Why Invoke Goddess Lakshmi?
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.