Goddess Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess worshipped for wealth and prosperity. Lakshmi is the consort of Lord Vishnu, and daughter of Bhrigu and Khyati. She is also called as "Shri", the feminine energy of Supreme Being and her four arms represents moksha, dharma, artha and kama. The Lotus in her hand is associated with purity of mind, body and soul. Lakshmi is worshipped by placing the deity or picture in the north-east corner of the house, placing flowers and lighting lamps filled with ghee. According to Hinduism, Friday is the auspicious day for Lakshmi and worshipping her in a clean environment with flowers and lighting the ghee lamp fulfills one's wishes with good fortune, and a successful life. A special puja called Lakshmi puja is being performed on the third day of Diwali festival to get blessings of the divine goddess of wealth.
Goddess Lakshmi, one of the divine trinities along with Goddess Parvathi and Goddess Sarasswathi, personifies wealth in different ways and Ashtalakshmi refers to the eight manifestations of Lakshmi devi worshipped for wealth. Wealth in this context refers to prosperity, fertility, good fortune, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny and power.
The eight manifestations of Goddess Lakshmi Devi are as follows:
Adi Lakshmi or Mahalakshmi is the primordial form of Lakshmi worshipped for material and spiritual contentment. Adi Lakshmi has no start and no end, the word “Adi” means eternal existence. She is depicted with four hands carrying a lotus and a white flag, and the front two hands are in Abhaya mudra and Varada mudra. An individual who possess Adi Lakshmi has absolute inner peace and strength to the mind.
Dhana Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth. She is depicted with six hands that carries a chakra (discus), a shankha (conch), Amrita kalasha (a pitcher containing Amrita ( nectar of immortality), a bow and arrow, a lotus flower and the front right hand shows Abhaya mudra with gold coins falling from it.
Vijaya Lakshmi also known as Jaya Lakshmi is the Goddess worshipped for victory in life. This wealth helps an individual to conquer all the hurdles and lead a successful life. The Goddess is depicted with eight hands that carries a chakra (discus), a shankha (conch), a sword, a shield, a lotus flower, a pasha, and the front two hands shows Abhaya mudra and Varada mudra.
Dhairya Lakshmi is the Goddess of courage and inner strength worshipped to overcome difficulties in life. She is also known as Veera Lakshmi, and incarnated as Goddess Durga. The Goddess is depicted with eight hands that carries a chakra (discus), a shankha (conch), a bow, an arrow, a trishul, a bundle of palm leaf scriptures, and the front two hands shows Abhaya mudra and Varada mudra.
Gaja Lakshmi also known as Elephant Lakshmi is depicted with elephants on both her sides, and the trunk of the elephants are raised showering water on the goddess. She is the giver of animal wealth, and according to Hindu mythology, Gaja Lakshmi brought back the wealth lost by God Indra from the ocean. She is worshipped to get strength and patience in one’s life. She is portrayed with four hands carrying two lotuses, and the front two hands are in Abhaya mudra and Varada mudra, flanked by two elephants on both sides.
Dhanya Lakshmi is the Goddess of agriculture wealth. She is worshipped for food, and also to have a balanced nutrient health for the well being of mind and body. The Goddess is depicted with eight hands carrying two lotuses, a gada (mace), a paddy crop, a sugarcane, bunch of bananas, and her front two hands shows Abhaya mudra and Varada mudra.
Santana Lakshmi is the goddess of bestowing offspring. By worshipping the goddess, one is bestowed with wealth in the form of desirable children with good health and a long life.The Goddess with a child symbolizes that children are our wealth, and our future, and that a family is essential in raising their children.She is depicted with six hands, carrying two kalashas, a sword, a shield, a child on her lap, and her front right hand in Abhaya mudra and the other hand holding the child. Her sword and shield symbolizes a mother's ability in protecting and saving her child from any evil effects. The child holds a lotus flower.
Aishwarya Lakshmi is the Goddess of prosperity, and good fortune. She is depicted with four hands holding two lotuses, and the front two hands are in Abhaya mudra and Varada mudra. In the eight manifestations of Lakshmi, Aishwarya Lakshmi has taken the place of Vidya Lakshmi, who is worshipped as the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom. She is depicted with four hands carrying a book of vedas and a peacock feather, and the front two hands are in Abhaya Mudra and Varada mudra.
The eight manifestations of Lakshmi bestows wealth in various forms for the spiritual and material well-being of a person. Thus an individual seeks the blessings of Ashtalakshmi to lead a healthy, happy and a successful life.