Archetypes. Abundance. Ritual
The God/dess archetype of Shrī Lakshmi bestows the gifts of abundance, beauty, and deep Self-love.
Invoke her regal grace in the form of integrity, patience, and loving-kindness.
In the ancient Vedic hymns, the term shrī suggests beauty, luster, power, glory, riches, fertility, abundance, advantageous skills, and high rank. The term is especially used in later Vedic literature to refer to the wealth, ruling power, and majesty of kings (Kinsley, Hindu Goddesses 19). Shrī is the splendor that gives a king magnificence and authority to rule.
The personified form of Shrī, Lakshmī, is described and worshiped in the Shrī Shukta, a supplement to the Rig Veda (the earliest Indian literature). In that hymn, Shrī Lakshmī is associated with symbols of prosperity. She represents agricultural abundance. As an “earth-bound” goddess she is united with the “sky-god” Vishnu for creative power and the sustaining balance of the universe. In some texts, Lakshmi is the consort of Indra (the king of the gods) (Kinsley, Hindu 23). At other times she brings ruling power to demons, such as the demon King, Bali, who is both victorious and virtuous under her influence (23-25). When she moves from one ruler to another, she brings righteousness and fertility with her to the next kingdom.
By the Gupta period (300-700 CE), when the Vedic and folk goddesses become full-fledged Puranic (mythic) images, Lakshmī finally settles down as the consistent and faithful consort of Vishnu (the deity of sustenance and fruition). In the Bhāgavata Purāna and Kūrma Purāna for instance, Mahālaksmī (great Lakshmī) is equated with Vishnu’s supreme shakti (power).
In the “Devī Māhātmya,” an epic poem within the Markandeya Purāna Lakshmi is honored as the ultimate creative power. She is also recognized as the supreme universal grace in the Lakshmī Tantra (the main text of the Pāncharātra school of Vaishnavism),
Lakshmi has four arms. Her two front arms represent worldly reality. Often they offer material abundance in the form of gold spilling onto the earth. She may be imagined showing hand mudras (signs): varada-mudra with her left hand is a sign of bestowing blessings and boons. The abhya-mudra, in her right hand offers protection and prompts courage.. Her back arms represent the subtle dimension spiritual reality. Holding fully open pink lotuses, Lakshmi promising the knowledge of self-realization. She is seated on a pink lotus that rises up from the water, wearing a red and green sari. She embodies the activation of awakening from the dark waters of unconsciousness.
Meditating on the principles of beauty and abundance, you can become awakened to new layers of gratitude and realize the sacredness of life. You are invited to care for your Self with nourishing and nurturing practices. You are invited to attune with Nature's rhythms and honor the divinity within this earthly experience. You may create of your life a masterpiece of sensation, relationship, and joy.
Learning to LOVE your life unconditionally—is an ongoing process. Use the following soul questions and action steps to cultivate the archetypal qualities of Lakshmi in your real-world, human experience.
Soul Questions & Action Steps
Write down all the things you tend to lament about your life. Use a grain of rice to represent each complaint. Throw each grain of rice into a safely controlled fire one by one to be burned up and destroyed. Commit to turning your attention toward creating beauty, embracing grace, and cultivating gratitude every day.
Lakshmi's Bija Mantra is Shrīm.
"Just as "Om" is the mantra for spiritual liberation, "shreem" is the mantra for material well-being."
*Chant the mantra: Om Shrīm Mahalakshmiyei Namaha to invoke the generous compassion, unlimited abundance, and creative powers of Srī Lakshmi.
May you realize the glorious beauty and sacred sweetness of this human experience and delight in every single moment with creative freedom.
lakshmi. abundance. ritual.
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An Earth Day Ritual
Suppose you are shopping to find the perfect gift for the person who has everything. ...who, in fact, IS everything. What would you give the Universe?
Mystic teachings seek to remind us that every person is an expression of the universal Infinite, and therefore, each of us is a divinely unique reflection of the “universal everything.” The archetypal image of Goddess Lakshmi embodies the abundance of the Earth and the richness of life’s miracles. She carries this message for you:
तत्त्वमिस = “Tat tvam asi” = “You are that...”
PREFER TO LISTEN?
As a Soul Artist, you seek to remember your Self as one with creation and its Source.
You look for the beauty in all things. You take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have everything that you need.
And if you are like me, you often forget.
When we forget ourselves as infinite, it is common to reach for material possessions to help us “remember who we are.”
Shopping can feel like recovering our lost selves for a moment.
Parents who have extended their energy into their children, for instance, or those with demanding jobs may feel a sense of “lost self.” A trip to the department store, or shopping online, can help you experience a sort of ego-retrieval:
You find an item you like and you declare, “Now THIS is me!”
Sometimes appreciating beautiful things can, in fact, remind you of your infinite connection too, especially when you celebrate beauty without attachment or aversion—when you experience it with the eyes of the witnessing soul. When you remember the intrinsic beauty within you. Remember, You are That.
“Shopping for Lakshmi” is a regular household ritual that allows my family time to connect with each other and the Earth. At other times, I take a walk alone and “go shopping” as a way of reconnecting with my natural creative power. It is a ritual to remember simple abundance and the rich treasures of my every day life.
I’m sharing this practice with you as an opportunity to deepen your experience of interconnectedness by "shopping" outside in nature. It may be practiced any time as a contemplative practice or as a community ritual. Make it a weekly event.
“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”
The Lakshmi archetype is the aspect of you which is universally abundant, rich in infinite Love. Enjoy every exquisite nugget—both big and small—of the Earth’s beauty as a deeply cherished gift to your Self.
Let each gift be a reminder of who you really are.
Tat tvam asi
You are not just the voice of the Earth. You ARE the EARTH. You are her voice, eyes, ears, hands and heart. You are, in fact, the complete emanation of the Universe itself–an expression of cosmic creative power. As you admire the beauty in the night sky, you are the stars gazing back at themselves in wonder. You are an animation of the exact same life force that animates the entire planet. Your life is the gift.
Tat tvam asi
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
PSYCHE + SOUL