Karma at Work

Why Invoke Goddess Lakshmi?

Henna Tattooed Hand of Indian Girl Holding Diwali Diya

By Constantina Rhodes, Ph.D.

Beautiful, beloved Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, happiness, and abundant good fortune. She is by far the most popular and most widely worshiped goddess in all of India, and for many centuries her devotees have invoked her in song and ceremony.

Why do people invoke the goddess Lakshmi? A better question might be: Why would they not invoke her? Who does not have at least some concern for physical and emotional wellbeing, material comfort, harmonious relationships, and spiritual insight? Lakshmi's devotees turn to her again and again for blessings of good fortune in every aspect of life, for she is recognized as the limitless source-energy of all abundance, prosperity, and power, and her wealth takes infinite forms.

Dipavali, or Divali, the Festival of Lights, is an especially auspicious time for invoking the goddess. On the day of the new moon in the lunar month of Kartik (October- November), women decorate the way to their doorsteps with beautiful designs in bright- colored powders, tracing footsteps for the goddess of wealth to find her way into their homes. Alongside the footsteps they place rows and rows of small clay lamps called dipa -- hence the name Dipavali, or "garland of lamps." These small lamps are also placed up on the flat rooftops, so that the entire house is lit up in a kind of landing pattern for Lakshmi to follow as she descends from the heavens. With an invitation of such beauty and luminosity, how can the goddess resist gracing these homes with her presence?

This year, Divali occurs on November 5. Why not create a space of beauty and light to receive the goddess? This is the perfect time for a fresh, new start to any endeavor. As you prepare to receive the golden goddess into your home, call her forth with prayers that have been recited for centuries to invite her presence. Browse through our prayer gallery for the words to those songs and suggestions for their use, whether at Divali or at any time that you wish to invoke blessings of abundance and good fortune.

Constantina Rhodes, Ph.D., is the author of Invoking Lakshmi: The Goddess of Wealth in Song and Ceremony (SUNY, 2010). She is a professor in the Program in Religion at the City University of New York's Hunter College. She also serves on the faculty of the Holistic Studies Institute of New York. In addition, Constantina offers lectures and workshops on the goddess Lakshmi.

Related Topics: Karma, Work, Economy, Faiths, Buddhism
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