Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Diwali: Worshipping Lakshmi

Possessors of wealth generally feel empowered. While wealth as a power can be used to nurture ourselves and others or to fulfill our personal desires, it can also hurt others. A popular Sanskrit proverb paropkaraye punyaye, paapaye parpidnam, which distinguishes good karma (punya) from bad karma (paap), can also be interpreted to distinguish “good” wealth from “bad” wealth: If our wealth is used to help others, it is good; if our wealth, in any way, hurts others, it is bad [1].

Now that the Hindu world is approaching Diwali, we will soon be worshipping Mother Goddess Lakshmi as a part of the festivity. If we aspire for wealth and abundance, what can we do to ensure that we use wealth wisely? Most easily, we can scrutinize our prayers for Lakshmi and see if they have the elements to attract bigger blessings [2]. In fact, during our Diwali worship, considering Goddess Lakshmi the “goddess of wealth” alone can be our biggest mistake, for such an assumption, being very limited in scope, may also limit her blessings on us. As I have mentioned earlier [3], “For selfless worshippers, who surrender themselves to Goddess Lakshmi with devotion and look upon her as Goddess Shakti or an equal of Vishnu, Lakshmi is Brahman. On the other hand, when we chant her name for wealth…we are in fact worshipping only a limited aspect of the Goddess.”

By developing a better spiritual paradigm, like the one presented in the Vishnu Purana, where Goddess Lakshmi is seen as the sole mother of the universe, we can enhance our worthiness for receiving bigger blessings from her. With a bit of surrender in our prayers, we will see that Lakshmi blesses us with not only abundance but also the disposition to use wealth wisely.


Happy Diwali!


[1] The guideline may be extended to include how wealth was created in the first place.

[2] This post touches upon my previous opinion about prayers. You can also check out this related post on developing a Diwali wish list.

[3] Devotional Hinduism, page 34.

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