
Mother earth, a deity identical to Harappan Mother Goddess. The
Rig-Veda has some ‘Suktas’ devoted to Shri but it is completely
indifferent to Lakshmi. This Rig-Vedic Shri is not a form of
Lakshmi as she becomes later. The hymn : ‘Ashvapurvau
rathamadhyam hastinadaprabodhineem, Shriyam devimupahvaye shrirma
devi jushatam’; that is, let me be possessed of Shri who equals
an army well accomplished with horses, chariots, elephants etc.
and let my home be her perpetual abode, is sometimes contended to
relate to Lakshmi but while the hymn perceives Shri as one having
immense power equal to an army, Lakshmi represented fertility and abundance.

If at all, Lakshmi made a debut during the later Vedic period,
especially in the Atharva-Veda that alludes to an anonymous deity
possessed of large breasts with milk oozing from them. Certainly
not a form of Shri, the Atharva-Veda appears to be alluding to
the Indus Mother Goddess or a goddess identical to her preceding
the milk-filled large-breasted Lakshmi icons of Sanchi and
Bharhut. In all likelihood this large-breasted goddess,
representing fertility, generative energy and abundance,
transformed into the lotus goddess in the 3rd-2nd century B. C.
reliefs. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata allude to Lakshmi but
many of these allusions are either only by interpretation or
confine to particular editions. Chapter 45 of Bal-kanda in the
Valmiki Ramayana narrates the legend of ocean churning out of
which Lakshmi emerged. Many scholars have quoted this chapter as
elaborating Lakshmi’s physical appearance and personality, though
even the Gita Press, Gorakhpur, edition of the Ramayana does not
have any mention of her. Whatever her form, visual or verbal, so
far, Lakshmi was an independent divinity without a male partner,
or male counterpart. Like the Mother Goddess, she was initially
two-armed but subsequently her images began having four arms.
This two and four armed iconography continued ever since – her
votive images being four-armed, and aesthetic, two-armed. Later,
the Puranic literature transformed her into Vishnu’s spouse
assisting him in accomplishing his sustenance-related acts, or
serving him personally. Puranas wove around her numerous legends
in regard to her origin, forms, acts and aesthetic beauty, as
also hymns for her rituals.

Ashtalakshmi

Lakshmi’s Emergence from Ocean

If not subsequently added, the Ramayana is the earliest text to
have the legend of ocean churning for obtaining nectar, though
Lakshmi is not among the jewels that ocean revealed (Valmiki
Ramayana, Bal-kanda, chapter 45). In the Mahabharata (Adiparva,
4) the legend has been dealt with at greater length and Lakshmi
is one of the jewels emerging out of the ocean-churning. Almost
unchanged it was reproduced later in many Puranas. As different
texts have it, once the sons of Aditi – the gods, and those of
Diti – the demons, joined hands to obtain nectar which, they were
told, they could obtain by churning ocean. Using Mount Meru as
the rod and serpent Vasuki as the rope they began churning the
ocean. The disgruntled Vasuki breathed so much of venom that it
not only enshrouded the entire universe but also began
suffocating gods and demons. On Vishnu’s prayer Shiva stored the
arson into his throat and saved the cosmos from being destroyed.
Relieved from arson’s influence gods and demons began their
exercise afresh. Lakshmi, who emerged riding a lotus, was one
among fourteen jewels which the ocean revealed. Brahma gifted her
to Vishnu who accepted her as his consort. In visual arts the
earliest appearance of the ocean-churning theme is reported from
the early Gupta period cave temple (300 AD) at Udayagiri in
Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh. The lintel of the entrance to the temple
has a relief of ocean-churning with a strong Lakshmi image
emerging from it.

818Lakshmi

Other Myths Of Her Origin

As has a myth in Vishnu Purana (1/8), Lakshmi was re-born on the
earth as the daughter of sage Bhragu, the son of Brahman. Her
mother was Khyati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. After a
period of time she was married to Narayana, an incarnation of
Vishnu. She had by Narayana two sons, named Bala and Unmada.
Brahmavaivarta Purana attributes her origin to Vishnu. As
acclaimed, Lakshmi was born out of Vishnu’s right half, while
from his left half was born Radha, Lakshmi’s another incarnation.
In Vishnu’s Ardhanarishvara images, which are very rare, Lakshmi
is represented as comprising Vishnu’s left half – a visual
manifestation of the Brahmavaivarta Purana myth.

lakshmi_in_ardhapurusha_rupa_the_vaishnava_ardhanarishvara_hv72

Quite strangely, while in Shiva’s Ardhanarishvara forms his
consort’s image, who is otherwise more masculine and vigorous
engaged in acts like slaying demons, is usually humbly conceived,
Lakshmi’s image in Vishnu’s Ardhanarishvara forms is far more
pronounced. The Bhagawata Purana identifies yet another form of
Lakshmi in the Shrivatsa mark on Vishnu’s chest. As is Bhagawata
Purana’s version of the sage Bhragu-related myth, in the course
of the yajna which Manu held, sage Bhragu was nominated by all
Brahmins and sages to decide who of the Great Trio was the
supreme divinity. For acquainting himself with their views Bhragu
decided to visit all three gods. He first went to Shiva, who busy
with Parvati, had no time to pay him any attention. Brahma was
rather rude. However, the sage lost his temper when he found
Vishnu asleep. The enraged sage hit him with his leg, which not
only awoke him but also left on his chest a mark – Shrivatsa.
However, Vishnu’s reaction was only apologetic for being asleep.
Pleased with Vishnu’s humility sage Bhragu blessed him that in
the form of Shrivatsa he would always have Lakshmi in his bosom.

In the Bhragu-incidence Padma Purana has sought Lakshmi’s
re-emergence in a different way. Lakshmi, who was in Vishnu’s
bosom when sage Bhragu hit him on his chest, felt insulted, more
so, on Vishnu’s apologetic reaction. Consequently, she abandoned
him and his Baikuntha – Vishnu’s abode. Unable to bear separation
Vishnu also left Baikuntha and looking for her descended on the
earth where he re-emerged as Venkatesh.

lord_venkateshvara_as_balaji_with_a_devotee_hi96

Many yugas – cosmic ages passed in repentance and yearning. Now
reconciled, Lakshmi decided to re-emerge in Vishnu’s heart as an
intrinsic realization. One day Vishnu realized Lakshmi unfolding
within him like a lotus and he felt that he was re-united with
her. The moment his realization was absolute, the universe glowed
with a divine luster and all around was abundance, riches,
prosperity, fertility and beauty. Thus, Lakshmi dually emerged in
Vishnu’s life, one, by realisation, and other, by manifestation.
She, who sprouted like a lotus – padma, was Lakshmi’s transform
as Padmavati, and she, who was beauty incarnate and manifested in
riches and abundance, was her transform as Shri.

Lakshmi As Bhoodevi

Myths, prevalent in southern part of India, claim Bhoodevi as
Lakshmi’s yet another transform, in addition to Padmavati and
Shridevi. She is sometimes claimed to be Lakshmi in her re-birth
and sometimes as one of Vishnu’s two wives, the other being Shridevi.

lord_vishnu_on_sheshnaag_with_bhudevi_and_sridevi_wd10

In South Indian art, especially bronzes, Shridevi and Bhoodevi
are often seen flanking Vishnu’s images. Lakshmi’s transform as
Bhoodevi is also related to Bhragu myth. Over a period of time
Bhragu felt penitent for his misconduct against Vishnu resulting
in Vishnu’s separation from Lakshmi. He hence ardently sought
their re-union. After deserting Vishnu Lakshmi had descended on
the earth and had merged into cows grazing near the termite hill
in the South. Bhragu, disguised as a cowherd, began thrashing the
cows. Vishnu could not tolerate this cruelty of the cowherd and
punished him with his mace. Bhragu appeared and worshipped the
Lord for beating him. Lakshmi, who lived in cows, was appeased
for Lord Vishnu had avenged Bhragu and appeared before him but
not as Lakshmi but as Bhoodevi and united with him. This myth
seems to be an offshoot of the Vishnu Purana myth which claims
Lakshmi as Bhragu’s daughter who he had married to Narayana,
Vishnu’s incarnation; or at least, the underlying pith of the two
myths is quite identical. Bhoodevi-related other legend is as
widely known. Vishnu is known to have rescued Bhoodevi from
Hiranyaksha. It is said after she was rescued, Lord Vishnu took
her as his other consort.

Lakshmi’s Puranic Transform

Broadly, the Lakshmi of later scriptures, in her own form or in
transform or re-birth, is widely different from Mahalakshmi of
Devi-Mahatmya or from the lotus goddess of Sanchi and Bharhut
reliefs. Not merely that the adjectival suffix ‘Maha’ is dropped,
or her independent status, lost, the Mahisha-slayer Mahalakshmi
is widely different from Lakshmi, metaphysically or otherwise.
While Lakshmi is merely the manifestation of primordial female
energy, Mahalakshmi is the primordial female energy in her own
form. Even the Brahmavaivarta Purana acclaims her as Lakshmi’s
prime form out of her ten forms. It is Mahalakshmi alone who
resides in Baikuntha in the bosom of Mahavishnu. Instead of,
Lakshmi is now largely a boon-giving timid damsel serving her
spouse personally or by assisting him sustain the universe – his
primary cosmic act. She bestows bliss, prosperity, wealth and
material happiness, yields good crop and abundant grain, and
represents magnificence and beauty in life but all in a
subordinate position. As the textual tradition has it,
Mahalakshmi preceded Vishnu and pervaded not only the cosmos but
also Vishnu himself. She is Vishnu’s operative energy.

It is only a text or two that perceive her as Vishnu’s operative
energy or his feminine aspect, and thus Vishnu’s equal, though as
compared to her prior status when as Mahadevi, Vishnu’s
predecessor, she reigned over Vishnu and revealed to him as to
who he was, as also what was his errand, such metaphysical
wrangles are little gratifying. The process of depriving her of
her supreme divinity had begun with the Mahabharata itself where
in most contexts she was referred to as a mere linguistic
expression denotative of worldly riches and means. But, while in
the Mahabharata-like early texts she acclaimed to stay with the
virtuous, good and honest, in later Puranas she was slighted as
Chanchala – flirting and instable, as Rajalakshmi – kings’
property, broadly as one synonymous of riches and worldliness.

Lakshmi’s Names And Forms

Besides Mahalakshmi, Padmavati, Shri, Bhoodevi, Chanchala and
Rajalakshmi, Lakshmi is also known as Kamala, Dharini, Vaishnavi,
Narayani, Vishnu-priya . Kamala is denotative of her form as
Lotus goddess; Dharini, suggestive of her immense power to bear,
is denotative of the earth and thus of her Bhoodevi form; and,
Vaishnavi, Narayani and Vishnu-priya relate her to Vishnu as his
consort.
Padmavati_03

Main among Lakshmi’s forms, other than her transforms, or her
forms by re-birth or re-emergence, are her forms as Gaja-Lakshmi,

goddess_lakshmi_bathed_by_elephants_hj01

Lakshmi-Ganapati

deep_lakshmi_ej89

and Deep-Lakshmi.

The Gaja-Lakshmi form is sometimes known also as Mahalakshmi
form. Apart, a folk Mahalakshmi form is also popular in some
parts of the country. This folk Mahalakshmi manifests mainly as a
highly ornate unbaked clay image of an elephant, sometimes two
smaller ones flanking on sides, usually with minuscule riders –
Lakshmi and her attendants, on their backs. This icon of
Mahalakshmi, especially the elephant image, is in live worship,
though only once a year on ‘Pitra-paksha Ashthami’ – the eighth
day of the dark-half of the month of Bhadaun. Notably, the
tradition does not subordinate elephant to Lakshmi as her mount,
as are subordinated lion, bull, Garuda, peacock, mouse. to other
gods and goddesses. Obviously, this sense of reverence perceives
elephant as an essential component of the Lakshmi cult, and the
two, as equally venerated. This cult seems to have some very
early roots, now forgotten. In Shrilankan Buddhism, Tara is
venerated as the commander of fierce elephants. Lakshmi preceded
Tara by centuries. Maybe, Lakshmi was the goddess who befriended
or commanded wild elephants, saved inhabitants from their rage
and to appease them prescribed their worship along her own. It is
quite likely that Tara inherited her form as the commander of
wild elephants from the Lakshmi-cult.

lakshmi-goddess-18949864

Gaja-Lakshmi is Lakshmi’s most represented form in art. It is as
massively worshipped. Lakshmi with ‘gajas’ – elephants, flanking
on either side is her form as Gaja-Lakshmi. It is, indeed, a form
of her in art. The Rig-Vedic Shri-Sutra alludes to elephants in
context to Shri but it is only to assert Shri’s immense power.
When describing how the image of Lakshmi with elephants
performing sacred ablution magnifies the beauty of lintel on the
gate of Ravana’s mansion (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundar-kanda, 7, 14),
the Ramayana alludes to Lakshmi’s Gaja-Lakshmi form, and is
perhaps the earliest to do so. However, the text only describes
linguistically a visual image sculpted on it. Lakshmi’s earliest
reported forms in visual arts manifest in the 3rd century B. C.
Sanchi reliefs. Not merely that these forms of Lakshmi have
elephants associated with them, these elephants have been carved
with the same amount of reverence as Lakshmi, an essential
feature of Gaja-Lakshmi principle. As alluded to in the Ramayana,
elephants in the Sanchi and Bharhut reliefs are performing sacred
ablution of the goddess, perhaps with milk brought from the
mythical Kshirasagara – the ocean of milk, in the pots of gold
held in their trunks. Elephants’ association with Lakshmi-images
has been a regular feature of Lakshmi’s iconography ever since.
The upper north-east chamber of Kuwwat-ul-Islam Mosque at Qut’b
complex, New Delhi, has in late Gupta art style a sculpture
representing elephants flanking the image of Lakshmi. The
sculpted stone-block was once the part of some early temple the
material of which was re-used in constructing the mosque.

gaja laxmi

Lakshmi-Ganapati is broadly an art form in which the two
independently represented images of Lakshmi and Ganesh constitute
one votive unit, commonly used during Diwali-puja. Sometimes
Lakshmi’s elephants flank both images conjointly, though instead
of bathing the deities, as they do in Gaja-Lakshmi form, they
make only offerings. This form better assures success,
prosperity, good crop … for, while Lakshmi bestows her
blessings, Ganapati keeps all detriments away. Lakshmi is the
consort of Lord Vishnu, but for obtaining Lakshmi – riches and
prosperity, she is not worshipped with him. It is by worshipping
her with Ganesha that she comes one’s way. ‘Shree Ganapate
namah’, ‘salutations to Thee, O Ganapati, whom Lakshmi precedes’,
is the most popular as well as effective ‘mantra’ – hymn, for the
invocation of Ganesha. Lakshmi precedes the worship of Ganapati,
that is, so effective is Lakshmi-Ganapati worship that even
before Ganesha is worshipped the devotee obtains Lakshmi – the
riches and prosperity.

laxmi

Deep-Lakshmi is not a form or manifestation of the Goddess
Lakshmi. It is a simple votive icon combining lamp-forms with a
woman’s figure. To add to it auspiciousness it borrows Lakshmi’s
name, the auspicious-most goddess. Votive only in a restricted
sense, the Deep-Lakshmi icons are worshipped during Diwali-puja
along with Diwali’s presiding deity Lakshmi and Ganesh. However,
Deep-Lakshmi icons represent India’s ages’ long cult of
worshipping woman and celebrating the birth of light. These icons
not only synthesize India’s reverence for woman with exuberance
of light but also link it with Diwali, the festival of light and
the epitome of Lakshmi cult.

lakshmi-PZ42_l

Imagery Of Lakshmi

The image of the gold-complexioned Lakshmi, as it emerges in
common man’s mind, is two-fold, one, the most lustrous divine
damsel endowed with unparalleled beauty, unearthly charm and
timeless youth, richly bejeweled and costumed – usually in red,
and possessed of the oceans of wealth. She sits on a full-blown
red lotus, is flanked by a pair of elephants performing sacred
ablution, is four-armed carrying in two of them a lotus, rosary,
pot, or one of Vishnu’s other attributes, and holds other two in
‘abhaya’ and ‘varada’, the postures that grant fearlessness,
bliss and redemption. Her other image is that of the most devoted
coy consort of Mahavishnu residing with him in Kshirasagara and
engaged incessantly in massaging his feet. Though possessed of
the same lustrous beauty and timeless youth as in her other form,
in this form, Lakshmi, with normal two arms engaged in serving
her lord, is more like an humble coy consort, not the mighty
slayer of a demon like Mahisha.

shri_narayana_vishnu_in_yoga_nidra_hi81

Like her concept, Lakshmi’s imagery also evolved over a period of
time. Initially as Mahalakshmi she has been conceived with eight,
ten, sixteen or even eighteen arms carrying in them variedly
prayer-beads, ax, mace, arrow, thunderbolt, staff, lance, sword,
shield, conch, bell, wine-cup, trident, noose and Sudarshana –
disc, and sometimes held two in ‘abhaya’ and ‘varada’.

goddess_mahalakshmi_di09

Later, in her form as Lakshmi, in votive images, she is conceived
as four- armed, and in aesthetic, that is, when represented as
the consort of Lord Vishnu, with normal two arms. Lakshmi’s
primordial form was also four-armed, though while in this
primordial form she carried instruments of war, in her later
four-armed iconography, she usually carries in two of them lotus,
pot, rosary, fruit, or some other Vaishnava attribute, and holds
other two in ‘abhaya’ and ‘varada’. As Mahalakshmi she had
coral-like radiant complexion, which in Lakshmi’s iconography
changes into golden hue. In her form as Lakshmi, she wears rich
costume, majestic crown, precious stones and garland of Parijata flowers.

lakshmi-PZ42_l

However little, each of Lakshmi’s different forms has its
iconographic distinction. Padmavati wears a lotus garland, not
one made from Parijata flowers. Lotus is an essential ingredient
in Lakshmi’s iconography but in Padmavati’s, it is more
thrusting. Lotus invariably comprises her seat. She often has a
lotus under her feet, carries lotuses at least in two of her
hands, and has sometimes lotus motifs on palms.  Lotuses often
define the ambience around and as often the architecture of the
sanctum she enshrines. She is usually installed under a
lotus-canopy. Symbolizing in one ocean, earth and sky, the lotus
is a characteristic feature of the entire iconography of Lakshmi,
who pervades them all, but in the iconography of Padmavati the
significance of lotus is also for other reason. It was in the
form of the lotus that Padmavati evolved in Vishnu’s heart.
Indeed, Padmavati’s evolution and lotus are mutually linked. As
Shridevi, Lakshmi is the image of the supreme beauty conceived as
heavily bejeweled. She is unique in luster and majesty.

lakshmi_as_shridevi_pb55

No less is her splendor as Gaja-Lakshmi, though it is the
phenomenal presence of elephants, represented dramatically
bathing her, that imparts to her image its exotic distinction.
Bhoodevi, representing earthly character, the fertility, is
humbly attired. The Garuda-riding Vaishnavi, the goddess of
battlefield, carries instruments of war. Alike different are her
forms and overall personalities in her births as Radha and Sita.

Lakshmi’s Worship

Ironically, almost every Indian, rich or poor, king or subject,
prays Lakshmi to make his home her permanent abode, and hardly a
house, even an illiterate’s, would be without her name, graphic
symbol ‘swastika’, or her ‘mantra’ – ‘Shri Lakshmi sada sahay
karen’, that is, ‘may Lakshmi who is also Shri always be my help’,
inscribed on one of its walls or cash-boxes, or without her
visual representation – a metal or clay statue, or a painting –
printed or painted, even banks and Government bodies would not
hesitate in inscribing at least ‘shubha’ – auspicious, and ‘labha’
– profiting, Lakshmi’s attributes, on their chests, but despite
all that, she hasn’t many shrines, not even domestic, entirely
devoted to her in north and Central India at least. However, She
enshrines most sanctums with Vishnu, her spouse, such images
being known as Lakshmi-Narayana, Lakshmi preceding Narayana.

sri vishnu laxmi

However in South, Lakshmi, as Padmavati and Shridevi, and
sometimes as Bhoodevi, is worshipped widely and independent of
Vishnu. Shridevi form of Lakshmi is so popular in South that even
the name of Vishnu, her lord, has changed to Shrinivasa – abode
of Shri, after her. However, different from Shri, Padmavati has
for South Indian masses some kind of mythical significance and
local connotation. As the mythological tradition has it,
Lakshmi’s form as Padmavati emerged when she re-united with
Vishnu after the latter left Baikuntha searching her and settled
on Tirumala hill of the Eastern Ghats in South. The part of the
Eastern Ghats, where lay Vishnu, curved like the great serpent
Shesh, Vishnu’s seat, and came to be known as Sheshachala.
According to the legend, the king, under whose reign fell the
Sheshachala hill, found that when back, a particular cow did not
have any milk in its udders. Cowherd had no satisfactory
explanation. One day, the king secretly followed the cow for
knowing what actually happened. He was amazed to see that milk
flew from the cow’s udders of its own as soon as she reached a
particular spot. He got the spot dug and to his utter surprise
from underneath revealed Lord Vishnu reclining there though in
the form of an image. He had Lakshmi in his bosom but not
manifest and the king did not see her. A temple was built and the
image, named Venkateshvara, was installed. After some days,
priests and devotees realized that a luster having a female form
sprouted like a lotus from within him. This divine realization
was given a form. It was Padmavati, Venkateshvara’s consort by
spiritual realization. Though Venkateshvara temple enshrined only
him, many temples were built independently for Padmavati all over
the South and she is now one of the utmost worshipped divinities
of South.

pbga002_goddess_padmavati


This article by Prof. P. C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet


The Mahabharata

Valmiki Ramayana

Vishnu Purana

Devi-Mahatmya part of Markandeya Puran

Brahmavaivarta Purana

Padma Purana

Puranic Encyclopaedia

Prachina Charitra-kosha

Dr. Daljeet and P. C. Jain : Indian Miniature Painting

Shanti Lal Nagar : Indian Gods and Goddesses

Maringer Johannes : The Gods of Prehistoric Times

W. J. Wilkins : Hindu Mythology

Devi : Goddesses of India : ed. John Stratton Hawley & Donna Marie Wulff

Lawrence Babb : The Divine Hierarchy : Popular Hinduism in Central India

P. C. Jain : Folk Arts of India (in press)

Sivaramamurti, C. Ethical Fragrance of Indian Art.

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Atma Jñani (Sarva Devata Svarupini)

Visionary, Seer, Yogini, Komyo Reiki Do Ocuden healer, Peacefull wayshower-lightworker, High Priestess, optimist oriental dancer and tribal fusion lover, Fashion designer-stylist, arts+crafts addict, a secret kitchen witch

One thought on “Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess”

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