There are as many faces the Divine Feminine expresses Herself through as there are stories we tell about Her. In Yoga, Lakshmi is one of the Great Goddess’ many manifestations. Lakshmi is best known as the goddess of prosperity and abundance. She teaches us that although fortune may fall on the just and unjust alike, it only blesses those with a pure heart.
The story of Lakshmi, goddess of good fortune.
Indra, the king of the gods, was tasked to rule the heavens and the earth. For many years he lovingly presided over the land. At times, he raised armies to protect his people. Lakshmi was with him and the battles were his! When the threat was over, the armies went home and its warriors returned to their families and daily labor.
Over time, Indra’s authority went to his head. He forgot that his success as a ruler came not from himself, but from Lakshmi, the bestower of good fortune! He no longer praised the goddess and gave her thanks. Instead, he made war on other innocent lands. Soldiers no longer came back from war when they were won. They were simply sent into another battle! The land was devastated, the soldiers were perishing faster than they could be replaced, and the people were hungry because all of the food was sent to the armies. There was no more peace-time.
A wise sage knew that if Indra’s heart did not soften, the land and all its people and creatures would be destroyed. He came up with a plan. He cut the finest flowers from his garden and weaved them into a beautiful garland. The sage humbly approached the altar of the goddess Lakshmi and offered her his gift.
Lakshmi loved the beautiful garland so much that not only did she accept the sage’s gift, but she made it her abode! The wise sage approached King Indra and offered him his garland as well. Indra stuck up his nose at the gift! “Bah!” he laughed. “What use have I for such a trinket?” He tossed the garland, and the goddess, at the sage’s feet.
Enraged, Lakshmi emerged from the garland. “Yes, Indra,” she said with an icy glare. “What use do you have for beauty, humility, and grace? You’ve forgotten these things. You care only for power. You have forgotten that your power comes from me! However, I will not stay where I am not wanted.” And with that, the goddess stormed out of the palace and adjourned to the great milky ocean.
Without Lakshmi there to grant good fortune, the land became barren. There was great petulance among the people. All was lost.
The gods were not pleased with Indra. They begged the goddess to return, but she would not hear their pleas. Because of their pride and vanity, they had to churn the milk ocean for 1,000 years to create an offering of the divine elixir Amrit. When she saw Indra and the gods were sincerely sorry, she accepted their offering and returned to earth. The land healed, crops thrived, and the people were happy and at peace. Having learned his lesson, Indra embraced his role as a good steward of the earth and ruled with an open, humble heart.
Honoring and invoking Lakshmi.
A pure heart is a wise heart. When we are motivated by selfish desires, eventually, we will suffer the consequences of exploitative or manipulative actions. Loving action means we are acting in alignment with the natural order of the universe… and Lakshmi’s grace. When our intentions and actions are motivated by love, Lakshmi is with us and will bless our efforts. The fruits of our labor will be beyond all the good we could have possibly imagined for ourselves!
Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance. She blesses us all with unique gifts and talents. We open ourselves up to receive by courageously sharing ourselves with others and doing the work necessary to bring our gifts into the world.
Abundance doesn’t mean that we are going to be filthy rich. It doesn’t mean that we are going to have everything we want. Abundance means that we will have all that is ours to have as we do the work that is ours to do.
Connecting with Lakshimi begins with gratitude. Gratitude mentally, emotionally, and spiritually elevates us. When we are grateful, we feel better! It is easier to access qualities that contribute to abundance: creativity, courage, and confidence.
Another way to invite Lakshmi’s blessings into our lives is to ask, “How may I serve?” A spirit of service cultivates connection with others. Connection is one of our greatest needs. To serve others is to foster connection not only to those we are serving, but also to Lakshmi herself!
Finally, we can honor Lakshmi through our own daily sadhana, which means “spiritual practice”. Our asana (yoga pose) practice offers ample opportunity to connect with Lakshmi. Hip-openers allow us to tap into our own creative well; twists wring out egotistical fear and cultivate courage; backbends open our hearts to be of service. Chant the mantra Om Namo Laksmi Ma Om Namo Durga Ma to invoke Lakshmi’s power and good will!
How will you invite Lakshmi into your life? Devotion? Service? Creativity? We love to hear from you! Share with us in the comment section below this post!