travel

Sundays In My City – The Goddess Of Wealth

lakshmi vidya sury

You  know, in India we worship a number of deities. All nicely categorized, benefit-wise.  Hindu Mythology is rich in stories. And regardless of who believes or does not – one has to admit that the stories are amazing, interesting, riveting and very mesmerizing. As children we grow up listening to these and in some sense, these stories shape our character, one way or other.And so, we visit temples regularly as places of worship. I am fascinated by these awe-inspiring monuments. Each time I visit a temple, I am filled with wonder at the detailed work that has gone into the sculptures and dressing them up. Belief is a wondrous thing.

This week, let me introduce you to the “Ashtalakshmi” which literally means Eight Lakshmis. Ashta = Eight. Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of wealth. She is the consort of Lord Vishnu in Hindu Mythology.

Here’s a brief note about the Ashtalakshmi before I show you photos from a temple.

Ashta Lakshmi, also spelled as Ashtalakshmi (“eight Lakshmis”), is a group of eight Hindu goddesses, secondary manifestations of Shri-Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, who preside over eight sources of wealth: “Wealth” in the context of Ashta-Lakshmi means prosperity, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny, and power.

The Ashta Lakshmi are always depicted and worshipped in a group in temples.

  • Adi Lakshmi (“Primeval Lakshmi”) or Maha Lakshmi (Sanskrit: Mahā Lakṣmī, “Great Lakshmi”) : an ancient form of Lakshmi.
  • Dhana Lakshmi (“Money Lakshmi”): for money and gold
  • Dhanya Lakshmi (“Lakshmi as goddess of grain”): Giver of agricultural wealth.
  • Gaja Lakshmi (“Elephant Lakshmi”): Giver of animal wealth, like cattle and elephants. According to Hindu mythology, Gaja Lakshmi brought back the wealth lost by Indra (king of demi-gods) from the ocean.  
  • Santana Lakshmi (“Progeny Lakshmi”): Bestower of offspring
  • Veera Lakshmi (“Valourous Lakshmi”) or Dhairya Lakshmi (“Courage Lakshmi”): Bestower of valour in battles and courage and strength for overcoming difficulties in life.
  • Vijaya Lakshmi (“Victorious Lakshmi”) or Jaya Lakshmi Giver of victory, not only in battles but also in conquering hurdles in order to beget success.
  • Vidya Lakshmi (“Knowledge Lakshmi”): the bestower of knowledge of arts and sciences
(Did ya notice the “Vidya Lakshmi” above? Rrrright!) 

In some Ashta Lakshmi lists, other forms of Lakshmi are included:

  • Aishwarya Lakshmi “Prosperity Lakshmi”) : Goddess of riches
  • Saubhagya (“Giver of good Fortune”) : Giver of prosperity in general.
  • Rajya Lakshmi (“Royal Lakshmi”): “She who blesses rulers (with secular power)”
  • Vara Lakshmi (“Boon Lakshmi”): “The lady who bestows Beautiful Boons”.
(Info edited from the Wikipedia on Ashtalakshmi

So – in most Hindu families, in the prayer room (as in ours) we have a picture depicting the Ashta Lakshmi and specially worship her forms on Fridays and festival days. 🙂

Now, on to the photos! These are from the temple at the Vishwa Shanti Ashram which is especially known for the AshtaLakshmi shrines and their huge size. These ladies are taller than I. 🙂 and quite resplendent in their beautiful silk sarees.  Forgive me for not labelling who’s who  -my son Vidur is far better at nomenclature than I. To see the photos in their original size, click the images to open in a new window.

Ashta Lakshi at Vishwa Shanti Ashram

A lovely anthill we saw on the way

And now, let’s travel the world together. Our first stopover is at Unknown Mami, for it is she who holds the itinerary for today’s trip.

I wish you wealth, health and joy! Have a wonderful Sunday, followed by a fabulous week!

Thank you for subscribing to my blog! Do consider leaving a comment – or just reply to this email! I’d love to know what you think.Cheers!

Vidya

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57 Comments

  • Reply
    Helena
    March 11, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Hello 🙂 My first time visiting! It is so nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing this – it is very interesting and I like all this deity represents. Have a wonderful week!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Welcome, Helena! So glad you’re here. 🙂 Thanks for your lovely words! I am happy to meet you too!

  • Reply
    Betsy at Zen-Mama
    March 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    As usual, I love seeing your pictures from India! The pictures are beautiful and the descriptions very interesting. I always learn something, too. And I, too, was fascinated by the ant hill.
    Thanks Vidya and happy Sunday!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you, Betsy! We couldn’t help wondering whether a snake would pop out of that anthill. During the “Naag Panchami” (Snake festival) people offer milk and eggs at the anthills hoping the snakes will come and consume them. 🙂

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    March 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I am being educated every Sunday 🙂 & I love it.

    How apt that you would have the Same Name as: Vidya Lakshmi~~

    Love ya Xxx

    Happy Sunday !!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 3:54 am

      🙂 Thank you, Kim! I love having you over. Hindu mythology has myriad names for gods and goddesses – and most families just pick one for their sons and daughters. For me – I got Vidya because I was born on a festival day, during Navaratri – which is a nine-day celebration of Goddess Durga’s various forms – of which one is the Goddess of Knowledge, Vidya Saraswati.
      Hugs to you!

  • Reply
    Heather
    March 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks for the interesting explanation! Great pics – I have to say that my fave was the anthill!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks, Heather – we found the anthill fascinating too! Such a peaceful spot too! Happy you came by!

  • Reply
    Tara R.
    March 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    These statues are beautiful. The explanation of what each represents is fascinating.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Tara! Thanks – we have a prayer to recite for each depending on what we’re seeking. 😀

  • Reply
    Pamela Hutchins
    March 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    You are the knowledge Lashkmi! I love it!

    My sister-in-law is from Mumbai, and she has some lovely stories, too.

    Great pictures, Vidya!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      🙂 Right you are, Pamela. We have such a penchant for naming after the Gods/Goddesses. Thank you for visiting!

  • Reply
    Wayne W Smith
    March 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I love reading the history you provide with each set of pictures. I look forward to your SIMC posts!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks, Wayne. I am glad you like them. I love your posts too! This week was precious!

  • Reply
    BLOGitse
    March 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Beautiful statues but the anthill is super! 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks BLOGitse…the coloring is so beautiful, isn’t it? 🙂

  • Reply
    Terri Sonoda
    March 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Every Sunday you delight me with your pictures. However, this Sunday your narrative of the goddesses was sweet perfection. It added so much to the already amazing photos! I am such a fan of your Sundays in my City! Since I am too poor to travel right now, Sundays give me that much welcomed “traveled” feeling, which is a very good thing! Thank you my sweet friend.
    XOXOs

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 3:57 am

      Dear Terri – I do so wish that we meet some day, when I can take you around to see some of these places. Hugs – and am so glad you enjoy them. You know – I am more motivated about my Sunday posts thanks to you!

  • Reply
    La Principessa Errante
    March 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I too love deities, there is something so mystical about the entire process. Thank you for the education.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you, La Principessa! 🙂 The stories are fascinating!

  • Reply
    Sibyl
    March 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Loved this Sunday in your city Vidya. Such an interesting glimpse into your day and life. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you, Sibyl! I love it so!

  • Reply
    Rhia Roberts
    March 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story…and for the lovely photos. I noticed that, no matter what color sari the statue is wearing, there is a lei of yellow around her neck. Is this of any significance?

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Hi Rhia! The garland around their neck is just the flower of the day. Depends on what they get – it is usually this yellow flower, roses, jasmine or nerium flowers. No special significance. These yellow ones cost the least usually!

  • Reply
    Kimbelry
    March 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    When I was in highschool, part of our catholic religion studies was to learn about other religions. Since Canada is a giant melting pot of various religions we took a tour of Southern Ontario and visited many different places of worship. It was all very interesting.
    Even though we all believe in different things…there is always something that remains the same…we all believe in a higher power 😉

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 3:59 am

      Very beautifully expressed, Kim! I believe all religions are one and being in a secular state, that’s easy. I studied in Christian mission schools and to this day, make the sign of the cross and chant an accompanying Sanskrit prayer when I am tense. It is great that we all keep the faith! Hugs to you.

  • Reply
    Paige | simple mindfulness
    March 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I love learning more about the deities and their stories. I was introduced to them when I started studying yoga. Their stories carry so many lessons in them. Thanks for sharing your home with us! And, yes, I love the anthill too!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Thank you, Paige. Anthills are worshipped too – at certain times of the year, women decorate them with flowers and pray to the snakes 🙂 Quite a colorful sight. Hugs!

  • Reply
    StarTraci
    March 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    What beautiful sarees! Thanks for sharing their bright colors.

    Happy Sunday!
    🙂
    Traci

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      🙂 Happy to see you here, Traci! The saris are gorgeous. Devotees offer them to the Goddesses on a prayer 🙂

  • Reply
    StarTraci
    March 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    What beautiful sarees! Thanks for sharing their bright colors.

    Happy Sunday!
    🙂
    Traci

  • Reply
    Keetha Broyles
    March 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Your anthill reminds me of some of the HUGE MOUND ant hills I saw in Africa when I visited there.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 3:48 am

      I find them somewhat scary, because I always expect a cobra to pop out of them. I’ve seen some much larger ones too – and these are preserved because they’re worshiped by the locals. Thank you for coming by, Keetha. Did you take a photo of the anthill you saw?

  • Reply
    Leovi
    March 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Delicious pictures, I really like. Impressive mound. Greetings.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 3:55 am

      Greetings, Leovi! Thank you! I love photographing temples!

  • Reply
    Unknown Mami
    March 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Please let her know that I respectfully send my regards and would love a little help for her, not just for me, but for all who could use it.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 3:50 am

      Unknown Mami – every morning, at exactly 6.15 am, when I light my lamp in the prayer room, I do that. 🙂 I wish for prosperity for every single person I know – and those I don’t. I pray for everyone. And sometimes my son joins me in my recital 🙂

  • Reply
    ceodraiocht
    March 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Love that your name is for Knowledge. The brilliant colors of those saris really pop against the muted backgrounds, very nice.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 4:12 am

      Thank you, Maggie! Most temples have black stone statues and the bright color-ed flowers and sarees look quite stunning. 🙂

  • Reply
    As Cape Cod Turns
    March 12, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Thank you for the lesson! Beautiful colors!! That ant hill is FRIGHTENING!!!!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 4:17 am

      Hi, Lin! 😀 yes, I was scared to go near the anthill! Thank you for coming by!

  • Reply
    Paula
    March 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Wow, this is amazing. I had a class on Oriental Arts before and this was discussed as well. I have always found this aspect of your culture as quite fascinating. I plan to visit India someday 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 4:09 am

      Hi and welcome, Paula! Our temple heritage is amazing. 🙂 When you visit India, do let me know!

  • Reply
    Main Uddin
    March 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    You are actually a good webmaster.The web site loading page is incredible.It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick.Also,The contents are masterwork.you have performed a excellent process in this topic.Thanks for share.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 4:06 am

      Hi Main Uddin! Thanks for the kind words. No unique tricks 🙂 I am really not that tech-savvy. I just like to keep it simple!

  • Reply
    Nezzy
    March 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    What an education this week!!! I do so love the colorful dress and the explanation of all. Truly interesting sweetie!!!

    That anthill is massively awesome, what a great picture.

    God bless and have yourself a sunshiny kinda day!!! :o)

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 4:02 am

      🙂 Hugs, Nezzy! Thank you for the lovely words. Oh yes, those sarees are beautiful. I wish you a wonderful day, too, every day!

  • Reply
    Nea | Self Improvement Saga
    March 13, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I always learn so much from you, Vidya. Thank you for another awesome post.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 15, 2012 at 4:01 am

      Thank you, Nea – am so happy you visited!

  • Reply
    sheila
    March 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Love. Love. Love.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 19, 2012 at 4:21 am

      Sheila! Me too! The ladies really rock!

  • Reply
    Shazida Khatun
    March 20, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Great collection of Indian mythology which are praised by the millions of Indians.Thanks for the share.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 20, 2012 at 5:32 am

      Thank you, Shazida – thanks for visiting!

  • Reply
    Shubhdhan varsha
    April 23, 2012 at 8:53 am

    This is really nice post. Thanks for sharing this information. Indian Mythology is very interesting & meaningful.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

      Thank you Shubhdhan! (that word is so relevant to this post!)

  • Reply
    Sample Forms
    May 18, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Vidya! Great work of your creativity here. I admire your work in every possible way. Even i do agree with you that i believe all religions are one!!

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