Sri Lakshmi Jayanthi is the festival ascribed to the origination of Sri Maha Lakshmi from the cosmic ocean.
Sri Lakshmi Jayanthi is believed to have happened on the Purnima (Full moon day) of the Phalguna Month as per both Amanta and Purnamanta Calendars. For the year 2023, it occurs on Tuesday, 7th March 2023.
Sri Lakshmi Jayanthi is related to the churning of the cosmic ocean by Devas and Asuras for the nectar. The emergence of Sri Maha Lakshmi from the cosmic ocean is described in Sri Vishnu Puran.
Sri Lakshmi Jayanthi – Cosmic ocean
Cosmic ocean was the treasure trough of various auspicious, dangerous and curious objects and things. Only from the ocean, a lot of miracles appeared.
Fight for eternity
Once there was a fierce fight between Devas and Asuras with respect to living in Devaloka. They went to Maha Vishnu. He said-
“You devas can attain eternity only if you have the Amrut(nectar) from the cosmic ocean, Ksheera Sagara. So, go and get mandara parvata to use as the catalyst to stir the ocean. Also, get Vasuki, the snake as the rope to churn the mandara. You promise Vasuki that she will also be given the portion of Amrut”.
The Devas duly brought the Mandara mountain and started churning. Asuras were holding the head side of the Vasuki and Devas were holding the tail side. However, the Mandara kept slipping as it had no base to stand upon.
Again, Devas went to Sri Vishnu for help.
Sri Maha Vishnu Himself took the form of tortoise.
He asked Devas to keep the Mandara on the tortoise form and do the churning. They did so.
Upon churning, lot of things emerged.
Bhagwan Shiva taking Halahala poison
The first one was the Halahala, the poisonous substance. As guided by Sri Vishnu, the Devas had requested Bhagwan Shiva to protect them from Halahala. For the universal benefit, Bhagwan Shiva had consumed the poison.
However, Sri Parvathi stopped it at His neck itself.
Due to the retention of the poison, Bhagwan Shiva’s neck had become blue in colour. For this reason, He is called Sri Neela Kanta.
Treasures from the cosmic ocean
After the removal of halahala by Bhagwan Shiva, lot of miraculous objects and persons commenced appearing.
The first one to appear was Surabhi, the cow Kamadhneu. Then came Varuni, the Goddess of water. Apsaras, the celestial maidens emerged thereafter.
Airavathi, the white elephant emerged. Kalpavruksha, the boon giving tree came up. This tree is also called as Parijatha tree. Uchchaisrava, the celestial horse also arrived.
Chandra had appeared. Then came Dhanvantri, the God of medicines with Amrita Kalash, i.e pot of nectar.
Sri Mahalakshmi’s arrival
After Dhanvantri, Sri Maha Lakshmi had appeared sitting on a lotus. She was also holding a lotus in Her hand.
Soon on Her arrival, the Devas were very much elated. They felt blessed. The celestial elephants of eight sides (Ashtadhig Gajas) had showered holy water on Her.
Viswakarma, the celestial architect had given Her ornaments.
Sri Maha Lakshmi emerged with a mesmerizing smile. Sri Maha Vishnu sighted Her. She immediately hugged Sri Maha Vishnu.
Sri Maha Vishnu had given Her a place in His heart. Hence His heart is called as Vaksha Sthala.
It is also believed that, soon on arrival, Sri Maha Lakshmi went to Meru mountain and did penance on Sri Maha Vishnu. When He appeared to bless Her, they got married.
Sri Mahalakshmi – form
Sri Mahalakshmi, the Goddess of fortune, appears either sitting or standing on the lotus. Lotus symbolizes royalty and prosperity. Her vehicle (vaahan) is owl.
She has four hands which represent the four attributes of human life such as Dharma (ethics and morals), Artha (wealth and prosperity), Kama (love and affection) and Moksha (attainment of spiritual liberation).
At homes, the image of Sri Mahalakshmi is kept as a picture in the pooja room. Mostly it appears either as a single Deivam sitting / standing on a lotus or alongwith Sri Maha Vishnu as Perumal and Thayar.
In the educational institutions, She is depicted alongwith Sri Durga and Sri Saraswathi. In all business places, Her picture is depicted along with Sri Ganesh and Sri Saraswathi.
Sri Mahalakshmi is also associated with Sri Kubera, the guardian of wealth.
Sri Mahalakshmi is worshipped with various names.
Sri Ashta Lakshmi
Sri Mahalakshmi has eight manifestations each representing an attribute which is required for living a respectable and prosperous life.
Sri Aadi Lakshmi / Sri Mahalakshmi
The primaeval Lakshmi was born as the daughter of Sage Bhrihu. He was the initial compiler of the science of astrology.
She has four hands; Upper right hand holds a lotus; Upper left hand holds a flag; Lower right hand is in abhayamudra (blessing protection); Lower left hand is in varadamudra (blessing abundance)
Sri Dhanya Lakshmi
She is the Goddess of food grains.
She has eight hands; On the right, the lower hand is in abhayamudra, the second hand holds lotus, the third hand holds gada (mace or kaumodaki) and the upper hand holds paddy crop.
On the left side, the lower hand is in varadamudra, the second hand holds lotus, the third hand holds bananas and the upper hand holds sugar cane.
Sri Dhairya Lakshmi / Sri Veera Lakshmi
She is the Goddess of courage and valor.
She has eight hands; On the right side, the lower hand is in abhayamudra, the second hand holds a sword, the third hand holds an arrow and the upper hand holds the chakra.
On the left side, the lower hand is in varadamudra, the second hand holds a vessel, the third hand holds the bow and the upper hand holds the shank.
Sri Gaja Lakshmi
She is the Goddess of royalty. She appears with elephants on both sides. The elephants carry water pots and sprinkle water on Her with reverence.
She has four hands; The upper two hands hold lotuses; The right lower hand is in abhayamudra and the left lower hand is in varadamudra.
Sri Santana Lakshmi
She is the Goddess blessing progeny.
She has six hands; On the right side, the lower hand is in abhayamudra, the second hand holds a sword and the upper hand holds a kalash, the auspicious pot with holy water, mango leaves and coconut.
On the left side, the lower hand holds a child, the second hand holds a shield and the upper hand holds a kalash similar to right hand. The child also holds a lotus in its hand.
Sri Vijaya Lakshmi / Sri Jaya Lakshmi
She is the Goddess of victory.
She has eight hands; On the right side, the lower hand is in abhayamudra, the second hand holds a sword, the third hand holds a lotus and the upper hand holds a chakra.
On the left side, the lower hand is in varadamudra, the second hand holds pasha (the rope used by Lord Dharma [Yama]), the third hand holds the shield and the upper hand holds the shank.
Sri Vidya Lakshmi
She is the Goddess of education and wisdom. She is considered as equal to Sri Saraswathi Devi. Mostly wears white saree.
She has four hands; The right lower hand is in abhaya mudra and the left lower hand is in varada mudra; She holds the vedas in Her other hand and an instrument of writing (peacock feather)
Sri Dhana Lakshmi
She is the Goddess of wealth.
She has six hands; The upper right hand holds the chakra (holy wheel), the middle right hand holds the bow and the lower right hand is in abhayamudra.
The upper left hand holds the shank (conch), the middle left hand holds the amrita kalash (nectar pot) and the lower left hand is in varadamudra.
Other manifestations of Sri Mahalakshmi
Sri Mahalakshmi is also called as Aishwarya Lakshmi who provides wealth, Saubhagya Lakshmi who provides prosperity, Rajya Lakshmi who provides kingdom / royalty and Vara Lakshmi who provides boons.
The images of Sri Mahalakshmi can be either standing on a lotus or sitting with both legs folded on a lotus or sitting on lotus with one only one leg folded. In some of the images, Sri Mahalakshmi is shown showering gold coins irrespective of the attribute.
It may be noted that She also appears in multi various combinations. She may be either in sitting or standing position. The weapons or instruments which She holds in Her hand may also vary in different depictions.
Sri Mahalakshmi as the consort of Sri Maha Vishnu
Sri Mahalakshmi has dedicated Herself to the service of Sri Maha Vishnu throughout.
As Sri Maha Vishnu is the God for providing protection and sustenance, Sri Maha Lakshmi, as His consort always provides the means for living the life. By serving Sri Maha Vishnu, She serves the entire universe.
In Sri Vaikuntham, She sits near the feet of Sri Maha Vishnu whenever He reposes into nidhra yoga. When He sits or stands, She occupies His heart. Sri Maha Lakshmi had always accompanied Sri Maha Vishnu in His avatars / incarnations.
During the fourth incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu as Sri Narasimha, Sri Lakshmi had taken birth as Sri Chenchu Lakshmi in a hunter family and married Sri Narasimha.
During the seventh incarnation as Sri Rama, Sri Lakshmi was born as Sri Sita Devi to Janaka and married Sri Rama.
During the ninth incarnation of Sri Vishnu as Sri Krishna, Sri Lakshmi had incarnated as Sri Radha / Rukmini and married Sri Krishna.
Thus, Sri Mahalakshmi is constantly beside Sri Maha Vishnu in His incarnations.
Sri Lakshmi Jayanthi – Stotrams / Slokas
There are several compositions on Sri Mahalakshmi by various Saints, Sages and Authors.
The first composition is Sri Suktham which forms part of rendition of Sri Rudram. The text of Sri Suktham covers the emergence and existence of Sri Mahalakshmi. Veda Parayanam or recitation of Vedas is never complete without Sri Suktham.
Sri Kanakadhara Stotram
This was composed by Sri Adi Sankaracharya.
The legend is that, as was customary in those days, Sri Adi Sankara was going around for bhiksha as a true sanyasi at various homes. He came to a home of a brahmin lady who was very poor.
On reaching the door, he recited “Bhavathi Bhiksham Daehi”, which means “please give me alms”. The poor lady told Him that she had only a small goose berry and nothing else to offer.
Sri Sankara had told her to offer the same to Him. She came out gladly and gave him that. At that time, Sri Adi Sankara had composed and recited “Kanakadhara Stotram” in prayer to Sri Mahalakshmi.
Sri Mahalakshmi was pleased with the prayers of Sri Adi Sankara and showered gold coins in front of the Brahmin lady’s house. Kanakadhara means ‘’showering of gold”.
It is still believed that sincere recitation of this Stotram brings in wealth. It is also believed that hanging this Kanakadhara picture inside the entrance of the home shall bring in prosperity.
Sri Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam
It is believed that this script of Sri Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam is available in Padma Purana. It has been recited by Indra, the moon God, in praise of Sri Mahalakshmi. There are eight couplets and a palasruti on the benefits of reciting this once, twice and thrice a day.
This Sloka describes all the attributes of Sri Mahalakshmi.
Sri Mahalakshmi Stotram
This is mentioned in Sri Vishnu Puranam. The text of the Sloka is composed as a conversation between the Sage Parasara and Sri Indra with utterances from Sri Mahalakshmi Herself.
This Sloka also contains text on the benefits of recitation. This is also called as Sri Lakshmi Stuti.
Sri Lakshmi Astothara Sathanama Stotram
This contains 108 names of Sri Mahalakshmi and the attributes attached to each of them. The details of the original composer and the composition are not available. The 108 names mentioned in this Sloka is used for performing any pooja on Sri Mahalakshmi.
Sri Ashta Lakshmi Stotram
This is in praise of and in prayer to the eight manifestations of Sri Mahalakshmi. The details of the original composer and the composition are not available. The composition can be chanted either as a Sloka or sung as a poem. The greatness of each of the manifestations is explained in this stotram.
Apart from the above, there are innumerable literature available on Sri Maha Lakshmi in almost all the Indian languages.
As Sri Mahalakshmi has emerged from the ocean, the literature available on Her attributes and greatness are as vast and deep as the ocean.
Lakshmi Jayanthi – celebration
Special poojas are performed to Sri Lakshmi Devi. At some places, Sri Lakshmi homams invoking the Goddess are conducted.
Sri Lakshmi Sahasranamavali, the compilation of thousand names is recited.
It is believed that doing pooja to Sri Lakshmi shall bring in wealth and prosperity.
How can we make Sri Mahalakshmi stay with us?
When Sri Mahalakshmi had emerged from the cosmic ocean, Sri Jyestha, the Goddess of poverty had also emerged. Hence, Sri Lakshmi and Sri Jyestha are sisters. They roam around together.
In our life also, there is a flip side of poverty for every prosperity. Sri Lakshmi comes to us when we keep the house and surroundings clean and serene. The serenity is also required in our minds and thoughts.
Sri Lakshmi showers Her blessings on those who are kind and benevolent to the poorer and the downtrodden.
In village households, in the mornings, the practice of opening the back door first to send away Sri Jyestha and opening the front door to welcome Sri Lakshmi is still being followed. In the evenings, the back door is closed first.
Invariably in all the Hindu households, the picture of Sri Lakshmi is always kept in the pooja room or almirah and a Deepam or Diya is lighted twice a day in front of the Deities.
Down South India, the open place near the entrance of the house is always sprinkled with water (or diluted cow dung) and rangolis are drawn. In most of the houses, it is done twice a day, i.e early morning and the evening.
Sri Lakshmi is believed to stay in such houses. Wherever there is dirtiness and negative mind set, Sri Lakshmi leaves her sister Sri Jyestha to stay.
It is also believed that Sri Brahma is the son of Sri Maha Vishnu as He appeared from the belly button of Sri Vishnu.
Sri Saraswathi, being the wife of Sri Brahma is the daughter in law of Sri Mahalakshmi. There is a myth that as mother-in-law – daughter-in-law duo, they do not get along well with each other.
Some even lament that because of this, the persons with wisdom have no money and vice versa. However, this is a baseless misbelief.
As Sri Mahalakshmi has taken the eight manifestations which include education, valor, prosperity etc., it is possible to achieve anything in life if we are sincere in our approach.
So, let us maintain purity of purpose in our thoughts, words and deeds and keep our home and surroundings clean so as to welcome Sri Mahalakshmi amongst us.
May Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi grant us the wealth such as good fame, knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, food, children, strength, valor, courage, moral sense, ethics, beauty, happiness, health and long life.