Shri or Sri (also Anglicizing Shree , Sanskrit श्री śrī ) is a regal address or designation of an initially undefined deity in a cultic-religious context that already occurs in the Indian Vedas ; only later was she associated with the goddess Lakshmi , Vishnu's wife . The Tamil equivalent of Shri is Tiru ; it occurs in numerous South Indian place names.
Today it is used on the Indian subcontinent as a polite or respectfully honoring prefix ( both spoken and written) in front of the names of male people. The corresponding female variants are Shrimati ( Sanskrit श्रिमती ), abbreviated to Smt for married women and Sushri for women regardless of their marital status .
Shri initially means 'ability' or 'power', but also 'beauty', 'splendor', 'fame' and 'high rank'. In addition to the religious context, the term was also used as a salutation for kings ( rajas ), but it can also refer to 'wealth', 'prosperity' and 'abundance' - all these properties were later personified in the goddess Lakshmi. Even later, Shri / Sri becomes a politely honorable part of the name of many gods (e.g. Sri Sarabeswara ) as well as of other deified beings such as gurus and scholars in the sense of 'worthy of worship', 'splendid' or 'saint' (e.g. Sri Aurobindo , Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or Sri Balasai Baba ).
- David Kinsley: Indian Goddesses. Female deities in Hinduism. Insel, Frankfurt / M. 1990, ISBN 3-458-16118-X , pp. 35ff.