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Lakshmi rises from the ocean of milk. The goddess stands on a lotus flower, the symbol of purity and perfection; She also holds lotus flowers in both of her raised hands .

Lakshmi ( Sanskrit , f., लक्ष्मी, Lakṣmī "happiness, beauty, wealth") is the Hindu goddess of happiness, love, fertility, prosperity, health and beauty, not only the giver of wealth, but also of spirituality Well-being, of harmony, of abundance and abundance, protector of plants. She is the Shakti , the sustaining power of Vishnu , and his wife. For the Srivaishnavas she is the mediator between Vishnu and the people who intercedes with her husband for her follower. In the pancatantras she and not Vishnu is the object of the highest veneration. There the god carries out the commands of the goddess, who appears as the real creator of the universe. She is consistently associated with positive qualities and is considered a kind and gracious goddess.

Lakshmi in the Vedas

Even the Vedas tell of Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty. There it was more of an abstract principle, the personification of happiness and sometimes unhappiness, all virtues and positive, favorable, profitable qualities and especially associated with royal authority, power, prestige, rule and dignity. The Rigveda describes it as a pillow or seat of the ruler. There she was not connected with Vishnu, but was alternately assigned to different gods, for example the Indra, the Soma , the Varuna , the Surya or the Kubera . Often it leaves one king for another who then loses all his power, virtues and dignity. She is also said to have served the "demons" Bali and Prahlada and made them into truly great rulers until she left them again and nothing of their splendor remained. Most often she was considered the wife of Indra , the Vedic ruler of the gods, whose royal dignity was inextricably linked with Lakshmi. It is said that Lakshmi Indra brought fertility by her very presence and that he made it rain when she was by his side. But one day she left the God who was looking for her and cut her into four parts, since even he could only hold her like that. She was and is ritually married by Indian rulers to ensure wealth for the country. Alakshmi , the goddess of misfortune, is considered to be her sister . Her sons personified are mud and manure with whom she lived together. She was also the protective goddess of the farmers. It is said that she is embodied in every virtuous woman.


According to mythology, it emerged as one of fourteen treasures from the milk ocean when it was frothed by the devas (gods) and asuras (demons) with the help of the kurma in search of amrita (drink that makes immortal, ambrosia ). This myth goes on to tell how, after rising out of the water, sitting in a lotus flower (the symbol for motherhood, purity and enlightenment), she chose Vishnu as her husband. The whole world rejoiced with her about her birth, so she was praised by the Rishis and Gandharvas made the music. The ocean gave her a crown of flowers that never wither. Even the great rivers of India, such as the Ganges , ask them to bathe in them to bless them.

It is said of Lakshmi that she never lingers long in one place and does not allow herself to be held. If one wants to possess it by force and hold it, it leaves the evildoer immediately. The demons try to claim her as the goddess of prosperity after her birth as well as to bind and claim her by standing the goddess on her head. But the goddess refuses to look at her and immediately leaves the culprits.


If she is represented with Vishnu as his wife, she has two hands and is always of a smaller stature. Lakshmi is usually of a golden, sometimes red, body color and is presented as a beautiful, friendly smiling goddess. Pictures show her together with her husband on the great world serpent Ananta , sitting at his feet and massaging them, or on the eagle god Garuda . It is she who awakens the god after his cosmic sleep between two world creation periods. Often she is shown with Vishnu in intimate moments of tenderness, such as how she puts her knee on his leg, sits on his lap, how they smile at each other or look deep into their eyes. Another image in Badami , in which Vishnu is enthroned on a high chair, shows the goddess sitting on the floor, her right hand on his knee, leaning on him. She embodies the submissive, loyal, loving and obedient wife and good housekeeper, as she corresponds to the classic ideal of a Hindu wife. In this sense it is also said that she cooks for the visitors of the Jagannath Temple and then blesses the food ( prasada ) . If the representation shows her alone, she usually has four arms. Then she carries red lotus blossoms in two hands , the symbol of the highest reality, while the other two show the comforting and giving hand position . Gold pieces pour out of the latter, which are usually interpreted as money. She is best known as Gajalakshmi , who stands or sits on a lotus flower, flanked by two elephants (who are also her vahana ) who pour water over her from jugs; this shape is often found in India as a symbol of good luck on temples (see Dashavatara temple ), but also on houses. Often the iconography displays them with lotus, conch, pot with the drink of immortality , Amrita and a Bilva -Frucht. If the representation is eight-handed, there are also a bow and arrow, a discus and a club. She is then Mahalakshmi ("Great Lakshmi"), an aspect of Durga and in this case not Vishnu's wife. There are also overlaps with the goddess Sarasvati , who is often considered Vishnu's wife and to whom she is said to have a tense relationship (often interpreted philosophically as an irreconcilable contrast between wealth and wisdom). In her form as Dipa-Lakshmi , in a serving pose, she is often depicted on oil lamps and used for ritual purposes.

other names

Lakshmi is also called Shri-Lakshmi , and as Shri ("happiness, prosperity") it is an attribute of Vishnu, on whose body it is used as a symbol e.g. B. appears in the form of a triangle. Other of their manifestations are the goddesses Bhudevi or Bhumidevi (personification of the earth), Buddhi ("knowledge") and Siddhi ("success, perfection"). She is also associated with the elephant-headed god Ganesha , as whose Shakti she appears, especially in northern India. Sometimes, especially in Bengali versions, an owl is their companion animal. Under the name Vaishnavi , she is one of the Seven (or Eight) Mothers, called Matrikas . She is also called Lokamata ("mother of the world") or Jaladhija ("those born of the ocean") as well as Kamala and Padma (both "lotus or lotus-born").

In many incarnations of Vishnu, Lakshmi also embodies himself and accompanies him; she changes her nature according to that of her husband in order not to be separated from him. If Vishnu embodies himself as in heavenly form, then she becomes a goddess; if he takes on an earthly form, then she too becomes a human being. When Vishnu came as the heroic King Rama , she was his wife Sita ("furrow"), he incarnated as Krishna , was she his girlfriend Radha or his wife Rukmini . As Rukmini, she was the mother of Pradyumna , the reborn Kama . To the dwarf Vamana she was the Padma ("lotus"), to the Varaha the Bhudevi ("earth"), to the Parashurama the Dharani ("earth"). She also appears as Maya , goddess of the illusion of the universe. At the end of the Mahabharata epic, Draupadi is also referred to as the incarnation of Shri Lakshmi.


The name Lakshmi in the Indo-European language family is etymologically related to the Swedish light saint Lucia , the Latin Lux (light) and the English luck (luck). All terms are the attributes of the goddess. Her holy day is Thursday, on which especially married women honor her with prayer and sacrifice. She is considered their protector and each of them as their manifestation. It also appears in particularly virtuous women.

Feast day and worship

The third day of the Diwali or Festival of Lights, which is extremely popular in India, is dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi, during which thousands of lanterns and candles are lit in her honor, fireworks are burned and houses are brightly lit. You play and celebrate while the goddess wanders from house to house to find a resting place. But you can only come to the brightly lit dwellings and bring them luck for the coming year. Lakshmi is especially revered by the merchants and traders. In the village, a dung heap or a heap of cow dung is hailed as Lakshmi.

See also


  • Anneliese and Peter Keilhauer: The Imagery of Hinduism. The Indian world of gods and their symbolism. DuMont, Cologne 1986, pp. 106ff ISBN 3-7701-1347-0
  • Joe J. Heydecker : The Sisters of Venus . The woman in myths and religions. Munich 1994
  • David Kinsley: Indian Goddesses. Female deities in Hinduism. Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt 1990 pp. 35ff ISBN 3-458-16118-X
  • Veronica Ions: Indian Mythology. Hamden Publishing, Rushden 1988, pp. 86f ISBN 0-600-34285-9
  • Rachel Storm, Encyclopedia of Eastern Mythology , Reichelsheim 2000. Lakshmi

Web links

Commons : Lakshmi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Gerhard J. Bellinger, Knaurs Lexikon der Mythologie , Knaur 1999, Lakshmi
  2. a b c d e Rachel Storm, Encyclopedia of Eastern Mythology , Reichelsheim 2000. Lakshmi
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n David R. Kinsley: Hindu Goddesses Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition , University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, Lakshmi