Friday, April 15, 2016
How to Bring Back Lakshmi and Abundance Into the World
THE GODDESS LAKSHMI – by Barbara Wilder
The Goddess Lakshmi is the expression of the Great Mother that represents all the luscious abundance that the Earth offers to humanity — nurturing abundance that flows with ease and grace from Her for the benefit of All. The legends say that all women of the world are forms of Lakshmi, and that where Lakshmi presides, there is prosperity, virtue, righteousness, truth, and compassion.
In one of the Lakshmi myths, Devendra, King of the Gods, carelessly allows his horse to trample Lakshmi's lotus blossom necklace. The great sage Durvarsa is so incensed by this lack of respect for the gracious Mother of All, that he puts a curse on Devendra so that he might never experience Lakshmi’s abundance again.
Inadvertently, this curse on Devendra deprives the entire Earth of Lakshmi's presence. Without the Goddess of abundance and compassion, the land becomes barren, bringing about great suffering. As food supplies begin to dwindle, only the wealthy kings who have great stores of food are unaffected. As the people across the land starve, the kings continue to feast from golden plates. This division between the rich and the poor pleases the demons that partner with the kings and celebrate and fuel their greed.
Eventually, of course, even the stores of food in the palaces begin to run dry. When they start to go hungry as well, the kings realize their folly and appeal to the gods to intervene and bring Lakshmi back.
The gods, recognizing that the Earth cannot survive without Lakshmi and her gracious abundance, send out search parties to find Her. They learn that she now resides under the Sea of Milk. The gods know she will not be brought back easily. They know she will not just come because the gods who had so easily shunned her want her back. Nor would the wishes of the powerful kings be enough to convince her to return. It will, they realize, take the power of all the gods, all the mortals, rich and poor, and even all the demons working together to churn the Sea of Milk to bring Her back to the Earth. The mortals are quickly convinced to join in the effort. But it takes much politicking for the gods to convince the demons to join. Only when the gods promise that when Lakshmi is restored to Earth the kings will regain their wealth and once again turn to them to support their wars and greed do the demons reluctantly agree.
Everyone gathers on the shores of the Sea of Milk and using whatever implements they have brought with them, they all begin to churn. And they churn and churn for many days, but to no good outcome. Lakshmi does not appear. The demons are gleeful, and begin to depart rejoicing in the failure of the gods. But just at that moment Lakshmi rises up out of the Sea of Milk, standing on a great fuchsia colored lotus blossom, golden coins, all the abundance of her sacred realm pouring from Her hands. She also brings the ambrosia to heal the land and infuse the Earth with Her riches once more. But, as the people and gods celebrate with great joy to honor and give thanks to their great Mother, the demons steal the ambrosia. Lakshmi, disgusted with the gods’ and the peoples’ carelessness with her sacred gifts prepares to return to the Sea of Milk.
The great God Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe, has been watching, He cannot stand by any longer. He knows the immense worth of the Great Goddess and he also loves the people very much. So, disguised as a beautiful a seductress, Vishnu arrives, and Lakshmi recognizing Vishnu in feminine form, delays her departure. Vishnu coaxes the ambrosia from the demons, with the promise of sharing it equally between the gods, the mortals, and the demons. The demons give in, seduced by Vishnu’s feminine charms. Vishnu fills everyone’s cups with the ambrosia. But as gods and mortals celebrate the demons collapse in death. The ambrosia was the essence of pure love, and evil cannot withstand that powerful elixir.
At last, Lakshmi reigns as Mother of the Earth once more, bestowing all Her riches on the people of the Earth, Her beloved children. Instantly springs gush up through the parched earth, streams begin to flow, grass, trees, flowers, and vegetables grow, bloom, and bear fruit. The animals that have been dying in the wasteland drink from the new lakes and rivers and revive. Lushness abounds throughout the earth.
I must note here that the demons, so easily foiled in the Lakshmi myth, have yet to be overcome historically. But we all hold the ambrosia, which is pure love, in our hearts.