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

58 Comments

  1. 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!

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

  2. Betsy at Zen-Mama Reply

    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!

    • 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. 🙂

  3. My Inner Chick Reply

    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 !!

    • 🙂 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!

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

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

  5. 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!

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

  6. Terri Sonoda Reply

    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

    • 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!

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

  8. 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?

    • 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!

  9. 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 😉

    • 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.

  10. 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!

    • 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!

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

    • 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?

  11. 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.

    • 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 🙂

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

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

  13. 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 🙂

  14. 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.

    • 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!

  15. Nea | Self Improvement Saga Reply

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

  16. 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)

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

  17. Shubhdhan varsha Reply

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

  18. Sample Forms Reply

    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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