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Landscape Composition; Wilton, Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

Landscape Composition; Wilton Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

yellow maple leaf fallen on green bush

Landscape Composition; Wilton Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

The leaves are changing, the nights are darker and the cool breeze is blowing. Its that time of year, and Salem Macabre Market & Gacha Gallows is back, full of autumnal and spooky goods.

 

For this round ARIA is debuting the Bavmorda set, a contemporary styled set with a leather armchair, and spooky ghostly table with doll head candles and planters. A pair of deer antlers adorn the wall with a dark flower accent.

 

The arm chair comes loaded with texture options including 3 leather colours, and even more pillow options to choose from. The floral accent includes different colours as well.

 

The Bavmorda arm chair comes in PG and Adult options, each packed with single, and couples poses some of which include auto rezz and attachable props.

 

The Bavmorda set totals 14 land impact as displayed and each piece is copy and modifiable.

 

Come to Salem opening October 1st to pick up this set... if you can brave the spooky scene!

Landscape Composition; Wilton Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

Here is our Oribana arrangement we call "Autumnal Treats" from the "Oribana Charm" collection. The starring floral models include Petunia, forming the purple wave at the bottom, clusters of Helenium flowers on the upper right, attractive pouch-like flowers of Calceolaria on the upper left and happy Zinnia, leading the arrangement. The container is our Double Bonsai Vase that has two wide openings in it to make duet compositions, we used inside each of them our paper flower holder to keep the branches in desired positions. Used Japanese and Swedish paper for plants and the vase. Happy folding!

 

The diagrams are published in our ORIBANA CHARM

www.oriland.com/store/collections/oribana_charm/main.php

I’ve been wanting a mug rug in autumnal floral fabrics with a bit of hand embroidery... and here it is in the making. Will be stationed on my night table.

 

The three stitchery designs are from various wildolive ‘s patterns.

(acorn: Autumn Stitching Club/ tea mug: I Love Autumn!/ mum: freebie)

* Made in Tibet by Gangchen Carpets

* 100% wool on cotton backing

* Autumnal colored palette

* 1.25 in. fringe at two ends, the other two ends are finished

* Wool

* Floral patterned design

  

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

As I walked through my neighborhood I found this simple but attractive autumnal motif in a front yard.

-Handmade

-No maker listed

-1.75" fringe

-Other edges are finished

-Some areas of wear

-Unidirectional in orientation

-Pottery with floral designs and patterning

-Autumnal color scheme

-Could use a good cleaning

 

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

Landscape Composition; Wilton Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

-Handmade

-No maker listed

-1.75" fringe

-Other edges are finished

-Some areas of wear

-Unidirectional in orientation

-Pottery with floral designs and patterning

-Autumnal color scheme

-Could use a good cleaning

 

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

ORIBANA CHARM by Katrin and Yuri Shumakov

interactive eBook available as a CD or DOWNLOAD

 

The collection contains basic principles of Oribana arrangements and 16 Oribana Compositions: 'Charming Fantasy', 'In Dancing Rhythms', 'Special Aroma', 'Near the Water', 'Sunny Salutation', 'Under the Rain', 'Fairy Tale', 'Floral Ballet', 'Morning Freshness', 'Tea Time', 'Autumnal Treats', 'Thinking of January', 'Spring Breath', 'Playful Mood', 'Emperor’s Cortege', 'Chance Meeting'.

 

More info, purchase, download at

www.oriland.com/store/collections/oribana_charm/main.php

Using Helios 58mm f/2 lens.

 

Thank you all for your support!

Also at: Twitter | Tumblr | 500px | Pinterest | Instagram

Wednesday night is my Daughter's Floral Design Course. This week they are making a Halloween themed paddle or wreath. She came home with her Autumnal coloured flowers. These were sitting in the hallway with natural light coming through the window and just begging to be photographed.

 

I used a Canon 7D with a Canon EFS 18-135mm lens with a KOOD No4 Close Up lens. I am pleased with how these look however I can't wait to see these flowers in the finished item later this evening.

Colorful autumn chrysanthemums with flares, floral background

Wednesday night is my Daughter's Floral Design Course. This week they are making a Halloween themed paddle or wreath. She came home with her Autumnal coloured flowers. These were sitting in the hallway with natural light coming through the window and just begging to be photographed.

 

I used a Canon 7D with a Canon EFS 18-135mm lens with a KOOD No4 Close Up lens. I am pleased with how these look however I can't wait to see these flowers in the finished item later this evening.

♥ Blogged

 

Credits:

Models: Jess & Brad

Venue: Private Estate, Santa Ynez, CA.

Floral design: Poppies & Posies Events

Calligraphy: Paperfinger

Sweet treats: Enjoy Cupcakes

Event Props & Styling: The Source & Eye

Make-up + Hair: Nicole Deanne

Jewelry: Mayu Bijoux

Dress: Saja

Catering: Michael Stuart Catering

 

Contax 645 / f. 2.0 / ss 60 / Kodak Portra 400 (220)

 

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DOHA, QATAR - November 01: Competitor takes part in the Red Bull 'Flugtag' event in Al Corniche near Museum of Islamic Arts Park in Doha Qatar on November 01, 2013 with unexpected crowd attendance. Flugtag - which means 'flying day' - is a competition in which teams in fancy dress attempt to pilot human-powered, home-made flying machines off a six-metre-high platform into water.

[ Photograph by © ROMMEL BANGIT | All rights reserved ]

  

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Identifier: hardmerchjanmar1916toro

Title: Hardware merchandising January-March 1916

Year: 1916 (1910s)

Authors:

Subjects: Hardware industry Hardware Implements, utensils, etc Building

Publisher: Toronto :

Contributing Library: Fisher - University of Toronto

Digitizing Sponsor: Algoma University, Trent University, Lakehead University, Laurentian University, Nipissing University, Ryerson University and University of Toronto Libraries

  

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rings. There are some foli-age patterns in a series of ex-quisite self-tone offset andbrightened by a frieze of base-trimmer of maple leaves inbright autumnal shades. Anoth-er of the popular designs is a foliageshadow stripe in the popular tones ofbuff, grey and brown enhanced by richfriezes and trimmers of large brightpoppies For the parlor there are pretty silksin designs of rose foliage and buds witha tracery of gilt These will be shownin the popular range of colors of white,cream, champagne, gray and light green.These designs are very effective withtheir matching friezes and base-trim-mers of full-blown roses into which isintroduced rather more than a suggest-tion of contrasting shades of naturescolorings. Also for the bedroom adiminutive floral pattern in quiet color-inss with a border of orchids in therich tones of the natural blooms shouldfind many friends. Throughout theyear there has been a special tendencyto near-plain papers with rich fancyborders and decorations subdued by

 

Text Appearing After Image:

View showing one of the beautiful Fall Patternsof Wallpaper. They are in a variety of striped pat-terns, embossed stripes, silk stripes and intagliostripes. The borders and base trimmers are in richdesigns of natural colorings. —Reproduftiiin by courtesy of fitauntons. Limited. Among the papers of quitemoderate cost will be found apleasing array of floral andfoliage designs, tapestries, con-ventional patterns, chintzesand ribbon effects. There arepretty stripes, plain denims andself-toned patterns many oftliem with ready-cut borders ofexquisitely colored roses, chry-santhemums,- clematis or or-chids. Some of the hangingshave a diminutive floral trail ofsimilar flowers introduced inthe borders that go with them. The gilt papers are bright andattractive and possess a fresh-ness. There is an abundance ofconventional and floral patternswhich are specially designed forthe use of gold in their color-ing. There are pretty stripeswith ready-cut borders in fruitand floral patterns amongstwhi

  

Note About Images

Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability - coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

Landscape Composition; Wilton Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

Title: Florists' review [microform]

Identifier: 5205536_6

Year: (s)

Authors:

Subjects: Floriculture

Publisher: Chicago : Florists' Pub. Co

Contributing Library: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Digitizing Sponsor: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  

View Book Page: Book Viewer

About This Book: Catalog Entry

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Text Appearing Before Image:

NOTKUBEB 22, 1900. The Weekly Florists' Rcvkw. m

 

Text Appearing After Image:

Vase of American Beauty Roses Shown at tfie Chicago Exhibition by the South Park Floral Co., New Castle, Ind. Our weather here has been fairly typical autumnal, the mercury one or two mornings only going so low as freezing. Last week there were two mimi shows, one by the Gardeners' Club the other by Posner Bros., one of our leading depart- ment stores. The first, which was a free show, was largely visited and the flowers on exhibition were exceptionally good, consisting mainly of the standard sorts. G. D. Lotze, of Anne Arundel County, had some conspicuously fine examples. The display at Posner's was large, showy and very effectively arranged and attracting much attention, served, doubtless, its main object of advertising the wares of the firm. We understand one grower sold them for it some 1,200 large flowers, and the local trade was given something of a fillip by the de- mand created. The event deserves in this regard commendation, as well as for the taste shown. Messrs. Samuel Feast k Sons are oc- cupying their new store, corner of Charles and Pleasant streets, a modern show room, tastefully equipped and decorated, with ample windows and com- modious basement with northern light, and altogether the most convenient and handsome florists' establishment in our city and quite redeeming it, so far as this old but enterprising firm is concerned, from the reproach a year or two ago of your contributor, William Scott, as to the character of its retail florists' places of business. The Messrs. Feast will con- tinue, as we are advised, for some months to use their old stand lower down Charles street until building im- provements compel them to leave. Another candidate for public favor is Mrs. Hasseidel, who has opened a neat store on North Eutaw, near Monument street, a locality which ought to be a favorable one for this kind of a venture, there being few near competitors. A recent call on Mr. John Cook at his handsome ^lace on Edmonston avenue disclosed his new seedling rose Balti- more in full and splendid crop, with ev- ery indication of possessing qualities to make its advent a notable evept to, rose growers and lovers. Some sattiples sent to Thorley, New York, and S. S. Pennock, Philadelphia, received great admiration. A house is planted with a new carna- tion, a seedling from Scott, of somewhat darker tint, flne stem and remarkable fragrance. Mr. Cook's fondness for hy- bridizing and crossing varieties of plants is extending, and his operations with roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and other plants give promise not only of interesting but profitable results. The war of words over the conduct of the business of the Park Board goes on, and the daily papers freely condemn the disposition of matters of public interest behind closed doors. It could hardly 1)6 expected that when the questions of ap- pointments and removals of officials and employes, involving often inquiries as to their characters, antecedents and habits, necessarily come up, that this should be done in public, but on subjects of general and public interest the people ought to know what is being done or proposed to be done. The board is erecting in several of the parks houses for the propagation of bedding stuff, which hereafter will not be bought from the trade, and is reduc- ing expenses by the dismissal of section superintendents and putting the various public squares under the charge of the superintendents of the larger parks. For the first time here, so far as your correspondent recalls, an advertisement is appearing in the daily papers of a "reliable fiorist who wishes to contract with a grower for a supply of roses and carnations for the season." This shows, the local field is not so as formerly, when every practically every grower and the quantity, quality and disposition of his output. Rix. at least, that easily covered retailer knew BOSTON. Trade Conditions. One day's good run of traffic is all we need to bring everything down to its bearings. Consequent upon the cooler weather all crops have shortened except perhaps the chrysanthemum crop and the bulb goods product. Violets have shortened the most, being quite scarce and roses next, but there has been enouch to supply practically all demands at a fair figure. Paper white is getting more plentiful, and Roman hya- cinths are appearing. Fine white fiow- ers for filling funeral designs are in good supply, being chiefiy candytuft and ste- via. The carnation market has not changed very much, but prices have ad- vanced a little. Higher prices on every- thing are in the wind. Chrysanthemums have not yet advanced in price nor fallen off in quantity. Easter lilies are coming in quite freely. Various Items. W. W. Tailby exhibited a dozen white Bonnaffon chrysanthemums in the Park street market, claiming them as the first of the kind under the tapering spire. They were surely good ones. Bromfield street Lary has a cuiming little pair of new specs. They are sup- posed to be of the "diminishing" kind, that will make blossoms look small while buying them, so he can conscientiously offer a low price, too, the figures look smaller when he signs the growers' sales slip. And they do give him a most "dis- tangy" appearance. Richard Kidder, of Waltham, is going through the motions of bankruptcy. About a 50 per cent settlement is ex- pected.

  

Note About Images

Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability - coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

* Made in Tibet by Gangchen Carpets

* 100% wool on cotton backing

* Autumnal colored palette

* 1.25 in. fringe at two ends, the other two ends are finished

* Wool

* Floral patterned design

  

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

Wednesday night is my Daughter's Floral Design Course. This week they are making a Halloween themed paddle or wreath. She came home with her Autumnal coloured flowers. These were sitting in the hallway with natural light coming through the window and just begging to be photographed.

 

I used a Canon 7D with a Canon EFS 18-135mm lens with a KOOD No4 Close Up lens. I am pleased with how these look however I can't wait to see these flowers in the finished item later this evening.

-Handmade

-No maker listed

-1.75" fringe

-Other edges are finished

-Some areas of wear

-Unidirectional in orientation

-Pottery with floral designs and patterning

-Autumnal color scheme

-Could use a good cleaning

 

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

* Made in Tibet by Gangchen Carpets

* 100% wool on cotton backing

* Autumnal colored palette

* 1.25 in. fringe at two ends, the other two ends are finished

* Wool

* Floral patterned design

  

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

-Handmade

-No maker listed

-1.75" fringe

-Other edges are finished

-Some areas of wear

-Unidirectional in orientation

-Pottery with floral designs and patterning

-Autumnal color scheme

-Could use a good cleaning

 

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

Double maple leaf silhouette on a contrast background.; Shutterstock ID 117650017; PO: The Huffington Post; Job: The Huffington Post; Client: The Huffington Post; Other: The Huffington Post

Here we go again - time to set that fabulous, thoughtful, trend forward

table for Thanksgiving.

 

Did you see our delicious spread in Today's Chicago Woman magazine, with

NoMi and The Park Hyatt Chicago?

 

Stunning.

 

Beautiful.

 

Chic.

 

Want to watch us pull another set of favorite tabletop, cocktail and menu

trends together tomorrow, 9 am?

 

Then tune in, Monday morn, to see all of our favorite new holiday tricks

and tips come to life on Windy City LIve.

 

We're setting a stunning tabletop - grocery to gorgeous style - using

dozens of details from our beautiful new Debi Lilly Design collection at

Safeway/Dominicks.

 

Mercury glass candlesticks...

 

Darling mini pumpkin candles...

 

Pumpkin spice pillar candles...

 

Fabulous fresh autumnal florals and berries...

 

You name it.

 

And then - to top it off - we're designing each placesetting, right from

our favorite Thanksgiving Lookbook.

 

Plus - serving up a dozen recipes you need now.

 

Including, two must have cocktails, our go to sensational salads, sides and

dessert trends for the season.

 

Click here to watch us livestream, on Windy City Live:

 

windycitylive.com/

 

Click here for more fave A Perfect Event Thanksgiving and holiday trends:

 

issuu.com/aperfecteventmag/docs/emag_novdec

 

See you tomorrow morning!

 

Photo: Debi Lilly Design for Safeway

Colorful autumn chrysanthemums with flares, floral background

Title: Florists' review [microform]

Identifier: 5205536_34_2

Year: 1912 (1910s)

Authors:

Subjects: Floriculture

Publisher: Chicago : Florists' Pub. Co

Contributing Library: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Digitizing Sponsor: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  

View Book Page: Book Viewer

About This Book: Catalog Entry

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Text Appearing Before Image:

Gr««nhous«s In MARSHALLTOWN, CENTERVILLK, OSKALOOtA, MASON CITY, WATKitLOO, IOWA BOONEp SEND YOUR ORDER TO HOUSE NEAREST PLAGE OF DELIVERY. Wholesale and Retail florist CEFREY, 1133 0 St, UNCOLN, NS. Will fill orders for the West on short notice Trade diiooanta. Flr8t.cla8a stock. MADISON, WIS. R»ITSCHLB{ FLORAL CO. H romcrly Capital Gty Greenhouse Co. Best Skipping Service for Wisconsin Winnipeg, Canada THE ROSERY, riorlst 889 Donald Street 3RDERS TAKEN FOR DELIVERY ANTWHERl tETWEEN PORT ARTHUR AND THE OOAS1 MILLS THE FLOBIST, Inc. S« W. Forsyth Stroot Jacksonville, Fla. We reach mil Florida and SooOi Georgia polnta. K]NlJLLnpRAL@PlPANY. THE LtAOrMC FLORISTS. OTTUMWA, IOWA 0. p. M. CRILEY. oar. WIHaid and Keota Sis. Psatal ■nd Wfm Uwloo Tolonii—ll YOUR IOWA ORDERS ?S!S^.SiJZ w.ooo feet glass. Home Iowa State Teachers College JQgKPB BAJCBOFT A gOM. Cedar FalU. lowt I. N. KRAMER & SON CEDAR RAPIDS, lA. SIOUX CITY Supplies western Iowa. I O \A/ A .. eouthern Minnesota, all of " ** South Dakota, northeastern Nebraska. J- C- RENNISON CO. r WjcCARLFItlER&CO. and noo,». j'.' "• Orders for Cut Flowers and \in^*k°' deUvered anywhere in Wisconsir ^<i JJorthem Michigan at right prices. '«%U Crosse, Wis. Wicrllj?I?P*'"'y execute orders in WISCONSIN OR THE NORTHWEST S??' '' "■■• HINCMLIFFE, FLORIST OO4-506 Wisconsin St.. RACIMK. WW. — JlSH^r Florlste' Telegraph Delivery. SIOUX CITY, IOWA, ud LE MARS, IOWA We always have a large asaortment of CUT F L« • W uKfe at.d make up all kinds of Floral Emblems. We deliver everywhere. "Our prices are right." ROCKLIN A LEHMAN Sln«x City's Leadlnr Florists Main Siore: Branch: 40» 4ih Street Martin Hotel Members Florists' Telegraph Delivery Ass'n. Waterloo, Iowa CHAS. SHERWOOD 320 E. 4tli Street Oreenhouses, cor. Fairview and (longer Sts. All oniotKi rano^va o«rofnl and promnt attention. TRILLOW oJlfi^Mowa Will promptly execute all orders in this vicinity NORTH FLORAL CO. 915 Central Ave. fORT DDDGt, lA. ously <liv summer. The landscape gar- deners, too, say they have their hands full of renewal work in the west end. The usual fall festivities take place next week, with the Veiled Prophet's ball and parade as the main features. The florists' business will undoubtedly profit ffreatly, as these events create a large demand for cut flower and plant decorations. E. L. Rodgers, who supplies some of the trade with wire designs, has moved his shop to 806 North Twelfth street. The St. Louis Florists' Club will hold its regular monthly meeting October 8. President Bourdet says six new applica- tions for membership will be presented. He is looking for a large attendance, as the fall and winter program, as laid out at a recent officers' meeting, will be made known. J. J. B. PROVIDENCE, E. I. The Market. Althougli there was comparatively little demand last week, except for funeral work and a few small weddings, it may be said that a better tone seems to prevail. While asters still predomi- nate, the evidences are that their sway is practically over and the appearance of carnations and chrysanthemums fore- warns the autumnal openings. One of the pleasing features of the summer season just closing has been the increas- ing popularity of gladioli, large quanti- ties having been disposed of. The dahlia is also gradually coming into favor, especially in the cactus varieties. Various Notes. James Hay, for twenty-five years head "^ardener for the Goddards, on Poto- ROCHESTER, MINN. D.N. WIGtE Trademark Reglstored

 

Text Appearing After Image:

mwE^tm BRftGB'S FLORAL STORE Rwiiester's Oily Exduire Flawer Sktp OPKRATC ROCHCftTCR GRECmHOUSKS Member Floilsts' Telesrraph Delivery. ROCHESTER, WIWW. ST. PAUL, MINN. The I<argrBt Store in America. Members Florists' Telegraph Delivery. The finest and largest stock west of Chlcaara Awake night and day looking for orders. HOLM it OLSON, Inc. 20. 22, 24 Woot 8th Stroot ST. PAUL, MINN. Order your flowers /or delivery in this section from the leadins Florists of the Northwest. L. L. MAY & Ca ST. PAULi, MDnV. Minneapolis, Minn. '^^Sn SWANSON'S. 618 Nicollet Av. DULUTH FLORAL CO. 200 mitos in any direction, nil! Iim MINll Vfe are the center of the great i'UI'U i U» PlUln. Northwest. Daily deliveries to Superior, Wia STATE NURSERY CO. ^U, '"KJieyliS" HELENA, HOHTANA LEWIS HENDERSON, noiist 1619 Famam Street, 01WAHA, NBB. M«»mh«r Florirtn* Toletrmph Delivery Ass'n HESS & SWOBODA. FLORISTS Telephones 1801 and L 1802 1419 hnum Strad OMAHA, NEB. S. B. STEWART H9 Na I6th St., OMAHA, NEB. LINCOLN,NEB.Tf.»«f Flowers for All Occ«siOMS« troM Cradle to Grays Frey&Frey,i'^'Lincoln, Neb. 'Wholesale and Retail lOJ.O^ $.1. ft. of jrlass at your service. Trade discoant.

  

Note About Images

Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability - coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

Landscape Composition; Wilton Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

-Handmade

-No maker listed

-1.75" fringe

-Other edges are finished

-Some areas of wear

-Unidirectional in orientation

-Pottery with floral designs and patterning

-Autumnal color scheme

-Could use a good cleaning

 

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

Designed while working with L'Olivier Floral Atelier

Tropical autumnal corporate arrangement for hotel reception area.

Wednesday night is my Daughter's Floral Design Course. This week they are making a Halloween themed paddle or wreath. She came home with her Autumnal coloured flowers. These were sitting in the hallway with natural light coming through the window and just begging to be photographed.

 

I used a Canon 7D with a Canon EFS 18-135mm lens with a KOOD No4 Close Up lens. I am pleased with how these look however I can't wait to see these flowers in the finished item later this evening.

VISHNU

Vishnu (/ˈvɪʃnuː/; Sanskrit: Viṣṇu) is a popular Hindu deity, the Supreme God of Vaishnavism (one of the three principal denominations of Hinduism) and one of the three supreme deities (Trimurti) of Hinduism. He is also known as Lord Narayana and Lord Hari. As one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, He is conceived as "the Preserver or the Protector" within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity.

 

In Hindu sacred texts, Vishnu is usually described as having dark complexion of water-filled clouds and as having four arms. He is depicted as a blue being, holding a padma (lotus flower) in the lower left hand, the Kaumodaki gada (mace) in the lower right hand, the Panchajanya shankha (conch) in the upper left hand and the discus weapon Sudarshana Chakra in the upper right hand.

 

Adherents of Hinduism believe Vishnu's eternal and supreme abode beyond the material universe is called Vaikuntha, which is also known as Paramdhama, the realm of eternal bliss and happiness and the final or highest place for liberated souls who have attained Moksha. Vaikuntha is situated beyond the material universe and hence, cannot be perceived or measured by material science or logic. Vishnu's other abode within the material universe is Ksheera Sagara (the ocean of milk), where he reclines and rests on Ananta Shesha, (the king of the serpent deities, commonly shown with a thousand heads). In almost all Hindu denominations, Vishnu is either worshipped directly or in the form of his ten avatars, the most famous of whom are Rama and Krishna.

 

The Puranabharati, an ancient text, describes these as the dashavatara, or the ten avatars of Vishnu. Among the ten described, nine have occurred in the past and one will take place in the future as Lord Kalki, at the end of Kali Yuga, (the fourth and final stage in the cycle of yugas that the world goes through). These incarnations take place in all Yugas in cosmic scales; the avatars and their stories show that gods are indeed unimaginable, unthinkable and inconceivable. The Bhagavad Gita mentions their purpose as being to rejuvenate Dharma, to vanquish those negative forces of evil that threaten dharma, and also to display His divine nature in front of all souls.

 

The Trimurti (three forms) is a concept in Hinduism "in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer, preserver or protector and Shiva the destroyer or transformer." These three deities have also been called "the Hindu triad" or the "Great Trinity", all having the same meaning of three in One. They are the different forms or manifestation of One person the Supreme Being or Narayana/Svayam Bhagavan.

 

Vishnu is also venerated as Mukunda, which means God who is the giver of mukti or moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirths) to his devotees or the worthy ones who deserve salvation from the material world.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The traditional explanation of the name Vishnu involves the root viś, meaning "to settle" (cognate with Latin vicus, English -wich "village," Slavic: vas -ves), or also (in the Rigveda) "to enter into, to pervade," glossing the name as "the All-Pervading One". Yaska, an early commentator on the Vedas, in his Nirukta, (etymological interpretation), defines Vishnu as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, "one who enters everywhere". He also writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, "that which is free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu".

 

Adi Shankara in his commentary on the Sahasranama states derivation from viś, with a meaning "presence everywhere" ("As he pervades everything, vevesti, he is called Vishnu"). Adi Shankara states (regarding Vishnu Purana, 3.1.45): "The Power of the Supreme Being has entered within the universe. The root viś means 'enter into'." Swami Chinmayananda, in his translation of Vishnu Sahasranama further elaborates on that verse: "The root vis means to enter. The entire world of things and beings is pervaded by Him and the Upanishad emphatically insists in its mantra 'whatever that is there is the world of change.' Hence, it means that He is not limited by space, time or substance. Chinmayananda states that, that which pervades everything is Vishnu."

 

RELATIONS WITH OTHER DEITIES

 

SHIVA

The three gods of the Trimurti clan are inseparable and in harmony in view of their common vision and universal good. They are perfectly ideal in all respects.

 

Both Asuras and Devas played supportive roles in this story by keeping company with Vishnu in his incarnated forms. Hanuman is a vanara who is completely dedicated to Rama. He gives Vishnu company and obeys his command, while playing an important part in Rama's life. He is regarded in Vaishnava canon because it is through blessings that Hanuman is born. Thus, Hanuman, Vishnu's constant companion, with his idol appearing temples of Rama, Krishna and Narasimha, i.e. all of Vishnu's avatars, is considered by Vaishnavas.

 

Syncretic forces produced stories in which the two deities were shown in cooperative relationships and combined forms. Harihara is the name of a combined deity form of both Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara). This dual form, which is also called Harirudra, is mentioned in the Mahabharata.

 

LAKSHMI

Vishnu's consort is Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth (also known as Maya). The Samvit (the primary intelligence/dark matter) of the universe is Vishnu, while the other five attributes emerge from this samvit and hence Maya or dark energy of the universe is Lakshmee is his ahamata, activity, or Vishnu's Power. This power of God, Maya or Shakti, is personified and has multiple names: Shree, Lakshmi, Maya, Vishnumaya or Mahamaya. She is said to manifest as Kriyashakti, (Creative Activity) and Bhutishakti (Creation). This world requires Vishnu's creativity. He therefore needs Lakshmi to always be with Him. Her various avatars as Lord Vishnu's consorts are Varahavatar (Bhoodevi) or Bhoomi, Ramavatar Seeta, Krishnavatar Rukmini)

 

SARASWATI & GANGA

According to Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Lord Vishnu had three wives Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganga. Due to their constant quarrelsome nature among them. Once Ganga tried to be close with Vishnu, this rebuked Saraswati but Lakshmi tried to pacify them but faced a curse rather. As per the curse, Lakshmi to appear as Tulasi. Sarawati cursed Ganga to run as a river in the world and Saraswati was cursed to run as a river in the netherworld. After this, Lord Vishnu transformed and became Brahma and Shiva to pacify Saraswati and Ganga.

 

GARUDA

Vishnu's mount (Vahana) is Garuda, the eagle. Vishnu is commonly depicted as riding on his shoulders.

 

ICONOGRAPHY

According to various Puranas, Vishnu is the ultimate omnipresent reality and is shapeless and omnipresent. However, a strict iconography governs his representation, whether in pictures, icons, or idols:

 

He has four arms and is male: The four arms indicate his all-powerful and all-pervasive nature. His physical existence is represented by the two arms in the front, while the two arms at the back represent his presence in the spiritual world. The Upanishad Gopal Uttartapani describes the four arms.

The Shreevatsa mark is on his chest, symbolizing his consort Lakshmi.

He wears the auspicious "Kaustubha" jewel around his neck and a garland of vaijayanti flowers (Vanamala). Lakshmi dwells in this jewel, on Vishnu's chest.

A crown adorns his head: The crown symbolizes his supreme authority. This crown sometimes includes a peacock feather, borrowing from his Krishna-avatar.

He wears two earrings: The earrings represent inherent opposites in creation — knowledge and ignorance; happiness and unhappiness; pleasure and pain.

He rests on Ananta, the immortal and infinite snake.

 

Vishnu is always to be depicted holding four attributes:

 

A conch shell or Shankha, named Panchajanya, is held by the upper left hand. It represents Vishnu's power to create and maintain the universe. Panchajanya represents the five elements or Panchabhoota – water, fire, air, earth and sky or space. It also represents the five airs or Pranas that are within the body and mind. The conch symbolizes that Vishnu is the primeval Divine sound of creation and continuity. It also represented as Om. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna avatara states that of sound vibrations, 'He is Om'.

The Chakra, a sharp, spinning, discus-like weapon, named "Sudarshana", is held by the upper right hand. It symbolizes the purified spiritualized mind. The name Sudarshana is derived from two words – Su, which means good, superior, and Darshana, which means vision or sight; together. The Chakra represents destruction of ego in the awakening and realization of the soul's original nature and god, burning away spiritual ignorance and illusion, and developing higher spiritual vision and insight to realize god.

A mace or Gada, named "Kaumodaki", is held by the lower right hand. It symbolizes that Vishnu's divine power is the source of all spiritual, mental and physical strength. It also signifies Vishnu's power to destroy materialistic or demonic tendencies (Anarthas) that prevent people from reaching god. Vishnu's mace is the power of the Divine within us to spiritually purify and uplift us from our materialistic bonds.

A lotus flower or Padma is held by the lower left hand. It represents spiritual liberation, Divine perfection, purity and the unfolding of Spiritual consciousness within the individual. The lotus opening its petals in the light of the Sun is indicative of the expansion and awakening of our long dormant, original spiritual consciousness in the light of god. The lotus symbolizes that god is the power and source from which the universe and the individual soul emerges. It also represents Divine Truth or Satya, the originator of the rules of conduct or Dharma, and Divine Vedic knowledge or Jnana. The lotus also symbolizes that Vishnu is the embodiment of spiritual perfection and purity and that He is the wellspring of these qualities and that the individual soul must seek to awaken these intrinsic Divine qualities from Vishnu by surrendering to and linking with Him.

 

To this may be added, conventionally, the vanamaala flower garland, Vishnu's bow (Shaarnga/Kodand) and his sword Nandaka. A verse of the Vishnu Sahasranama stotram states;vanamālī gadhī shārngī shanki chakri cha nandaki / shrīmān nārāyaņo vişņo vāsudevo abhirakşatu//; translation: Protect us Oh Lord Narayana who wears the forest garland,who has the mace, conch, sword and the wheel. And who is called Vishnu and the Vasudeva.

 

In general, Vishnu's body is depicted in one of the following three ways:

 

Standing on a lotus flower, often with Lakshmi, his consort, beside him on a similar pedestal.

Reclining on the coiled-up thousand-hooded Shesha Naga, with Lakshmi seated at his feet; the assemblage rests on the "Kshira Sagar" (ocean of milk). In this representation, Brahma is depicted as sitting on a lotus that grows out of Vishnu's navel.

Riding on the back of his eagle mount, known as Garuda. Another name for Garuda is "Veda atma"; Soul of the Vedas. The flapping of his wings symbolizes the power of the Divine Truth of Vedic wisdom. Also the eagle represents the soul. Garuda carrying Vishnu symbolizes the soul or jiva atma carrying the Super soul or Param atma within it.

 

AVATARS

Ten avatars (dashavatara) of Vishnu are the most prominent: Apart from the most prominent incarnations there are believed to more.

 

The most commonly believed incarnations of Vishnu are:

 

Matsya, the fish that kills Damanaka to save the vedas and also saves Manu from a great flood that submerges the entire Earth.

Kurma, the turtle that helps the Devas and Asuras churn the ocean for the nectar of immortality.

Varaha, the boar that rescues the Earth and kills Hiranyaksha.

Narasimha, the half-lion half human, who defeats the demon Hiranyakashipu.

Vamana, the dwarf that grows into a giant to save the world from King Bali.

Parashurama, "Rama of the battle axe", a sage who appeared in the Treta Yuga. He killed Kartavirya Arjuna's army and clan and then killed all the kshatriyas 21 times.

Rama, the prince and king of Ayodhya who killed the Demon King Raavan.

Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu, who takes part in the Mahabharata epic. Krishna is worshipped as the Supreme Avatar of Vishnu (Supreme Personality of Godhead) in Gaudiya-Vaishnava philosophy.

Buddha, the ninth avatar of Vishnu.

Kalki, the tenth Avatar of Vishnu and said to be the harbinger of the end Kali Yuga. This avatar of Vishnu is yet to come.

 

Some versions of the above list include Hayagreeva among the Dashavataras while some include Buddha as ninth avatar of Vishnu. Another 22 avatars are given in Chapter 3, Canto 1 of the Bhagavata Purana, although it states that "the incarnations of the Lord are innumerable, like rivulets flowing from inexhaustible sources of water".

 

BEYOND HINDUISM

 

SIKHISM

Guru Granth Sahib of Sikhism mentions Vishnu, one verse goes:

 

The true Vaishnaav, the devotee of Vishnu, is the one with whom God is thoroughly pleased. He dwells apart from Maya. Performing good deeds, he does not seek rewards. Spotlessly pure is the religion of such a Vaishnaav; he has no desire for the fruits of his labors. He is absorbed in devotional worship and the singing of Kirtan, the songs of the Lords Glory. Within his mind and body, he meditates in remembrance on the Lord of the Universe. He is kind to all creatures. He holds fast to the Naam, and inspires others to chant it. O Nanak, such a Vaishnaav obtains the supreme status.

 

BUDDHISM

While some Hindus consider Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, Buddhists in Sri Lanka venerate Vishnu as the custodian deity of Sri Lanka and protector of Buddhism. Lord Vishnu is also known as upulvan, or uthpala varna, meaning "Blue Lotus coloured". Some postulates that Uthpala varna was a local deity who later merged with Vishnu while another belief is that Uthpala Varna was an early form of Vishnu before he became a supreme deity in Puranic Hinduism. According to Chronicles "Mahawamsa", "Chulawamsa" and folklore in Sri Lanka, Buddha himself handed over the custodianship to Vishnu. Others believe that Buddha entrusted this task to Sakra(Indra) and Sakra delegated this task of custodianship to god Vishnu. In contrary to vedic Hinduism, in assimilation of Hindu god Vishnu into Sinhalese Buddhism, Vishnu becomes a mortal being and a Bodhisattva aspiring Buddhahood. Additionally, Vishnu is considered as the god of home and hearth representing mercy, goodness, order and stability. Many Buddhist and Hindu shrines are dedicated to Vishnu in Sri Lanka. In addition to specific Vishnu "Kovils" or "devalayas", all Buddhist temples necessarily house shrine rooms (Devalayas) closer to the main Buddhist shrine dedicated to Vishnu. John Holt in his groundbreaking study examines the assimilation, transformation, and subordination of the Hindu deity Vishnu within the contexts of Sri Lankan history and Sinhala Buddhist religious culture. He then explores the role and rationale of medieval Sinhala kings in assimilating Visnu into Sinhala Buddhism. According to Holt the veneration of Vishnu in Sri Lanka is evidence of a remarkable ability, over many centuries, to reiterate and reinvent culture as other ethnicities have been absorbed into their own. Though the Vishnu cult in Ceylon was formally endorsed by Kandyan kings in early 1700s, Holt states that vishnu images and shrines are among conspicuous ruins in the medieval capital Polonnaruwa. In Buddhist mythology, when Vishnu failed to traverse the universe in three steps, he was given the title "Ardha Vishnu (Half-Vishnu)" and when Vishnu banished demons from the Vaishali (Vishala)in India, he became "Mulu Vishnu or Whole Vishnu". The extreme significance of god Vishnu in Sinhala society is reflected in recitals of the traditional "Offerings to dwarfs and crossing the door frame (bahirwayanta dola pideem saha uluwahu peneema)" that starts with Sri Vishnu invocation.In the recitals,mentioning of the aspiring Buddhahood of Vishnu which is of prime importance to Buddhists and wishes for him to live five thousand and more years highlight the central role of Vishnu in the psyche of Sri Lankan Buddhists.

 

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LAKSHMI

Lakshmi (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मी, lakṣmī, ˈləkʃmi) is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. She is the wife and active energy of Vishnu. Her four hands represent the four goals of human life considered proper in Hindu way of life – dharma, kāma, artha, and moksha. Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments. In Buddhist sects of Tibet, Nepal and southeast Asia, goddess Vasudhara mirrors the characteristics and attributes of Hindu goddess Lakshmi, with minor iconographic differences.

 

Lakshmi is also called Sri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because she is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on the Earth as the avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi took incarnation as his consort. Sita (Rama's wife), Radha (Krishna's lover), Rukmini is considered forms of Lakshmi. In ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. The marriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband, states Patricia Monaghan, is "the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings".

 

Archeological discoveries and ancient coins suggest the recognition and reverence for goddess Lakshmi, in Scytho-Parthian kingdom and throughout India, by 1st millennium BC.Lakshmi's iconography and statues have also been found in Hindu temples of southeast Asia, estimated to be from second half of 1st millennium AD.

 

In modern times, Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of wealth. She is also worshipped as the consort of Vishnu in many temples. The festivals of Diwali and Sharad Purnima (Kojagiri Purnima) are celebrated in her honour.

 

ETYMOLOGY

Lakshmi (Lakṣmī) is one of many Hindu deities whose meaning and significance evolved in ancient Sanskrit texts.

 

Lakshmi is mentioned once in Rig Veda, but the context suggests that the word does not mean "goddess of wealth and fortune", rather it means "kindred mark or sign of auspicious fortune".

 

भद्रैषां लक्ष्मीर्निहिताधि वाचि

bhadrauṣāṁ lakṣmīrnihitādhi vāci

"an auspicious fortune is attached to their words"

—Rig Veda, x.71.2, Translated by John Muir

 

In Atharva Veda, composed about 1000 BC, Lakshmi evolves into a complex concept with plural manifestations. Book 7, Chapter 115 of Atherva Veda describes the plurality, asserts that a hundred Lakshmis are born with the body of a mortal at birth, some good, punya (virtuous) and auspicious, while others bad, paapi (evil) and unfortunate. The good are welcomed, while the bad urged to leave. The concept and spirit of Lakshmi, her association with fortune and the good, is significant enough that Atharva Veda mentions it in multiple books, for example in Book 12, Chapter 5 as punya Lakshmi. In chapters of Atharva Veda, Lakshmi connotes the good, an auspicious sign, good luck, good fortune, prosperity, success and happiness.

 

In later mythology, Lakshmi is referred to as the goddess of fortune and beauty, identified with Śrī and regarded as the wife of Viṣṇu (Nārāyaṇa). For example, in Shatapatha Brahmana, variously estimated to be composed between 800 BC and 300 BC, Śrī (Lakshmi) is part of one of many theories, in ancient India, about the creation of universe. In Book 9 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Śrī emerges from Prajāpati, after his intense meditation on creation of life and nature of universe. Śrī is described as the beautiful, resplendent and trembling woman at her birth with immense energy and powers. The gods were bewitched, desire her and immediately become covetous of her. The gods approach Prajāpati and request permission to kill her and then take her powers, talents and gifts. Prajāpati refuses, tells the gods that males should not kill females, and that they can seek her gifts without violence. The gods then approach Lakshmi, deity Agni gets food, Soma gets kingly authority, Varuna gets imperial authority, Mitra acquires martial energy, Indra gets force, Brihaspati gets priestly authority, Savitri acquires dominion, Pushan gets splendor, Sarasvati takes nourishment and Tvashtri gets forms. The hymns of Shatapatha Brahmana thus describe Śrī as a goddess born with and personifying a diverse range of talents and powers.

 

According to another legend, she emerges during the creation of universe, floating over the water on the expanded petals of a lotus flower; she is also variously regarded as wife of Sūrya, as wife of Prajāpati, as wife of Dharma and mother of Kāma, as sister or mother of Dhātṛ and Vidhātṛ, as wife of Dattatreya, as one of the nine Śaktis of Viṣṇu, as a manifestation of Prakṛti, as identified with Dākshāyaṇī in Bharataśrama, and with Sītā, wife of Rāma, and with other women.

 

In the Epics of Hinduism, such as in the Mahabharata, Laksmi personifies wealth, riches, beauty, happiness, loveliness, grace, charm and splendour. In another Hindu legend about the creation of universe, described in the Ramayana, Lakshmi springs with other precious things from the foam of the ocean of milk when churned by the gods and demons for the recovery of the Amṛta. She appeared with a lotus in her hand, whence she is also called Padmā.

 

ROOT OF THE WORLD

Lakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from the root word lakṣ (लक्ष्) and lakṣa (लक्ष), meaning "to perceive, observe, know, understand" and "goal, aim, objective" respectively. These roots give Lakshmi the symbolism – know and understand your goal. A related term is lakṣaṇa, which means "sign, target, aim, symbol, attribute, quality, lucky mark, auspicious opportunity".

 

SYMBOLISM AND ICONOGRAPHY

The image, icons and sculpture of Lakshmi is represented with symbolism. Her name is derived from Sanskrit root words for know the goal and understand the objective. Her four arms are symbolic of the four goals of human being that are considered good in Hinduism - dharma (pursuit of ethical, moral life), artha (pursuit of wealth, means of life), kama (pursuit of love, emotional fulfillment), and moksha (pursuit of self-knowledge, liberation).

 

In Lakshmi's iconography, she is either sitting or standing on lotus, and typically also carries lotus in one or two hands. Lotus carries symbolic meanings in Hinduism and other Indian traditions. It symbolically represents reality, consciousness and karma (work, deed) in Sahasrara context, and knowledge and self-realization in other contexts. Lotus, a flower that blossoms in clean or dirty water, also symbolizes purity and beauty regardless of the good or bad circumstances in which its grows. It is a reminder that good and prosperity can bloom and not be affected by evil in one's surrounding. Below, behind or on the sides, Lakshmi is sometimes shown with one or two elephants, and occasionally with an owl. Elephants symbolize work, activity and strength, as well as water, rain and fertility for abundant prosperity. The owl, called Pechaka in eastern regions of India, signifies the patient striving to observe, see and discover knowledge particularly when surrounded by darkness. Owl, a bird that becomes blind in daylight, is also a symbolic reminder to refrain from blindness and greed after knowledge and wealth has been acquired.

 

Wealth symbolically pours out from one of her hands in some representations, or she simply holds a jar of wealth in some representations. This symbolism has multiple meanings. Wealth manifested through Lakshmi means both material as well as spiritual wealth. Her face and open hands are in a mudra that signify compassion, giving or daana (charity).

 

Lakshmi typically wears a red dress embroidered with golden threads, symbolism for beauty and wealth. She, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is often represented with her husband Vishnu, the god who maintains human life filled with justice and peace. This symbolism implies wealth and prosperity is coupled with maintenance of life, justice and peace.

 

NAMES

Lakshmi has numerous names, and numerous ancient Stotram and Sutras of Hinduism recite her various names. She is very closely associated with the lotus, and her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:

 

Padma: lotus dweller

Kamala: lotus dweller

Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses

Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses

Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus

Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus

Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus

Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus

 

Her other names include:

 

Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu

Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl

 

Her other names include: Ambika, Manushri, Mohini, Chakrika, Kamalika, Aishwarya, Lalima, Indira, Kalyani, Nandika, Nandini, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Samruddhi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, Shreya, Maheshwari, Madhu, Madhavi, Paramaa, Janamodini, Tripura, Tulasi, Ketaki, Malati, Vidhya, Trilochana, Tilottama, Subha, Chandika, Devi, Kriyalakshmi, Viroopa, Vani, Gayatri, Savitri, Apara or Aparajita, Aparna, Aruna, Akhila, Bala, Tara, Kuhu, Poornima, Aditi, Anumati, Avashyaa, Sita, Taruni, Jyotsna, Jyoti, Nimeshika, Atibha, Ishaani, Smriti and Sri. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha ("Mother of the Universe") in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam.

 

ANCIENT LITERATURE ON LAKSHMI

 

UPANISHADS

Shakta Upanishads are dedicated to the trinity of goddesses - Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati. Saubhagya Lakshmi Upanishad, estimated to be composed before 300 BC, describes the qualities, characteristics and powers of Lakshmi. In second part of the Upanishad, the emphasis shifts to the use of yoga and transcendence from material craving in order to achieve spiritual knowledge and self-realization, the true wealth. Saubhagya-Lakshmi Upanishad synonymously uses Sri to describe Lakshmi.

 

STOTRAMS AND SUTRAS

Numerous ancient Stotram and Sutras of Hinduism recite hymns dedicated to Lakshmi. She is a major goddess in the Puranas and Itihasa of Hinduism. In ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. For example,

 

Every woman is an embodiment of you.

You exist as little girls in their childhood,

As young women in their youth,

And as elderly women in their old age.

—Sri Kamala Stotram

 

Every woman is an emanation of you.

—Sri Daivakrta Laksmi Stotram

 

Ancient prayers dedicated to Lakshmi seek both material and spiritual wealth in prayers.

 

PURANAS

Lakshmi features prominently in the Puranas of Hinduism. Vishnu Purana, in particular, dedicates many sections to her and also refers to her as Śrī. J. A. B. van Buitenen translates passages describing Lakshmi in Vishnu Purana as, "Śrī, loyal to Vishnu, is the mother of the world. Vishnu is the meaning, Śrī is the speech. She is the conduct, he the behavior. Vishnu is knowledge, she the insight. He is dharma, she the virtuous action. She is the earth, he earth's upholder. She is contentment, he the satisfaction. She is wish, he is the desire. Śrī is the sky, Vishnu the Self of everything. He is the moon, she the beauty of moon. He is the ocean, she is the shore". This unified, complementing and integrated image of Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband, notes Patricia Monaghan, is "the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings".

 

SUBHASITA, GNOMIC AND DIDACTIC LITERATURE

Lakshmi, along with Parvati and Saraswati, are subjects of extensive Subhasita, gnomic and didactic literature of India. Composed in 1st millennium BC through the 16th century AD, these are short poems, proverbs, couplets or aphorisms in Sanskrit, written in precise meter. They sometimes take the form of dialogue between Lakshmi and Vishnu, or highlight the spiritual message in Vedas and ethical maxims from Hindu Epics through Lakshmi. An example Subhashita is Puranarthasamgraha, compiled by Vekataraya in South India, where Lakshmi and Vishnu discuss niti (right, moral conduct) and rajaniti (statesmanship, right governance) - covering in 30 chapters, ethical and moral questions about personal, social and political life.

 

MANIFESTATIONS AND ASPECTS

In eastern India, Lakshmi is seen as a form of one goddess Devi, the Supreme power; Devi is also called Durga or Shakti. Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati are typically conceptualized as distinct in most of India, but in states such as West Bengal and Odisha, they are regionally believed to be forms of Durga.

 

Lakshmi is seen in two forms, Bhudevi and Sridevi, both either side of Sri Venkateshwara or Vishnu. Bhudevi is the representation and totality of the material world or energy, called the aparam Prakriti, in which she is called Mother Earth. Sridevi is the spiritual world or energy, called the Prakriti. Lakshmi is the power of Vishnu.

 

Inside temples, Lakshmi is often shown together with Vishnu. In certain parts of India, Lakshmi plays a special role as the mediator between her husband Vishnu and his worldly devotees. When asking Vishnu for grace or forgiveness, the devotees often approach Him through the intermediary presence of Lakshmi. She is also the personification of the spiritual fulfillment. Lakshmi embodies the spiritual world, also known as Vaikunta, the abode of Lakshmi-Narayana or Vishnu, or what would be considered heaven in Vaishnavism. Lakshmi is the embodiment of God's superior spiritual feminine energy, Param Prakriti, which purifies, empowers and uplifts the individual.

 

SECONDARY MANIFESTATIONS

Ashta Lakshmi (Sanskrit: अष्टलक्ष्मी,Aṣṭalakṣmī, lit. "eight Lakshmis") is a group of eight secondary manifestations of Lakshmi. The Ashta Lakshmis preside over eight sources of wealth and thus represent the eight powers of Shri Lakshmi. Temples dedicated to Ashta Lakshmi are found in Tamil Nadu such as the Ashtalakshmi Kovil near Chennai, and in many other states of India.

 

The eight Ashta Lakshmis are as follows:

 

Ādi Lakṣmī:

The First manifestation of Lakshmi

 

Dhānya Lakṣmī:

Granary wealth

 

Veera Lakṣmī:

Wealth of courage

 

Gaja Lakṣmī:

Elephants spraying water, wealth of fertility, rains and food

 

Santāna Lakṣmī:

Wealth of continuity, progeny

 

Vijaya Lakṣmī:

Wealth of victory

 

Aishwarya Lakṣmī:

Wealth of knowledge and education

 

Dhana Lakṣmī:

Monetary wealth

 

Other secondary representations of the goddess include Lakshmi manifesting in three forms: Sri Devi, Bhoo devi, and Neela devi. This threefold goddess can be found, for example, in Sri Bhu Neela Sahita Temple near Dwaraka Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh, and in the Adinath Swami Temple in Tamil Nadu. Sri Devi represents moveable assets (called Chanchala), and Bhoodevi represents immoveable assets (Achanchala).

 

Mahalakshmi is also shown presidings over eighteen forms of wealth; these include the eight great siddhis (ashta siddhis) of spiritual knowledge or Jnana (Sanskrit: ज्ञान, jñāna).

 

In Nepal, Mahalakshmi is shown with 16 hands, each holding a sacred emblem or expressing a sacred gesture, or mudra (lotus, pot, mudra of blessing, book, rosary, bell, shield, bow, arrow, sword, trident, mudra of admonition, noose, skull cap, and kettledrum. In this representation Mahalakshmi manifests as a kind, compassionate, tranquil deity sitting not on a lotus, but on a lion.

 

JAIN TEMPLES

Some Jain temples also depict Sri Lakshmi as a goddess of artha (wealth) and kama (pleasure). For example, she is exhibited with Vishnu in Parshvanatha Jain Temple at the Khajuraho Monuments of Madhya Pradesh, where she is shown pressed against Vishnu's chest, while Vishnu cups a breast in his palm. The presence of Vishnu-Lakshmi iconography in a Jain temple, built near the Hindu temples of Khajuraho, suggests the sharing and acceptance of Lakshmi across a spectrum of Indian religions. This commonality is reflected in the praise of Lakshmi found in the Jain text Kalpa Sūtra.

 

CREATION AND LEGENDS

Devas (gods) and asuras (demons) were both mortal at one time, in Hinduism. Amrit, the divine nectar that grants immortality, could only be obtained by churning the Kshirsagar (Ocean of Milk). The devas and asuras both sought immortality and decided to churn the Kshirsagar. The samudra manthan commenced with the devas on one side and the asuras on the other. Vishnu incarnated as Kurma, the tortoise, and a mountain was placed on the tortoise as a churning pole. Vasuki, the great venom-spewing serpent, was wrapped around the mountain and used to churn the ocean. A host of divine celestial objects came up during the churning. Along with them emerged the goddess Lakshmi. In some versions she is said to be the daughter of the sea god since she emerged from the sea.

 

In the Garuda Purana, Linga Purana and Padma Purana she is said to have been born as the daughter of the divine sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyaati and was named "Bhargavi". According to the Vishnu Purana, the universe was created when the Devas (good) and Asuras (evil) churn the cosmic ocean of milk (Ksheera Sagara). Lakshmi came out of the ocean bearing lotus, along with the divine cow Kamadhenu, Varuni,the tree Parijat, the Apsaras, the Chandra (the moon), and Dhanvantari with Amrita (nectar of immortality). When she appeared, she had a choice to go to Devas or the Asuras. She chose Devas side; and among thirty deities, she chose to be with Vishnu. Thereafter, in all three worlds, the lotus bearing goddess was celebrated.

 

CELEBRATION IN HINDU SOCIETY

Many Hindus worship Lakshmi on Diwali, the festival of lights. It is celebrated in autumn, typically October or November, every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.

 

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period, since Lakshmi connotes auspiciousness, wealth and prosperity. This festival dedicated to Lakshmi is considered by Hindus as one of the most important and joyous festivals of the year.

 

Gaja Lakshmi Puja is another autumn festival celebrated on Sharad Purnima, in many parts of India, on the full-moon day in the month of Ashvin (September–October). The Sharad Purnima, also called Kojaagari Purnima or Kumar Purnima is a harvest festival celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Asvin. It marks the end of monsoon. There is a traditional celebration of the moon and is also called the 'Kaumudi celebration', Kaumudi meaning moonlight. On Sharad Purnima night, goddess Lakshmi is thanked and worshipped for the harvests.

 

REGIONAL VARIATIONS

 

BENGAL

In Bengal, Lakshmi is worshiped on Kojagiri Purnima, in autumn when the moon is full, the brightest night of the year. She, riding on her mount-the great white owl, is believed to bless wealth and resources for content lives on this night. The owl symbolically represents penetrating sight in the darkness of night.

 

During the celebrations, lotus flowers, sandalwood, vermilion, betel leaves & nuts, fruits and various sweet preparations made from jaggery, rice and coconuts are used for her ritual worship.

 

Apart from the autumnal celebration, Lakshmi, along with Alakshmi (her shadow energy), is also worshipped during Diwali night in some Bengali communities. The goddess Kali of Kalighat in Kolkata is worshipped in Mahalakshmi form during Diwali. Some people observe Lakshmi Vrata/Puja (fasting and prayer). Women sing a string of poems called 'Panchali', narrating the glories of goddess Lakshmi.

 

ODISHA

Lakshmi is the goddess thanked after autumn harvests in the month of Mrigashīrsha. Women celebrate the festival Manabasa Gurubara or Lakshmi Puja. On each Thursday of the month, the houses are cleaned and the floors are decorated with floral designs drawn with rice powder mixed with water, called jhoti. Footprints are painted from the doorstep to the place of worship, to symbolize that Lakshmi has entered the house. The roofs are decorated with flower garlands and festoons woven out of paddy stalks.[citation needed] After a purification bath in the morning, the women of the region symbolically offer prayers to paddy considered a bounty from Lakshmi. Different rice cakes and Khiri (rice soup prepared with milk and sugar) are prepared in households and are offered to the deity and then eaten by all.

 

People in Odisha also worship Gaja Lakshmi on Sharad Purnima, also known as Kumar Purnima. Children wear new clothes and families celebrate the day with feasts. It is a festival of rejoicing for the girls; all of them sing and dance. The songs are of a special nature. They play a kind of game known as puchi and other country games.

 

HYMNS

Countless hymns, prayers, slokas, stotra, songs, and legends dedicated to Mahalakshmi are recited during the ritual worship of Lakshmi.

 

These include Sri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam, Sri Lakshmi Sahasaranama Stotra (by Sanathkumara), Sri Stuti (by Sri Vedantha Desikar), Sri Lakshmi Stuti (by Indra), Sri Kanakadhara Stotra (by Sri Aadhi Shankaracharya), Sri Chatussloki (by Sri Yamunacharya), Sri Lakshmi Sloka (by Bhagavan Sri Hari Swamiji) and Sri Sukta, which is contained in the Vedas. Sri Sukta contains the Lakshmi Gayatri Mantra (Om Shree Mahaalakshmyai ca vidmahe Vishnu patnyai ca dheemahi tanno Lakshmi prachodayat Om).

 

CULTURE

One of Lakshmi's names, Sri (also spelled Shri, pronounced as shree), is commonly used as an honorific prefix or suffix in cultural discourse and human relationships. Affixed to the names of distinguished persons, the honorifics "Shri" (also "Sri," "Shree") and "Shrimati" (also "Srimati," "Shreemati") imply beauty, wealth, prosperity, and auspiciousness.

 

ARCHAEOLOGY

A representation of the goddess as Gaja Lakshmi, or Lakshmi flanked by two elephants spraying her with water, is one of the most frequent found in archeological sites.[citation needed] An ancient sculpture of Gaja Lakshmi (from the Sonkh site at Mathura) dates to the pre-Kushan Empire era. The Atranjikhera site in modern Uttar Pradesh has yielded terracotta plaque with images of Lakshmi dating to the 2nd century BC. Other archeological sites with ancient Lakshmi terracotta figurines from the 1st millennium BC include Vaisali, Sravasti, Kausambi, Campa and Candraketugadh.

 

The goddess Lakshmi is frequently found in ancient coins of various Hindu kingdoms from Afghanistan throughout India. Gaja Lakshmi has been found on coins of Scytho-Parthian kings Azes II and Azilises; she also appears on Shunga Empire king Jyesthamitra era coins, both dating to the 1st millennium BC. Coins from the 1st through 4th century AD found in various locations in India such as Ayodhaya, Mathura, Ujjain, Sanchi, Bodh Gaya, Kanauj, all feature Lakshmi. Similarly, ancient Graeco-Indian gems and seals with images of Lakshmi have been found, estimated to be from the 1st millennium BC.

 

A 1400-year-old rare granite sculpture of Lakshmi has been recovered at the Waghama village along the Jehlum in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

A statuette of Lakshmi found in Pompeii, Italy, dates to before the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

 

RELATED GODDESSES

 

JAPAN

Goddess Kishijoten of Japan corresponds to Lakshmi. Kishijoten is the goddess of beauty, fortune and prosperity. Kishijoten is considered the sister of the deity Bishamon (毘沙門, also known as Tamon or Bishamon-ten); Bishamon protects human life, fights evil and brings good fortune. In ancient and medieval Japan, Kishijoten was the goddess worshipped for luck and prosperity, particularly on behalf of children. Kishijoten was also the guardian goddess of Geishas. While Bishamon and Kishijoten are found in ancient Chinese and Japanese Buddhist literature, their roots have been traced to deities in Hinduism.

 

TIBET AND NEPAL

Goddess Vasudhara in Tibetan and Nepalese culture is closely analogous to goddess Lakshmi.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Lakshmi (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मी, lakṣmī, ˈləkʃmi) is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. She is the wife and active energy of Vishnu. Her four hands represent the four goals of human life considered proper in Hindu way of life – dharma, kāma, artha, and moksha. Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments. In Buddhist sects of Tibet, Nepal and southeast Asia, goddess Vasudhara mirrors the characteristics and attributes of Hindu goddess Lakshmi, with minor iconographic differences.

 

Lakshmi is also called Sri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because she is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on the Earth as the avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi took incarnation as his consort. Sita (Rama's wife), Radha (Krishna's lover), Rukmini is considered forms of Lakshmi. In ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. The marriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband, states Patricia Monaghan, is "the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings".

 

Archeological discoveries and ancient coins suggest the recognition and reverence for goddess Lakshmi, in Scytho-Parthian kingdom and throughout India, by 1st millennium BC.Lakshmi's iconography and statues have also been found in Hindu temples of southeast Asia, estimated to be from second half of 1st millennium AD.

 

In modern times, Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of wealth. She is also worshipped as the consort of Vishnu in many temples. The festivals of Diwali and Sharad Purnima (Kojagiri Purnima) are celebrated in her honour.

 

ETYMOLOGY

Lakshmi (Lakṣmī) is one of many Hindu deities whose meaning and significance evolved in ancient Sanskrit texts.

 

Lakshmi is mentioned once in Rig Veda, but the context suggests that the word does not mean "goddess of wealth and fortune", rather it means "kindred mark or sign of auspicious fortune".

 

भद्रैषां लक्ष्मीर्निहिताधि वाचि

bhadrauṣāṁ lakṣmīrnihitādhi vāci

"an auspicious fortune is attached to their words"

—Rig Veda, x.71.2, Translated by John Muir

 

In Atharva Veda, composed about 1000 BC, Lakshmi evolves into a complex concept with plural manifestations. Book 7, Chapter 115 of Atherva Veda describes the plurality, asserts that a hundred Lakshmis are born with the body of a mortal at birth, some good, punya (virtuous) and auspicious, while others bad, paapi (evil) and unfortunate. The good are welcomed, while the bad urged to leave. The concept and spirit of Lakshmi, her association with fortune and the good, is significant enough that Atharva Veda mentions it in multiple books, for example in Book 12, Chapter 5 as punya Lakshmi. In chapters of Atharva Veda, Lakshmi connotes the good, an auspicious sign, good luck, good fortune, prosperity, success and happiness.

 

In later mythology, Lakshmi is referred to as the goddess of fortune and beauty, identified with Śrī and regarded as the wife of Viṣṇu (Nārāyaṇa). For example, in Shatapatha Brahmana, variously estimated to be composed between 800 BC and 300 BC, Śrī (Lakshmi) is part of one of many theories, in ancient India, about the creation of universe. In Book 9 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Śrī emerges from Prajāpati, after his intense meditation on creation of life and nature of universe. Śrī is described as the beautiful, resplendent and trembling woman at her birth with immense energy and powers. The gods were bewitched, desire her and immediately become covetous of her. The gods approach Prajāpati and request permission to kill her and then take her powers, talents and gifts. Prajāpati refuses, tells the gods that males should not kill females, and that they can seek her gifts without violence. The gods then approach Lakshmi, deity Agni gets food, Soma gets kingly authority, Varuna gets imperial authority, Mitra acquires martial energy, Indra gets force, Brihaspati gets priestly authority, Savitri acquires dominion, Pushan gets splendor, Sarasvati takes nourishment and Tvashtri gets forms. The hymns of Shatapatha Brahmana thus describe Śrī as a goddess born with and personifying a diverse range of talents and powers.

 

According to another legend, she emerges during the creation of universe, floating over the water on the expanded petals of a lotus flower; she is also variously regarded as wife of Sūrya, as wife of Prajāpati, as wife of Dharma and mother of Kāma, as sister or mother of Dhātṛ and Vidhātṛ, as wife of Dattatreya, as one of the nine Śaktis of Viṣṇu, as a manifestation of Prakṛti, as identified with Dākshāyaṇī in Bharataśrama, and with Sītā, wife of Rāma, and with other women.

 

In the Epics of Hinduism, such as in the Mahabharata, Laksmi personifies wealth, riches, beauty, happiness, loveliness, grace, charm and splendour. In another Hindu legend about the creation of universe, described in the Ramayana, Lakshmi springs with other precious things from the foam of the ocean of milk when churned by the gods and demons for the recovery of the Amṛta. She appeared with a lotus in her hand, whence she is also called Padmā.

 

ROOT OF THE WORLD

Lakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from the root word lakṣ (लक्ष्) and lakṣa (लक्ष), meaning "to perceive, observe, know, understand" and "goal, aim, objective" respectively. These roots give Lakshmi the symbolism – know and understand your goal. A related term is lakṣaṇa, which means "sign, target, aim, symbol, attribute, quality, lucky mark, auspicious opportunity".

 

SYMBOLISM AND ICONOGRAPHY

The image, icons and sculpture of Lakshmi is represented with symbolism. Her name is derived from Sanskrit root words for know the goal and understand the objective. Her four arms are symbolic of the four goals of human being that are considered good in Hinduism - dharma (pursuit of ethical, moral life), artha (pursuit of wealth, means of life), kama (pursuit of love, emotional fulfillment), and moksha (pursuit of self-knowledge, liberation).

 

In Lakshmi's iconography, she is either sitting or standing on lotus, and typically also carries lotus in one or two hands. Lotus carries symbolic meanings in Hinduism and other Indian traditions. It symbolically represents reality, consciousness and karma (work, deed) in Sahasrara context, and knowledge and self-realization in other contexts. Lotus, a flower that blossoms in clean or dirty water, also symbolizes purity and beauty regardless of the good or bad circumstances in which its grows. It is a reminder that good and prosperity can bloom and not be affected by evil in one's surrounding. Below, behind or on the sides, Lakshmi is sometimes shown with one or two elephants, and occasionally with an owl. Elephants symbolize work, activity and strength, as well as water, rain and fertility for abundant prosperity. The owl, called Pechaka in eastern regions of India, signifies the patient striving to observe, see and discover knowledge particularly when surrounded by darkness. Owl, a bird that becomes blind in daylight, is also a symbolic reminder to refrain from blindness and greed after knowledge and wealth has been acquired.

 

Wealth symbolically pours out from one of her hands in some representations, or she simply holds a jar of wealth in some representations. This symbolism has multiple meanings. Wealth manifested through Lakshmi means both material as well as spiritual wealth. Her face and open hands are in a mudra that signify compassion, giving or daana (charity).

 

Lakshmi typically wears a red dress embroidered with golden threads, symbolism for beauty and wealth. She, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is often represented with her husband Vishnu, the god who maintains human life filled with justice and peace. This symbolism implies wealth and prosperity is coupled with maintenance of life, justice and peace.

 

NAMES

Lakshmi has numerous names, and numerous ancient Stotram and Sutras of Hinduism recite her various names. She is very closely associated with the lotus, and her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:

 

Padma: lotus dweller

Kamala: lotus dweller

Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses

Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses

Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus

Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus

Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus

Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus

 

Her other names include:

 

Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu

Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl

 

Her other names include: Ambika, Manushri, Mohini, Chakrika, Kamalika, Aishwarya, Lalima, Indira, Kalyani, Nandika, Nandini, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Samruddhi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, Shreya, Maheshwari, Madhu, Madhavi, Paramaa, Janamodini, Tripura, Tulasi, Ketaki, Malati, Vidhya, Trilochana, Tilottama, Subha, Chandika, Devi, Kriyalakshmi, Viroopa, Vani, Gayatri, Savitri, Apara or Aparajita, Aparna, Aruna, Akhila, Bala, Tara, Kuhu, Poornima, Aditi, Anumati, Avashyaa, Sita, Taruni, Jyotsna, Jyoti, Nimeshika, Atibha, Ishaani, Smriti and Sri. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha ("Mother of the Universe") in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam.

 

ANCIENT LITERATURE ON LAKSHMI

 

UPANISHADS

Shakta Upanishads are dedicated to the trinity of goddesses - Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati. Saubhagya Lakshmi Upanishad, estimated to be composed before 300 BC, describes the qualities, characteristics and powers of Lakshmi. In second part of the Upanishad, the emphasis shifts to the use of yoga and transcendence from material craving in order to achieve spiritual knowledge and self-realization, the true wealth. Saubhagya-Lakshmi Upanishad synonymously uses Sri to describe Lakshmi.

 

STOTRAMS AND SUTRAS

Numerous ancient Stotram and Sutras of Hinduism recite hymns dedicated to Lakshmi. She is a major goddess in the Puranas and Itihasa of Hinduism. In ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. For example,

 

Every woman is an embodiment of you.

You exist as little girls in their childhood,

As young women in their youth,

And as elderly women in their old age.

—Sri Kamala Stotram

 

Every woman is an emanation of you.

—Sri Daivakrta Laksmi Stotram

 

Ancient prayers dedicated to Lakshmi seek both material and spiritual wealth in prayers.

 

PURANAS

Lakshmi features prominently in the Puranas of Hinduism. Vishnu Purana, in particular, dedicates many sections to her and also refers to her as Śrī. J. A. B. van Buitenen translates passages describing Lakshmi in Vishnu Purana as, "Śrī, loyal to Vishnu, is the mother of the world. Vishnu is the meaning, Śrī is the speech. She is the conduct, he the behavior. Vishnu is knowledge, she the insight. He is dharma, she the virtuous action. She is the earth, he earth's upholder. She is contentment, he the satisfaction. She is wish, he is the desire. Śrī is the sky, Vishnu the Self of everything. He is the moon, she the beauty of moon. He is the ocean, she is the shore". This unified, complementing and integrated image of Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband, notes Patricia Monaghan, is "the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings".

 

SUBHASITA, GNOMIC AND DIDACTIC LITERATURE

Lakshmi, along with Parvati and Saraswati, are subjects of extensive Subhasita, gnomic and didactic literature of India. Composed in 1st millennium BC through the 16th century AD, these are short poems, proverbs, couplets or aphorisms in Sanskrit, written in precise meter. They sometimes take the form of dialogue between Lakshmi and Vishnu, or highlight the spiritual message in Vedas and ethical maxims from Hindu Epics through Lakshmi. An example Subhashita is Puranarthasamgraha, compiled by Vekataraya in South India, where Lakshmi and Vishnu discuss niti (right, moral conduct) and rajaniti (statesmanship, right governance) - covering in 30 chapters, ethical and moral questions about personal, social and political life.

 

MANIFESTATIONS AND ASPECTS

In eastern India, Lakshmi is seen as a form of one goddess Devi, the Supreme power; Devi is also called Durga or Shakti. Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati are typically conceptualized as distinct in most of India, but in states such as West Bengal and Odisha, they are regionally believed to be forms of Durga.

 

Lakshmi is seen in two forms, Bhudevi and Sridevi, both either side of Sri Venkateshwara or Vishnu. Bhudevi is the representation and totality of the material world or energy, called the aparam Prakriti, in which she is called Mother Earth. Sridevi is the spiritual world or energy, called the Prakriti. Lakshmi is the power of Vishnu.

 

Inside temples, Lakshmi is often shown together with Vishnu. In certain parts of India, Lakshmi plays a special role as the mediator between her husband Vishnu and his worldly devotees. When asking Vishnu for grace or forgiveness, the devotees often approach Him through the intermediary presence of Lakshmi. She is also the personification of the spiritual fulfillment. Lakshmi embodies the spiritual world, also known as Vaikunta, the abode of Lakshmi-Narayana or Vishnu, or what would be considered heaven in Vaishnavism. Lakshmi is the embodiment of God's superior spiritual feminine energy, Param Prakriti, which purifies, empowers and uplifts the individual.

 

SECONDARY MANIFESTATIONS

Ashta Lakshmi (Sanskrit: अष्टलक्ष्मी,Aṣṭalakṣmī, lit. "eight Lakshmis") is a group of eight secondary manifestations of Lakshmi. The Ashta Lakshmis preside over eight sources of wealth and thus represent the eight powers of Shri Lakshmi. Temples dedicated to Ashta Lakshmi are found in Tamil Nadu such as the Ashtalakshmi Kovil near Chennai, and in many other states of India.

 

The eight Ashta Lakshmis are as follows:

 

Ādi Lakṣmī:

The First manifestation of Lakshmi

 

Dhānya Lakṣmī:

Granary wealth

 

Veera Lakṣmī:

Wealth of courage

 

Gaja Lakṣmī:

Elephants spraying water, wealth of fertility, rains and food

 

Santāna Lakṣmī:

Wealth of continuity, progeny

 

Vijaya Lakṣmī:

Wealth of victory

 

Aishwarya Lakṣmī:

Wealth of knowledge and education

 

Dhana Lakṣmī:

Monetary wealth

 

Other secondary representations of the goddess include Lakshmi manifesting in three forms: Sri Devi, Bhoo devi, and Neela devi. This threefold goddess can be found, for example, in Sri Bhu Neela Sahita Temple near Dwaraka Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh, and in the Adinath Swami Temple in Tamil Nadu. Sri Devi represents moveable assets (called Chanchala), and Bhoodevi represents immoveable assets (Achanchala).

 

Mahalakshmi is also shown presidings over eighteen forms of wealth; these include the eight great siddhis (ashta siddhis) of spiritual knowledge or Jnana (Sanskrit: ज्ञान, jñāna).

 

In Nepal, Mahalakshmi is shown with 16 hands, each holding a sacred emblem or expressing a sacred gesture, or mudra (lotus, pot, mudra of blessing, book, rosary, bell, shield, bow, arrow, sword, trident, mudra of admonition, noose, skull cap, and kettledrum. In this representation Mahalakshmi manifests as a kind, compassionate, tranquil deity sitting not on a lotus, but on a lion.

 

JAIN TEMPLES

Some Jain temples also depict Sri Lakshmi as a goddess of artha (wealth) and kama (pleasure). For example, she is exhibited with Vishnu in Parshvanatha Jain Temple at the Khajuraho Monuments of Madhya Pradesh, where she is shown pressed against Vishnu's chest, while Vishnu cups a breast in his palm. The presence of Vishnu-Lakshmi iconography in a Jain temple, built near the Hindu temples of Khajuraho, suggests the sharing and acceptance of Lakshmi across a spectrum of Indian religions. This commonality is reflected in the praise of Lakshmi found in the Jain text Kalpa Sūtra.

 

CREATION AND LEGENDS

Devas (gods) and asuras (demons) were both mortal at one time, in Hinduism. Amrit, the divine nectar that grants immortality, could only be obtained by churning the Kshirsagar (Ocean of Milk). The devas and asuras both sought immortality and decided to churn the Kshirsagar. The samudra manthan commenced with the devas on one side and the asuras on the other. Vishnu incarnated as Kurma, the tortoise, and a mountain was placed on the tortoise as a churning pole. Vasuki, the great venom-spewing serpent, was wrapped around the mountain and used to churn the ocean. A host of divine celestial objects came up during the churning. Along with them emerged the goddess Lakshmi. In some versions she is said to be the daughter of the sea god since she emerged from the sea.

 

In the Garuda Purana, Linga Purana and Padma Purana she is said to have been born as the daughter of the divine sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyaati and was named "Bhargavi". According to the Vishnu Purana, the universe was created when the Devas (good) and Asuras (evil) churn the cosmic ocean of milk (Ksheera Sagara). Lakshmi came out of the ocean bearing lotus, along with the divine cow Kamadhenu, Varuni,the tree Parijat, the Apsaras, the Chandra (the moon), and Dhanvantari with Amrita (nectar of immortality). When she appeared, she had a choice to go to Devas or the Asuras. She chose Devas side; and among thirty deities, she chose to be with Vishnu. Thereafter, in all three worlds, the lotus bearing goddess was celebrated.

 

CELEBRATION IN HINDU SOCIETY

Many Hindus worship Lakshmi on Diwali, the festival of lights. It is celebrated in autumn, typically October or November, every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.

 

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period, since Lakshmi connotes auspiciousness, wealth and prosperity. This festival dedicated to Lakshmi is considered by Hindus as one of the most important and joyous festivals of the year.

 

Gaja Lakshmi Puja is another autumn festival celebrated on Sharad Purnima, in many parts of India, on the full-moon day in the month of Ashvin (September–October). The Sharad Purnima, also called Kojaagari Purnima or Kumar Purnima is a harvest festival celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Asvin. It marks the end of monsoon. There is a traditional celebration of the moon and is also called the 'Kaumudi celebration', Kaumudi meaning moonlight. On Sharad Purnima night, goddess Lakshmi is thanked and worshipped for the harvests.

 

REGIONAL VARIATIONS

 

BENGAL

In Bengal, Lakshmi is worshiped on Kojagiri Purnima, in autumn when the moon is full, the brightest night of the year. She, riding on her mount-the great white owl, is believed to bless wealth and resources for content lives on this night. The owl symbolically represents penetrating sight in the darkness of night.

 

During the celebrations, lotus flowers, sandalwood, vermilion, betel leaves & nuts, fruits and various sweet preparations made from jaggery, rice and coconuts are used for her ritual worship.

 

Apart from the autumnal celebration, Lakshmi, along with Alakshmi (her shadow energy), is also worshipped during Diwali night in some Bengali communities. The goddess Kali of Kalighat in Kolkata is worshipped in Mahalakshmi form during Diwali. Some people observe Lakshmi Vrata/Puja (fasting and prayer). Women sing a string of poems called 'Panchali', narrating the glories of goddess Lakshmi.

 

ODISHA

Lakshmi is the goddess thanked after autumn harvests in the month of Mrigashīrsha. Women celebrate the festival Manabasa Gurubara or Lakshmi Puja. On each Thursday of the month, the houses are cleaned and the floors are decorated with floral designs drawn with rice powder mixed with water, called jhoti. Footprints are painted from the doorstep to the place of worship, to symbolize that Lakshmi has entered the house. The roofs are decorated with flower garlands and festoons woven out of paddy stalks.[citation needed] After a purification bath in the morning, the women of the region symbolically offer prayers to paddy considered a bounty from Lakshmi. Different rice cakes and Khiri (rice soup prepared with milk and sugar) are prepared in households and are offered to the deity and then eaten by all.

 

People in Odisha also worship Gaja Lakshmi on Sharad Purnima, also known as Kumar Purnima. Children wear new clothes and families celebrate the day with feasts. It is a festival of rejoicing for the girls; all of them sing and dance. The songs are of a special nature. They play a kind of game known as puchi and other country games.

 

HYMNS

Countless hymns, prayers, slokas, stotra, songs, and legends dedicated to Mahalakshmi are recited during the ritual worship of Lakshmi.

 

These include Sri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam, Sri Lakshmi Sahasaranama Stotra (by Sanathkumara), Sri Stuti (by Sri Vedantha Desikar), Sri Lakshmi Stuti (by Indra), Sri Kanakadhara Stotra (by Sri Aadhi Shankaracharya), Sri Chatussloki (by Sri Yamunacharya), Sri Lakshmi Sloka (by Bhagavan Sri Hari Swamiji) and Sri Sukta, which is contained in the Vedas. Sri Sukta contains the Lakshmi Gayatri Mantra (Om Shree Mahaalakshmyai ca vidmahe Vishnu patnyai ca dheemahi tanno Lakshmi prachodayat Om).

 

CULTURE

One of Lakshmi's names, Sri (also spelled Shri, pronounced as shree), is commonly used as an honorific prefix or suffix in cultural discourse and human relationships. Affixed to the names of distinguished persons, the honorifics "Shri" (also "Sri," "Shree") and "Shrimati" (also "Srimati," "Shreemati") imply beauty, wealth, prosperity, and auspiciousness.

 

ARCHAEOLOGY

A representation of the goddess as Gaja Lakshmi, or Lakshmi flanked by two elephants spraying her with water, is one of the most frequent found in archeological sites.[citation needed] An ancient sculpture of Gaja Lakshmi (from the Sonkh site at Mathura) dates to the pre-Kushan Empire era. The Atranjikhera site in modern Uttar Pradesh has yielded terracotta plaque with images of Lakshmi dating to the 2nd century BC. Other archeological sites with ancient Lakshmi terracotta figurines from the 1st millennium BC include Vaisali, Sravasti, Kausambi, Campa and Candraketugadh.

 

The goddess Lakshmi is frequently found in ancient coins of various Hindu kingdoms from Afghanistan throughout India. Gaja Lakshmi has been found on coins of Scytho-Parthian kings Azes II and Azilises; she also appears on Shunga Empire king Jyesthamitra era coins, both dating to the 1st millennium BC. Coins from the 1st through 4th century AD found in various locations in India such as Ayodhaya, Mathura, Ujjain, Sanchi, Bodh Gaya, Kanauj, all feature Lakshmi. Similarly, ancient Graeco-Indian gems and seals with images of Lakshmi have been found, estimated to be from the 1st millennium BC.

 

A 1400-year-old rare granite sculpture of Lakshmi has been recovered at the Waghama village along the Jehlum in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

A statuette of Lakshmi found in Pompeii, Italy, dates to before the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

 

RELATED GODDESSES

 

JAPAN

Goddess Kishijoten of Japan corresponds to Lakshmi. Kishijoten is the goddess of beauty, fortune and prosperity. Kishijoten is considered the sister of the deity Bishamon (毘沙門, also known as Tamon or Bishamon-ten); Bishamon protects human life, fights evil and brings good fortune. In ancient and medieval Japan, Kishijoten was the goddess worshipped for luck and prosperity, particularly on behalf of children. Kishijoten was also the guardian goddess of Geishas. While Bishamon and Kishijoten are found in ancient Chinese and Japanese Buddhist literature, their roots have been traced to deities in Hinduism.

 

TIBET AND NEPAL

Goddess Vasudhara in Tibetan and Nepalese culture is closely analogous to goddess Lakshmi.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Landscape Composition; Wilton Connecticut; (c) Diana Lee Photo Designs

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Colorful autumn chrysanthemums with flares, floral background

* Made in Tibet by Gangchen Carpets

* 100% wool on cotton backing

* Autumnal colored palette

* 1.25 in. fringe at two ends, the other two ends are finished

* Wool

* Floral patterned design

  

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

This is arrangement No. 3 in my Advanced Floral Design class.

* Made in Tibet by Gangchen Carpets

* 100% wool on cotton backing

* Autumnal colored palette

* 1.25 in. fringe at two ends, the other two ends are finished

* Wool

* Floral patterned design

  

All proceeds help us continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness

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