Goddess Lakshmi in the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses is personified as the goddess of fortune and also as the embodiment of loveliness, grace and charm. Being the power and consort of VishNu, the preserver, she is represented as the power of multiplicity also. She is as inseparable from VishNu as speech from meaning or good deeds from righteousness. He represents all that is masculine and she, all that is feminine. Money is also sacred in our culture because it is a symbol of Goddess Lakshmi and so we never deliberately step on a currency note. Lakshmi stands not only for wealth but also for all the resources. Money, skill, time, manpower – all of these are resources. They are all Lakshmi and we look upon them as sacred. Lakshmi is usually described as enchantingly beautiful and standing on a lotus, and holding two lotuses in each of her two hands. It is because of this, she is named as Padma or Kamala. Very often, elephants ar shown on either side, emptying pitchers of water over her her. While in the company of VishNu, she is shown only with two hands. When worshipped in a temple, she is seen seated on a lotus throne, with four hands holding padma, sankha, amrithakalasha and bilwa fruit. Her four hands signify her power to grant the four human goals ( dharma – righteousness, artha, - wealth, kama – desires and moksha – liberation). She is shown to have pink complexion which shows her compassion for creatures since she is the mother of all. Even though in common parlance, Lakshmi is connected with wealth, she is worshipped in eight aspects. Thus she is vested with the powers of fulfilling the entire gamut of deires from the mundane to the spritual, of a sincere devotee. As she is omnipotent, she is capable of fulfilling all materialistic desires for enjoyment in this world as also liberation. It is reiterated in spiritual texts that she is easily pleased and quickly bestows grace. Lakshmi is thus the repository of all auspicious qualities. The owl is shown as her mount in some sculptural depictions. It may look odd and strange that an ugly bird owl should be shown as the carrier of the goddess of beauty and fortune ! Let us analyse the meaning to appreciate this reason better. In Sanskrit, owl is known as uluka which is one of the names of Indra, the king of gods. He personifies all the wealth, power and glory that a living being can aspire for. So, the goddess of multiplicity could not nhave chosen a better person to ride on ! Kanakadhara stotram is composed by Sri Adishankara and a famous shloka for Lakshmi. I wish to conclude with the first stanza of the same, enchantingly translated by Kavignar Kannadasan: [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]மாலவன் மார்பில் நிற்கும் மங்கலக் கமலச் செல்வி ![/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]மரகத மலரில் மொய்க்கும் மாணிக்கச் சுரும்பு போன்றாய்[/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]நீலமா மேகம் போல நிற்கின்ற திருமாலுந்தன்[/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]நேயத்தால் மெய் சிலிர்த்து நிகரிலாச் செல்வம் கொண்டான்.[/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]மாலவன் மீது வைத்த மாயப்பொன் விழிஇ ரண்டை[/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]மாதுநீ என்னிடத்தில் வைத்தனை என்றால் நானும்[/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]காலமா கடலில் உந்தன் கருணையால் செல்வம் பெற்று[/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar]கண்ணிறை வாழ்வு கொள்வேன், கண் வைப்பாய் கமலத்தாயே ![/FONT] [FONT=TSCu_Paranar][/FONT] For shlokas on Lakshmi, Please go to Navarathri Shlokas (daily chanting) Navratri Shlokas (Lakshmi) Shri Mahalakshmi 108 Namavalis Siddhalakshmi Shlokam Lakshmi Ashtothram Ashtalakshmi Stotram[FONT=TSCu_Paranar][/FONT] For the picture of Lakshmi (by Ravi Varma, which is very famous) & Ashtalakshmi, please go to http://www.indusladies.com/forums/temples-and-deities/8703-exclusive-pdf-files-deity-pictures-14.html#post155795 http://www.indusladies.com/forums/temples-and-deities/8703-exclusive-pdf-files-deity-pictures-14.html#post155796 Love, Chithra.